Weekly Recap | Lia Thomas, Birth Certificates, Charlie the Nonbinary Stick Insect, and more...
February 21, 2022
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Neuroscience News Questions Sex Designations on Birth Certificates
In a recent article for Neuroscience News, professor of medicine Carl G Streed and professor of gynecology Frances Grimstad wrote a piece arguing that the sex designations “male” and “female” on birth certificates “don’t fully capture the complex biological, anatomical and chromosomal variations that occur in the human body.” They continue by stating that “the binary categories of male and female are incomplete and inaccurate” and that biological sex exists “on a spectrum.” They even repeat the false and misleading claim that “Up to 1.7% of the U.S. population” is intersex.
For regular readers of this newsletter, these claims will not appear new. I have debunked each of these claims in great detail on this Substack and elsewhere. See below:
Sex Is Not a Spectrum — Reality’s Last Stand
Intersex Is Not as Common as Red Hair — Reality’s Last Stand
Sex Chromosome Variants Are Not Their Own Unique Sexes — Reality’s Last Stand
In short, the broad claim that not everyone may fit neatly into the sex categories male and female, while potentially true in some extraordinarily rare edge cases, does not mean that sex categories are useless or arbitrary, or should be jettisoned. Sex as a categorical variable, which remains 100% accurate for well over 99.98% of individuals, is extremely relevant and important public information. Removing this information, or basing sex designations on everyone’s subjective “gender identity” (whatever that means), will cause considerably more confusion and harm than including them.
If we want to acknowledge the rare intersex individual who presents with an ambiguous sexual phenotype, this is something that can be accommodated for those specific individuals. But for the vast majority of every human born, the categories male and female are accurate and useful in a variety of social contexts.
Columbia Law Review Publishes Sex Denying Pseudoscience
Earlier this month, Vanderbilt professor Jessica A. Clarke, who specializes in anti-discrimination law and American “Equity” law, published a law review about the term “sex assigned at birth,” arguing that it is “an important concept that clarifies the stakes of disputes over transgender rights, and that it ought to be preferred over alternatives such as biological or natal sex.”
In the review, she makes the absurd claim that the term “biological sex” was created to “lend a veneer of scientific support to projects denying the validity of transgender identities.” She further claims that the term “‘biological sex’ is not simple, static, or binary,” and that not using it will put a stop to “assigning particular social roles to individuals at birth.” Later on in the review, under the subsection titled “Sex in Midcentury Medicine,” she claims that "[t]he very idea that men and women are biologically dimorphic... rose to prominence around 1800.”
The review is a real tour de farce, and for briefness I’ll refrain from continuing to list its absurdities and simply suggest you read the entire thing for yourself.
In reality, the term “biological sex” has gained traction because of its clarity in response to the concerted attempt of gender ideologues to obfuscate and conflate objective biological anatomy with subjective “identity.” Prefacing “sex” with the word “biological” distinguishes the physical act of sexual intercourse from the sex categories of male and female. Our culture often used the term “gender” as a euphemism for (biological) sex because of our prudishness, and possibly to avoid the common dad response to “sex?” with “yes please!”
The law review backs up their claim that sex is “not binary, stable, or uniform” by citing the biologist Claire Ainsworth’s infamous “Sex redefined” News Feature in Nature, despite the author herself never claiming there are more than two sexes, and explicitly stating otherwise on Twitter when asked to clarify her position.
Lastly, the claim that classifying newborns as male or female at birth assigns them “particular social roles to individuals at birth” is pure fantasy. This is a classic example of distorting reality to fit theory instead of the other way around. It is pure delusion to think that ceasing to include sex designations on birth certificates will prevent real sexists from treating individuals differently based on their sex. Sexists do not reference your papers before deciding how to treat you; they do so based on your perceived sex.
Unsurprisingly, Jessica A. Clarke, the author of this law review, is also a co-author on an article in the New England Journal of Medicine titled “Failed Assignments — Rethinking Sex Designations on Birth Certificates,” that I fully deconstructed in a 2020 article I wrote for Quillette.
