“It’s incredible the amount of hate I have received from people who haven’t even read my piece” Agustin Fuentes on the extraordinary response to his recent essay for Scientific American titled, “Here’s Why Human Sex Is Not Binary”. The esteemed anthropologist is keen to point out that although his headline might sound provocative to naysayers, if they only took the short amount of time it takes to read his essay they would quickly discover he is articulating reasonable and valid opinions. “Let me be clear,” he writes, “I am not arguing that differences in sex biology do not matter. They do.” Agustin considers the outrage over his words are the result of ignorance. Willful ignorance. We live in world now where not just lies make headlines but deliberate misinformation is accepted as truth. Questions about sexuality have always been easy targets for the self-appointed morality police to shake their fists at. In the last few years, their fervent rage has managed to bundle the restrictions on women’s bodily autonomy, and target transgender, transsexuality, drag shows, and queerness into one big splodgie goo of disgust. “Sex is confusing” says Agustin Fuentes who discusses his essay in the first half of the show.
Remember the jubilant celebrations when the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples in the United States, have the same legal right to marry as different-sex couples. That was in 2015. Here we are in 2023 and the indignation over same-sex marriage has been overshadowed by transphobia causing hysteria about gender identity and sexuality. In the second half of the show a conversation recorded just after the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling with associate professor of Ancient Roman History, Julie Langford.
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Illustration: Gender sexuality sex symbols – AnonMoos, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons