The Instigator
medic0506
Pro (for)
Losing
2 Points
The Contender
Noumena
Con (against)
Winning
18 Points

Should Gender Identity be Predicated on Biological Sex??

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 6 votes the winner is...
Noumena
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/15/2013 Category: Society
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 5,117 times Debate No: 34800
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (4)
Votes (6)

 

medic0506

Pro

Should Gender Identity be Predicated on Biological Sex??

This debate was spawned from a forum discussion on the issue of transgender people. As Pro, I will be arguing that there is no good reason for the claims of transgendered people, that they are a different gender than what they were born as. Con will be arguing that one can be born biologically male, yet at the same time be female, or vice versa, meaning that gender and biological sex are not linked together.

It's important to note that we are not discussing people who were born with gender ambiguity. What we're talking about is those who were born clearly and unambiguously male or female, yet "identify as" a different gender.

Definition of Terms

All definitions used are the same as those used by the American Psychological Association [1].

Gender
refers to the attitudes, feelings, and behaviors that a given culture associates with a person's biological sex.

Gender Identity
refers to one's sense of oneself as male, female, or transgender. When one's gender identity and biological sex are not congruent, the individual may identify as transsexual or as another transgender category.

Gender Expression refers to the way in which a person acts to communicate gender within a given culture; for example, in terms of clothing, communication patterns and interests.

Biological Sex refers to a person's biological status and is typically categorized as male, female, or intersex (i.e., atypical combinations of features that usually distinguish male from female). There are a number of indicators of biological sex, including sex chromosomes, gonads, internal reproductive organs, and external genitalia.

Rules


Burden of proof is shared.
Videos and pictures are allowed and should include explanations.
No more than two arguments per round.
No spamming for votes, aside from a link in your signature.
Acceptance of challenge implies acceptance of all rules and definitions.
Round 1 is for acceptance only, no new arguments in the last round.

Sources

1. http://www.apa.org...
Noumena

Con

I accept.
Debate Round No. 1
medic0506

Pro

Please watch the videos when indicated, they are short but fit into, and are explained by that section.

Thanks to Noumena for daring me to debate him, so that he could "pummel" me, as he put it. I don't know about all that, but it should be an interesting discussion.

Overview

In deciding this issue, it is important that we attempt to answer some critical questions. Although other questions will undoubtedly arise, over the course of this debate I will try to discuss and focus on the issues which I believe to be the most critical.

1. Is there a natural link between gender identity, expression, and sex?
2. To what extent does choice play a role in one's gender expression?

As per the rules, we are allowed to make no more than two arguments per round, so I will focus on those two questions, in this round. Later, in addition to addressing Con's comments, I will discuss other issues such as an individual's freedoms and responsibility to society, as well as societal rights and obligations to honor personal freedoms. We will also discuss the advantages/disadvantages of societal dissociation of gender from one's biological sex. Again, I'd like to remind the reader that this debate isn't about those born with ambiguous sex organs, or those who have had sexual reassignment surgery. We are debating those who have the sex organs of one sex yet express themselves as a different sex.

1. Is there a natural link between gender identity, expression, and sex?

Claims of gender non-conformity fall into just a few categories [2]. There are male-to-female (MTF), female-to-male (FTM), "genderqueer" (GQ), those who fall somewhere on the continuum between male and female, and cross-dressers (CD), those who are comfortable with their biological sex but wish to express their feminine side through dressing as the opposite sex.

Transgendered people describe themselves in many ways, believe that gender and sex are not related, and try to disavow the "male-female binary". The inescapable fact though, is that they can't escape that binary, because it is natural. Whether they refer to biological sex or their gender identity, they do so using the male and female terms. No matter what they "identify as", it still boils down to a matter of he/she/him/her (see video #1).

