It's back-to-back Paula Gaikowski and today, my good friend has something to get off her chest.
Coming from the New York area, “I’m just sayin'” is a colloquial way of telling someone that this is my personal opinion on a subject. So with that in mind I’d like to tackle a topic that has been stewing on my mind for some time.
During my lunch break, I like to Google “transgender” under the News section. I typically get a great selection of articles pertaining to transgender people around the country. Quite often in the comments section after an article about a transgender person, I’d see the argument that “God doesn’t make mistakes when it comes to sex” A person can’t change their sex, because sex is defined by their DNA.”
I’d like to discuss the idea that a person’s sex is defined by their DNA and that there is no variation found in nature.
First, DNA does not determine sex, but chromosomes do. Recently a judge in Oklahoma refused the name change of a transgender woman on the grounds that according to “his” research, you are born one sex and the DNA cannot be altered. He’s correct that DNA can’t be changed, but he failed to mention or comprehend that there are many variations of sex chromosomes, specifically inter-sex people.
The list of intersex conditions is so extensive it is too long to list here. One example would be Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome (AIS). A fetus with 46 XY chromosomes typically develops into a male, but with AIS, the receptors on the Y chromosome fail to absorb testosterone during development. Often the child is born without a cervix or ovaries, but with testes and shortened vagina. Most AIS babies live happy fulfilled lives as women. While some identify as male. There are dozens of different conditions like this involving many different types of variations. So as far as I’m concerned, this blows the whole “God made you either binary male or female" argument out of the water!
I understand that transgender and intersex are two different conditions and I do not want to offend anyone. My point is to demonstrate that in nature there are variations of physical sex other then binary male or female. With that established, I’d like to make the point that the same is true for gender identity. A transgender person will tell you they have felt that way since birth, that is they are wired deep down as the gender opposite their physical sex. Medical science is in the process of identifying possible differences in brain structure and genetics that would explain the reasons why people are transgender.
There are physical and genetic variations of sex that occur naturally. There are also variations of gender identity that occur naturally. Because we have not conclusively traced transgenderism to a gene or a certain part of the brain doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist. There is no evidence that social environment after birth has an effect on gender identity. In the past, religious leaders have incorrectly labeled people with misunderstood conditions such as, bipolar disorder, Tourette syndrome, Asperger Syndrome, and clinical depression as having flaws in character. Today we know better. Research has led us to understand why these differences occur.
I don’t want this to be turned into a religious argument, but I wanted to illustrate that sex and gender are not absolute. The statement "God made only male and female without any variations" is false. There are intersex people and transgender people and they have always been part of humanity. They are part of the human experience. Instead of condemnation, it’s time to open our minds, to begin learning, to begin understanding, then accepting and finally celebrating. “But, hey, I’m just sayin.”