In a continuing discussion of my view that gender should be assigned based upon organs, I want to summarize three further reasons.
First, in terms of biological sex, organs are the distinguishing characteristic. That is, for reproductive purposes, what counts are organs. Now, of course, sometimes those organs don’t quite work properly for reproduction. A (biological) woman who is past menopause has female organs, but they can no longer function for reproduction. A male who has a vasectomy no longer sends sperm out when ejaculating. But in both cases, one is still definitely ‘the female organ,’ and one is definitely ‘the male organ.’ A uterus that doesn’t work for reproduction is still a uterus, just like a car that has an oil leak is still a car. If you have a penis and testes, it does not matter how much you ‘feel like a woman.’ You are biologically male.
Second, let’s consider this in terms of sexual attraction. I am an heterosexual male. Thus, I attracted to female characteristics, but on top of that, I would not be interested in having sex with any person with a penis. Even if a person had an extremely attractive effeminate body, the penis is a deal-breaker. I suspect that is pretty much the case for most straight males. Similarly, most straight females would probably say that they would find the lack of a penis to be a deal-breaker; or at least, that the presence of a vagina would be a deal-breaker. So again: to be useful, the concepts of ‘male’ and ‘female’ here need to be primarily a question of what kinds of genitals a person has.
Third, the argument I usually hear regarding Trans persons is that they have ‘the wrong brain for their biological sex.’ In other words, a trans woman is someone who always had a female brain, but was born with a penis and testicles instead of a vagina and womb. I have a problem with this idea, however. It relies on the notion that among non-trans people, male brains and female brains are distinctive. Now, it is true that there are trends. Given a random brain, you can guess with more than fifty percent accuracy which biological sex it came from. However, that is a far cry from the claim that there are definitive male versus female brains. If I tell you a person’s height, you can guess with more than fifty percent accuracy which gender the person is. A six foot tall person is more likely to be male, a five foot person is more likely to be female. Yet we know that there are six foot tall women, and five foot tall men. There’s substantial overlap between the two sexes here. The same argument applies to things like weight. And, from what I have seen, the same applies to brains. These trends may even become less dependent upon gender when we consider the most intelligent and successful males and females – or at least those who are most successful in business.
Now, I have no problem with people cross-dressing. I have no problem with people getting sex change operations. But they remain, to me, a body-modification. A person who is obsessed with swapping their genitals around is not really any different to me than a person who gets fixated on putting enormous hoops in their ears (except that people tend to be much more fixated on genital changes than anyone gets over ear lobe stretchers).