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facebook revolutionizes biology

The weirdest social networking site on planet Earth invents 58 new genders.

by T Nelson


On the Internet, no one can tell whether you're a dolphin or a porpoise
by T Nelson

facebook revolutionizes biology

W hen you separate sex from reproduction, you should expect a proliferation of new genders. But 58 of them? At least if there had been 57, we could have made ketchup jokes. It also could have been the same as the number of American states according to a certain, er, geographically challenged politician. Each state could have had its own gender.

In all fairness, there's a certain amount of redundancy in that list. For example, what's the difference between trans female, trans* female, trans woman, trans* woman, transgender female, and transgender woman? (This is a rhetorical question—I don't really want to know.) I also don't want to know what “gender fluid” is. But as I'm sure many others who are funnier than me have said by now, I certainly wouldn't put any of it in my car. It might start going the wrong way.

The choices are really not very imaginative. Fully 26 are trans-something or other. I was hoping for something a little more science fictiony, like glyrr, glonker, and fnoober. And what about the ones they missed: trans-thin, trans-fat, XYY, YY, Grrrrrl, Polygamist, Thighmaster, and Furry? Isn't leaving these out being just a bit judgmental and intolerant? At least XYY has the distinction of being a real gender. The others are more what one might euphemistically call “behavior patterns.”

And what about combinations of genders? What if you're a “non-binary neither questioning variant” on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays, but a “Two-spirit genderqueer” the rest of the time? You're screwed! ... so to speak.

Of course, we biologists will have a field day trying to figure out how all these different sexes work. By my calculations, assuming either 2 or 3 sex chromosomes per person, even 5 sex chromosomes (V, W, X, Y, and Z) only gives you 45 different genders; to get 58 you need at least 6.

The names are actually reminiscent of all the silly-sounding enzyme mechanisms they told us about back in enzymology class: bi uni uni ping pong, bi bi uni uni bi ping pong, hexa uni ping pong, ordered ter bi. Biochemists have identified hundreds of these, and it's a bitch to remember which one goes to which enzyme. Here's the diagram for one of them.

Enzyme mechanism diagram
Biochemists have proven that if it takes four to tango, there are 16 different ways to do it. If there were really 58 different genders, there would be 3,364 different ways, most of them physically challenging and possibly disgusting.

If you think it looks complicated, it is: the equation for this one takes up a whole page. Imagine what divorce court would be like.

I never used Facebook, so it's not clear to me why they need to know whether I'm a glyrr or a glonker, but it is clear that the only reason they're doing this is to appear “tolerant.” It's all part of life's rich more politically correct than thou pattern. They're all competing to see who can pose as being the most tolerant. So you know what will happen next: Google will have to invent 127 more genders to avoid a gender enumeration gap.

This is just another way of saying they're doing it to tweak the noses of anyone who still thinks that marriage has anything to do with setting legal restrictions on what combinations of humans should be entrusted with raising children. Which, if we're honest, is all we really care about, and why all this is more than just silliness. Experiment too much with this stuff, without knowing the consequences, and we could end up with the psychological equivalent of thalidomide babies. The stuff that can happen to children deprived of normal parenting is horrifying and heart-rending. In the worst cases, they go their entire lives without being able to interact effectively with others. With the obsession we have in this country about perfect child safety, you'd think somebody would worry about that.

I guess they'll just have to create some more fraudulent research to prove that these children grow up just fine. We should start hearing about it soon.

But there are just some things a child can only learn from having one male and one female parent. Children who grow up otherwise are missing an important part of their psychological makeup. If the child looks normal, it's because he or she is pretending. Kids don't know what life is supposed to be like. It feels normal to them. This doesn't come from academic research: I have seen it firsthand. The social conservatives are dead right on this one.

What about research to prove it, like the FDA makes us do before adding new ingredients to your Cheerios? You won't get it from us. No reputable biologist will touch this subject with a ten-foot pole. Come to the wrong conclusion, and you're in big trouble. The official answer has already been decided. Who wants to be labeled as a “two-spirit genderqueer denier”?

“Respect them for their differences” somebody will undoubtedly say. But really, if people are not just making this shit up, and they really believe that a person's mental state defines their gender, then the number of genders is unlimited. Elevating them to the same level as biological genders is really just a sad reflection on the state of basic science education in this country.

Significantly, enzymologists also have another enzyme mechanism that seems to describe the situation perfectly: dead end.

feb 16, 2014

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