If only it was as sim­ple as XX and XY

Mercury (Hobart) - - YOUR TASMANIA - Tim Beau­mont Bat­tery Point Leslie Lauder Ho­bart Keith Thomp­son Kingston

IF only it were that sim­ple, but it isn’t and that’s why reader Michael Watts is wrong in as­sert­ing that ev­ery­one’s bi­o­log­i­cal sex, XY for male and XX for fe­male, is de­ter­mined at con­cep­tion, along with “male and fe­male body parts” (Let­ters, No­vem­ber 9).

In fact many vari­a­tions oc­cur nat­u­rally — one of those in­con­ve­nient truths. For a va­ri­ety of rea­sons XY can pro­duce fe­male ex­ter­nal char­ac­ter­is­tics and XX can pro­duce a per­son who looks male, and any­where in be­tween. Then there are XO, XXY AND XXX.

While our cul­ture tends to ig­nore the re­al­i­ties and some bi­nary clas­si­fi­ca­tion dif­fi­cul­ties can be sur­gi­cally cov­ered over at birth, many cul­tures have ex- plic­itly recog­nised a broader range of dif­fer­ence. Just be­cause ours doesn’t, it doesn’t mean they don’t ex­ist.

For some peo­ple it isn’t straight­for­ward and us­ing a flawed ar­gu­ment to sup­port an un­nec­es­sary clas­si­fi­ca­tion on birth cer­tifi­cates is non­sense.

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