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Planned Parenthood’s New Guidelines Say Genitals Don’t Determine Sex

Certain body parts don’t define male or female gender, according to Planned Parenthood’s updated guidelines on how parents should talk to their kids about sexuality.

Planned Parenthood has long been a believer in hard science, arguing that a fetus is just a clump of cells, but the organization now purports that genitals don’t make a child a boy or girl. While the old Planned Parenthood recommendations rely on science to talk to preschoolers about sexuality, the new guidelines reject former advice and expound upon gender details far beyond any normal preschooler’s comprehension.

The old guidelines advised parents to tell their kids that:

  • Women have breasts. Men don’t.
  • Boys have penises and girls have vulvas. I’m a woman — a girl who is all grown up — so I have a vulva instead of a penis. And you’re a boy, so you have a penis instead of a vulva.

The new guidelines advise parents to say:

  • Those are nipples. Everybody has nipples.
  • Boy, girl, man, and woman are words that describe gender identity, and some people with the gender identities “boy” or “man” have vulvas, and some with the gender identity “girl” or “woman” have penises/testicles.
  • Your genitals don’t make you a boy or a girl.
  • It doesn’t matter too much what parts someone has.

Planned Parenthood’s new recommendations reject the “birds and the bees” metaphor and opt to explicitly explain how mothers get pregnant to children. The new guidelines also encourage parents to use the real names of body parts — like vulva, clitoris, penis and vagina — instead of creating nicknames when talking to their preschoolers.

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