Response to Dan Hammes column

Monday, January 13, 2020

Editor:

I’m writing to respond to your recent publication of Dan Hammes’ opinion titled, “Sex aside, this can’t be good.” Not only was this person’s opinion ignorant of the scientific facts that biological sex includes more than just the primary sexual characteristics in humans, but their inflammatory name-calling throughout their writing perpetuates the divisiveness which plagues our country. 

As a violence prevention educator, I feel it is my duty to inform readers of the scientific facts regarding biological sex and the difference between biological sex and gender identity. 

• Biological sex does not determine gender identity.

• Biological sex is wayyyy more complicated than just what’s between a person’s legs.

• It’s not as simple as three combinations of X and Y chromosomes determining bio sex either. Scientists have identified 49 ways in which chromosomes are replicated or maybe even crossed in addition to different ways hormones are absorbed that contribute to gene expression.

• Gender identity is who we know ourselves to be, based on the options for gender as we understand them.

• Identity and expression are extremely complex and universal respect for each individual to have the freedom to be their authentic selves, whether we understand where they’re coming from or not, is upheld by the laws that govern educational and workplace institutions in our country.

• Because these are complex issues, here are some great resources to learn more: isna.org, glad.org, glsen.org.

Whenever a person is fired due to their behavior violating another person’s dignity or creating a hostile work environment, the law protects them under the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Any judge who would not rule the way Judge James Taylor ruled in the case you mentioned, would not be upholding the law. For more information on local laws that protect employees, visit Montana’s Department of Labor and Industry website at: http://erd.dli.mt.gov/human-rights. 

Jenny Jo Allen

Education and Outreach Coordinator

ASPEN (Abuse Support & Prevention Education Network)

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