Culture

The Chicken or the Egg—and the Rooster

One can debate endlessly about the role of nature or nurture in molding a person—or animal—but sex is 100 percent nature. It is not "assigned"

Children who grow up on a farm learn the “facts of life” at an early age, such as the observation in an old song: “They’re laying eggs now/ Just like they used ter/ Ever since that rooster/ Came into our yard.”

All species that propagate by sexual reproduction have two sexes, and every new organism arises from one male and one female gamete. Except in the rare hermaphroditic species, every organism has two different parents, one male and one female, permitting the wonderful variety that exists in the natural world.

One can debate endlessly about the role of nature or nurture in molding a person—or animal—but sex is 100 percent nature. It is not “assigned.” It is recognized at birth, or on a prenatal ultrasound—or hundreds of years later in a skeleton. If there is ambiguity, it is a medical emergency. The newborn needs to be seen immediately by a pediatric endocrinologist because he might die from adrenal insufficiency.

Sexual differentiation begins long before any visible differences—the Y chromosome affects every cell in the body. Skilled persons can sex chicks soon after they hatch. Gender is a subjective concept these days. If there are not two, how many are there? Three, 50, 83, hundreds? New ones keep getting named. Doctors are being told to be hyperaware so as to treat each patient appropriately, as defined by the person’s self-identity. How about, instead of trying to stuff people into artificially created gender/racial/ethnic boxes, treating everyone as an individual?

There is some yang in every yin, and some yin in every yang, but the yin and the yang exist and are not the same. There is not a womb in a trans-woman, but there is in a trans-man who has not had it removed. We do patients a terrible disservice by pretending to treat organs that aren’t there, or by ignoring organs that are.

Roosters are different, as I learned visiting a farm, where I was attacked by the Bad Rooster. I might have been pecked to death, save for the timely intervention of an 8-year-old boy who thought boys were supposed to protect girls. (I will be his friend for life.) This brings us to the reason for wanting to sex chicks. A farmer doesn’t want to waste money raising a chicken that doesn’t lay eggs. You only need a few roosters. They fight and are disruptive. Similarly, if you are raising sheep or cattle, you want to be the one who is in charge of the herd—so you castrate most of the males.

Now, if your goal is to have a compliant society of dependent serfs, you need to geld (“detoxify”) the males or make them irrelevant. A father in each family protects his own and works hard so his offspring can thrive. But strong families can thwart the designs of would-be rulers. For decades, we have tried using Big Daddy/ Big Brother government to look after the flock, and herd it in the proper direction. The results are terrible: poverty, despair, delinquency, drug abuse and crime.

The stated goals of the growing transgender movement sound noble: make a troubled minority happy, and do away with patriarchy, discrimination, and oppression. And by the way with overpopulation. This assumes we are smarter than Mother Nature. If we could turn a lot of boys into girls, or at least non-boys, and shame the rest, there would be fewer roosters. True, some girls want to become boys, but while they can grow a beard they cannot increase their muscle strength by 40 percent and their lung capacity by 25 percent, nor can they match a genetic male in bone density and body size. What prevents men from crushing women physically is civilization. Boys must be trained not to hit girls.

But if a man “identifies” as a woman, “she” can dominate women in prisons, shelters for abused women, and female sports. The rooster attitude may persist along with the strength. Would we be better off with women in charge? Women like Catherine the Great, Elizabeth I, Bloody Mary, or a modern radical feminist? Or how about a bureaucratic technocracy in which your every thought and deed is monitored—as in Orwell’s 1984.

To eliminate Thought Crime under Ingsoc, it was necessary to make people believe the absurd: that two plus two is not equal to four. It is equally absurd to say that boys can be turned into girls, or vice versa. But people are being punished professionally for asserting that there are two and only two sexes, determined and fixed by biology. Could we get rid of natural, complementary sex and strong men, without getting rid of humanity?

 

Jane M. Orient, M.D. obtained her undergraduate degrees in chemistry and mathematics from the University of Arizona in Tucson, and her M.D. from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1974. She completed an internal medicine residency at Parkland Memorial Hospital and University of Arizona Affiliated Hospitals and then became an Instructor at the University of Arizona College of Medicine and a staff physician at the Tucson Veterans Administration Hospital. She has been in solo private practice since 1981 and has served as Executive Director of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) since 1989.

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