The Science Of Genetic Sex

Jan 21, 2022 | Transgender, Body Acceptance, Secular Sexuality

So, genetics are, like… legit complicated. I get that. You get that. And yet I can’t help but feel like 50% of all transphobic arguments start with “yer either XX or XY” which would be fair enough if we were all still studying Punnett squares in 7th grade and not, you know, legislating where people can pee. Turns out a middle school understanding of ‘biological sex’ is a fair bit rudimentary so we brought in a (student) expert to (student) teach us what the hell is going on between our chromosomes and legs, to take your calls and questions and to finally answer the question “Who should be allowed to pee in here?” Student Doctor Ben joins Nate and I on SecX this week, catch the episode live 1/27 7p CT and be sure to check back here afterwards for some footNOTES!

For a more detailed scientific examination you can read up here-

Trans Girls Belong on Girls’ Sports Teams: There is no scientific case for excluding them by Jack Turban for Scientific American

Data will level the playing field for trans athletes by Bri Newland for Sports Business Journal

Sex Redefined: The Idea of 2 Sexes Is Overly Simplistic by Claire Ainsworth for Scientific American

It’s Time To Stop Gender-Testing Athletes by Jaime Schultz for The New Republic

Irresponsible scientific research and media portrayals are hurting trans people. Do better by Elysa Carr for Massive Science

Cornell Fact List & Extensive Literature Review

Transgender, intersex, and gender non-conforming people #WontBeErased by pseudoscience

Transgender People and “Biological Sex” Myths by Julia Serano for Medium

Stop Using Phony Science to Justify Transphobia by Simón(e) D Sun for Scientific American

Are the Brains of Transgender People Different from Those of Cisgender People? by Shawna Williams for The Scientist



The World Health Organization- Genomic Resource Center; Gender and Genetics

TransAthelete- International Olympic Committee Policy

Sex redefined: The idea of two sexes is simplistic. Biologists now think there is a wider spectrum than that.

NATURE Volume 518, February 2015, Pages 288–291

The transsexual brain – A review of findings on the neural basis of transsexualism

Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews Volume 59, December 2015, Pages 251-266

Clinical dimensions of a ‘biological concept’: transsexualism and the interplay between etiological theory and clinical therapy

Endeavour Volume 40, Issue 3, September 2016, Pages 152-162

Sex chromosome abnormalities found among 34,910 newborn children: results from a 13-year incidence study in Arhus, Denmark

Birth Defects Orig Artic Ser. 1990;26(4):209-23.


A sex difference in the human brain and its relation to transsexuality

NATURE Volume 378, November 1995, Pages 68-71

Sexual differentiation of the human brain: Relation to gender identity, sexual orientation and neuropsychiatric disorders

Frontiers in Neuroendocrinology Volume 32, Issue 2, April 2011, Pages 214-226

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