Saturday, April 23, 2005

Searching for the Third Gender: Part 1

This post had been particularly difficult to write because I had to contend with my religious affilation, on top of my packed revision schedule for exams in June 2005. I am a Christian.

Previously, I had argued that the bipolar gender classification is insufficient on both physical and psychological grounds. This leads us to the crossroad where we have to choose our next route: "Did God create more than 2 genders?" or "Is strictly classifying people male/female sufficient?"

According to the famous 7-day theory (as recorded in the Genesis of the Holy Bible), God created man on the 6th day. Genesis 1:27 (NIV) says "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him, male and female he created them". The creation of man is furthur elaborated in Genesis 2:22 (NIV) which says "Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of man, and he brought her to the man."

The second quote is a figurative description of the creation of woman. Is it possible to literally create a woman from a man? The answer is yes. Genetically, woman is someone who possesses the XX sex chromosomes and a man is someone who possesses the XY chromosomes. Examining the genetic structure, it is possible to extract the 2 X chromosomes from a man to create a pair of XX. By inserting this XX pair into a sexless human stem-cell, we essentially engineer a genetic female. Given that God created woman from man, it points out that God first created the X and Y chromosomes in man. In doing so, God had already created male and female when he first created the male man. The terms male and female in Genesis 1:27 therefore must refer to the X and Y chromosomes respectively.

cross diagram

Figure 1 shows that the propagation of genetic sexes will only preserve male and female genetic sexes. Moreover, people with mutant sex chromosomes are barren, thus the mutant sex genes cannot propagate themselves into the next generation. Therefore, we can see there is selective pressure (an act of God) eliminating mutant sexes within the human population and there is selective pressure acting for the preservation of the normal genetic sex. Also, mutation of the sex chromosomes occurs randomly and and not on a rampant basis. All these point out that mutant sex chromosomes are results of pure chance and it is not an intended result of an elaborate design by a higher entity. In conclusion, in creating only X and Y chromosomes, God therefore had meant human to be divided into 2 genetic sexes. In another words, God did not create more than 2 genders.

Now that we have established that God created only male and female, we must remember that biblically, gender and genetic sex are essentially the same. However, the social classification system (which is based on the biblical classification system) fails to accomodate people who cannot fit the classical description of male or female. Does it not point out that our social classification system is not comprehensive enough? To address this discrepancy, gender must be furthur socialised to accommodate the diversity of gender identities, and this no longer depends solely on our physical construct. In this way, we are extending the social classification system, maintaining the biblical classification system and still recognise God's soverignity.

In conceiving the idea of a third gender, we must take caution to remind ourselves that there is no actual creation of a third gender. God, not man, is capable of creation. We had already established there are only two physical genders (created by God). The third gender is therefore non-physical in basis - it is a social concept conceived by man to accommodate people whose gender identities are strictly neither male nor female.

This social concept, aka the third gender, will be discussed and explored furthur in the next post.


Anonymous said...

If God didn't create more than two gender, what sense is there in justifying the Third Gender?

Donaldson Tan said...

The Third Gender (in my opinion) is one of the manifestation of man's free will given by God. Although it was not directly created by God, it has evolved from a disparity to a conceived and developed social concept by man to justify and explain the diverse sexuality and gender identity protrayed in our community and society today.

I wish I can publish my next post asap but i am just so busy with exams. plus i gotta read up to understand the current scientific and philosophical viewpoint and arrive at my own conclusion of this matter. Happy reading, folks.

Donaldson Tan said...

the third gender is conceived as a manifestation of free will. it's not a creation in the true sense of the word, ie. being created by God.

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