A correspondent for the conservative website National Review recently declared that Laverne Cox, the transgender actress gracing the cover of Time magazine, “is not a woman.” Kevin D. Williamson went on to argue that transgender identities are a “delusion … that transcends the biological facts in question,” and referred to Cox throughout with male pronouns, despite her expressed preference for female ones. Williamson wrote that the “subjective impressions” of gender should not supersede the “biological fact” of sex, which, according to him, is simple science.
Now, my biological education peaked at age 3, when the boy next door and I played doctor and discovered that the differences in our hair length weren’t our only physical differences. Based on a 3-year-old’s understanding of science, Williamson’s confident claims about “biological fact” seem logical.
But some people are real doctors. So when Williamson’s article provoked outrage from the transgender community and its allies, I called some experts. When it comes to sex, is it true that biology is simple?