“If male and female are merely arbitrary groupings, it follows that everyone, regardless of genetics or anatomy should be free to choose to identify as male or female, or to reject sex entirely in favor of a new bespoke ‘gender identity,'” wrote Colin Wright and Emma Hilton. “To characterize this line of reasoning as having no basis in reality would be an egregious understatement. It is false at every conceivable scale of resolution.”
Wright is an evolutionary biologist at Penn State University and Hilton is a developmental biologist at the University of Manchester.
They outlined that in both human and animal life, biological sex corresponds with reproductive anatomy and the subsequent use of sex cells — whether egg or sperm — to reproduce.
“No third type of sex cell exists in humans, and therefore there is no sex spectrum or additional sexes beyond male and female,” Wright and Hilton wrote. “Sex is binary.”
While intersex individuals, those who were born with ambiguous reproductive organs, do exist and are very much a rarity, they are “neither a third sex nor proof that sex is a spectrum or a social construct.”
The biologists opined that rejecting biological sex for subjective “gender identity” is detrimental to society as it abrogates the work of those who have sought, for example, protections for women — if being a woman is simply up to an individual’s feelings.
“Women have fought hard for sex-based legal protections. Female-only spaces are necessary due to the pervasive threat of male violence and sexual assault. Separate sporting categories are also necessary to ensure that women and girls don’t have to face competitors who have acquired the irreversible performance-enhancing effects conferred by male puberty,” they wrote.