“Biology is not bigotry”: Why “biology” is often bigotry

“Biology is not bigotry” has, to the surprise of no one, become a frequent rallying cry of those who express bigotry against trans people – from conservative Christians to feminist-identified radicals, and those forging an anti-trans alliance between them. It’s an odd assertion: taken literally, it’s unclear what this is meant to mean. If we were to hear someone say:

“Metallurgy is not bigotry!”

“Geology is not bigotry!”

“Radio astronomy is not bigotry!”

…we probably wouldn’t know what to make of this. Most immediately, we might ask such a person: What exactly went on between you and radio astronomy?

“Biology is not bigotry” may say nothing about biology – but it says a lot about bigotry. Biology may not be bigotry, whatever that would entail, but the expression “biology is not bigotry” certainly is. To understand this, we need to look at the elements of biology that these individuals are seeking to invoke.

They aren’t claiming that ATP is not bigotry; they aren’t claiming that the endoplasmic reticulum is not bigotry. What they mean is something much more limited, and their assertion is meant as a way to treat a specific personal opinion and interpretation of categories and labels regarding biology as if they were uncontestable fact.

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About Zinnia Jones

My work focuses on insights to be found across transgender healthcare, public health, psychiatry, and history of medicine, integrating these many perspectives and guided by the lived experiences of trans people. I live in Orlando with my family, and work mainly in technical writing.
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