Some feel that gender is purely based on societal expectations, and I won't deny that there is a societal aspect to the issue, but bottom line is that the male-female binary is critical to the survival of humankind. To be blunt, people who are trying to portray themselves as the opposite sex from which they were born, tend to not be attractive as the opposite sex, nor do they have the ability to fulfill the reproductive role, of the opposite sex. Men are attracted to women who look and act like women, women are attracted to men who look and act like men. Pheremones and chemistry play a large part in attraction [3]. Those laws of attraction are obvious, exist in every species, and are a necessary and natural part of the proliferation of all sexually reproducing organisms. That alone shows that there is a natural and necessary link between how gender is expressed, and biological sex.

For those reasons combined, it is reasonable to believe that a natural link between sex and gender is self-evident, which makes the next question even more germane to the issue.



2. To what extent does choice play a role in one's gender expression?

I believe that choice plays a big part in how one expresses his/her identity. From what I have seen, there is no solid evidence to show that there is a scientific basis for claiming that one is born one gender externally, but another internally. People who are born clearly and unambiguously morphologically male, for instance, will invariably also be genetically and molecularly male, as well. Having male DNA, and both an X and a Y chromosome, will produce a male.

That said, there are hormonal problems, such as complete/incomplete androgen insensitivity syndrome (AIS), which interferes with the body's response to hormones, thus causing partial or complete inability to grow the correct sexual organs. Those are actual medical issues that can be tested for and diagnosed, and are not the subject of this debate. While it is believed that hormones may play a role in gender identity, those who are diagnosed with gender identity issues are first checked for medical causes, and no medical or hormonal reason can be found to support a physical cause.

In the absence of a known physical cause for the disorder, it is safe to assume that the problem is due to either psychological factors, or simply one's choosing to express himself or herself as the opposite sex for social reasons. Many times gender identity disorder is accompanied by other major psychological issues, leading some professionals to the conclusion that incorrectable GID is over-diagnosed [4]. From an article at Child Healing...

"In one study of 120 Dutch children ages 4 to 11 with GID 52% of the children diagnosed had one or more diagnoses in addition to GID. Thirty seven percent had anxiety disorders and 23% had behavioral disruptive disorders. (Wallien, M.S., et al. 2007, Psychiatric co-morbidity among children with gender identity disorder. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry, 46:1307-14.) In another study 129
Dutch psychiatrists reported on 225 patients with GID. The report noted that 79% had personality disorders, 26% had mood disorders and 24% had psychotic disorders. (Campo J, et al. 2003. Psychiatric co-morbidity of Gender Identity)"

Dr. Fitzgibbons has had success with family counseling and therapy, without the need for over-prescribing hormones to begin a process of change that didn't need to happen. True gender problems leading to the need for hormones and surgery is rare, approximately 1 in every 20,000 births, but if you walk down the hall of a normal high school, such as the one my wife teaches at, you would think there was an epidemic.

See video #2. In this video you will see an obviously conflicted individual giving advice about being "trans" and how and when to make the choice. In the same video this person also says that being trans isn't a choice. I think the obvious reason for that conflicting information is that, in truth, it is a choice. For most who claim to be trans, it is simply a means to express their displeasure with gender roles, or rebel against societal expectations, etc.


[2] http://www.apa.org...;
[3] http://www.cosmosmagazine.com...;
[4] http://www.childhealing.com...;




Noumena

Con

(1) Pro's first argument makes the claim that the link between sex and identity is both natural and necessary for the survival of the species.


A)- Pro argues that even if one disavows a link between gender identity and biological sex, one can never escape the gender binary because reference words like “her”, “him”, and the like are always used. First of all, this argument has no bearing on the resolution itself. We are arguing whether sex and gender are (or should be) necessarily linked, not whether the gender binary is valid or not. Even if we can only refer to two genders, that doesn’t mean those genders are (or should be) necessitated by biological sex. And while there are arguments for actively changing the kind of gender language we use, the topic is irrelevant to this debate.


B)- Pro’s next argument is one from propagation of the species. He argues that people who identify as a different gender from their sex are usually unattractive to the opposite sex or don’t have the motivation to do so (non-heterosexuality). But, since Pro argues that, propagation of the species is the natural function of our species, gender identity could not be naturally non-necessitated by biological sex. Unfortunately for Pro, we already know that gender/sex roles are not always naturally situated so as to fulfill heterosexual propagation, as in the cases of homosexuality [http://www.nimbios.org...] [http://www.the-scientist.com...-/]. This by itself shows that Pro’s argument runs along fallacious reasoning.


