25
Jul 19

Hippocratic oath

I wonder how the trans-radical lobby squares their attempted erasure of the immutable categories of biological sex with articles like this one, published last spring in Nature: “Biological sex shapes tumour evolution across cancer types.”

An excerpt:

A person’s sex can affect the kinds of cancer-causing mutations they develop, according to a genomic analysis spanning nearly 2,000 tumours and 28 types of cancer.

The results show striking differences in the cancer-causing mutations found in people who are biologically male versus those who are biologically female — not only in the number of mutations lurking in their tumours, but also in the kinds of mutations found there.

Cancer it turns out, is transphobic. Read the rest of this entry »

24
Jul 19

Unvarnished truthNot realizing, at first, that she had wandered into a hornet’s nest, Martina Navratilova joined the transgender debate last December.

She was perturbed by the growing encroachment of transwomen into female athletic competitions, replete with larger hearts and lungs and bones and muscles.  (For a frightening taste of what this sort of thing can look like, have a look at MMA transgendered fighter Fox Fallon annihilating opponent Tamikka Brents, caving in her face and dispatching her, concussed and bleeding, to hospital for repairs: criminal assault and battery, in any other age, but perfectly legal – applauded, even - in this brave new era.)

The former tennis great on Twitter: “You can’t just proclaim yourself a female and be able to compete against women. There must be some standards, and having a penis and competing as a woman would not fit that standard.” Read the rest of this entry »

23
Jul 19

lily tomlinIt was early autumn in 1933 Glasgow and the old Scotsman was furious.

The target of his ire was young James Herriot.  Freshly enrolled in Glasgow Veterinary College, an introductory animal husbandry lecture on the points of a horse earlier that day had stuffed young James’ eager brain with colourful terms like withers, stifle, hock, and poll.  His professor had shrewdly animated the new vocabulary with a string of equine ailments: “splints”, “curb”, “windgall” and the like.

James strode proudly down the street after class let out, stethoscope slung around his neck, bursting with knowledge and feeling every inch the veterinary surgeon. When he spotted a coal horse tied up at the side of the street he stopped to appraise the animal confidently through the lens of his newfound expertise, before stepping forward to pat him knowingly on the neck. Read the rest of this entry »

28
Jan 19

(Note to my readers: This essay has been updated, sanitized of the hostile tweets that peppered the earlier version.) 

 

I was wrong.

I couldn’t take the heat.

If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen,” I wrote self-importantly last month, in response to Twitter blow-back to “Act One” of my trilogy of essays on gender identity.  “But I’ll stay in this kitchen, for now, no matter how hot it gets.”

But that little flare-up was a summer breeze compared to the white-hot Twitter-rage blasted at me last week by an angry mob of trans activists.

I fled the kitchen:  I deactivated my Twitter account, alarmed and demoralized - and frankly a little bit scared. Read the rest of this entry »

12
Dec 18

The Birds and the D’s

If ignorance was bliss, my fellow humans, we’d be permanent residents of Nirvana.

Because we will always be ignorant.

The Age of Enlightenment upended that dreary calculus, seemingly, by highlighting mankind’s powers of reason, transforming the intellectual and philosophical landscape of 18th century Europe and ushering in unprecedented discovery and inquiry.  “Sapere aude!” proclaimed Immanuel Kant, summing up the exuberance of that era: “Dare to be wise!”  Or, more loosely, "Dare to think for yourself!"

And on that foundation of reason we’ve built a towering edifice of science and knowledge - towering, that is, compared with what was known before.  As I’ve written elsewhere, every era finds us basking in an age of unprecedented enlightenment – until the rear-view mirror of history exposes it as an age of slightly less ignorance.  We scale mountains of knowledge and swim oceans of discovery - only to find mountains more magnificent to tackle and oceans more vast to explore. Read the rest of this entry »

4
Dec 18

The Birds and the Bees

Imagine, for a white-knuckled moment: you are hunkered down on a battlefield, commanding officer to a platoon of shell-shocked soldiers.  Ahead of you lies an open stretch of scrubby terrain peppered with concealed land mines, beyond that the safety of a sheltering bunker; behind you, hard on your heels, a swarm of enemy soldiers.  You have no choice but to go forward, to lead your squadron across that booby-trapped pasture, desperately hoping that your troops aren’t exploded to splatters and tatters of blood and gore.

But at the last second, as you’re about to order that gut-wrenching dash for refuge, you find in your rucksack a detailed map of those landmines.  Drenched with sweaty relief, you and your platoon pick your way quickly and safely across to that bunker. Read the rest of this entry »

18
Nov 18

Act One

 A Crisis of Identity

The number leapt out at me.  One hundred and three!

An incandescent flash of comprehension flooded my brain.

It was fourteen years ago.  I was standing beside the trauma bay bed, holding one of Jack’s tiny clenched fists in my hand as I gazed at his contorted face, his tongue thrusting rhythmically and his eyes rolled insistently upward.

His spasming body was submerged in a beehive of activity.  Medical personnel supplied critically needed oxygen, readied resuscitation equipment, and delivered intravenous medications and fluids.

Paramedics had crashed through the doors ten minutes earlier, wheeling Jack on a stretcher.  It had been a sleepy Monday morning in the ED to that point, the mundane chit-chat of nursing staff disturbed only by the raspy breathing and occasional seal-bark cough of a young boy with croup.  After dosing the young lad with dexamethasone and settling a misty mask of epinephrine over his face to ease his breathing, I sat in the doctors’ cubicle with my resident, killing time by quizzing her on the case we had just seen. Read the rest of this entry »