“Sex-based definitions of ‘man’ and ‘woman’ reduce people to their genitals or reproductive organs.”
For some reason, this is one of the most common tropes transgender advocates rely on to defend their idea of gender as a personal identity. But the problem with this line is obvious: Asserting that a group of people share a particular feature doesn’t reduce them to that feature. In essentially any other situation, this would be self-evident. After all, no one thinks it ‘reduces Black people to their melanin’ when we acknowledge that they have dark skin, or that it ‘reduces blind people to their eyes’ when we acknowledge they can’t see. Similarly, general statements like Women have uteruses or Men have penises don’t “reduce” anyone to anything. All they do is acknowledge that uteruses are a shared characteristic of women and penises are a shared characteristic of men. Those who have a knee-jerk reaction to these sorts of acknowledgments may want to examine why it is that they see the mention of female body parts as uniquely “reductive,” and whether this might be a result of patriarchal socialization that sees association with women’s bodies as inherently dehumanizing.