Lia Thomas’ Swimming Performance Raises Suspicions of Purposeful Underperformance
There has been recent suspicion that Lia Thomas, a male swimmer who identifies as a woman, has been purposefully holding back in order to make his advantage over female swimmers appear less extreme.
CBS Sports Analyst Ross Tucker, by comparing the lap times for the medalists at the Ivy League Women's Championships' 500-yard free last Thursday, said that it appears that Thomas “produced a controlled effort below max for the race.” When swimmers leave too much energy in reserve, this normally results in a more dramatic endspurt and an overall underperformance for the race. However, Thomas managed to achieve a massive endspurt, indicative of holding too much energy in reserve, while still managing to break a 15-year pool record in the women’s category.
The data is shown below, with Thomas’ performance in yellow.
According to Tucker, “Typically, max or optimal performances are achieved with slight negative or even splits” and that world record performances result from flattening the overall curve, i.e. pacing yourself appropriately throughout the race so that your energy reserves are depleted right at the finish line.
What we see in Thomas’ performance is a very flat line, punctuated by a dramatic endspurt, indicating that there was plenty of energy left in reserve in Thomas’ record-setting performance.
Now let’s look at Lia Thomas’ times for the 500 and 1650-yard freestyle events:
Here we see two things. The first is that there is no overlap in performance between male and female times; the slowest male times are faster than the fastest female times. And secondly, Lia Thomas’ times reside comfortably within the center of male performances. This should not come as a surprise to anyone, because Lia Thomas is male. This should however be a wake-up call to sports organizations to enact policies ensuring that male athletes are never allowed to compete as females.
40% of U.S. Gen Z Identifies as LGBTQ
In a yet-to-be-released study based on scientific polling data, 30 percent of Millennials and nearly 40 percent (39%) of Gen Z identified as “LGBTQ.” While this may seem shocking, it is actually not very surprising to me given how definitions have been changing in recent years. For example, I created a Twitter thread a while back demonstrating how I (a straight man) am literally a transgender pansexual according to gender ideology.
In short, since gender ideology defines one’s “gender” according to whether someone “identifies” with the social roles or stereotypes of masculinity and femininity, and most people tend to reject these regressive stereotypes, then most people are by definition “nonbinary,” which is a subset of transgenderism.
And because sexuality is now being defined according to what gender identity or identities you’re attracted to, instead of what sex or sexes you’re attracted to, almost everyone fits the definition of being bisexual, since the vast majority of people who find themselves attracted to a certain person of the opposite sex would undoubtedly still find them attractive if it turned out that person actually identified as the opposite sex. For example, I’d still be attracted to Scarlett Johansson if I found out she actually identified as a man, which, by the logic of gender ideology, would make me bisexual. But in reality I’d be attracted to Johansson even if she identified as a toaster, so I’d technically be pansexual according to gender ideology.
Given the rules of gender ideology, the fact that only 40 percent of Gen Z identifies as LGBTQ seems quite low. If gender ideology were universally accepted as the framework for viewing gender and sexuality, I would fully expect the percent of self-identified LGBTQ people in the population to be in the high 90s. The reason the figure is not higher than 40 percent is likely due to the fact that most sane people reject gender ideology as absurd on its face.
‘Non-Binary’ Male Science Camp Counselors Allowed to Sleep in Young Girls' Cabins
This story in The Post Millennial once again demonstrates how replacing objective biological sex categories with subjective “gender identity” leads to real-world harms and potential harms. In this case, the complete inability of people to grow spines and call a male a male has resulted in allowing an adult male camp counsellor at Camp Pali Institute to sleep in a cabin with young fifth-grade girls.
As seen in the video, per state law the camp now “place staff in the cabins they identify with,” as opposed to housing them in cabins that correspond to their biological sex. This is an example of gender ideology directly putting young girls in dangerous situations, and is exactly why we cannot allow it to become normalized.
PinkNews Uses Intersex Stick Insect to Push Gender Ideology
The website PinkNews recently shared a scientific discovery about Charlie, an intersex stick insect. If you’re wondering why PinkNews appears suddenly interested in entomology, it’s because they are attempting to use a truly interesting scientific discovery as an opportunity to indoctrinate people—mainly children—into pseudoscientific gender ideology.
