I’ve written many time before about how the concept of biological sex as a separate concept from gender is artificial. And how asking it on forms as if it determines everything about me medically is inaccurate. But I want to revisit the topic because it is really important. MANY cis people, both men and women, use this as a prop for their transphobia and make arguments based on biological determinism. When really, it is just based on internalized oppositional sexism, misogyny, and homophobia.
The main argument rests on the idea that your X/Y chromosome mix determines everything about you. But that is just a prop for our pre-existing binary thinking. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that chromosomes were first identified at a time in Western history where people were already socially trying to reinforce gender roles based on a patriarchal lens. And even they acknowledged that there are 5 “sex” chromosome combinations.
When you think about it, the only genetic difference between people with XX and XY is in 1/8th of 1/23rd of your genetics which works out to 0.5% of your primary genetic code. Half of that if you consider the recently discovered epigenetic component which is shaped by your environment and experiences in life. There are far more differences on other chromosomes than there are based on the Y.
And in reality, our genetics are only a small part of what makes us who we are in life. If you are really going to claim biological determinism then you need to look at the whole biology of a person. Which includes how their body was shaped by hormones in the womb, how their brain developed, and how their body has changed over time. And there are already studies that show that in many trans people, there are key areas of the brain that are more similar to their gender than to their chromosomal peers.
There is also recent data showing that bloodwork values on trans people taking hormones closely match their hormonal peers after only 6 months, regardless of the concentration of the hormones. So it brains and blood match and hormones only play a small role, that only leaves genitals.
The existence of intersex people due to natural variation in human biology already proves that genitals aren’t binary either. And with modern medicine, we can fundamentally change the shape of your genitals to the point that the average person can’t tell the difference between a neovagina and a natal vagina if that is your desire. So really, what is our excuse anymore? You can’t claim socialization because many trans people fundamentally experience their childhoods and lives differently. It really just boils down to oppositional sexism, misogyny, and homophobia.
So cis people, next time you hear an asshole say that they would never have sex with a trans person, or a TERF say that only cis women belong in their communities, press them as to why. Help them uncover their homophobia and transphobia. The burden for undoing that shouldn’t lie on trans people. We shouldn’t let jokes about “discovering someone used to be a dude” slide. Because those are just as much a part of rape culture as jokes about how women should dress.
And remember, just because you may hear at a Trans 101 training that sex and gender are different doesn’t mean that all trans people agree. Send them this blog and remind them that their argument isn’t based in science.