For social conservatives, transgender sceptics and “gender-critical feminists”, claiming that science supports anti-trans rhetoric acts as a smokescreen. Put simply, it prevents such activists from having to admit their fondness for discrimination. Such a strategy is regrettably effective: in large part as a result of the tireless prejudice of anti-trans groups, open transphobia is prevalent in both right-wing and left-wing media (looking at you, The Guardian) and can be heard from all sides of the political spectrum. Organisations such as Britain’s “Women’s Place” have mobilised thousands of people willing to completely ignore modern understandings of sex and gender, preferring the XX/XY dichotomy for sexual characteristics and backing the absolute binary of high school textbooks. The modern advances of both the biological and social sciences indicate that such an approach is far too simplistic for such an extensive and complicated topic.
And yet, contrary to the insistence of the western world’s anti-trans figures, the existence of transgender people is neither new nor scientifically controversial. Various arguments in favour of transgender social acceptance are often derided as “unscientific”, with so-called “sex-based rights activists” insisting that gender is immutable (e.g. that “men cannot have periods”) and that the wider idea of transgender people being what they feel is contrary to scientific evidence. They’re lying: such basic, often transphobic categorisations of gender rely on either an accidental or malicious misrepresentation of scientific evidence as well as an outdated and obsolete binary definition of biological sex. In right-wing and left-wing media alike, their false assertion of scientific support is largely unchallenged, fostering anti-trans resentment and ludicrous fears of a shady “trans agenda”. The reality is simply that it is far less “scientific” to oppose trans rights than to support them.Continue reading “It’s not “unscientific” to support transgender rights”