Biology is not the totality of human life, or the defining point, or its absolute arbiter, when it comes to answering some of the most controversial concerns revolving around human and humane existence. Rightist fundamentalist religious groups and their allies should know this, given the tentativeness of religion, or to go deeper about it, the iffy-ness of spirituality with regards to science, upon which biology is definitely a part of. Thus, it is the height of folly, fancy if you may, if not irony for fundamentalist rightist religious organizations to use the logic or arguments of biology to call for the stoppage of the SOGIE Bill.
As a caveat, this same biology is used by some of the most influential scientists to argue against the very existence of a god/the God, upon which the potency and currency of most if not all religions are based. However, let’s take, for the sake of arguments, that the fundamentalist rightist supposedly Bible-based organizations (I have to restrain myself from using the term fanatics) arguments with a grain of salt, so to speak, and take the biology logic with some degree of seriousness, given the hyper-hype they constantly receive.
The logic on the disagreement of the passage of the SOGIE Bill, is essentially replete with homophobia and borders around ignorance targeted to the LGBTQIA+ community, most specifically the most visibly different among the groups—the trans. Let me quote a Facebook post from one of these fundamentalist religious groups called Reliance for the Family Foundation Philippines, Inc.: “Every single cell in their body confirms they are men (referring to transwomen) …it is scientific fact that people with xy chromosomes are females, while those with xx chromosomes are males, and the rest (which is less than 0.1 % of the population are mutations.” Further quote nails down the ridiculous argument: “This is basic biology, not bigotry.”
Then, the series of homophobic statements if not dire warnings bordering around ignorance continues. With the passage of the SOGIE Bill, “women’s safety and privacy are being threatened”, “say goodbye to some of our most basic freedoms, such as our freedom of speech, conscience, religion and association”, “we will conform to an ideology based on feelings rather than fact or logic”, “regardless of how they (referring to the LGBTQIA+ community) self identify, they are already equal before the law”. And one that really threw me off is this: with the passage of the SOGIE Bill, the Filipino people will “sacrifice truths and common sense.” This, of course, is a total drift from the usual Biblequoting verses that most rightist religious fundamentalist espouse to argue against the human rights of the LGBTQUIA+ community.
To unpack each of the homophobic statements bordering on ignorance will probably take several generations of teaching, and a continued, consistent and a driven individual and collective effort from the whole LGBTQIA+ community and their allies.
However, the root of this non if not antibiology paradigm is the thinking that the whole spectrum and complexity of human sexuality, and sexuality in general, is only based on a binary, that is, there is only “the male” and “the female” (the Adam and the Eve or the penis and the vagina paradigm) existing or should be existing on this planet. Even biology dismisses this over simplification of human sexuality. And biology is not the only science that supports the understanding of the diversity not only of human sexuality, but sexuality in general in the whole animal kingdom.
Moreover, studies upon studies on sexual orientation and identity point to diversity rather than a binary. The physical, social and behavioral sciences all register the diversity and complexity of human sexuality. To reject this is not only subscribing to a fallacy of oversimplification, but is also a great loss on the appreciation of the complexity of human reality and existence. And worst, this binary thinking brings with it the machinery of discrimination, human rights violations, violence, even death to those that do not conform.
But the force of history, just like the civil and human rights movement of the black community in Africa or in the US, is on the side of the LGBTQIA+ community. Almost on a daily basis, just as the heightened homophobia crumbles, this binary paradigm of human sexuality is increasingly exposed in broad daylight for what it is: a deadly, damaging, and a killing machine myth.
The actress-LGBTQUIA+ advocate Anne Hathaway captured this wisdom at the Human Right Campaign forum: “This myth is wrong, but this myth is too real for too many. It is ancient, so it is trusted. It is a habit, so it’s assumed to be the way things are. It is inherited, so its thought immutable. Its consequences are dangerous because it prioritizes a certain kind of body, a certain kind of skin color, and does not value in the same way anything it deems to be other to itself. It is a myth that is with us from birth, and it is a myth that keeps money and power in the hands of a few instead of being invested in the lives of the free.”
Yes Xavier, there is an assigned vagina or penis or both when people are born. But this should not lead us to believe that human sexuality is or can be reduced to an exclusive of two. Doing so will only lead us to an oppressive life of exclusivity instead of an all embracing inclusivity. Doing so will not only dull our minds, but will restrict spaces of love in our hearts.