On sex and gender

You must know that scientists and biologists disagree on the trans women debate too. For some issues we must also use common sense. Pretending that there is no difference between women and trans women is painfully ignorant, Coquette.

I’m not pretending that there is no difference between cisgendered and transgendered people. Those two prefixes (cis and trans) quite conveniently spell out the very obvious difference.

You’re the one pretending that there is no difference between the social construct of gender and biological sex, and it’s why you’re so maddeningly wrong. Your invocation of “scientists and biologists” makes you seem even more ridiculous, because this stuff has been settled science for decades. There is no serious scientist in any field who disagrees on the distinction between gender and biological sex. I can’t stress this enough, your resistance here isn’t scientific. It’s purely philosophical. You have a fundamental belief that is wrong, as is typical for anyone who invokes the painfully stupid concept of “common sense.” That’s okay. You are fully capable of changing your mind. 

Before we dive into the philosophy, we have to agree on the meaning of certain words. If I say man or woman, I am referring to gender. If I say masculine or feminine, I am also referring to gender. If I say male of female, I am referring to biological sex. A male is not equal to a man, and a female is not equal to a woman. Masculine traits are not equal to male traits, and feminine traits are not equal to female traits. For example, if you insist that an XX chromosome determines a woman, you are wrong. An XX chromosome determines a female. If you insist that having a penis is a masculine trait, you are yet again wrong. Having a penis is a male trait. If you refuse to accept these fundamental distinctions between biological sex and gender — which are settled fucking science, by the way — then there is no point in continuing this discussion. Hopefully, you aren’t a complete fucking idiot, and we can have a healthy philosophical disagreement. 

Come with me now as I shift our discussion from the settled science to the unsettled philosophy. I can’t know what’s in your head, but I’m speculating that your resistance is grounded in the theory of gender essentialism. That is to say, at some level you believe there are certain fixed, universal, and innate qualities that distinguish men from women. You believe there is an underlying feminine essence to a woman, and you believe that there is a separate underlying masculine essence to a man. Honestly, I can almost get behind that idea. It’s a bit limited and binary, but there are some pretty obvious differences between men and women, and I bet we can agree on most of them. The problem arises when you insist that these qualities are fixed and universal, and the problem becomes intractable when the only fixed and universal quality you consider is what’s in someone’s pants. 

It’s childish, really. That’s why I treat people who can’t make the distinction between sex and gender like children, which is a bit unfair to the average child, because most kindergartners are capable of grasping this concept. Besides, I probably lost you the moment I suggested that having a penis is a male trait rather than a masculine one. (I would absolutely love to watch your head explode during a conversation about the differences between the masculine and feminine penis.) I bet that’s most of the issue here, that you insist a penis is inherently masculine and a vagina is inherently feminine. They’re not. Scratching your balls may be inherently masculine, but simply having them is neither masculine nor feminine. It’s just male. Same with menstruation. It is a female biological function, but how we choose to feminize it is entirely a construct of gender. 

I could keep explaining this stuff all day, but if you refuse to acknowledge the distinction between biological sex and the social construct of gender, then there’s really no point. You’re just fucking ignorant, and your shitty beliefs have the potential to cause harm to a lot of people. 

I hope you’ll come around one day. I really do, but until then, from the bottom of my heart, please go fuck yourself.


46 thoughts on “On sex and gender

  1. Bullshit says:

    There is no serious scientist with any credibility in any field worth studying that believes that gender is separate from sex.

    The gender/sex dichotomy is a social construct created by apple polishers that needed a politicized identity to validate their existence. It’s pretentious hogwash. You should be ashamed of believing in such superstitious bullshit.

      • V says:

        It depends on what you’re talking about. If I admit that gender is a construct I’d have to admit that making the whole table shake when I scratch my balls under it is optional. Next thing you know, society now expects me to smile, take care of my body and write thank you notes. It’s a slippery slope to a world where I’ll have to make her cum as often as I do, and where prestigious jobs are not male dominated. I resist this dystopia!

    • Mati says:

      Indeed. On what basis does a trans woman believe herself to be a woman? If you demand laws and policies based on that belief that can be forced on others, then it’s important to know. As it stands, a man can say “I am a woman” and then legally identify as one. Surely any reasonable person can see the problem there.

      An interesting question I’ve seen asked – how is a man choosing to identify as a woman not as offensive as white people “identifying” as black? Being black is not a feeling, and neither is being a woman. Or do Coke and friends believe that people SHOULD be able to identify as other races?

      • Vera says:


        > Being male (XY chromosome etc.)
        > Being “black”, i.e. of more recent* African origin, i.e. phenotype with high melanin production skin, etc.

        = biological.

        > Being masculine (Chris Hemsworth, Buck Angel)
        > Being “black”, i.e. identifying with / feeling like belonging to a certain culture (in this case, of people of more recent* African origin who have been brought to what is now the country USA) and its various traditions, rites, history, etc. (Obama, Beyonce)

        = social construct.

