Is Gender Just A Social Construct?

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A Panel Discussion on Gender and Sex:

The panel planned by Singapore Science Centre, a MOE Statutory Board, aims to discuss the differences between Gender and Sex. At first glance, it appears to be an excellent opportunity to foster open discussions and potentially debunk our existing beliefs shaped by psychology and cultural influences. However, upon closer examination, the nature and potential impact of the discussion deserve deeper scrutiny.

The panel is composed exclusively of LGBT activists, none of whom have a scientific background, yet it is presented under the banner of “Science.” This raises significant concerns about the true agenda of the event. The timing, coinciding with Pride Month, and selection of panelists who each have their own subjective, self-constructed perceptions of gender identity suggest an intent to promote specific ideologies rather than a balanced, objective discussion. While it is important to include diverse voices, the absence of speakers with a congruent Gender and Sex perception and scientific experts may limit the scope of the discussion, resulting in a highly skewed one.

This also spurs questions on whether the discussion would serve to educate the audience or cause greater confusion. The risk lies in promoting subjective experiences over objective truths, potentially challenging the public’s fundamental understanding of the congruence between Gender and Sex. Research indicates that reinforcing subjective identities without acknowledging biological underpinnings can lead to increased psychological distress (Zucker, 2018) and this potentially perpetuates Gender Dysphoria by validating personal perceptions that conflict with biological realities.

Is Gender a Social Construct?

The root of today’s confusion over what it means to be Male or Female lies in the elevation of subjective experience over objective truth. Modern redefinitions suggest that psychological reality is independent of biological sex, making gender a subjective self-perception. While it is important to recognize that gender identity can be influenced by a complex interplay of psychological and social factors which can be shaped by early childhood experiences and socialization (American Psychological Association, 2015). This perspective of subjective self-perception, shifts values altering the physical reality of our bodies to match our subjective impressions. This creates a form of Gnostic Dualism that separates our mind from the body and elevates self-perception as the determiner of personhood.

This perspective also undermines the notion that being Male or Female is an unchangeable aspect of Science and creation. The truth is that one’s sex cannot be altered by human intervention. Attempts to change this fact through surgery or pharmaceuticals only serve to artificially modify the body, while the underlying biological reality remains unchanged. Gnostic Dualism therefore allows psychological perception to usurp biological essence; what I feel becomes who I am, challenging the objective truth of Science.

A sense of self at best describes how we feel, not who we are. Our gender identity and expression are inherently linked to biological sex, determined by specific hormones and brain structures. Hence, gender is essentially a reflection of one’s biological sex. Ignoring these physical and genetic realities in favor of subjective identities, we allow experience to supersede essence, leading to confusion about what is real and true, potentially perpetuating Gender Dysphoria and significant moral issues by undermining the foundation and understanding of human identity as grounded in biological reality.

Discussions that affirm subjective gender identities may perpetuate significant moral implications, particularly concerning marriage, family, and sexuality. identities affirmed based solely on personal feelings can disrupt traditional structures and societal norms, leading to broader consequences that need careful consideration. While some may argue that all differences in behavior, preferences, and roles between men and women are solely due to societal expectations and socialization, this view discounts the inherent differences rooted in biology.

The Need for Objective Perspectives

While the intentions behind the panel discussion at the Singapore Science Centre may be well-meaning, the current composition of the panel raises concerns about its potential to provide a balanced and scientifically accurate discourse on gender and sex. And an objective and scientifically grounded perspective on gender and sex is crucial for public education.

Society would benefit more from a balanced discussion that includes diverse viewpoints and scientific evidence rather than ideologies that may be disguised as inclusivity and progress from an exclusive group of panelists. The curation of panelists should reflect a commitment to truth and science, considering both biological factors and social influences rather than leaning dangerously towards one narrative. This ensures a well-rounded and educational discourse.

References:

Zucker, K. J. (2018, May 29). The myth of persistence: Response to “A critical commentary on follow-up studies and ‘desistance’ theories about transgender and gender non-conforming children”. Taylor & Francis Online. Retrieved June 7, 2024, from https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/15532739.2018.1468293

 American Psychological Association. (2015) Guidelines for Psychological Practice With Transgender and Gender Nonconforming People. Retrieved June 7, 2024, from https://www.apa.org/practice/guidelines/transgender.pdf

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