Gender ‘Nonconformity’ is the New Gender Conformity
It was hard to understand at first. The survey said only 58% of Americans agree that “biological sex is binary.” That’s biological sex, not gender. That’s an unbelievable number. More than four-out-of-ten disagreed, or maybe weren’t sure. Either way, it’s strange.
The survey (PDF download) comes from Bigeye, a pro-transgender advertising agency. (I don’t recommend you draw strong conclusions from the anecdotes in that report.) The question was worded clearly enough: Agree or disagree, “biological sex is binary.” Maybe they missed the word “biological” in the question. Maybe they have a different take on what the question means. I take their disagreement on it to mean that they think a person’s body need not be either male or female, that this happens pretty much normally. That’s mind-boggling, that four-out-of-ten Americans can violate common sense so badly.
Folks, this is not news: There are girls and there are boys. There is no continuum, no in-between. Has anyone ever doubted that?
Exceptions Aren’t the Rule
Yes, some cultures have long recognized a “third sex.” As I read their stories, though, these are biological men who’ve chosen not to live as men. They fit in roughly the same category as Westerners with gender dysphoria, which makes their status psychological, not biological. You won’t find anyone claiming they represent some new, third, physical sex.
Also, yes, some children are born with atypical chromosomes, and some have been adversely affected by hormones in the womb. These conditions are rare, though, and up until an eye-blink ago they were considered unfortunate birth defects. Have they suddenly become a new normal? Or is something else going on?
Gender Nonconformity is Conformity
It has to be something else. I think I know what it is, and it’s bad news for sensible folks who know how to count all the way up to two and reach the right number of biological sexes. It could be worse news yet, though, for LGBT people whose mission is to be “transgressive,” and nonconformist.
I think the reason so many people say there are more than two biological sexes is because they’re conforming. They’re following the crowd. Gender nonconformism is the new gender conformism. People say biological sex is nonbinary because they’ve been conditioned to say it, not because they’ve seen evidence for it, and not because they’ve thought it through.
How Does That Thinking Go?
I have trouble even how the thinking would go:
Q: What does it mean that biological sex is nonbinary?
A: It means that people aren’t just boys or girls, physically.
Q: So there’s some in-between sex? And this in-between sex is normal?
A. Yes, there are intersexed people, too.
Q. Are there intersexed birds? Bees? Dogs? Cattle? Or is it just humans?
A. Oh, I don’t know. I’ve never heard of any. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be true for humans!
Q. Then we’ve taken quite an evolutionary leap! (I assume you believe in evolution, even if I don’t.) Biologists have trouble deciding how organisms first split into two sexes, and now you’re telling me there are even more! So tell me, how do these in-between sexes fit in the primary purpose for biological sex, reproduction?
A. I don’t know! I just know they’re real.
Q. How did you decide that intersexed conditions counted as a new normal, in fact, a new way of defining what’s normal?
A. I don’t know. Why do you keep asking me all these questions?
Q. I’m just wondering whether you have any idea what it is that you think you believe. So far I’m hearing a lot of “I don’t know.”
Do you know anyone who could answer any better than that? Do you see any sign that people have even tried thinking this through? They don’t need to: Society tells them what to think.
It’s groupthink, but more than that. With standard groupthink the pressure to comply is subtle. It rarely rises to awareness. Not so with sex and gender in today’s culture. Bucking the trend will put you in trouble, and everyone knows it. Jobs, diplomas, and reputations may be on the line. In New York you can get fined up to a quarter million dollars for failing to conform.
One More Piece of Evidence
And if you need one more sign of this, the survey has a surprise for you: Gen Z, ages 18-24 (for this survey) has much more conservative beliefs than the cohorts ahead of them, up to age 55. Not in every dimension, but overall, they’re a lot more like Boomers and the 75+ generations than they are like Gen X or Gen Y.
Now, remember how younger people are usually the most nonconforming age group? Maybe they’re exercising their youthful freedom to buck the reigning insanity. This time, for a change, I suggest we all follow their good example.
Tom Gilson (@TomGilsonAuthor) is a senior editor with The Stream and the author or editor of six books, including the recently released Too Good To Be False: How Jesus’ Incomparable Character Reveals His Reality.