ACTION: Tell the Members of Congress who Signed on to Representative Kennedy’s Letter to the Department of Health and Human Services that Sex Should NOT be Defined to Mean “Gender Identity” for Title IX Purposes.

The Issue

Senator Joseph P. Kennedy III recently drafted a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), arguing that sex should be defined to mean “gender identity” for the purpose of interpreting and applying Title IX. This is absurd. Title IX was enacted to protect women and girls, not to protect someone’s self-declared “gender identity.” Ninety-eight Members of Congress signed on. Tell these legislators that sex means what it has always meant – the state of being male or female – and that Title IX should be interpreted and applied in the way it was intended to be.

What You Can Do

Express your insistence that Title IX be interpreted and applied the way it was intended to be. Check through the House Representatives signatory list and if your Representative is listed contact them, and/or as many of the other Representatives as you can and email the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the other emails listed (see below).

Email Script

In your recent endorsement of Representative Joseph P. Kennedy III’s letter to HHS concerning Title IX, you expressed your sincere desire to promote justice and equality and protect the rights of trans-identified Americans. I wholeheartedly agree with that premise. You seem to be unaware, however, that the letter you signed proposes to achieve that in a way that is harmful to other Americans, specifically women and girls – the class of people that Title IX was enacted to protect.

Specifically, if “gender identity” is allowed to trump “sex” as a legal category, this will harm women and girls, who have historically and relentlessly been excluded from and discriminated against within the educational arena (mainly sports teams and facilities).

Please do not disregard this viewpoint out of hand. Please think through some of the following assumptions that you are have left unexamined in your letter.

Assumption #1:
That distinguishing between “sex” and “gender identity” will automatically harm trans-identified people and their civil rights and protections.

The “gender identity” movement is the only “rights” movement that actually violates the civil rights of others. As public officials, you need to determine how to balance and protect the rights of all.

Assumption #2:
That “biological sex” is “a cruel and unscientific definition of sex.”

In 1972, at the time “sex” was used in Title IX, there was no need to define it, as it was tacitly and scientifically understood as biological reality as it had been for millennia.

Science has firmly established that a person cannot change their sex; every cell in the human body is imprinted as either male or female. This is not cruel, but simple reality.

Assumption #3:
That anyone who supports “biological sex” as a sound legal criteria is an “extremist” and intends to “infringe upon the dignity, rights and lives of transgender people.”

This is resoundingly false. There are sound reasons to maintain biological sex as a legal category. For one, to allow males legal status as females violates women’s civil right to gather and organize politically as women. Women’s rights were and continue to be fought on the material basis of women being a sex-based category, not an “identity.” Again, the “gender identity” movement is the only “rights” movement that actually violates the civil rights of others. Consider the 19th Amendment: “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.” No one is confused about what that means.

Assumption #4
“Gender identity” is sufficiently defined. It is not.

As public officials, you should know that something which defines itself by itself should not be considered a coherent legal category. Yet that is precisely what the proposed definition of “gender identity” does.

“…’gender identity’ means the gender-related identity, appearance, mannerisms, or other gender-related characteristics of an individual, regardless of the individual’s designated sex at birth.” (proposed federal USA Equality Act)

“Gender,” however, is never defined. Further, it is characterized by stereotypes (appearance and mannerisms).

For all the above reasons and more, I urge you to thoroughly re-think your assumptions. I urge you investigate the far reaching legal, moral and material harm caused by these erroneous assumptions.





