Is the notion of sex just socially constructed?
In a case reported in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2019, a transgender man (a natal female) reported to the emergency department of an American hospital with abdominal pains. He told the triage nurse that he was transgender, but the nurse did not absorb what that meant. She classified the case as non-urgent. As a result the transgender man’s baby was still-born.
One lesson from this dramatic case is that failing to acknowledge differences between men and woman can be medically dangerous.
According to an article in Bari Weiss’s Substack by Katie Herzog, this is happening because medical schools are being captured by transgender activists. As an example of this, she cites an incident at “a top medical school in the University of California system”. The professor paused during a lecture to give a fulsome apology: “I said ‘when a woman is pregnant,’ which implies that only women can get pregnant and I most sincerely apologize to all of you.”
“I don’t want you to think that I am in any way trying to imply anything, and if you can summon some generosity to forgive me, I would really appreciate it,” the physician says in a recording. “Again, I’m very sorry for that. It was certainly not my intention to offend anyone. The worst thing that I can do as a human being is to be offensive.”
In other words, some of the country’s top medical students are being taught that humans are not, like other mammals, a species comprising two sexes. The notion of sex, they are learning, is just a man-made creation.
The idea that sex is a social construct may be interesting debate fodder in an anthropology class. But in medicine, the material reality of sex really matters, in part because the refusal to acknowledge sex can have devastating effects on patient outcomes.
Michael Cook is editor of BioEdge
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