Sex and Gender I am writing regarding an article in the December 2017 issue, “Study Indicates Increased ASD Recurrence Risk Based on Siblings’ Gender.” I believe that the word “gender” is used incorrectly here, as the original study was examining recurrence of autism spectrum disorder among siblings based on sex. Indeed, the actual ... Inbox
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Sex and Gender
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Special Populations / Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / Autism Spectrum / Transgender / ASHA News & Member Stories / Inbox
Inbox   |   February 01, 2018
Sex and Gender
The ASHA Leader, February 2018, Vol. 23, 4. doi:10.1044/leader.IN1.23022018.4
The ASHA Leader, February 2018, Vol. 23, 4. doi:10.1044/leader.IN1.23022018.4
I am writing regarding an article in the December 2017 issue, “Study Indicates Increased ASD Recurrence Risk Based on Siblings’ Gender.” I believe that the word “gender” is used incorrectly here, as the original study was examining recurrence of autism spectrum disorder among siblings based on sex.
Indeed, the actual article referenced is titled “Association of Sex With Recurrence of Autism Spectrum Disorder Among Siblings,” with the objective “… to estimate high-confidence sex-specific recurrence rates of ASD among siblings.” While this may seem pedantic to point out, I encourage The ASHA Leader to be as inclusive as possible. According to the American Psychiatric Association, sex is assigned at birth and refers to biological differences; gender is a social construct that can vary across culture (for example, what is deemed masculine vs. feminine).
These two terms—sex and gender—unfortunately have a history of being used interchangeably. This is based on the once-held assumption that biological males will always have a masculine gender, and that biological females will always have a feminine gender. Of course, we now know that this is not true for transgender individuals. Just as ASHA has paved the way for advocating use of people-first language and updated terminology—such as intellectual disability—I hope the same will be true for dispelling the myth that sex and gender are one and the same.
Skott Jones, Ithaca, New York

Thank you for calling attention to the appropriate use of the words “gender” and “sex.” The Leader will not, in the future, use the terms interchangeably.

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FROM THIS ISSUE
February 2018
Volume 23, Issue 2