Fandango’s Provocative Question #212

In recent years, many Americans have become increasingly confused about how to understand and discuss issues involving sex, gender, and gender identity. They are also puzzled about what behavior is genetically linked and what is conditional. Although this issue has gotten a lot more “play” politically and in media than ever before it doesn’t mean we weren’t confused before, but we didn’t carry-on about it all the time either.

Do you believe that gender has a biological basis defined exclusively by chromosomes, genitalia, and internal plumbing? Do you believe “male” and “female” are socially-conditioned behaviors and gender is a subjective experience of identity?

What are your thoughts?

I’m glad Fandango doesn’t feel this is provocative because I’m pretty sure this is about as provocative as questions get. Despite this having been taken up as a big issue by the GOP’s right wing, it has been an issue involving not merely confusion but contention among many parents in many places in this world regardless of political leanings.

So let me tackle this question by question.

Do you believe that gender has a biological basis defined exclusively by chromosomes, genitalia, and internal plumbing?

Sex is biologically determined at birth. Afterwards lots of other cultural elements come into play. You can change plumbing and even, to a degree, change biology, but biology is where it all starts. Personally, I don’t care how anyone defines or fails to define him or herself. I’m not offended by gay people, cross dressers, women who are more manly than feminine or vice versa. People are what they are and this obsession that we have to protect our children from this part of reality is not only medieval, it’s senseless and stupid.

But what exactly IS gender?

Definition: GENDER: the male sex or the female sex when considered with reference to social and cultural differences rather than biological ones, or one of a range of other identities that don’t correspond to established ideas of male/female cultural roles.

Definitions from Oxford Languages

So gender is cultural while sex is biological or at least starts out that way. I also personally think a few other things attach to persons of the female persuasion such as a more powerful urge to care for others. I agree it’s not universal, but it’s certainly prevalent. Just because something isn’t universal doesn’t mean you should ignore it. This does not include any biological predisposition to a life of cooking and cleaning. That’s entirely cultural and also very annoying.

For men? Men, for the most part, are more aggressive. I think it goes back to having to hunt the mammoth to feed the babies in the cave. It’s also not exactly universal either, but statistically men are more aggressive. See Gender Differences in Aggression-related Responses on EEG and ECG which offers some reasonable and science-based explanations.

None of these differences have any influence over stuff like occupations, mental acuity, leadership ability, or creativity. Those issues are cultural and social. My generation fought hard to make these differences disappear. We fought for the right to be whatever we chose and I really thought we won that battle. It’s horrible to find us where we are now. I remember when all “job” ads were for “Men Only” and “Woman Only.” Of course, there were no listings for “non-white” people at all.

What do I think?

I think we should let people be whoever they want to be, to perform whatever work they are good at. We should leave people alone to get on with their lives. Stop trying to shame people for not being what you think they should be.

I really thought we were moving in that direction and I’m pained we aren’t.

Categories: #FPQ, Anecdote, Provocative Questions, Q & A, questions, Voting

Tags: , , ,

14 replies

  1. I live in the SF Bay area and I don’t even know how many people I’ve worked with over the years who’ve changed their pronouns and switched their preferred bathrooms. I will admit sometimes it’s jarring – especially when the 6’4” Rick becomes Lauren and indulges in her love of stilettos! But you get used to it. After all, all the world’s a stage.


    • I always wondered how the men-now-women put their size 14EEE feet INTO a stiletto and somehow didn’t just fall over. You’d never catch ME in one of those shoes. I can feel the pain from here!

      I truly have zero interest in other people’s sex lives — unless it’s part of a movie or book and then only if it’s attractively presented — and I’m in that kind of mood. Otherwise, I’d just as soon everyone be private about their privates Not secretive. Just a “none of your business” kind of private.


  2. people are people and I so agree with you. what are people afraid of?


  3. No one has a right to shame another person. It needs to stop and it needs to stop now!


  4. I agree. Let people be who they are, whether they’re straight, gay, or bi. As far as being trans, I’m a little uncomfortable with messing with childhood development via drugs or hormone therapy. But once someone is old enough to vote or legally purchase alcohol, if they are uncomfortable with their birth sex and want to change, let them. It’s nobody’s business but their own.


  5. We were heading in that direction, but some politicians and this cohorts like to create problems where none exist and sensationalize issues. They get the public enraged and then make themselves the hero to “solve” these “issues”. I would really rather law makers and the media focus on the 1000’s of real issues that plague our society and offer viable solutions to them, but I am crazy like that. :/


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