A word from co-writer Dawn Renee Greer

Good morning from Shambhala Farm! I missed this yesterday and it was naughty of me. We all must pay attention, to what we learn and teach, and our fears of transgender people – human beings – will simply vanish when we treat them as human beings and nothing more or less. The book, BREAKING FREE – 45 YEARS IN THE WRONG BODY, will be out in time for Christmas. Stay tuned for details. The book is getting rave reviews from those in the transgender world now. It tells the story of a painful awakening of a young boy, who realizes that he’s a girl trapped in a body he doesn’t want. He grows into a young man who attempts to fit in, though all attempts are futile. He is truly she on the inside and wants nothing more than to bring his inside into alignment with the outside, to look into the mirror and see herself as SHE feels and knows she is – to be complete. What an absolute shame that people who only seek to bring unification of mind and body to their lives, something that the rest of us take for granted, face the threat of death, beatings, and ostracization from family and prior friends. They often lose EVERYTHING in order to find themselves in the mirror. Gender is far more biologically complex than male or female. In our book, I included a wonderfully detailed explanation from a biologist who was kind as to allow the reprint of her paper in the book. Please, read this scientific explanation of sexual identity and gender. It’s fascinating and quite true. I’m caught up in this mixed pot of genetic imperfection myself and consider myself to be gender nonconforming, and quite androgynous. ******************************************************************************************************The Science of Sexual Identity and Gender AssignmentThis has been taken from the public Twitter feed of the biologist below. She’s permitted us to add her words here. Special thanks to Rebecca R. Helm.On Biological Sex by Rebecca R HelmRebecca is a biologist and an assistant professor at the University of North Carolina, Asheville USA. You may follow Rebecca Helm on Twitter at Open Ocean Exploration @RebeccaRHelm“Friendly neighbourhood biologist here. I see a lot of people are talking about biological sexes and gender right now. Lots of folks make biological sex seem simple. Well, since it’s so simple, let’s find the biological roots, shall we? Let’s talk about sex…[a thread]If you know a bit about biology you will probably say that biological sex is caused by chromosomes, XX and you’re female, XY and you’re male. This is “chromosomal sex” but is it “biological sex”? Well…Turns out there is only ONE GENE on the Y chromosome that matters to sex. It’s called the SRY gene. During human embryonic development, the SRY protein turns on male-associated genes. Having an SRY gene makes you “genetically male”. But is this “biological sex”?Sometimes that SRY gene pops off the Y chromosome and over to an X chromosome. Surprise! So now you’ve got an X with an SRY and a Y without an SRY. What does this mean?A Y with no SRY means physically you’re female, chromosomally you’re male (XY) and genetically you’re female (no SRY). An X with an SRY means you’re physically male, chromosomally female (XX), and genetically male (SRY). But biological sex is simple! There must be another answer…Sex-related genes ultimately turn on hormones in specifics areas of the body and reception of those hormones by cells throughout the body. Is this the root of “biological sex”??“Hormonal male” means you produce ‘normal’ levels of male-associated hormones. Except that some percentage of females will have higher levels of ‘male’ hormones than some percentage of males. Ditto ‘female’ hormones. And…If you’re developing, your body may not produce enough hormones for your genetic sex. Leading you to be genetically male or female, chromosomally male or female, hormonally non-binary, and physically non-binary. Well, except cells have something to say about this…Maybe cells are the answer to “biological sex”?? Right?? Cells have receptors that “hear” the signal from sex hormones. But sometimes those receptors don’t work. Like a mobile phone that’s on ‘do not disturb’. Call and cell, they will not answer.What does this all mean?It means you may be genetically male or female, chromosomally male or female, hormonally male/female/non-binary, with cells that may or may not hear the male/female/non-binary call, and all this leading to a body that can be male/non-binary/female.Try out some combinations for yourself. Notice how confusing it gets? Can you point to what the absolute cause of biological sex is? Is it fair to judge people by it?Of course, you could try appealing to the numbers. “Most people are either male or female,” you say. Except that as a biologist professor, I will tell you…The reason I don’t have my students look at their own chromosomes in class is that people could learn that their chromosomal sex doesn’t match their physical sex, and learning that in the middle of a 10-point assignment is JUST NOT THE TIME.Biological sex is complicated. Before you discriminate against someone based on “biological sex” & identity, ask yourself: have you seen YOUR chromosomes? Do you know the genes of the people you love? The hormones of the people you work with? The state of their cells?Since the answer will obviously be no, please be kind, respect people’s right to tell you who they are, and remember that you don’t have all the answers. Again: biology is complicated. Kindness and respect don’t have to be.’Note: Biological classifications exist. XX, XY, XXY XXYY, and all manner of variation which is why sex isn’t classified as binary. You can’t have a binary classification system with more than two configurations even if two of those configurations are more common than others.”

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