Mrs S loses her leg splint today. I may borrow it when my rugby injured knee starts it’s periodic grumbling. Outside it’s cold and bright, and there’s a massive cloud band over the Juan De Fuca Straits to the sparkling lights of Port Angeles in the USA and the peaks of the Olympic mountains peering over the top. Our new apartment has more much space and my office a cracking view.
Meandering through the morning news, trying manfully to sort the faction from fact, I kept on bumping into the weird idea that gender is a ‘social construct’ To which my response was “WTF!” Especially over a so-called ‘pregnant man’ getting death threats. Because she’s not a man, she’s a surgically altered female on hormone treatments. In order to carry a foetus to term she still must have her Uterus still in place. If she truly was a ‘man’ she would be having an Ectopic or ‘non uterine’ pregnancy, which are usually fatal if untreated.
Open any worthwhile reference book on human biology and read the sections on the male and female Endocrine and reproductive systems, along with certain structures in the brain like the corpus callosum, which tends to be thicker in women than men. This will inform the reader who has an above room temperature IQ, that men and women are quite distinct but complementary members of the species Homo Sapiens (Or Pan Narrans, if like me you are a Pratchett fan).
You are biologically male or female, and no amount of surgery and hormone treatment can turn a man into a woman or vice versa because the glands will always be wrong. Or until some clever dick perfects a genetic technology that can change XX chromosomes to XY and vice versa, which isn’t likely. Then there’s all the new bits that need to be added, like testes and their biological support mechanisms, or a uterus and ovaries. Which is just the obvious stuff. Never mind all those more subtle differences in the brain, circulatory and endocrine systems. The differences between male and female are more than just sex organs, the skeletons are quite distinct, the biggest giveaway being the angle of the pelvis, even if you miss the obvious brow ridge structure of the adult male skull. Or the laryngeal prominence of the male ‘Adams apple’ which is a thickening of the throat cartilage that happens around puberty. Or… well I could go on and on (and on), but you get the picture, yes?
Where the ‘gender is a social construct’ nonsense falls in the biological stakes is at the first hurdle. From even the most cursory analysis the whole concept throws its jockey and then stands looking over the fence neighing with laughter, if you’ll forgive my horse racing metaphor. Even the most casual glance shows that the whole idea is arrant nonsense. Because anatomy and physiology trumps ‘social’ every time. And while surgeons can give the appearance of gender fluidity, it will always be an echoing shell of misery to the patient. Personal anecdote here; having looked after a couple of Transexuals back in the day, both of whom I found out had committed suicide (Nothing to do with me Guv, honest), I’m convinced that these are deeply unhappy individuals for whom life has no respite. I have sympathy for that unhappiness of course, but that sympathy is tempered with a soupcon of “You made your own bed, chum.”
As for the people in liberal arts academia who push these strange ideas, they too should be objects of pity rather than scorn. They cannot fully come to terms with the realities their own sexuality and as a compensatory mechanism try to project their deeply flawed philosophy on the rest of us. It’s an academic fad, a fashion, an aberration. Yet the real harm these rather unhinged ideas do to individuals, rather like the pregnant ‘man’, will last lifetimes.
You know, the Communist Chinese and Soviet Russians used to complain that the west was “Decadent” meaning that our culture and morals were in decline. Consulting a gently grazing Thesaurus from my bookshelf, I find that one of the synonyms for decadent is ‘lost’. Poor bastards.
As usual, Python got there first.