Justice

A Biology Teacher Shuts Down This Common Transphobic Argument

A biology teacher in New York responded to a transphobic Facebook comment last week with a scientific takedown that debunks misconceptions about gender and sexuality. Her post has been shared more than 28,000 times since March 2.

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The post Grace Ann took issue with stated: "In a sexual species, females have two X chromosomes and males have an X and a Y, I'm not a bigot it's just science."

But that reductive thinking neglects to account for the genetic diversity that affects organisms throughout the animal kingdom, Ann said. She cited numerous examples showing how environmental, behavioral, and genetic factors can influence gender and sexuality among insects, birds, reptiles, fish, worms, fungi, and humans. She explained this in great detail by writing:

"You can be male because you were born female, but you have 5-alphareductase deficiency and so you grew a penis at age 12. You can be female because you have an X and a Y chromosome but you are insensitive to androgens, and so you have a female body. You can be female because you have an X and a Y chromosome but your Y is missing the SRY gene, and so you have a female body. You can be male because you have two X chromosomes, but one of your X's HAS an SRY gene, and so you have a male body. You can be male because you have two X chromosomes- but also a Y. You can be female because you have only one X chromosome at all. And you can be male because you have two X chromosomes, but your heart and brain are male. And vice - effing - versa."

In human biology, it's typically the case that females have two X chromosomes, whereas males have one X and one Y chromosome. But that isn't always the case. Some individuals who have an XY chromosome makeup have female bodies due to an insensitivity to the hormone androgen, for example.

The post comes amid renewed national debate over transgender rights.

Following President Donald Trump's decision to lift protections for transgender students at public schools — which allowed students to use the bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity — the U.S. Supreme Court declined to take a case Monday that would've looked at a Virginia high school's bathroom policy. The school refused to allow a transgender male, Gavin Grimm, to use the boy's bathroom in defiance of former President Barack Obama's transgender protection guideline.

Opponents have argued that allowing transgender people to use the bathroom that best aligns with the gender they identify with would put women at risk of sexual predators. But, again, the argument is based on a misconception about the community and conflates "transgender" with "predator," NPR reported.

"Don't use science to justify your bigotry," Ann concluded in her post. "The world is way too weird for that shit."

Read the full post here.