New stories about the former planet Pluto popped up in my news feed again this week. It has now been over a decade since the definition of what qualifies as a planet was voted over, but this is still a controversial issue to many. I too got a special place in my heart for Pluto, but should what astronomers classify it matter to me?
The lack of legal rights for transgender people in Norway was brought up in our parliament by the Socialist Party back in 2000. In May this year, after 16 years of lobbying and hard work by a lot of people, a new law finally passed that allows any people the right to define their own legal gender. The law came into effect on July 1st.
On the 30th of May Proposition 74L (2015–2016) passed with 79 votes against 13. The law grants any person over the age of 16 the right to determine their own legal gender, though still limited to female or male. Children between the age of 6 and 16 will also be able to change legal gender with parental consent.
There is, as some of you may have noticed, a debate going on in the skeptics community about the – how shall I put this – status of trans women. I’m very busy writing a book on the subject of gender diversity, so I spend little time on Facebook and Twitter these days, but from what I have seen there are a lot of problematic arguments flying around in various comments. Let me make a few comments of my own on some key points.
Science is a tool, and is inherently about understanding and knowledge. But science has also been used to destroy, a topic often explored in science fiction. Science is a double-edged sword, and science fiction sometimes becomes science reality.
The history of science is riddled with brilliant scientists making discoveries that have changed the course of history, but learning how to manipulate the sometimes violent forces of nature isn’t always a good thing.
The facebook page “Lesbians and Feminists Against Transphobia” posted an email they received on their page. It was an email from a feminist cis woman asking about trans women. I’ll try to split up the email and respond to each part of it. The email is quoted with the permission of the author.
«This is probably a really stupid question to y’all, but to me trans issues are kinda complicated and I don’t really understand, I’m trying to learn not trying to offend, I apologize if I do. But could you explain, in simple non academic language if possible, …»
I’m reading an excellent book at the moment on the science of sex difference. The book is written by Rebecca Jordan-Young, and is titled “Brain Storm: The Flaws in the Science of Sex Difference”. Highly recommended reading for anyone interested in the subject. You can check out her website and buy her book here. There’s […]
I got into a brief discussion the other day with a fellow student in the break between two lectures. We were initially discussing the historical accuracy of ancient mythology when we digressed onto religion. I received an email from him tonight asking whether I was interested in discussing the subject of spirituality and, as far […]
I sort of dodged a discussion today about the difference between the rational and the spiritual approach to understanding the universe. I didn’t want to engage in the discussion then because it was a derailment of an otherwise interesting topic. Instead I decided to write down some thoughts here. Firstly, I am a scientist, well a student […]