(2) Pro’s second argument argues for a lack of evidence suggesting non-psychological causes of non-matching gender/sex and simultaneously that non-matching gender/sex is an over diagnosed phenomenon.


A) Pro must have not looked very far in his research into the causes of transexualism because studies abound which suggest both genetic and neurological causes for both male-to-female and female-to-male transexualism. First, studies have found genetic links to female-to-male transexualism [http://www.fertstert.org...(07)01228-9/abstract] as well as to male-to-female transexualism [http://www.biologicalpsychiatryjournal.com...(08)01087-1/abstract]. Studies have also found differentiation in brain structure for in morphologically male transsexuals. For instance, a study published in Nature found that the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (a part of the brain linked to sexual behavior) was female-sized in men who identified as transsexual [http://www.nature.com...]. The results of this study have been further verified [http://jcem.endojournals.org...]. The study also found the same general pattern in female-to-male transsexuals. Transsexuals (both MTF and FTM) has been continuously linked to factors outside of one’s control and scientific literature on the issue far from suggests and rebellious causes in transsexual identification.


B) Pro’s second sub-argument has two main issues.


(1) The over-diagnosis theory makes the mistake of equating transexualism with the desire to use hormone therapy or sex-reassignment surgery. Non-morphological identification does not in itself mean that the person will undertake hormonal therapy or sex-reassignment surgery. This non-understanding on Pro’s part lead to his identification of over-diagnosis given that cases of transsexualism outnumber incidents of sex-reassignment.


(2) Pro hasn’t elaborated sufficiently on his point arguing that over diagnosis is evinced by the presence of psychological disorders in transsexuals. Pro has not attempted to show why the presence of psychological disorders is antecedent to transexualism and not preceding it (a thesis which seeks to explain the higher prevalence of psychological disorders in LGBT peoples as a result of social stigma, family rejection, and the like). The preceding thesis has been given support from the psychological community. For instance, in a study published in the Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Nursing found a direct link between family acceptance of LGBT youth and a lower prevalence of mental illness and substance abuse [ http://www.sciencedaily.com...]. Further credence has been given to the fact that perceived discrimination/rejection leads to higher rates of stress-sensitive psychiatric disorders and general psychiatric morbidity [http://ajph.aphapublications.org...]. Pro’s antecedent presumption lacks scientific support and suggests no reason to be accepted.
Debate Round No. 2
medic0506

Pro

I'm going to go ahead and forfeit this debate. I already screwed up and submitted round one before finishing so I'll just give Con the win, and take it up again at another time.
Noumena

Con

Vote Con.
Debate Round No. 3
medic0506

Pro

Forfeit, vote con
Noumena

Con

It's only fitting.
Debate Round No. 4
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by Noumena 3 years ago
Noumena
@TrotskyistRebel, you obviously couldn't have evaluated Pro's sources since the links he set up don't take you anywhere.
Posted by Noumena 3 years ago
Noumena
Love you more ;)
Posted by chrumbelievable 3 years ago
chrumbelievable
Love this debate.
Posted by medic0506 3 years ago
medic0506
I let a brain fart in round 2 and submitted before I was finished.
6 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Vote Placed by bsh1 3 years ago
bsh1
medic0506NoumenaTied
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Total points awarded:06 
Reasons for voting decision: ff
Vote Placed by TrotskyistRebel 3 years ago
TrotskyistRebel
medic0506NoumenaTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Well, Pro had good arguments, but forfeited. Tied on sources. Good debate.
Vote Placed by 1Devilsadvocate 3 years ago
1Devilsadvocate
medic0506NoumenaTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Concession.
Vote Placed by JonMilne 3 years ago
JonMilne
medic0506NoumenaTied
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Reasons for voting decision: FF
Vote Placed by Enji 3 years ago
Enji
medic0506NoumenaTied
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Reasons for voting decision: FF
Vote Placed by Magicr 3 years ago
Magicr
medic0506NoumenaTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Concession