Chromosomes Don’t Determine Biological Sex, Claims University Professor
A biology professor at San Jose State University claims that chromosomes do not determine sex, and shut down those who questioned her claims by flashing her credentials.
Writing on Twitter, professor Rachael French got into an argument with a Texas Rep. Briscoe Cain, accusing him of “bigotry” after he claimed that there were only two genders. The Texas state legislator posted a picture of XX and XY chromosomes, writing: “in case you forgot how many genders there are.”
French replied, “Hey, geneticist here. You’ve disingenuous and for bigoted purposes oversimplified a complex phenomenon. A few notes: 1) Sex and gender aren’t the same thing. 2) Chromosomes don’t determine sex.”
Hey, geneticist here. You’ve disingenuously and for bigoted purposes oversimplified a complex phenomenon. A few notes: 1) Sex and gender aren’t the same thing. 2) Chromosomes don’t determine sex.
— Rachael French (@DrRachaelF) December 23, 2017
“I know middle school biology told you they do, but nope,” the professor added. “A single gene on the Y starts a cascade of events involving genes all over the genome to determine sex. If any of those things changes, surprise!”
French said that there is a difference between sex and gender. She described gender as “a complex phenomenon arising from interactions between genes and the environment.” Sex, in contrast, “describes the physical manifestations.”
“Gender,” she writes, “describes the psychological and/or emotional identity. They’re regulated somewhat, though certainly not entirely, independently.”
The professor concluded: “Finally, there are more than two sexes at the somatic level. Intersex and ambiguously sexed individuals arise at an appreciable frequency—on the order of 1%. This is because physical sex is mostly hormonal, not chromosomal.”
Echoing Bill Nye, French’s tweets garnered thousands of likes and retweets.
When users questioned French’s conflation of sex and gender, she refused to engage in the debate, stating simply that she was more qualified to discuss the subject due to her academic credentials.
One thing I’m not doing is arguing science with someone whose basic premise is incorrect and tries to tell me that they know more about my science, in which I am an expert, than I do.
— Rachael French (@DrRachaelF) December 24, 2017
“One thing I’m not doing is arguing science with someone whose basic premise is incorrect and tries to tell me that they know more about my science, in which I am an expert, than I do,” she wrote.
The biology professor previously claimed that “sex and gender are still separable, and the Y chromosome only marginally determines sex.”
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