Chicago, IL — The Student Osteopathic Medical Association (SOMA) urges the White House, the
Department of Health and Human Services, the Justice Department and the Department of Education to
reconsider their stated plans to alter definitions of gender under Title IX. The categorization of someone’s
gender based on a person’s sex organs at birth, or their sex chromosomes, runs counter to what we in
the medical community know about the biological and social characterization of sex and gender. This
narrower definition would deny the existence of transgender and intersex people, and undermines the
validity of these identities.
Rigorous scientific study has demonstrated that gender identity does not always correlate with inherited
sex chromosomes or sex organs present at birth. Changing federal definitions of gender will not change
the existence of transgender and intersex people, but will rather lead to further stigmatization and
discrimination against an already vulnerable population.
Our organization’s Constitution and Code of Ethics make clear that we stand in opposition to acts of
discrimination based on gender identity. Our parent organization, the American Osteopathic Association
has further codified that the osteopathic medical profession supports the provision of adequate and
medically necessary care for transgender and intersex people and opposes discrimination on the basis of
As future physicians we are guided by a fundamental principle to “Do No Harm.” Narrowing the federal
definition of gender has the potential to have broad-reaching and harmful consequences for our future
patients. Such a change could lead to the denial of essential medical services for transgender and
intersex patients and result in adverse physical and mental health consequences for those affected by
the new definition.
Therefore, we stand in support of members of the transgender and intersex communities, and oppose
the creation of a definition of gender that is not sufficiently inclusive of the broad spectrum of gender
identities that exist in our society.