Riley J Dennis appears to be the absolute master troll. Within minutes of this video dropping I had people linking it me, it was all up in my feed for ages, lots of people making fun etc. The reason I think she’s a master troll is because there is literally no way someone could genuinely believe this stuff, without passing out from the G forces of the mental gymnastics required to justify it.
Lets look at her argument instead of just making fun of her. There are three main points to her argument. The first is in regards to the 5 characteristics of sex, which I’ll explain shortly. The second is intersex conditions and the final point is there is no purpose to the distinction. Finally Riley’s conclusion is that we should undergo a social paradigm shift and start to view sex the same way we view gender – whatever that means, since people don’t really view gender the same way as each other at all.
Okay so first up, the five characteristics used to describe sex, as outlined by Riley are: Chromosomes, gonads, genitals, hormones & secondary sex characteristics. This is a pretty standard scientific definition of what contributes to biological sex. However, Riley argues that because some of these can be invalidated by trans people who transition – they aren’t a perfect standard and should be done away with.
Of the five that are there, you can alter secondary sex characteristics (SSCs), genitals, and hormones to not match the chromosomes and gonads. As of yet, science has not found a way to alter the gonads or chromosomes, but its pretty reasonable to assume at some point in the future we’ll crack that one. Oh wait, I’m getting off topic, I digress.
Riley makes a decent point, but also a fatal error. See, biology and science aren’t the study of what’s actually absolutely perfectly true. Especially in biology, where its very challenging to create specific rules about the world we live in, the same way you can about the Universe in physics. Biology is, in essence, the study of what is typical.
For example, there are children born with deformities, extra limbs, I saw one of some dude with a tail the other day. Like a full on tail. Seriously. However this doesn’t update the definition of what is /typically/ human. Because typically humans have two legs, two arms, 8 fingers, two thumbs, 10 toes, two eyes, a nose and no tail. The man is still human, yes, he isn’t not-human, he’s just not a typical human, he’s an atypical human. (WORDS ARE FUN.)
He’s atypical because his development doesn’t match the development of a typical human being and this is the same reason why trans people’s existence can’t possible invalidate the sex binary. We’re not typical. Statistics for the US point to trans people being 0.3% of the population, invalidating a binary on our behalf would be rather dumb.
This argument also invalidates the intersex argument too. Again, they’re such a tiny percentage of people that they cannot invalidate the binary. They are atypical.
So why does this distinction exist? Simple, because in 99.7% of people this is what happens. Its important to know what happens typically speaking, the more data we get regarding that the better we know how to treat people for conditions etc. In fact, the literal reason we know how to use hormones to treat trans people’s dysphoria is because of the sex binary and the typical development of human beings.
Sure, this distinction has no real purpose socially, but scientifically? Heck yeah it has importance and I’m sure there are scientists all over the world laughing at your sheer idiocy to think that a sociological matter should elevate itself above the objective search for truth. So yeah, stop doing that.
For anyone else, here’s a few bonus wrongs from Riley’s video.
“you can’t tell a person’s chromosomes by looking at them”
Yes, yes you can – for the majority of people you will ever meet. 99.7% accuracy is pretty damn high.
“the amount of facial hair they have does not make them more or less male”
Well done – you’ve now understood what a binary is. 1/0.
“its not like all people with penises fit into one box and all people with vaginas into another”
Depends on how you draw the boxes. They all fit into the “people with penises” or “people with vaginas” boxes.
“genitals can be changed with surgery!”
Don’t google search the pics. It’s not very pretty. Its also a rather reductive thing to think that the female/male reproductive system is just an aesthetic. This is kinda the reason I haven’t made any plans for genital reassignment. I don’t want the aesthetic, I want to fix my wrong reproductive system – a half measure isn’t good enough.
If there’s anything I missed that you want me to go over, drop it in the comments and I’ll reply as soon as I can! Thanks for coming 😀