        Sometimes, biology and social constructs overlap a lot, like in Chris Hemsworth (male and masculine, or cis) or Nina Simone (“black” and “black”). Sometimes they overlap partially, like in Obama (whose mom is very pale). Sometimes they don’t overlap that much, like in Laverne Cox or Eminem.

        At the moment we just don’t have distinct words for “black” as phenotype vs. “black” as social construct/culture (like we do with cisgender and transgender).

        The fact that someone like Rachel Dolezal, who is not biologically “black”, but who sure as hell made herself culturally “black” (and obviously had some deep seated emotional trauma that prohibited her from making/admitting the distinction herself) was confronted with so much vitriol, is absolutely horrific.

        And this is my own personal theory, but I blame the fact that most Americans only speak one language, the grammatically too simplistic English, for a lot of yall’s inability to grasp these simple concepts.

        • Mati says:

          So is the reason it’s not acceptable for white people to identify as black because, as you put it, “we just don’t have distinct words for “black” as phenotype vs. “black” as social construct/culture (like we do with cisgender and transgender).”

          Would you be open to the idea if we did find those distinct words, as we did for men identifying as women?

          • Vera says:

            Yes. You should google the term “gatekeeping”. The very definition of racism is that your phenotype (nature) determines your mind, regardless of upbringing (nurture).

            However, it is also understandably a sore point for phenotypically “black” people, because historically in the US, they have been ostracized solely for this. It’s like if your schoolmates bully, beat and insult you for years, until one day they find out you have a pool and your mom is a great cook. Now they bully you less frequently, but they (and their cousins) want to hang out at your house and have your mom cook for them. I bet a part of you would be annoyed.

          • Mati says:

            @Vera you have actually just said you would be OK with white people legally identifying as black. You are ridiculous. I honestly don’t know what else to say.

          • Vera says:

            @ Mati

            I’ve never said “legally identify as black”. That’s absurd. Stop being an asshole.

          • Mati says:

            You said you would be happy for white people to identify as black in the same way women can identify as men i.e. legally. That’s… insane.

          • Vera says:


            No I didn’t. WTF does “legally identify as black” even mean? I said that if being “culturally black” was perceived as an identity, like say, being French, then, in an ideal world, skin colour wouldn’t be a necessary prerequisite for it.

    • loveyoucq says:

      Hey Bullshit, you’re just straight up wrong about this. The scientific community is in consensus about the existence of a difference between sex and gender, and anyone who argues otherwise is a bullshitter, which I guess makes your name apt. It really shouldn’t take too long of a scroll through headlines on Google for you to figure out why. You’re basically the gender equivalent of a flat earther. Go ahead and look up androgen insensitivity syndrome. It should really clear things up for you if you’re as smart as you try to sound.

        • Actual_scientist says:

          I am a clinical microbiologist who has worked in medical journal publishing for more than a decade. I have worked for the most prominent medical journal in the US, which also publishes the only major medical style guide. Basically it defines how the medical community understands concepts related to medicine in medical publications.

          The style guide specifically discusses that SCIENTIFICALLY gender is not the same as sex. That ‘sex refers to the biological characteristics of males and females. Gender…serves as a cultural indicator of a person’s personal and social identity.’

          This concept is basic knowledge among the medical community, which I have worked with for 20 years. So when you, BULLSHIT, say that no credible scientist would believe this, you are completely talking out your ass.

          • Bullshit says:

            But that distinction in itself is an ideological framework and not a scientific one. And there are people that disagree with it.

          • whoami says:

            you cannot escape ideology bullshit, and certainly not by hiding in the natural sciences (a very non-ideological field, it is known)

  2. Me says:

    EVERY identity taken on is an attempt to validate one’s existence. That’s what we do, and that’s okay. You’re a monogamist? You’re heterosexual? You’re noticing what’s natural for you and you’re identifying with it, and the identity makes you feel like You. But you don’t like the gender thing because…why? Frightened of change, perhaps? Trickle of pee running down your leg at the thought of losing power? There’s no scientist in any field who knows what the fucking MIND is, so take your foaming test tube out back and sip it while you watch your hogs bathe. And bring your jumper, there’s a chill in the air! And say hi to Britain for me, unless you’re not British, in which case bro you pretentious as BUTT.

    • Bullshit says:

      The belief that identity is something “taken on” and not something that arises organically from a person based on their temperament and experiences is nonsense. It’s artificial bullshit. We’re actually encouraging people to stray from personal authenticity through this belief system, not to embrace it.

      • k. says:

        Gender presentation is taken on. This is a collection of choices.
        Gender identity arises from oneself (experiences, temperament, brain chemistry, etc). This is inherent but can be fluid. We all change and grow.

        Gender identity is distinct from biological sex, and the only person who firsthand knowledge of identity is that person. The only person who can determine what is authentic for themselves is that person.

        Who are you to determine what is authentic for someone else? What access do you have to another person’s intimate knowledge of themselves?

        • Bullshit says:

          Please understand that your belief system sounds like frilly nonsense to anyone capable of critical thinking.

          Also, you’re confusing aesthetic choices with personal substance. This is narcissism.

          • k. says:

            To be clear, you’re arguing that:
            • making decisions on how to presents oneself is narcissistic, and
            • belief systems that differ from yours are “frilly nonsense”


          • Bullshit says:

            To k.

            No, this specific belief system is frilly nonsense.

            Further, my point was that obsession with aesthetic choices as if those choices provide you with a substantive identity is narcissism.

      • V says:

        You said it there. Wanting to act and look like a lady or a gentleman arises organically from your own temperament and experiences. Not your chromosomes. Chromosomes don’t pre-program anyone’s temperament to the point of making unable to like lipstick or soccer.

  3. Mati says:

    If a straight man refuses to sleep with a trans woman upon discovering she has a penis, does that make him transphobic?

    • k. says:

      I’d argue no. We can’t control what traits we’re attracted to.

      The man in question does have an obligation not to be an asshole about it, though, and perhaps to examine the foundations of their attraction to others.

    • V says:

      No. Not wanting to fuck a dickfree person (or one without big muscles or a hairy chest) doesn’t mean I hate him. Treating him disrespectfully and refusing to call him how he wants to be called, just because he has a vagina (or smooth man-boobs) is.

  4. T C says:

    “Scratching your balls may be inherently masculine, but simply having them is neither masculine nor feminine.”

    chef’s kiss

  5. Sarah says:

    Even from what we’d call a “biological” point of view, I want these idiots to look at a woman with androgen insensitivity syndrome like Hanne Gaby Odiele or Eden Atwood and say, with all honesty, that these are men because they have XY chromosomes.

      • Sarah says:

        And yet you wouldn’t look at someone with 11 fingers and say they have 10, because in that case, you’re somehow able to grasp that what’s the case for the majority doesn’t change what’s true for an individual.

        You’re almost there, buddy.

        • Mati says:

          That would be a fair equivalence if I’d looked at a person with XY and insisted they had XX. The point is that shit happens. In extremely rare cases, people are born with 2 heads or no limbs or as intersex. That doesn’t disprove the reality of biological sex.

          • Vera says:

            No one is disproving biological sex.

            “has xx chromosomes / ovaries etc.” – biologically female human

            “looks / acts / identifies as a lady person” – woman

            Why is it so hard?

    • kenzeaye says:

      Do you really think this is a TERF?

      9 times out of 10 it’s cis men who are arguing against that trans women are not women which makes me want to scream in ways I never thought possible because THEY CAN’T EVEN LET WOMEN DEFINE WOMANHOOD

      gkjewrlgnjrklljergjklew2@!!#!#@ — (angry keyboard mashing)

  6. Veryon says:

    So much has been so well said that I am hesitant to add anything.

    Suffice it to say that none of us are entirely male or entirely female.
    The idea of “commone sense” being the delineation is incredibly laughable and pathetic. Ironically it’s likely to have come from a “super male.”

    “XYY Syndrome is also a syndrome resulting from a male sex chromosome abnormality. Males inherit an extra Y chromosome (genotype is XYY). These “super-males” appear normal but are usually taller and produce higher levels of testosterone. In childhood they are more slender, have severe acne, are very uncoordinated, and have below average intelligence. Males with XYY syndrome are fertile and are not often aware that they have an abnormality.”

    And here’s a great article…

  7. CV says:

    No clue why any of you are trying to engage with BULLSHIT at all. This dumbass is holding on his ignorance with every fiber of his toxic being, and it’s not worth the effort or the keystrokes.

  8. evodevoDina says:

    Scientist here, and someone with a PhD in dev and evo bio specifically. Addressing the OP:

    You can find 3 idiots in any field who disagree with what the vast majority have agreed on. Just because you can find them doesn’t make them (or you) right. I’ve gone head-to-head with a dev biologist on Twitter who is a TERF, and while I’m not able to change her mind (despite having a better grounding in stats than she does), I hope to all the gods that our discussion can help others who are struggling find a bit of clarity.

    By the way, biological sex isn’t binary, it’s bimodal, and even XX and XY chromosomes aren’t enough to determine whether someone is born male or female. You think something as incredibly complicated, sophisticated, and (most importantly) developmentally homologous as reproductive morphology can be divided neatly into two categories? Reductionist viewpoints are useful to frame models, but only if we keep in mind that they are, at the end of the day, MODELS, and must incoporate new information as it arises.

    Trans people exist. Intersex people exist. Scientists have only begun to scratch the surface of variation in human sex determination, and you think your high school understanding of it constitutes biological reality. You’re wrong.

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