More TERF Wars Stuff


Over at The Atlantic, there’s a piece pooh-poohing the Trump Administration’s consideration of a rule that would require government agencies to consider an individual’s “gender” to be determined by the genitalia the person had at birth—with an allowance for the use of genetic evidence to deal with persons who might be anomalous (such as being XXY).

The agency proposes to define gender “on a biological basis that is clear, grounded in science, objective and administrable.” Which would indeed be ideal at a bureaucratic level.

<sarc>However, such a use of science is clearly impermissible when it gets in the way of the goals of the Party of Science.</sarc> Indeed, certain scientific research relating to persons’ wishes to self-identify with imaginary genders not congruent with their sex is now under political attack, as Julian Vigo notes in a post over at Quillette. The culture-war skirmish over transgenderism is usually handled as a debate about culture or sociology, but really a debate about the primacy of the scientific method—since many of the trans activists’ shibboleths are either scientifically dubious or obviously wrong. Failure to fall in line and be politically correct will get one labeled as a TERF, a trans exclusive radical feminist.

One of the dark ironies informing the trans extremists’ case against their opponents is the insistence that people like me—women—must call themselves cis women. For all their fixation on self-identification and self-selected pronouns, these same activists demand the right to apply made-up terms to others. And if you reject those terms? Well, that’s just taken as more proof that you’re a “TERF.”

Science deals with the Universe as it is, not as we wish it were.

UPDATE—Welcome, Instapundit readers! Thanks for the link, Prof. Reynolds.

Don’t Know Much Biology


Over at PowerLine, John Hinderacker has a post about a Canadian who legally changed his gender to female in order to save $91 a month on car insurance.

Some “trans” Canadians were angry, much as some actual Indians were angry at Elizabeth Warren for worming her way onto the Harvard faculty on the basis of high cheekbones and alleged family lore:

Members of the trans community in Canada have reacted with outrage to David’s cost-cutting scheme.

‘I think it cheapens the whole process. It sort of casts doubt on everybody else’s motives for making those changes,’ said Marie Little, a former chair of the Trans Alliance Society. ‘I think it gives ammunition to people who want to take rights away from trans people.’

That’s one way of looking at it. In my view, it highlights the absurdity of the concepts of gender “identification” and “assignment.” The more people who make the current regime look silly, the sooner it will collapse of its own weight.

This kind of nonsense highlights what happens when we allow the meanings of words to be hijacked.

Sex is a property of living organisms. In the case of human beings, sex is determined by the presence or lack of Y-chromonsomes. People with Y-chromonsomes are male, i.e., men and boys. People without Y-chromonsomes are female, i.e., women and girls. The science is really quite settled on this.

Gender is a property of words. Nouns and pronouns in the English language can be masculine, feminine, indefinite, or neuter. When speaking of a human being, the feminine form is used for a woman or a girl, the masculine form is used for a man or a boy, and the indefinite form (which is the same as the masculine) is used when the person’s sex is unknown. Note that the forms differ only for singular nouns. The plural forms are the same (and should not be used when speaking of a single individual).

Other languages have different rules for dealing with gender, but the biology of sex is the same worldwide.

Don’t Know Much Biology


Campus Reform reports that Eugene Lang College is offering a “Queer Ecologies” course this fall devoted to countering “heterosexist” explanations of animals and nature. According to the course description, students will be taught to “reimagine evolutionary processes, ecological interactions, and environmental politics in light of queer theory” by drawing from research in fields such as feminist science studies and environmental justice. It appears that the well-settled science concerning where babies come from will not be considered.

During an interview with Campus Reform, Davis explained that queer ecologies is an “interdisciplinary field that examines the relationship between sexuality and nature, thinking beyond the boundaries of assuming that heterosexuality is the norm or standard.”

The field “inquires into the sexual lives of animals, plants, and bacteria—lives that are often much more strange, adaptable, and queer than anything humans do,” she elaborated. “It also seeks to critique how heterosexuality is presumed as natural.”

Read the whole thing.

The tuition at Eugene Lang College (a part of the The New School in New York City) is $23,480 per semester.