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In my years of working with the LGBTQ+ community and the general public, I have come across individuals that believe several fallacies concerning transgender individuals. It is my hope to address and, hopefully, clear up some of these fallacies, especially in light of comments made by a member of our city council prior to a recent meeting.

Fallacy No. 1: “An individual’s sex and gender are the same thing.” The terms “sex” and “gender” are absolutely not the same thing, nor are they interchangeable. The term “sex” refers to one’s body and is dependent on that individual’s sexual anatomy, while the term “gender” refers to how an individual sees themself, their own personal identity, and is dependent upon societal/cultural ideology. This being so, then the popular “gender reveal” parties would be more correctly named “sexual anatomy reveal” parties.

Fallacy No. 2: There are only 2 genders, male and female.” Gender is actually a spectrum, consisting of many different identities. If this spectrum was drawn out into a line graph, it would show a line that starts out down low, goes up to a curved peak, back down again into a valley, back up to form another peak, and then continues back down. In addition to male and female, which would be the tops of the peaks, there is a myriad of other identities such as non-binary, gender-fluid, intersex, non-gendered, gender queer, and so on.

Fallacy No. 3: “It is unnatural. There has to be something wrong with this person.” This is a biggie and also one of the most hurtful and damaging fallacies out there. This is the fallacy that is majorly responsible for statistics such as 41% of transgender individuals will attempt suicide at some point in their lives (and I dare to say that 100% will have at least considered it). Transgenderism is completely natural and has its beginnings at the point of conception. We’ve all had the health or biology lesson that shows that the father’s sperm fertilizes the mother’s egg and that sperm contributes either an X chromosome or it contributes a Y chromosome to go along with the X chromosome that is contributed by the egg. Therefore, at the point of conception, you get a fetus that is either XX, which results in a female baby, or XY, which results in a male baby, right? Wrong!!!! The truth is that the father can contribute an X chromosome, a Y chromosome, an XX chromosome, an XXX chromosome, an XY chromosome, or no partnering chromosome at all. Therefore, you can get a fetus that is XX, XY, XXX, XXY, XXXX, or XO.

Six weeks into gestation, the sexual organs begin to form. On the Y chromosome is a gene, known as the SRY gene. This gene’s job is to tell the cells that form the sexual anatomy what they are to become. It does this by producing proteins that communicate with the developing cells’ nuclei. This gene can fully activate, which results in fully formed sexual organs, or it can partially activate, which results in either ambiguous sexual organs, meaning that the doctor cannot visually distinguish them, or both male and female sexual organs can form. This gene can also fail to activate at all, which results in exterior sexual organs that look female. Therefore, you can have an XY (male) individual that is handed to the loving parents by the doctor who says, “Congratulations! You have a beautiful baby girl!!” On, the flip-side of this, the SRY gene can also appear on the mother’s X chromosome. Again, this gene can fully activate, causing male sexual organs to develop in a fetus that is XX. Guess what the doctor says when that baby is born.

Along with the proteins produced by the SRY gene, there are also hormones involved in the sexual cells’ development, testosterone and estrogen. These hormones are dependent on receptors in the cells to communicate with. Again, there can be full communication, partial communication, or no communication at all.

Having said all that, you might be thinking, “Well, you just proved that something is wrong with these people.” On the contrary, nothing about these occurrences is “wrong”, just atypical. Kind of like hazel eyes or left-handedness.

I could go on and on with more fallacies, but space does not allow it. Fallacies such as, “It’s just a fad”, “They’re just mental cases and perverts”, and “They’re just attention seekers”. None of these are true. What is true is that they are simply human beings that are trying to live their lives as who they really are. They have the same right to that as anybody else does.

Mark Lenihan is the president of PFLAG Roseburg, an LGBTQ support group.

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(13) comments

melrosereader

Wikipedia does a decent job on this topic and is fairly easy to read. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sex_assignment

Momos

Why are some people so obsessed with the sex lives of other people? That's the true sickness. Mind your own business.