Alex Azar, Secretary of Health and Human Services

Cc: Office of Violence Against Women  , , , , , , 

Copy major media outlets:,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

House Members who signed letter:

Raul M. Grijalva, 3rd District Arizona

Mark DeSaulnier, 11th District California

Alan Lowenthal, 47th District California

Linda T. Sanchez, 38th District California

Eric Swalwell, 15th District California

Salud Carbajal, 24th District California

Jimmy Panetta, 20th District California

Ted W. Lieu, 33rd District California

Pete Aguilar, 31st District California

Jimmy Gomez, 34th District California

Anna G. Eshoo, 18th District California

Jackie Speier, 14th District California

Scott H. Peters, 52nd District California

Raul Ruiz, District 36 California

Nanette Barragan, 44th District California

Zoe Lofgren, 19th District California

Jared Huffman, 2nd District California

Mark Takano, 41st District California

Ro Khanna, 17th District California

Julia Brownley26th District California

Adam Schiff, 28th District California

Tony Cardenas, 29th District California

Brad Sherman, 30th District California

Barbara Lee, 13th District California

Judy Chu, 27th District California

Karen Bass, 37th District California

Jared Polis, 2nd District Colorado

Diana DeGette, 1st District Colorado

Elizabeth H. Esty, 5th District Connecticut

Joe Courtney, 2nd District Connecticut

Rosa DeLauro, 3rd District Connecticut

Lisa Blunt Rochester, At-Large District Delaware

Eleanor Holmes Norton, Non-Voting Delegate District of Columbia

Frederica Wilson, 24th District Florida

Alcee Hastings, 20th District Florida

Ted Deutch, 22nd District Florida

Stephanie Murphy, 7th District Florida

Charlie Crist, 13th District Florida

Lois Frankel, 21st District Florida

Debbie Wasserman Schultz, 23rd District Florida

Darren Soto, 9th District Florida

Hank Johnson, 4th District Georgia

Colleen Hanabusa,1st District Hawaii

Tulsi Gabbard, 2nd District Hawaii

Jan Schakowsky, 9th District Illinois

Mike Quigley, 5th District Illinois

Luis Gutierrez, 4th District Illinois

Andre Carson, 7th District Indiana

John Yarmuth, 3rd District Kentucky

Chellie Pingree, 1st District Maine

Elijah E. Cummings, 7th District Maryland

Jamie Raskin, 8th District Maryland

Anthony G. Brown, 4th District Maryland

Joseph P. Kennedy III 4th District Massachusetts

Seth Moulton, 6th District Massachusetts

Rick Nolan, 8th District Minnesota

Jacky Rosen, 3rd District Nevada

Ruben J. Kihuen, 4th District Nevada

Dina Titus,1st District Nevada

Carol Shea Porter, 1st District New Hampshire

Frank Pallone Jr., 6th District New Jersey

Donald Payne Jr., 10th District New Jersey

Donald Norcross,1st District New Jersey

Albio Sires, 8th District New Jersey

Nydia M. Velaquez, 7th District New York

Sean Patrick Maloney,18th District New York

Kathleen M. Rice, 4th District New York

Grace Meng, 6th District New York

Yvette D. Clarke, 9th District New York

Jose Serrano, 15th District New York

Nita M. Lowey, 17th District New York

Jerry Nadler,10th District New York

Hakeem Jeffries, 8th District New York

Carolyn B. Maloney, 12th District New York

Adriano Espaillat, 13th District New York

Brian Higgins, 26th District New York

Paul D. Tonko, 20th District New York

David E. Price, 4th District North Carolina

Suzanne Bonamici, 1st District Oregon

Earl Blumenauer, 3rd District Oregon

Dwight Evans, 2nd District Pennsylvania

Brendan F. Boyle, 13th District Pennsylvania

Robert A. Brady,1st District Pennsylvania

David N. Cicilline, 1st District Rhode Island

Marc Veasey, 33rd District Texas

Al Green, 9th District Texas

Sheila Jackson Lee, 18th District Texas

Lloyd Doggett, 35th District Texas

Peter Welch, At-Large District Vermont

A Donald McEachin, 4th District Virginia

Donald S. Beyer, 8th District Virginia

Denny Heck, 10th District Washington

Pramila Jayapal, 7th District Washington

Derek Kilmer, 6th District Washington

Adam Smith, 9th District Washington

Suzan Delbene, 1st District Washington