Reality’s Last Stand
Reality's Last Stand
Debate Review: Is Sex Binary?

Debate Review: Is Sex Binary?

Alex Byrne and Holly Lawford-Smith face off against Alice Dreger and Aaron Kimberly at MIT to debate sex. Here are my thoughts and analysis.

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On April 17, the MIT Free Speech Alliance and MIT Sloan chapter of the Adam Smith Society hosted a campus debate at MIT on the following resolution:

Resolved, That sex is biological and binary and gender identity is no substitute for sex in social policy.

This debate was moderated by Nadine Strossen, Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression, New York Law School Professor Emerita, and Past President of the American Civil Liberties Union.

The participants for the Affirmative Team included Dr. Alex Byrne, a Professor of Philosophy at MIT and the author of Trouble with Gender: Sex Facts, Gender Fictions, along with Dr. Holly Lawford-Smith, an Associate Professor in Political Philosophy at the University of Melbourne and author of Gender-Critical Feminism. The Negative Team comprised Dr. Alice Dreger, an American historian, journalist, Guggenheim Fellow, recipient of the Heterodox Academy’s Courage Award, and author of Galileo’s Middle Finger, as well as Aaron Kimberly, a trans man, mental health nurse, Director of Public Engagement with the LGBT Courage Coalition, and co-host of the Transparency podcast.

This debate was interesting in many ways, and also quite surprising. I won’t be analyzing the entire debate, which lasted over an hour plus the Q&A. If I were to add my commentary throughout, this podcast would become unbearably long. Therefore, I’ll concentrate on the segments related to the biology of sex, which predominantly, if not entirely, occurred during the exchanges between Alex Byrne and Alice Dreger.

However, I encourage you to watch the full debate to appreciate the contributions of Aaron Kimberley and Holly Lawford-Smith, both of whom offered valuable insights and are certainly worth your attention.



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Colin Wright