Scomo

More obfuscation by a person with an agenda. If the writer didn’t have an iron in the fiah, I might better consider his opinion. However, biological science has irrefutably confirmed that throughout the animal kingdom (with the possible exception of some exotic amphibians) there are but TWO genders. It’s unfortunate that some humans have hormonal or psychological malfunctions which cause them to believe they’re a member of the opposite gender, but as is well known, these poor unfortunates are few and far between. The vast majority of the human race accepts the two gender norm, there’s no reason why normal people should accept the insanity of and tyranny of a minuscule minority

CitizenJoe

Scomo, that's just silly. "[T]hroughout the animal kingdom," there are numerous examples of permanent hermaphroditism, sequential hermaphroditism, parthenogenesis, self-impregnation, and so on.

But, of course, some individuals regard fact as tyranny.

CitizenJoe

Mark, thanks.

Even that two dimensional line graph you posit, though, is a vast oversimplification, since the subjects are so multidimensional; even X,Y, and Z axes would be insufficient representations.

D Steel

Great facts! Thank you for educating the residents of Douglas County. A little fact based discussion clears the fog of ignorance and prejudice (sometimes).

Mike

Been a long time since I heard someone say that.

Avoiceintheddark

But are they facts. There are many articles that dispute what he has written here. One example https://www.realityslaststand.com/p/sex-chromosome-variants-are-not-their. There are many more if you choose to research. This person also made a false claim back in April in this newspaper over the mascot issue. He made the following claim that " I've been told by tribe members that the local tribe was threatened with having funds taken away and that they were effectively coerced into signing the agreement. That is a huge thing to be ashamed about. The fact that the local tribe was not happy but seemingly had no choice is a big thing to be ashamed about." Seriously Who threaten the tribe? What state, local or county has authority over tribes in Oregon to denied funds. Why didn't he name them. If he has information regarding that this in fact happen, he should report it to the Bureau of Indian Affairs, because it a federal crime to attempt something like that. Also the only agency that has some control in the State is the Gaming Division of Oregon State Police. Not only that the News Review had a duty to confirm a statement like that before printing the letter. Therefore this person has no creditability in my opinion.

D Steel

Well, I’m sure you lack credibility also…so there’s always that…

mworden

It doesn't matter if you like, approve or trust the person presenting facts about the issue of gender identity. It doesn't even matter if his facts are correct, scientific or proven. The guy holding the sign that says, "Say No to LGBT Discrimination!" is the voice shouting in the dark.

The real problem is that our community -- every community -- has members who struggle with gender identity and sexual orientation. As a result they may suffer bullying, self-hatred, family rejection and suicidal thoughts at a scary high rate.

I don't fully understand the wheres and hows of gender identity, what's body chemistry, brain circuitry or what's a social construct. I don't need to understand it fully or wait for years for the scientific/religious debate to be settled. If people, especially kids, are struggling with identity issues that can lead to a high rate of wanting to die, the very least I can do is offer kindness and acceptance. Because, you know, suicides aren't a good look for any community.

Suicide is the second leading cause of death among young people, ages 10-24. Young people struggling with orientation and identity attempt suicide at 5 times the rate at those without those issues. Each episode of LGBT victimization, such as physical or verbal harassment or abuse, increases the likelihood of self-harming behavior by 2.5 times on average.

24 hour hotline for young people in crisis run by the Trevor Project:

https://www.thetrevorproject.org/

Suicide facts among LGB+ youth

https://www.thetrevorproject.org/resources/preventing-suicide/facts-about-suicide/

Mike

Is Colin Write, the author of the article you provided, a transphobe as accused by many or the next Sigmund Froid?

NJ

No, he's just a misguided instigator trying to become relevant. The website - "This publication is largely, but not entirely, dedicated to raising awareness about and combating prevalent ideologies that deny the reality of the existence of males and females as natural biological categories.", wants you to buy cra, items to support his opinion and he's panned online for what he says. https://www.realityslaststand.com/about -- https://ifunny.co/picture/colin-wright-i-m-frequently-asked-why-i-focus-so-cfCphotq7

Mike

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