The G.O.P’s War on Biology

trans flag with starsThe Human Rights Campaign recently reported that more than 100 anti-LGBT legislation was introduced across state houses in more than 28 states during this legislative session. Of these 100+ bills, 20 of them were specifically targeted at people who are transgender and their rights to public spaces. Florida, Texas, Kentucky, Nevada are just a small example of the states targeting trans people and their rights. SF 1543 in Minnesota even brought it down to the chromosome level stating, “For purposes of this section, “sex” means the physical condition of being male or female, which is genetically determined by a person’s chromosomes and is identified at birth by a person’s anatomy.”


34 of these anti-LGBT bills have been defeated across nine states, however, the  Indiana bill passed and a new “Religious Freedom Bill” bill SF 2158 was unveiled in the Minnesota Senate during the last few weeks of the session. Although considered dead on arrival, it will be reintroduced next year, and similar to the Indiana bill would allow businesses to discriminate based on sexual orientation or gender identity, thus violating the 1993 Minnesota Human Rights Act, which is also being targeted by the G.O.P. for repeal.

Let that sink in for a moment, the G.O.P. wants to repeal the Human Rights Act.

Until recently, the talking point behind these anti-transgender bills have been rather simple, “Biological boys who identify as girls should not share [restrooms] with biological girlsthat’s just common sense.” Not to say that this has been a state level only argument, but it has been the driving force behind these 20 plus bills across the U.S. focusing on taking the rights of people who are transgender away.

Well, that meme finally went mainstream last week when Fox News host Tucker Carlson reiterated that point and brought biology into the mix by suggesting that the bathroom bills were undermining the biology curriculum in science class. His guest was Elizabeth Schultz from the Fairfax Virginia County School Board and the only member to vote against the gender identity amendment to their non-discrimination policy.

Carlson said during the segment, “Isn’t it a little weird that a school which is supposed to be rooted in science and the scientific method is teaching now that there is that there is no difference between men and women and you can change your sex?” Tucker continued, “Of course, that’s contrary to basic biology.”

Looking directly at the camera Carlson pondered, “The left’s war on biology continues, It’s a weird moment in America.”

Tucker Carlson is right, but not in the way that he or the other GOP legislators would want to be because being transgender is in fact based on biology, genetics, and pure science; unfortunately, it’s science that is not taught in schools nor is it a science that any lawmaker targeting people who are transgender will ever care to read.

The New York Times is currently running a series called ‘Transgender Today’ focusing on the lives of people who are transgender and it features stories about trans people; of course the comments section is riddled with armchair geneticists providing their solution to what they deem is “our issue,” but like it or not, the comments section represents a large swath of American opinion and strangely, the comments over the last few months have been shifting more towards what is wrong with us and how we can be “cured.”


The reason we can not be “cured” is because we are biologically programmed in utero to be transgender. All humans are conceived and gestate for up to the first eight weeks as female when during the 6-12 week period, testosterone is introduced into the system to defeminize the fetus and the genitalia form. The formation of genitals happens far before the development of the brain and as much as the general population wants to assign us our sex and gender based on what’s between our legs, we all know that the brain is the central processing unit for humans. This misalignment between the brain and the genitals can lead to either intersex or transgender (Gooren, 2006).


The Right is unknowingly correct in saying that “Gender is Biology” and proof of this began to appear in 2008 with Australia’s Prince Henry’s Institute Study on the DNA of transgender individuals lead by Dr. Vincent Harley. Previous studies had shown that the brain structures of Male-to-Female transgender individuals were more “female-like,” however the Prince Henry Study took it one step further and pinpointed the cause.

In this study, the DNA of 112 transgender people were studied against a group of 258 controls and found a longer androgen receptor gene in those who were transgender; this genetic difference resulted in weaker testosterone level in MTF transgender individuals. In an interview with The Telegraph, Professor Vincent Harley stated, “There is a social stigma that transsexualism is simply a lifestyle choice, however, our findings support a biological basis of how gender identity develops.”

Since 2008, multiple studies have also shown that an atypical gender identity is triggered by genetics and biology via a defective AR gene. These further studies virtually eliminate the clinical debate of whether being transgender is a “choice” while also discrediting the talking point that DNA is not involved in gender expression.

Bao and Swaab took it one step further in 2011 by comparing brain scans of cis-gender individuals and MTF transgender people, looking at the central nucleus of the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis [BSTc] size and shape of the brain.


The scans show that both heterosexual [scan A] and homosexual males [scan C] have almost identical structures and are “twice the size of both biological female and MTF” trans people.” Note that the brain structures in the cis-gender female [scan B] are similar to the MTF subject [scan D]. In layman’s terms, the brain scans of people who are transgender are similar in structure to cis-gender females.

The Oxford Journal has attempted to pick up where Bao & Swaab left off conducting an extensive investigation of “the structural connectome of 23 female-to-male (FtM) and 21 male-to-female (MtF) transgender patients before hormone therapy as compared with 25 female and 25 male healthy controls.”

Sparing you the boring details, the conclusion was that there were observed differences in the brain scans and structures of both FTM and MTF transgender.



Currently there is no study that creates a “no shadow of a doubt” theory for being transgender and continued studies are coming close to identifying the ground zero point of being transgender, but as once thought, gender identity is not a social construct. As Tucker Carlson continues to ponder whether or not being transgender is biologically or genetically based, the overall consensus by the scientific community is a resounding “YES!”

The War on Biology has begun and the G.O.P. has fired the first shot, it’s now up to us to make sure that our community is armed with the facts so that we can inform the general public and our legislators that being transgender is definitely rooted in biology and genetics and not a “life choice.”

My name is Claire-Renee Kohner and in January of 2014, I came out as transgender. My family fully supports my transition and, along with the Minneapolis trans community, my transition has been extremely positive. My journey should be fun, so keep your arms and legs inside the cart, it's going to be a wild ride.

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