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The following is presented as part of The Columbian’s Opinion content, which offers a point of view in order to provoke thought and debate of civic issues. Opinions represent the viewpoint of the author. Unsigned editorials represent the consensus opinion of The Columbian’s editorial board, which operates independently of the news department.

Letter: Relevant category is sex, not gender

By Rory Bowman, Vancouver
Published: May 19, 2023, 6:00am

Samuel Vernon seems a very kind person but not to have thought through public policy very well (“Difference between sex and gender,” Our Readers’ Views, May 13). “Gender” is mostly sexist and homophobic stereotypes, but the relevant legal category is sex. Female-only spaces were created for sound reasons of public policy, all of which still apply.

Female prisons, sports, toilets and public changing rooms exist for reasons of health, dignity and safety. Male claims of “gender identity” are entirely irrelevant, and we can treat people with respect while still acknowledging physical and social realities. Males are on average much stronger and are demonstrably more violent by every measure. Male rapists should not be placed in women’s prisons, and male bodies should not be colonizing female sports to take prize money or scholarships from women and girls. Teenagers and all women are entitled to privacy when semi-clothed or otherwise vulnerable.

Humans are a gonochoric, anisogamous species, and “nonbinary” is an aesthetic, not a sex of any kind. No mammal can ever change sex, and the relevant category is sex, not gender. We should accept gender diversity but also preserve single-sex spaces for women and girls. To do anything less is male supremacy.

We encourage readers to express their views about public issues. Letters to the editor are subject to editing for brevity and clarity. Limit letters to 200 words (100 words if endorsing or opposing a political candidate or ballot measure) and allow 30 days between submissions. Send Us a Letter