Annie Swetha, Sex and Miscibility by Laurie J.Shrage

Main argument: Sex Chromosomes and genes are only one among several mechanisms in nature that determine an organism’s sex and sex characteristics. Bodies with varied sexual identities should not be forced to fit into the accepted categories of male or female.

Sub arguments:

      The article draws a detailed explanation on how sex was probably determined not only by sex chromosomes. Certain environmental factors like temperature at which the eggs are incubated also determine the sex in some animals. This factor is proved using the example of leopard geckos whose sex is determined by the temperature at which the eggs are incubated. Though it is not scientifically proved on humans the article hints at how sex chromosomes do not completely govern the sexual identities of an individual.

      The article shows hints at how sex was determined by several factors across ages. Thereby it stress on the need to explore new scientific concepts on sexuality rather than assuming that sex is solely determined by a pair of autosomes differentiated into two distinct chromosomes, the X and Y.

     This argument was reinforced by drawing comparison between the scientific theories built on sexuality and race. The article points out how certain outdated scientific concepts on race and sexual identities still shapes our ordinary understanding of them. For instance a black child is mostly assumed to have black hair and a dark complexion. But when a black child is born with light hair or blue eyes he/she becomes an element of surprise and is marked as being different. Similarly interms of sexuality we fail to identify the diversity of bodies-especially the bodies that mix male and female traits. This argument can be related to one of the transgender autobiography “The Truth About Me:A Hijra life story” by Revathi where she talks on how her identity as a Hijra is viewed as a social taboo. The autobiography also covers how hijras are forced to be a part of the heteronormative culture which does not provide space for a mixed identity.

     The article also questions why bodies are classified by their reproductive capacities. It questions why body parts like breasts, estrogen, vaginas are only associated with women? This argument is supported by drawing reference to scientific truths like how human organs and hormones do have play a role in all bodies. For instance estrogen cannot be solely identified with female as they are also present in the bodies of men and they control bodily functions other than reproduction. Similarly androgen cannot be only identified in a male body as they have similar effects female bodies. Through these examples the article justify the argument by stating that the presence or absence of particular genitalia, reproductive parts, gonads need not necessarily assign someone to one of the two standard sexes, when mixtures of various kinds appear.

       The article also criticizes the gay and trans activists who tried to sexual orientations from gender expressions. It states that this attitude leads to oppression within the own groups. For instance according to this idea gay men who are manly with conventional erotic desires are accepted whereas effeminate gay man with Kinky erotic desires are marginalized within their own group.

Limitations: The article has limited its focus on analysing multiple marginalized identities only among gay man. This research can be extended further to analyse how lesbians, transgender and bisexuals individuals also subjected to hierarchies within their own group.

Conclusion: Chromosomal patterns (XXY, XXX, XO) other than XX and XY are marked as ambiguous. Does that mean that these bodies should miscible their sexuality into the accepted category of men and women ?. Rather than attempting to build unifying identities, we should attempt to understand the plurality of sexual identities.

Laurie J., Sharge. “Sex and Miscibility.” Ed. Laurie J. “You’ve Changed” SEX      REASSIGMENT AND PERSONAL IDENTITY. United States of America: Oxford UP, 2009. 175-93. Print.


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