The real question, it seems to me, is therefore an almost philosophical one: Do these exceptions prove or disprove a general rule? I’d argue that, by and large, they prove it. The number of people with a mismatch between chromosomes and hormones, or with ambiguous genitalia, is surpassingly small. Well under one percent is a useful estimate. Similarly with a transgender identity: It absolutely exists but is also very rare — some estimates put it at around 0.7 percent of the population. Gay men and lesbians who have unambiguous male and female sex organs and identity but an attraction to their own sex are also pretty rare (whatever we’d like to think). Maybe 2 to 5 percent, with some outliers. Does this mean that general assumptions about most people being either male or female and heterosexual and cisgendered are misplaced or even offensive? Hardly. I’m gay but usually assume that everyone I meet is straight until I know otherwise. And I don’t mind the hetero assumption applying to me either. It’s a reasonable statistical inference, not bigotry. And I can always set them, er, straight.

My preferred adjective for sex and gender is bimodal, rather than binary. What bimodal means is that there are two distinct and primary modes with some variations between them. The vast majority of humans are either male or female, with corresponding chromosomes and hormones, and heterosexual. But with nature as messy as it is, and genetic variation being the spice of evolution, there will always be exceptions on a spectrum. Think of it as two big mountains representing, in sex matters, well over 95 percent of humans, with a long, low valley between them, representing the remaining percent. Everyone is equally human. But clearly the human experience of sex is one thing for almost everyone and a different thing for a few.

Do we infer from this that we need to junk the categories of male and female altogether, as many critical gender theorists argue? That seems insane to me. These two modes actually define the entire landscape of sex (the exceptions are incomprehensible without them), and the bimodal distribution is quite obviously a function of reproductive strategy (if we were all gay, or intersex, we’d cease to exist as a species before too long). Ditto the transgender experience: Does the fact that less than one percent of humans feel psychologically at odds with their biological sex mean that biological sex really doesn’t exist and needs to be defined away entirely? Or does it underline just how deep the connection between sex and gender almost always is?

He refers to a discussion on identity politics which I’ve put below (I haven’t watched it yet):

I was invited to the Heritage Foundation this week for a panel on political correctness (You can watch it here. I speak at 1:04). The invite was quite a surprise. I’ve been a nonperson in Washington conservative circles ever since I objected to the spending explosion, torture, and shambolic Iraq War in the Bush administration, around 15 years ago. Of course I wasn’t invited to criticize conservatism — just to excoriate the social-justice movement for inverting the principles of liberalism. Nonetheless, I included in my remarks an attack on the Trump movement for providing so much ammunition for the hard left with its race-baiting, and even got one dude to walk out. But what surprised me was the positive response to a single, minor point I made about intersectionality.