I've been working forever on one chapter of my manuscript/book on parenthood--the chapter on gender. I think I know part of the reason why it's been so hard and time consuming to get this done. In other chapters I've felt free to philosophically explore, even if the issues are controversial, but there are a lot more constraints here. Certain views, and even certain questions, are politically incorrect, taboo, probably genuinely hurtful to some audiences. And so I can't get into "figuring it out" mode and stay there. I keep feeling hemmed in by what I'm supposed to think, as a feminist, or what I'm supposed to say, as a respecter of LGBT people. And so I read some more, think some more, read some more. Well, maybe the end result will be a better chapter!
As evidence of how political correctness can distort inquiry, take this New Yorker article about clashes between so-called radical feminists and transgender activists. It does sound to me like the radical feminist side has some daft views about transgender people and cares too much about safeguarding born-women's spaces, but they do ask some good questions. It really is puzzling how it could be that a biologically female woman and a trans woman are both women in exactly the same sense. What is it that makes them both women? I believe that's a hard question worth thinking about. The radical feminists asking the question may approach these things with inappropriate animus, but at least they're asking the questions. I get the impression from the article that one is no longer allowed to in some academic settings.
There is some philosophical literature on the hard question but I honestly find most of what I've read not in a purely philosophical mode. Politics is in the driver's seat a great deal, not the usual philosophical methods--analysis, thought experiments, testing claims with counterexamples, etc. So people say things that would not withstand philosophical scrutiny, if the topic were something politically neutral like causation, or intentionality, or reference, or whatnot.
What does gender, or transgender, have to do with parenting? The question I'm trying to tackle is whether parents should care about or cultivate gender differences at all. But as a preliminary, I tackle the metaphysics of gender. Are girls/women and boys/men two naturally distinct groups? Interesting, difficult question. I'd really like to approach it as a philosophy question, not as a matter of politics.