Discussion Questions: Sex and Diversity, Sex Versus Gender, and Sexed Bodies

1. Joan Roughgarden raises the question, “whether variation within species is good in its own right or whether it is simply a collection of impurities every species is stuck with” (pg. 147). When I was reading her question I couldn’t help but to find myself rereading her question. The words, “stuck with” had me wondering what she meant by having your impurities “stuck with you”. How did you come about Roughgarden basic question?

2. Throughout the semester we have been distinguishing the difference between sex and gender. Joan Roughgarden makes it simple and defines sex as being a mixer of genes when reproducing. She then defines gender as society’s understanding of sex, “male” or “female”. When you were reading the section titled- “Gender Defined”, what did you think about all her examples of different species that don’t follow gender conformity?

3. Roughgarden says, “Changing sex has been suggested as a better way of obtaining a heterosexual pairing than moving somewhere else to find a partner of the opposite sex when traveling around is risky” (pg. 153). This reminded me of Kokumo and her video called, “There Will Come A Day” and how transgender violence will always continue even after genital reconstruction surgery. What are your thoughts about getting a sex change to fit into society’s categories?

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