Back in high school, you were likely taught that there are two sexes and genders. Today, a hotly debated topic among the general public and academic community is whether there are numerous biological identifications.
A Texas representative and college professor recently faced off to find the answer. In this edition of Campus Follies, it was not the instructor but rather the politician that committed the error.
Republican Texas Representative Briscoe Cain published a controversial Tweet attempting to negate the growing belief that there are more than two genders, male and female:
In case you forgot how many genders there are. pic.twitter.com/1O70J5KsRS
— Rep. Briscoe Cain (@BriscoeCain) December 22, 2017
In response, the politician has received intense backlash as well as support. One outlook comes from a biology professor at San Jose State University, who argues that Cain’s proclamations are scientifically illiterate and “bigoted.” Furthermore, she states his two classifications are a myth, as captured by Campus Reform.
Dr. Rachael French’s first disagreement was that Cain mistook sex for gender. Indeed, chromosomal variations are determined by genetics rather than social and cultural elements, in contrast to the representative’s tweet.
The instructor goes on to explain that a single gene on the Y chromosome determines the outcome of masculinity or femininity. The gene in which she presumably refers is SRY, which is responsible for spurring the growth of male gonads and preventing the development of female reproductive organs, as explained by the National Institutes of Health.
Cain’s post is nullified further by the World Health Organization:
“Clearly, there are not only females who are XX and males who are XY, but rather, there is a range of chromosome complements, hormone balances, and phenotypic variations that determine sex.”
If a mutation occurs, various pathologies may result, such as hermaphroditism. French refers to the maladies as alternative biological identifications beyond the typical male and female.
While I disagree with French that disorders count as other classifications of sex, proper science education is necessary before the passage of judgment. Especially as someone influential to the development of our nation’s laws, Cain must account for such measures.
Speculatively, however, his tweet was meant as an argument against transgenderism, which is a condition that causes individuals to feel as though they were born with the wrong body, as previously defined in an article by Liberty Nation. The disorder is not the product of chromosomal mutation, displaying further misinformation by Cain with his post.
Mind Over Matter
The LN article explains that the transgender mind differs from the norm. Studies show patients have increased sizes of particular brain structures and abnormalities to the hypothalamus, which is responsible for regulating specific hormones. The deviations contribute to the prevalence of the mental condition, supporting recommendations by researchers that therapy is necessary for adequate treatment.
As a libertarian college student studying neuroscience, I disagree with the representative’s attempts to nullifying the above maladies. That is not to say that I support hormone therapy or reassignment surgery, especially for minors and preceding counseling. We must acknowledge, however, that transgenderism is a legitimate illness, as undergoing painful procedures would be avoided by patients if not for the extreme discomfort experienced.
Although political parties are often deeply divided on the topic of biological identification, science bridges the barriers. Adequate knowledge is vital for our country’s policymakers, like Cain, who influence the outcome of our daily lives.
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