Last week I noted that the ACLU’s claim, that one can be a man and still have periods, get pregnant, etc., was scientifically false; that sex was determined by the chromosomes, and they are definitive. Since then, I’ve received a certain amount of pushback from transgender individuals and/or lobbyists, trying to persuade me (or browbeat me into accepting) that the science is rather more involved than that, and that gender fluidity and/or identification is not a matter of the chromosomes alone.
I accept that psychological or psychiatric problems can lead some people to adopt a different mental outlook on their gender and sex; but I emphatically deny and reject any assertion that this has a physical, genetic, medical or scientific basis. The evidence just isn’t there, according to any rational, hard-science analysis of the evidence.
One article put forward as evidence of my “mistake” is from the Scientific American. It’s titled “Stop Using Phony Science to Justify Transphobia:
Actual research shows that sex is anything but binary“. Unfortunately, while the article itself contains scientific facts, they’re misapplied to obfuscate and obscure the issue by bringing in extraneous factors, none of which are relevant to an adult human being. Here are some examples. In each case, a citation from the article is followed by my response.
Claim: “The truth is, your biological sex isn’t carved in stone, but a living system with the potential for change.”
Response: Bull! As mentioned in my earlier article, those who are classified as intersex (a vanishingly small proportion of the population) may have a more indeterminate sexuality/gender, but for everybody else, once one’s reached sexual maturity, that’s it. One’s biological sex is, indeed, carved in stone. For almost all of us, the chromosomes have it.
Claim: “A newly fertilized embryo initially develops without any indication of its sex. At around five weeks, a group of cells clump together to form the bipotential primordium.”
Response: So what? If you leave the embryo alone, its sex will pretty soon become apparent, as nature takes its course. It’s meaningless to say that right at the beginning, you can’t tell its sex. That’s all right. Nature can! – and it’ll pretty soon make its sex obvious.
Claim: “While brief and coordinated SRY-activation initiates the process of male-sex differentiation, genes like DMRT1 and FOXL2 maintain certain sexual characteristics during adulthood. If these genes stop functioning, gonads can change and exhibit characteristics of the opposite sex. Without these players constantly active, certain components of your biological sex can change.”
Response: Again, so what? In a normal, healthy individual, all of those genetic components work as they should. They don’t stop functioning – in fact, to do so is vanishingly rare. If they do, that’s a problem for medical science to solve, so that the person can resume their normal lives and sexual identity (which the chromosomes have already determined). It’s not evidence of gender fluidity or the ability to choose one’s sex.
Claim: “But a half century of empirical research has repeatedly challenged the idea that brain biology is simply XY = male brain or XX = female brain. In other words, there is no such thing as ‘the male brain’ or ‘the female brain’.”
Response: The argument is not whether there’s a “male” or “female” brain. Physically, those organs are pretty much alike. Psychologically, they’re far from it! Determining why men and women view the world differently is a matter for science to investigate – but their differing outlooks on life are not physically determinative of sexual and/or gender identity. The latter are merely factors to deal with in the individual. They cannot and do not affect that individual’s biological sex, because they have nothing to do with it.
Claim: “It’s easy to see sexual dimorphisms and conclude that the brain is binary; easy, but wrong. Thanks to the participation of trans people in research, we have expanded our understanding of how brain structure, sex and gender interact. For some properties like brain volume and connectivity, trans people possessed values in between those typical of cisgender males and females, both before and after transitioning. Another study found that for certain brain regions, trans individuals appeared similar to cis-individuals with the same gender identity. In that same study, researchers found specific areas of the brain where trans people seemed closer to those with the same assigned sex at birth. Other researchers discovered that trans people have unique structural differences from cis-individuals.”
Response: This is irrelevant. So what if there are certain differences between various aspects of the brain? They still do not determine one’s biological sex! They may influence what one feels or thinks about it – one’s “gender identity”, if you will, as opposed to one’s biological sex – but they cannot determine or dictate biological reality. Feelings like that are a psychological or psychiatric issue, to be resolved by those fields of medicine. Feelings do not determine scientific and medical and biological fact.
The so-called “transgender” lobby is full of hot air and vapidity. Their claims make no sense from a “hard science” perspective, no matter how much they may try to invoke those sciences, or obfuscate the issue through bringing in a “soft” science perspective. All too often, they try to assert that non-physical factors are as important, as determinative, as physical ones. Again I say, bull! That’s not scientifically valid, pure and simple. Such factors can’t be measured, can’t be experimentally replicated, can’t be analyzed using the scientific method. They’re all about the feeeeeeelings! – and feelings are not, repeat, not determinative of reality. The transgender lobby insists that biological sex and gender identification are not the same thing, that the latter can override the former. Science – hard science, not touchy-feely wishy-washy politically correct pseudo-science – says that’s flat-out wrong. Biological sex trumps any number of feelings. One can feel, wish, hope, believe, pretend or play-act that one’s gender is not the same as one’s sex – but it’s still a lie.
I’ve had the privilege of knowing three people who are intersex – their physical sex is more or less indeterminative, due to biological and genetic factors. They are wonderful people, despite a real and serious medical issue that’s plagued them all their lives, and I admire their courage in dealing with it. I know five people whom I’m aware have had sex-change surgery. I don’t know whether they were intersex or not, and I don’t care. That’s their business. I’m on good terms with them, and I have no problem at all associating with them. They understand my position on sex and gender, and that I don’t necessarily see things their way – but I still like them, respect them, and associate with them, because there’s no reason to discriminate against them. They’re good people, plain and simple. I’m not a bigot, and I’m not blind to reality. They had what appeared to them to be good and sufficient reasons to take the step they did; and it’s not for me to play God and denounce them for it.
Nevertheless, hard science remains hard science, and facts remain facts. If we ignore them in favor of some touchy-feely, wishy-washy, “be whatever you feel like” approach to life, we risk abandoning our foundation in and on reality. That’s why the gender-benders deliberately seek to obfuscate the difference between sex and gender. Again, that’s bull. Gender is a sociological and psychological and cultural construct. If we claim a gender identity that differs from our actual sex, we are claiming that reality is trumped by perception. No, it isn’t, and it never will be.
Biology is determinative, no matter how much one might like to pretend it isn’t or wish it wasn’t. With the vanishingly small exception of the intersex, men are male, with XY chromosomes, and women are female, with XX chromosomes, and that’s the way it is. So-called gender identity (a psychological, “soft” science perspective) cannot change one’s fundamental, biological, chromosomal sexual identity (a reality-based, “hard” science fact). Neither can medical science, at least not at present, even though surgical and hormonal intervention may change its outward appearance. That’s not the same thing at all.