Regarding the Oct. 27 letter “Gender based on DNA” in which the writer implied that gender at birth must be either male or female: Yes, gender is based on DNA, but genetic variation exists in the DNA that determines male and female, variation that can be expressed as variation in gender identity.
The Intersex Society of North America estimates that 1 in 1,500 live births has significant sexual ambiguity in external physical characteristics. In North Carolina, with a population of slightly more than 10 million (July 2015 census), this means approximately 7,000 individuals could have ambiguous sexual characteristics at birth. But, because gender is required on a birth certificate, these individuals must be identified as either male or female, even though their gender identity is unclear.
Attempting to force everyone into two neat gender boxes, when science shows the reality to be otherwise, is counterproductive in terms of achieving a society that promotes inclusion, rather than exclusion, of these especially vulnerable members.