We all have that family member. The one perhaps not related by blood but still insistent on pressing the foot-pedal of intolerance and dysfunction.
There was a recent line in The Morning Show on Apple TV where Reese Witherspoon’s character says [and I paraphrase] that a new positive relationship she is having with Julianna Margulies’s character displays her potential—what she can aspire to—while the unexpected visit from her addict brother reveals who she actually is.
Wow. This statement had all the “feels” for me. As you navigate distance both physically and emotionally from your family of origin you gain new perspectives. I imagine there are circumstances where the bond grows with you and sustains you but I can attest to the fact that often, you end up teetering on an expanded limb of a family tree that twists and grows away from the caudex.
A discussion recently evolved from a comment on Facebook originating from a discrepant relative where the discordance between gender and sex was devolving away from science and into the realm of heedlessness.
I know, I know. Engagement on Facebook will never change anyone’s mind. I admit that I still have this hope that maybe, once presented with a bit of science, opinions can be evolved.
This topic was top of mind for me because of the Netflix special being protested by many because of perceived “transphobic content”. I’m not linking to it because, if you know, you know. I had watched the special and saw a similarity between a friendship I had with a man in the flux of gender identity. I didn’t see the schism being blared from the headlines but we all have different perspectives, likes, and dislikes.
The study of sex and gender discordance is not new. I have read articles dating back to the 90s and I am sure there are many more that predate them. I can simplify the science by sharing with you that a single mutation on the SRY gene can lead to an absence of testes. Naturally epigenetics and karyotypes can explain the non-binary nature of gene expression and phenotypes but there is much to learn. Needless to say, the link between sex and gender is fragile and evolving.
The observation that they have paralogues on the human X confirms our conclusion that different mammal lineages all started off with the same proto-Y, which was equivalent to the X, but have lost different subsets of genes…
As you can see it is complex and although I attempted to explain to the antagonist, the science behind our understanding that sex is not binary at all—the dialogue progressed in a way that was immediately unproductive. In fact, the question was posed about me knowing anything since last they checked I was a chiropractor. Well that “check” would have been about 30 years ago and since then I have acquired not only the doctorate in chiropractic but a MSc with a thesis in population genetics as well as an executive online credential in applied analytics from the Fu School of Engineering at Columbia.
My point in all of this is how we can be quite skilled in our professional career but still tricked into arguing with the obdurate.
Aren’t we all a chimera of the past and what we manage to shrug off and claim in the present?
The lesson learned is to not be tricked by the language being used around issues of the day. Often, they are intended to flame the fires of “otherism” rather than encourage conversation.
I began this short article trying to sort out signals from my week. I led a 4-hour workshop on data we need to bring to important conversations about how infrastructure influences positive or negative changes in our built environments. Often these signals point in an entirely different direction than polarized politics or misinterpreted musings from “woke” America.
I will be reading, Woke Racism: How a New Religion Has Betrayed Black America. If you would like to follow the conversation subscribe.
Blessed are they who see beautiful things in humble places where other people see nothing.—Camille Pissarro, French artist