A question of gender: A different approach to transgender equality

Plan Author

Jennifer Hunt, 2018

Fields of Concentration

Sample Courses

  • Course: Rhetoric and Debate
  • Course: Writing Political Theory
  • Tutorial: Unintended Consequences of Identity Politics
  • Tutorial: Sociological Theories of Sex/Gender Stratification

Faculty Sponsors

Outside Evaluator

  • Heath Davis, Temple University


This Plan of concentration seeks to better understand what it would look like if transgender people, and society in general, were to reject the concept of gender. The first section uncover the birth of gender as a tool of social control in the 1950s, and based on structural-functional theories of social stability and behaviorist theories of socialization. The second section focuses on the unintended consequences which come about from gender recognition legislation, allowing transgender individuals to update the sex marker on their identity documents to match their lived gender. The third section provides a content analysis of the way that American conservative media sources talk about gender-neutral preschool programs in Sweden. In the final and independent section of my plan, I wanted to take the ideas which I have explored throughout my plan work and put them into action, presenting a workshop at a local LGBT conference on the removal of sex markers from identity documents.


Money’s concept of gender and his recommendations for intersex treatment were based on the objective of socializing children from the youngest of ages so that they developed a gender role of boy or girl; so that as they grew they would learn and take on the social roles of husband/father or wife/mother. Anything which might disrupt this cycle, and by extension the social order, was something which must be controlled and cured; and the cure for the intersex body was to surgically align it with the norms of female or male, at the youngest age at which it could be safely done. Not for the physical health of the child but to reassure them and their parents that they are, in fact, boy or girl. The parents and child were then managed to assure their compliance with the treatment and to dissuade them from the belief that a person can exist outside the categories of female or male.

Because there is no single clear definition of what a sex should look like sex-identity discrimination can be considered as an inherent consequence which comes from the use of sex markers for identity verification. Even when transgender activists go through the effort of working to get gender recognition policies enacted and transgender people take advantage of those policies, they can still become subject to this kind of discrimination. And these gender recognition policies will do nothing for cisgender people who face this type of discrimination, as they have no need of gender recognition legislation as the sex marker on their ID already accurately describes their sex. The only way to prevent this type of discrimination is by ending the use of sex markers for identity verification.


The most memorable part of Plan was when I finally compiled all of my components into one document and was able to see how much work I had actually accomplished. The inspiration for my Plan work was questions I had concerning the mainstream transgender civil rights movement. I was especially interested in the section uncovering the the birth of gender and the conditions that allowed its development. I hope to expand upon this work and put these ideas into action to make a positive change in the world.

A chart of gender conforming, androgynous, and highly gender non-conforming adolescents in California.
A sample of a “third sex option” identification.

Bathroom doors showing gender difference