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WASHINGTON, D.C. (LifeSiteNews) — Heritage Foundation conservative policymaker Jay Richards, who has worked extensively on legislation regarding transgender issues, told LifeSiteNews in an exclusive interview that Idaho’s recently signed Definition of Sex law is a comprehensive legal definition based on advanced research in biology that comprehensively forestalls any loopholes that transgender ideologists might try to take advance of.

He said the law sets a precedent for other states in the ongoing fierce political battles surrounding “gender ideology.”

Asked about the significance of the bill and the federal landscape on the issue, Richards warned that the Department of Justice under President Joe Biden “is in the last stages of effectively dissolving sex as a biological category for federal purposes,” and will therefore likely challenge the Idaho law, which could potentially push the issue to the Supreme Court.

He said the law accurately accounts for the various aspects that are necessary for a proper biologically sound definition of male and female and explained some of the science that underlays the legislation, which Gov. Brad Little signed into law on April 9.

READ: Idaho governor signs laws defining sex as male or female, banning ‘gender language’ in gov’t, schools

The text of the interview follows below:

Jay Richards: The Idaho bill defining sex, or more precisely, male and female, is really important for a few reasons. First, most states don’t actually have precise biological definitions of male and female, even though they generally have policies to separate male and female sports bathrooms, prisons, and things like that. Until recently, there was no need to define these terms because there was agreement on them.

Unfortunately, the federal government under President Biden is in the last stages of effectively dissolving sex as a biological category for federal purposes. Their redefinition of Title IX, which will probably be finalized this spring redefined sex to include gender identity and sexual orientation. What that means is that the federal government could, under the Department of Justice, sue a state that insists on separating males and females according to biology. So, for instance, if a man identifies as a woman, wants to go in a women’s bathroom, and the state says, well, no, you’re a man, the Department of Justice under Biden, enforcing the new Title IX rule, could say, actually the state is violating the man’s civil rights, not the other women in the private space.

That’s the reason that it is so important for states to define male and female in non-arbitrary and capricious ways. And of course, the best way by far to do that is to define them in very precise biological terms which are objective and observed, rather than assigned or imposed. That’s exactly what the state of Idaho has done here.

LSN: So, if the federal government were to challenge the Idaho law in some kind of lawsuit, do you think this could push the issue up to the Supreme Court and make it a national issue?

Richards: It’s hard to see how the question of the definition of male and female is not going to find its way into the federal courts. ACLU has already threatened to sue states that define male and female in their precise and proper ways. And so there’s going to almost certainly be a conflict unless the federal government under Biden just decides not to enforce its new Title IX provision, which seems to be unlikely.

But I think that that’s a necessary part of this process because, at some point, we as a society have to decide, OK, are we going to adopt the weird, mirrored fun house conceptual categories of gender ideology, or are we going to accept biological reality as it actually is?

And that’s what the debate will be about. It’s what it ought to be about. Should we define people according to an internal sense of gender, so called gender identity? Or, should we say, no, there’s objective meaning to our bodies and our bodies are male or female.

That’s the central kind of legal and philosophical question. But for so long, gender ideologues have been able to hide under equivocation and ambiguous language so that what is actually at stake never quite gets debated. I suspect if states like Idaho are sued for defining sex in biological terms, that’s the debate that will have to play out in federal courts.

READ: Idaho asks Supreme Court to let it enforce ban on ‘sex changes’ for children

LSN: In a lot of the media and the trans-activists’ promotion of gender ideology and procedures, it does seem that euphemisms, indoctrination, and ideology take the place of science and medicine. Do you think this ongoing debate and, specifically, the defining of sex according to biological standards, will refocus the whole discussion so that biology and science become the focus of public discussion as opposed to ideological terms and so-called “rights”?

Richards: My hope is that we do refocus the debate on biological reality. For too long, gender ideologues have used terms like “gender” or “gender identity” in equivocal ways to avoid the focus. And if you notice, the Idaho bill not only defines male and female, but it also specifies that “gender”, when used in state law, that term to refer to the natural differences between males and females, should be treated as a synonym for sex, which is exactly what “gender” was in English for centuries.

Unfortunately, since the 1960s, it’s taken on this kind of double meaning, either to refer to the social and psychological aspects of sex or in gender ideology. “Gender” actually is a stand-in for “gender identity,” which is a purely subjective, internal sense of “gender”. And so it’s that kind of word game that I think ha(s) confused a lot of people, including a lot of legislators and frankly, a lot of courts as well.

If you think gender is just being treated as a synonym for sex, you might not realize that underneath it’s actually being used as code for something else. And so that’s what’s important about this bill. It not only defines male and female in biological terms, it fixes “gender,” when being used to refer to men and women and their differences, to sex. And then it distinguishes sex from “gender identity,” “gender expression” and so forth.

LSN: What was some of the research behind the model legislation and what was actually adopted?

Richards: What’s important in any legislation that defines male and females is first of all, that it be based on biology, that it be based properly on biology. Sex is about the reproductive strategy of almost all plants and animals, but humans in particular, which involves the fusion of two gametes of different sizes, eggs and sperm. And then the body plans, the phenotypes that correspond to those different gametes, that’s what sex is. A lot of people will think sex is, well, it’s just all about chromosomes, XX and XY. But those are generally, those are sex determining mechanisms in humans, but that’s not what sex is. So that’s the first thing. Make sure you get the biology right.

But then you got to do a couple of other things. You have to take account of disorders of sexual development, so: people who have disorders so that some aspect of their sex body doesn’t come fully to fruition. And obviously, these people are still human beings, they’re still male and female. And so the definition has to be able to accommodate those folks.

And then finally, it has to take account of the fact that gametes come online at particular times in people’s life cycles. And moreover, people might have accidents, or surgery, that remove testicles or remove ovaries. That doesn’t make someone no longer male or female.

So, any precise definition is going to have to account for what sex is. Got to get that right. Got to account for disorders of sexual development. And it’s got to account for historical accidents and the fact that our gametes and our reproductive systems come online at a particular moment in our life cycle. So, as you can imagine, it seems like a simple thing to do. It’s actually really quite complicated.

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