Actor and left-wing political activist George Takei tweeted Wednesday, “When you defend so-called ‘biological sex,’ you sound scientifically ignorant and you elevate transphobia”:
When you defend so-called “biological sex,” you sound scientifically ignorant and you elevate transphobia.
— George Takei (@GeorgeTakei) June 10, 2020
The tweet appeared to be in response to author J.K. Rowling’s assertion that “erasing the concept of sex removes the ability of many to meaningfully discuss their lives”:
If sex isn’t real, there’s no same-sex attraction. If sex isn’t real, the lived reality of women globally is erased. I know and love trans people, but erasing the concept of sex removes the ability of many to meaningfully discuss their lives. It isn’t hate to speak the truth.
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) June 6, 2020
Rowling has been the recipient of a host of accusations after she joked about an opinion column focused on “Creating a more equal post-COVID-19 world for people who menstruate.”
“People who menstruate,” Rowling tweeted. “I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?”
‘People who menstruate.’ I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?
Opinion: Creating a more equal post-COVID-19 world for people who menstruate https://t.co/cVpZxG7gaA
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) June 6, 2020
The Harry Potter author’s tweets subsequently created a firestorm on the social media platform and in Hollywood, drawing claims she is a “terrorist” who “wants trans kids to die.”
To support his apparent view that affirming biological sex is “scientifically ignorant,” Takei also retweeted posts from LGBTQ litigation organization Lambda Legal and actress Felicia Day, both of which were critical of Rowling’s comments.
Lambda Legal addressed “JKR” with the statement, “Trans women are women. Trans men are men. The existence of transgender people does not compromise your safety”:
👋🏽 Hi JKR.
Trans women are women.
Trans men are men.
The existence of transgender people does not compromise your safety.
Trans people deserve love and support; not lengthy diatribes detailing “concerns” about their existence.
And that’s that! 👏🏽
— Lambda Legal (@LambdaLegal) June 10, 2020
Day also tweeted, “I honestly don’t even understand the logic of JK Rowling’s argument. All I know is that it feels steeped in fear and hate and it makes me so so sad”:
I honestly don't even understand the logic of JK Rowling's argument. All I know is that it feels steeped in fear and hate and it makes me so so sad.
— Felicia Day (@feliciaday) June 10, 2020
However, Claire Lehmann, editor of Quillette, replied Takei should read the essay by Quillette assistant editor Colin Wright, who also holds a doctorate in evolutionary biology. Wright wrote, “JK Rowling is Right – Sex Is Real and It Is Not a ‘Spectrum.’”
— Claire Lehmann (@clairlemon) June 12, 2020
In February, Wright co-authored a Wall Street Journal op-ed with developmental biologist Emma Hilton titled, “The Dangerous Denial of Sex.”
Wright and Hilton asserted in their piece “transgender ideology harms women, gays – and especially feminine boys and masculine girls.”
Wright continued at Quillette the notion sex is on a “spectrum” is “pseudoscience,” and seems to have “a natural appeal to those who already find themselves wrestling with issues connected to their identity.”
He also asserted that being swayed into dismissing the notion of biological sex will have catastrophic consequences:
[T]he stakes aren’t small: If the idea of biological sex can be overturned in the domain of athletic competition, where differences between male and female are abundantly obvious, then the battle to push back sex-spectrum pseudoscience in every other area will be lost—from the admission of males into female prisons and rape-crisis centers, to the facilitation of sex-change surgery for schoolchildren. As Thomas Sowell succinctly stated in his book The Quest for Cosmic Justice, “there is only so much divergence between prevailing theories and intractable reality that a society can survive. Yet theories of equality are unlikely to be re-examined—or examined the first time—when they provide a foundation for the heady feeling of being morally superior to a benighted ‘society.’”
“When one attempts to achieve equality and justice by distorting reality, inequality and injustice are never eliminated, just relocated,” Wright concluded.