US Govt grounds sex in biology as Supreme Court employs gender identity

A US Department has returned to the definition of sex as male or female rather than “one’s internal sense of gender” as the Supreme Court has gone in the opposite direction in a different area of law.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced on June 12th that it is “returning to the government’s interpretation of sex discrimination according to the plain meaning of the word ‘sex’ as male or female and as determined by biology”.

This means that institutions which receive federal funding can no longer be forced to provide procedures such as gender reassignment surgery.

Gregory Baylor, Senior Counsel for religious liberty group Alliance Defending Freedom, also welcomed the revision and highlighted the impact of turning away from the “objective concept of sex” in other areas such as female-only spaces and women’s sports.

He said: “Confirming the clear meaning of sex as grounded in human biology ensures that women will continue to have equal opportunities in sports, school, and work, and it protects the privacy rights of all Americans.”

On June 15th, the Supreme Court decided that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which protects employees against discrimination because of their sex is defined as including sexual orientation and gender identity. The new HHS rule regards the definition of sex under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 of Civil Rights legislation as applied to healthcare.