Thursday, August 28, 2008


So, I'm just gonna start off by asking... how many sexes are there? How many genders are there?
Is it just male/female and man/womyn? Then, what makes a male a male, a female a female, and a man a man, and a womyn a womyn?
First of all, when I say male/female I am talking about the sexes which are biological. When I say man/womyn I am talking about genders which are mostly socio-political.
I understand I could write an entire fucking encyclopedia on sex/gender issues. But I mean let's keep it basic. First just think about the sexes. Biologically, the three main things on the checklist of sex is 1) physical (i.e. vagina/penis), 2) chromosomal (XX/XY), and 3) hormonal (estrogen/testosterone). Now here we have the dichotomies of mankind, night versus day, black versus white, sitting in front of the television with a brewsky versus slaving over the oven. Yeah.
Okay quick side tangent. Last year I took WS 400, a seminar about women's rights and activist movements. One of my fellow students, Sally (not her real name) was a dedicated member of the Southern Baptist Church and reminded the class on several occasions that the "reason [she] takes [these kinds of classes] is to stay open-minded." I respected her for this, I suppose, but later on in the semester she passed a comment during discussion that will always stay with me: "If you are born a male, you are a man. If you are born a female, you are a woman. The human race is heterosexual. That is just the way it is. Anything else is unnatural and not right. You are not supposed to be attracted to the same sex. And for transgendered and the transexual, that is completely wrong." Sally sat to my left during discussion that day and I can still feel the vibrations of her voice trembling against the skin on my forearms. Hairs raised.
So, when I talk about this stuff these days it is usually in spite of her as though she is standing in the room somewhere glaring at me, throwing holy water at me or something.
Sally please. The majority of humans are not born into your two nasueating little categories. It is way more complicated than that girlfriend. And this is important to realize, to talk about, and to be comfortable with. Cuz it is natural.
Don't some males grow breasts? Yeah, it is an actual medical condition known as gynecomastia. Supposedly, at least 50% of males experience gynecomastia at some time in their lives and it is more often than not linked to heriditary causes. Okay, so, manboobs, not such a big deal, but still. There's ovotestes, a condition found in some humans who have gonads with both testicular and ovarian aspects. And what about a man with an extra X chromosome?
According to, in sex chromosomes, nondisjunction results in a number of abnormalities. Klinefelter syndrome is a disorder in which males have an extra X chromosome. The genotype for males with this disorder is XXY. People with Klinefelter syndrome may also have more than one extra chromosome resulting in genotypes which include XXYY, XXXY, and XXXXY. Other mutations result in males that have an extra Y chromosome and a genotype of XYY. These males were once thought to be taller than average males and overly aggressive based on prison studies. Additional studies however have found XYY males to be normal. Tuner syndrome is a condition that affects females. Individuals with this syndrome, also called monosomy X, have a genotype of only one X chromosome (XO). Trisomy X females have an additional X chromosome and are also referred to as metafemales (XXX).

...continue later... sorry.

1 comment:

emmapeelDallas said...

This is such a good post. There's also androgen insensitivity syndrome, which some people think Elizabeth the First may have had...