A group of medical and biological professionals has strongly criticised the growing trend to deny the reality of biological sex, saying that the claim that sex is neither fixed nor binary is “entirely without scientific merit”.
In recent times, asserting that there are two sexes – male and female – and that gender is fixed and not fluid has become a controversial statement, likely to incur the wrath of trans activists, while online mobs shout for offenders to be canceled.
In a letter to the Irish Journal of Medical Science, the group, which includes experts in biology and genetics, discuss “the reality of sex” and say they are “increasingly concerned with how commercial and corporate interests of publishers are being allowed to unduly influence intellectual discourse, especially in relation to biological sex”.
They point out that a “highly sympathetic media” was shaping public discourse which “increasingly seeks to deny basic facts of human biology”. And they revealed that a leading publication, Nature, had told them it was now policy to add a disclaimer to articles which rely on the basic scientific fact that there are two genders. The purpose of the disclaimer was to assure readers that Nature, while publishing scientific research on how disease presented or impacted differently on men and women, didn’t believe in the concept of two genders – of men and women.
“Of particular concern to us is the sight of respected scientific publications, such as Nature, now beginning to echo these popular trends. In a recent article discussing a research study of differential disease burden in male and female patients with cystic fibrosis, the following disclaimer was inserted: “Nature recognizes that sex and gender are not the same, and are neither fixed nor binary”, they revealed.
The Nature article in question examined the possibility that biological mechanisms, including sex hormones, were playing a part in producing worse outcomes for women with cystic fibrosis as opposed to men.
“A comprehensive analysis in 1997 of more than 21,000 people with cystic fibrosis in the United States showed a median life expectancy of 25.3 years for women and 28.4 for men1. The bacteria associated with lung decline and early death were also found to be present in women earlier than in men,” the author of the paper, Natalie Healey, wrote.
To this Nature added in brackets: (Nature recognizes that sex and gender are not the same, and are neither fixed nor binary).
“The Chief Supplements Editor of Nature has confirmed that it is the journal’s policy to add such disclaimers, ” the academics noted in the Irish Journal of Medical Science letter.
“We represent a variety of backgrounds, with interests ranging from male-lethal genetic disorders in humans to sex behaviours in invertebrates. Human sex is an observable, immutable, and important biological classification; it is a fundamental characteristic of our species, foundational to many biology disciplines, and a major differentiator in medical/health outcomes,” they said.
“Public discourse around sex increasingly seeks to deny basic facts of human biology.”
“We regard the claim that sex is neither fixed nor binary to be entirely without scientific merit—there are two sexes, male and female, and in humans, sex is immutable (disorders of sexual development are very rare and, in any event, do not result in any additional sexes). Such politically motivated policies and statements have no place in scientific journals. It is essential that impartiality be maintained in order to preserve public trust in science as a process dedicated to producing shared knowledge.”
“We call upon authors and editors to resist non-scientific pressures to suppress honest and accurate discussion of these matters, particularly in the field of medicine where diagnosis, prognosis and treatment can depend on a patient’s sex.”