This is part of an ongoing discussion about gender equality, sexual orientation and intersex. You can read Part 1 here. You can read part 2 here. Be warned before reading further the following contains content some would consider only appropriate for mature readers and content some might find offensive in a public forum.
It’s time for Sex Education 201. Not that what you learned in high school or college biology is wrong. It’s probably just incomplete. To understand and counter the LGBTQQIA community and its mostly destructive agenda – an all out assault on biological sex and gender distinctions – you must understand biological sex and gender.
“I already know this,” you say. “It’s really quite simple,” you tell me. All you need to know is males have an X and Y chromosome and females have two X chromosomes. Boys have a penis and girls have a vagina. Anything else is simply LGBT propaganda. Right?
If only it were so simple.
Biological Sex Markers
We can begin with biological sex, which is more than simply X and Y chromosomes and genitals, because these don’t always match. Let’s break it down into three markers.
Chromosomes serve as the first gender marker. The presence of a Y chromosome usually indicates a male. The absence of a Y chromosome usually indicates a female.
External genitalia serve as the second sender marker, and usually the one used at birth. A penis marks a boy and a vagina marks a girl. These external sex organs and their critical role in reproduction and human sexual interaction might arguably be more important than chromosomes.
But don’t individuals with a Y chromosome always have a penis and individuals with two X chromosomes always have a vagina? Of course not! Nature is miraculous, but far from perfect.
Internal sex organs serve as a third marker for biological sex, particularly the gonads. These are the testes for males and ovaries for females. Girls also have a uterus and fallopian tubes.
It might surprise you to learn some babies are born with a vagina and testicles. It certainly comes as a surprise to most of these girls, because – they almost universally are raised as girls and identify themselves as girls – when this truth is discovered. The diagnosis usually comes in the mid to late teens when they fail to begin menstruation.
One final marker for biological sex – and to some extent gender – is hormones and secondary sex characteristics. Hormones play a major role in sexual development of the fetus and the development of secondary sex characteristics at puberty. In fact, hormones begin their role at around six weeks after conception. The primary female hormone is estrogen, while the primary male hormone is testosterone. Testosterone is actually built-up from estrogen.
Male or Female?
Let’s say 98% of the time, a person born with an X and a Y chromosome will develop a penis and scrotum externally, testicles which produce testosterone internally. This person is a biological male.
Let’s also say 98% of the time, a person born with two X chromosomes will develop a vagina and labia externally, ovaries which produce estrogen internally, and also a uterus and associated internal reproductive organs. This person is a biological female.
The problem comes with the other two percent when one or more markers get mixed up. Sometimes the mix-up doesn’t show up until puberty. Sometimes the confusion is apparent from birth.
An estimated 1 in every 2000 births delivers a baby with ambiguous genitals. This means the doctors cannot be sure if the baby is male or female by looking only at the genitals.
Some girls – usually after exposure to large amounts of testosterone during development – are born with a clitoris the size of a penis and labia fused together looking like a scrotum. Some boys are born with hypospadias, a condition in which the urethra is not centered at the tip of the penis. In extreme hypospadias, the urethra opens at the base of the penis above the scrotum. At birth, these two conditions are almost indistinguishable.
More about what can go wrong with biological sex next time. For now, can we agree identifying biological sex is more complicated than a DNA test or external exam? Comment below.
But we’re not done yet. Sex education 201 includes a basic understanding of gender. While biological sex lies in the realm of nature and natural phenomena, most modern types want to argue gender is simply a social construct.
Not so fast.
Gender has multiple components just like biological sex. Gender certainly has a sociological aspect, but it also has a psychological aspect. And increasingly it appears to be influenced by biological factors as well – especially hormones.
Let’s try to break gender down into various components, just like we did with biological sex..
First, we have gender identity. Much talked about lately, this piece of the gender puzzle comes across as psychological, but appears to also have a biological component – at least for some people. Simply put, your gender identity is the gender you think of yourself as being. Is the voice you hear inside your head male or female? Gender identity usually matches other components of gender, as well as biological sex. But not always. Again, nature isn’t perfect.
Second, we have gender behavior. We need to make a distinction here between gender roles or expectations and gender behavior. Society forms and agrees on roles and expectations. Behaviors are the actions of individuals. In recent decades, our society has broadened gender roles and expectations, becoming very tolerant of a wide variety of gender behavior, especially in females. The tomboy is less likely to be bullied than the sissy.
Societies in all times and all places have had a different set of roles and expectations for males and females. In some societies those roles are quite clearly and narrowly defined and severely enforced. In others, like our own, they can be very ambiguous or seemingly non-existent. However, gender roles are not simply arbitrary rules. They are neccessary for a society to survive. But that’s a topic for later.
One final characteristic involved with sex and gender needs to be discussed – sexual orientation. Sexual orientation means the type – we might even say the form – of individual with which a person desires genital interaction.
When we consider the various ways biological sex and gender can become confused, simply labeling someone gay or straight might not be sufficient. For instance, male to female transgenders who are attracted to males and want males to be attracted to them as women have historically been considered homosexual, while those who are attracted to women are considered heterosexual.
It might be less confusing to refer to individuals as androphyllic and gynephyllic. Those who are androphyllic are attracted to men, males, and masculinity. Those who are gynephyllic are attracted to women, females, and femininity. These terms are more descriptive than homosexual or heterosexual which require clearly identifying the gender and biological sex of both individuals which — as we have seen — might be difficult.
Male, Female, and . . . ?
To summarize, most of the time someone with an X and a Y chromosome has a penis and testicles, produces testosterone, identifies as a male and acts masculine, and is gynephillic. Someone with two X chromosomes will have a vagina, ovaries, and a uterus, produce estrogen, identify as a female and act feminine, and be androphyllic.
Our society accommodates the norms because well over 50% fit into the norms. That’s why they’re the norms. The last few decades the exceptions have been clamoring to be included in the norms. Do they have a legitimate grievance? Comment below and stay tuned.