The insanity of the male/female dichotomy…

NOTE: Bigotry is NOT an appropriate response, and I will not publish any response containing the words “freak” or “deviant.” I do not cater to you if you are a sexist or bigot, and I don’t want you reading my blog either.

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As I’ve commented before, there is no scientific criterion by which we can determine whether someone is male or female. The fact of the matter is that there are literally millions of people in this world who do not fit in the male/female dichotomy, and who are persecuted because of it. This article is a discussion about the insanity of banning “same-sex marriage,” which by the way it defines “male” and “female” makes same-sex marriage possible as long as one of the two has a sex change operation, but it also touches a great deal on the topic of sex itself.

The dilemma of innocent Olympic athletes (not counting Ratjen) helps highlight one sort of problem with “marriage protection” laws, with which anyone can have sympathy — citizens with genetic anomalies but who aren’t trying to game the system being shocked to have their marriages to what they thought was the opposite sex suddenly annulled (or prohibited). All available criteria suffer that fault:

* A judicial test defining sex by external genitalia will fail on citizens with ambiguous parts, of various descriptions.
* One that defines female as XX and male as XY will fail on any number of genetic anomalies.
* One that defines female as “having a womb” (or ovaries) will fail on men with Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia, people with cellular mosaicism, women with MRKH, and others.
* One that defines male as “having testes” will fail on CAIS women, 5-alpha-steroid reductase deficiency women, and others.
* One that defines male as “having the SRY gene” will fail on CAIS women, on SRY-negative XX males, and others.
* One that defines male by hormone levels will fail on CAIS women and others.
* One that defines sex by fertility will fail on (obviously) the infertile and on women past menopause. (Do we really want to define the infertile as neuter and forbid them from marrying? I hope not.)
* One that defines a person’s sex as “whichever sex the obstetrician wrote on the birth certificate” will fail on people whose botched sex-assignment surgery is corrected later in life, on people with some of the developmental anomalies cited earlier, and on transsexuals and similar. (See below.)

There really are no workable tests. This isn’t just a technical problem that hasn’t been worked out: Remember, the best minds in the International Olympic Committee, aided by the world’s top doctors and scientists, tried to solve it for 31 years, and gave up.

Stop trying to prop up failed categories. There is no scientifically valid criteron for who is male and who is female. There has never been such a criterion. Give it up.

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