The title of the article—“World’s first half-male, half-female, dual-gender stick insect discovered. Their name is Charlie”—is an amazing piece of indoctrination and propaganda. First, the title draws people, likely children, in by posing as educational and scientific. It then immediately conflates biological sex with gender identity by claiming the stick insect is “half-male, half-female” and “dual gender.” But since we can’t ask insects about their gender identity, the title is attempting to equate gender with sex in our minds.
Lastly, instead of using the more appropriate pronoun “it” to describe Charlie, they choose to use a singular “their” pronoun to indirectly validate so-called “nonbinary” identities in humans, even though “nonbinary” people aren't intersex. This is no different than when activists bring up clownfish or hermaphroditic frogs when discussing trans people, even though these facts about fish and amphibians have absolutely nothing to do with humans.
Potential Impact of MTF Athletes on Girls’ High School Sports
A doctoral dissertation by Gabriel Higerd evaluating the potential impact of male-to-female transgender athletes on high school girls’ sports has recently come to my attention. This dissertation was submitted in 2020, and published last year.
This is a very important contribution to the current debate surrounding male athletes competing in female sports because unlike many sporting organizations for adults, high school sports generally do not require male athletes who self-identify as girls to suppress testosterone levels below a certain threshold for a prolonged period before being allowed to compete. Yes, you read that right—the only requirement for high school male athletes to compete as girls is to simply self-identify as girls.
Higerd’s research therefore focuses on high school sports, and its purpose was to:
Investigate the underlying basis for post-pubertal sex segregation in sport.
Assess the effect of event distance on the performance differences between the sexes.
Assess the probability of a girls’ champion being biologically male (46, XY).
Fulfilling the study’s first aim, Higerd found that high school males on average exhibited between a 14 percent and 24 percent advantage over high school female athletes, depending on the sport. Furthermore, his research revealed this shocking fact (emphasis mine):
[T]he average male performance is better than 94%-98% of female performances (top 2%-6% of the female field). The average female performance is worse than 93%-97% of male performances (bottom 3%-7% of the male field). Approximately one-third or more (32%-43%) of male performances fit within the top 1% of female performances.
Addressing the second aim, Higerd found that the male advantage did not appear dependent on the event distance. In other words, the male performance advantage remained relatively unchanged over all event distances. This is relevant because some sports organizations allow male athletes and certain DSD athletes to compete at some distances but not others. This calls those policies into question, though similar analyses need to be done in adults to be sufficiently comparable.
Lastly, addressing the third and final aim, Higerd found that, in his simulations based on real data, “there is a simulated 81%-98% probability of transgender dominance occurring in the female track and field events,” and that in the simulation trials for girls’ events where there was at least one trans identifying male athlete, there was on average two to three trans identifying male athletes. This means that “in the majority of cases, the entire podium (top performers in the state) would be [male-to-female] transgender athletes.”
The male athletic advantage is so substantial that even the relative paucity of males who self-identify as girls could produce podiums at girls’ sporting events composed entirely of male champions.
Gender Ideology’s Attempt to ‘Desex’ Language Called Out as ‘Colonialist’ and ‘Oppressive’
In the journal Frontiers in Global Women’s Health, Gribble et al. call out gender ideology’s attempt to “desex” medical language as “colonialist,” “oppressive,” and an act of “cultural imperialism.” They rightfully point out that this ideology, while it portrays itself as universally inclusive and good and ironically claims to oppose colonialism, is actually itself a perfect example of the kind of Western cultural imperialism they denounce. It’s almost too perfect to be true.
While the above snippet is great, the entire article is worth a read. View it here, or download it below.
Kathleen Stock on Andrew Sullivan’s Podcast
As always, if you want a dose of sanity on all things sex and gender, Kathleen Stock is a good person to seek out. Couple her with the always insightful and thoughtful Andrew Sullivan, and you have a wonderfully sane and interesting podcast experience.
On his Substack The Weekly Dish, FAIR Advisor Andrew Sullivan wrote about the increasingly inappropriate nature of pre-K and K-12 education surrounding the topics of sex, sexuality, and gender identity. Furthermore, the issue isn’t simply that certain inappropriate topics are being taught, but how they’re being taught.
