The Facts on Gender ID and Sex

Claim: Sex is a spectrum and can be changed. Gender identity is innate and can be known from an early age.

The full facts

We’ve all heard variations of these claims.

Sex and gender are different.” “Sex is a spectrum and not everyone fits into the binary.” “Gender is fluid.” And so on.

Here are the full facts. And yes, some of them seem obvious! But the debate has become so muddied that they need to be stated, clearly and consistently, over and over again.

  • Human beings are mammals. We have two sexes, male and female, and reproduce sexually. There are no other sexes and there is no ‘in-between.’

  • Humans cannot change sex. We are not clownfish.

  • Male and female bodies are different. We have different skeletal and physiological structures, different health risks, and different symptoms for the same conditions. Only women can gestate and give birth, and only women face the risks associated with childbearing.

  • Women need sex-based health care and services because of our bodies.

  • There are a small number of people with DSD (Differences in Sex Development.) Estimates range from 0.2% to 1.7% of the population. They are not a different sex, and they are not transgender.

  • In fact, many people with DSD object to being categorised under the same umbrella as transgender people and being used as a ‘reason’ to allow males into female spaces.

  • Gender is a social construct based on social beliefs about appropriate behaviour and appearance for men and women. Most feminists reject the concept of gender.

  • The replacement of sex with ‘gender’ in many situations such as healthcare information, data collection and provision of services is causing confusion.

Why does this matter?

  • The use of ‘inclusive’ terminology relating to gender rather than sex is affecting women’s healthcare and wellbeing. Terms such as ‘cervix-owner’ ‘chest-feeder’ and ‘people with a uterus’ are not only demeaning to women but are inaccurate and have been introduced without consultation.

  • This language has the potential to cause confusion among people whose first language is not English – when asked if they have a cervix, they may not know the answer and miss out on vital screening procedures.

  • Effective health care relies on research and solid data into the different risks and responses in male and female bodies. Heart attacks present very differently in women and men, for example. It is vital that research into sex-based differences in medicine continue unhampered by the ideological concept of gender.

  • Children and young people are being told it is possible for them to change sex – they are being lied to.

  • Women are losing the right to gather together without men, to use single-sex services, and to create spaces that are female-only. The same thing is happening to gay and lesbian people who in some cases can no longer gather without admitting members of the opposite sex.

Some recent examples

Tasmanian lesbian Jess Hoyle was banned from holding a female-only lesbian event under the state’s anti-discrimination laws

Australian app developer Sal Grover is being sued by trans-identifying male Roxy Tickle after Tickle was not allowed to join the female-only app, Giggle. Watch this short explainer video

A trans-identified female lost her unborn baby during a hysterectomy because she didn’t realise she could still get pregnant

Find out more

Renowned evolutionary biologist writes about the biological reality of two sexes

He also speaks to Helen Joyce, author of Trans, in this interview:

Find out about the Sex Matters campaign in the UK

A biologist explains why sex is binary

A DSD advocate explains there are only two sexes and ‘intersex’ is not a third one