Instigator / Pro

Resolved: Human gender is not binary


Waiting for the contender's second argument.

The round will be automatically forfeited in:

More details
Publication date
Last update date
Time for argument
Two weeks
Voting system
Open voting
Voting period
Two months
Point system
Four points
Rating mode
Characters per argument
Contender / Con
~ 610 / 5,000


1. Opening arguments only
2. Rebuttals only
3. Defense
4. Closing argument

The resolution is self-explanatory. My opponent must prove that human gender is binary (either male or female, no in between) while I must show the opposite. BoP is evenly shared.

The time limit between replies is 2-weeks. If special circumstances arise, one side may ask the other to wait out his or her remaining time. If one side explicitly concedes or violates any of these terms, then all seven points will be awarded to the other. By accepting this challenge, you agree to these terms.

The burden of proof is shared.

Round 1
Thank you, Sum1hugme, for accepting this debate. I apologize for the delay in my opening statements. 

There are two primary methods of determining biological sex: by the chromosomes and by the genitalia. If I could show that both methods are foundationally flawed, I win this debate. 

1. Chromosomes

Males generally have XY chromosomes and females generally have XX chromosomes. However, chromosomal anomalies do exist. Here are just a few:

XY Female syndrome: An abnormality where a person with female body parts have a copy of the Y chromosome [1]
XXX Female [2]
Turner syndrome (X): Where one copy of the X chromosome is missing 

Nature, one of the world's most prestigious scientific peer review journals, notes [3]: 

"biology is not as straightforward as the proposal suggests. By some estimates, as many as one in 100 people have differences or disorders of sex development, such as hormonal conditions, genetic changes or anatomical ambiguities, some of which mean that their genitalia cannot clearly be classified as male or female. For most of the twentieth century, doctors would often surgically alter an infant’s ambiguous genitals to match whichever sex was easier, and expect the child to adapt. Frequently, they were wrong. A 2004 study tracked 14 genetically male children given female genitalia; 8 ended up identifying as male, and the surgical intervention caused them great distress (W. G. Reiner and J. P. Gearhart N. Engl. J. Med. 350, 333–341; 2004)." 
If we look at the chromosomes, then there are at least 3 different biological genders. 

2. Genitals 

Intersex people exist. Hermaphroditism is a condition where one has both male and female body parts. Here is a case reported in the APSP Journal of Case Reports [4]:

True hermaphrodite is one of the rarest variety of disorders of sexual differentiation (DSD) and represents only 5% cases of all. A 3-year-old child presented with left sided undescended testis and penoscrotal hypospadias. Chordee correction was performed 18 months back, elsewhere. At laparotomy Mullerian structures were present on left side. On right side testis was normally descended into the scrotum. 
The issue of defining biological gender has been known for mellinia. The Talmud, for example, notes 4 different genders besides male and female [5]: 

(1) An Androginus (a hermaphrodite, who has both male and female reproductive organs) is similar to men in some ways and to women in other ways, in some ways to both and in some ways to neither.
(2) Tumtum: A person whose sexual characteristics are indeterminate or obscured. 181 references in Mishna and Talmud; 335 in classical midrash and Jewish law codes.
(3) Ay’lonit: A person who is identified as “female” at birth but develops “male” characteristics at puberty and is infertile. 80 references in Mishna and Talmud; 40 in classical midrash and Jewish law codes.
(4) Saris: A person who is identified as “male” at birth but develops “female” characteristics as puberty and/or is lacking a penis. A saris can be “naturally” a saris (saris hamah), or become one through human intervention (saris adam). 156 references in Mishna and Talmud; 379 in classical midrash and Jewish law codes.


Biological sex is sometimes difficult to determine. Whether you look at chromosomes or genitals, the evidence shows that the human gender cannot fit neatly into only males or females. The resolution is affirmed. 

  Thank you David for this topic. Since this round is for constructives, this will be short: 


  When it comes to determining the gender of an individual, we may consider the Chromosomal composition in conjunction with reproductive organs. Additionally, Males produce a smaller sex cell than Females (such as pollen or sperm). There are other factors that can be used to determine the sex of an individual. As a matter of fact, there are so many differences between men and women that after a thorough examination, any human could be identified as one or the other [1].

  I'm sure I'll think of something else after I publish, but for now, back to you David!

Round 2
Thank you. I believe I refuted all of those arguments in my opening round. The chromosomal issue is thoroughly refuted by the fact that the XX/XY diagram is false. Those with XY chromosomes can have female characteristics and a person with XX can have male characteristics. Moreover, there are many other chromosomal variants. If the type of chromosomes dictates gender, then gender can not be binary. 
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Round 3
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Round 4
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Round 5
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