It is perfectly possible for teachers to teach about sex and be attuned to gender-nonconforming kids, who may be gay or trans or straight — without transforming all of sex ed to comport with critical queer and gender theory, designed to dismantle the concepts of binary sex and biology altogether, and to begin this indoctrination in pre-K. But this is what the educational elite now believes in.
Sullivan is particularly concerned with education that appears intent on “blurring sex differences” and defines whether a child is a boy or a girl according to sex-related stereotypical preferences and behaviors. He points out that these ideas are hugely controversial among adults, and so it’s no wonder that basing our children’s education on them has become an area of hot debate.
If you don’t already follow Helena on Twitter, you simply must. She is a detransitioner, and has fantastic insight regarding gender ideology and the social pressures leading many to embrace the transgender label.
Fortunately for us, Helena recently wrote a detailed account of “how and why [she] came to see [her]self as transgender, the process of transitioning, and the events leading up to and following [her] detransition.” I can’t recommend this piece enough. It is a truly fascinating read.
For Quillette, author Lisa Selin Davis wrote about “desisting,” the term for no longer experiencing gender dysphoria and maintaining a cross-sex identity. This differs from “detransitioning,” which involved reversing the physical effects of medical transition.
Desistance rates are difficult to estimate, as few experts keep track and, as Davis notes, the research on this topic is “highly politicized,” and some activists even insist that desistance rates should not be measured, and doing so may even be a form of transphobia because it might discourage children from fully embracing their true transgender identities.
But Davis wants to share with you the story of one desister.
Behind these numbers lie individual stories. Here, I share one—that of a brilliant and insightful young man who struggled with gender issues for several years. His harrowing journey to self-awareness will be instructive for many of those talking and teaching about gender issues to children and young adults.
Delord 25-Year Bas Armagnac
Firstly, I apologize for my whisk(e)y review not being a whiskey at all, but an Armagnac instead. I may have to expand this section to a “Spirit Review” section, as I find nearly all barrel-aged spirits hard to resist.
For those who’ve never heard of Armagnac, it is a type of brandy (i.e. a spirit produced by distilling wine) produced in the Armagnac region in Gascony, southwest France. It is similar to Cognac, which is a brandy produced in Cognac, France. Armagnac is typically distilled via column still, as opposed to a pot still which is typical for Cognac.
I chose to review this bottle because I am in the process of packing to move to Nashville, and this bottle had a single pour left, meaning that if I poured it that would be one less thing I need to take with me across the country. Plus, I really love this Armagnac and thought it would be good to finally review it.
This stuff smells heavenly. Plums and prunes, raisins, dates. Dark cherries and figs. Cinnamon and cloves. Vanilla. The first time you stick your nose in the glad all you feel is confusion; it is so complex and layered. And once you pull our a note, every time you go back in you’ll find something different. You just pray that the nose will carry over to the palate.
Pie crust and figs, or perhaps a fig Newton. Dark cherries—glad this carried over. Dark chocolate. Less cinnamon on the palate than in the nose, but still present. This tastes remarkably the way it smells, which is actually quite rare for many spirits in my experience.
This is a truly amazing spirit. It is super complex—you could just nose it forever and be happy. But fortunately you get to drink it, and the carry over of the nose to the palate is truly a treat. The mouthfeel is thick, and I enjoyed this with a cigar. You’ll take very small sips of this stuff, because you’ll want to savor every drop.
This isn’t the best spirit I’ve ever had, but it’s close. I will be immediately searching for a replacement bottle once I arrive in Nashville.
Reality’s Last Stand is a weekly newsletter aimed to help keep you informed on the issues and news surrounding the troubling rise of sex denialism and gender ideology throughout society. The newsletter is published once per week on Monday, and there will be one free newsletter per month in addition to regular free articles.
If you enjoy the content or find it valuable, please consider becoming a subscriber. You can gain full access to every newsletter, community discussion threads, and other subscribers-only articles by upgrading to a paid subscription below. These subscriptions are greatly appreciated and allow me to continue dedicating my time and energy to these very important issues. Thank you!