What happens if I self-identify as someone who doesn't believe you're trans-gendered?
Couldn't I say that you disagreeing with me is bigoted, maybe even prejudiced?
~facepalm~ That's like asking if it's bigoted to take issue with a racist being racist...
Altough... Taking what you said literally actually makes no sense whatsoever. That's like pointing at a cat and saying "I don't believe that's a cat".
Poor choice of words, to say the least... >_>
Though in general I see little reason to be tolerant of intolerance. Although that position is of course a paradox if taken literally. (if you're intolerant of intolerance you end up being intolerant of yourself...)
Anyway, tolerating the right of someone to be a dick to others for some arbitrary reason just doesn't seem like a good idea.
Can we stop making sex and gender be the exact same thing?
I think that only serves to over complicate things. Sex is the physical, biological aspect of what you are - male or female - while gender is the mental, psychological aspect. They tie together but aren't the same.
You can be the feminine gender all day as much as you want, but that'll never make you the female sex - in context of the lion suckling example provided in the OP.
Not the best example, given that there's demonstrated proof of men lactating under various circumstances.
I don't find it an especially compelling argument either, given how it demands an entirely functional concept of what a person's sex is.
Does this mean post-menopausal women aren't female? Are men who have lost their genitals in some kind of accident no longer male? Because the logic of what you just said definitely implies it.
Although, if you take it as an aggregate of everything together that makes someone male or female, then you couldn't attain a full change, but you could arguably attain a statistically significant biological change, where it becomes increasingly absurd to maintain that position...
Biology, especially with a subject like this is far from absolute. There's a lot of middle ground, and the harder you try to make an obvious binary situation out of it, the more absurd the reasoning starts to get.
So really, can a person change their biological sex is more of a philosophical or ideological question than a scientific one. Because the belief in such a distinct either/or binary definition of sex isn't particularly scientific, and can only result from picking and choosing your definitions in rather arbitrary ways.
For instance, according to the fundamental cellular definition, a female cell is one capable of unaided self-replication. While a male cell is one that has become too small to still divide itself, and must rely on another cell to do so.
That doesn't sound all that confusing, until your realise that almost ALL cells are female by this definition...
Follow through with the implications of that, and you have to wonder how a being composed of cells that are almost entirely female can ever be male...
There are of course other definitions too... Genetics. Where in humans, one of the chromosome pairs varies between the sexes, and the female will typically have an XX pair, and the male XY.
Though... The Y chromosome is a degenerate X chromosome that has become almost non-functional, so in fact nearly all the genetic information that controls the process that turns a foetus into a male or a female is spread through the entire genome, and the Y chromosome acts as little more than an 'on' switch.
Which of course brings us to the developmental process where a foetus initially develops a combination of ambiguous and dual genital structures (some, such as the gonads and erectile tissue are the same structure initially, but develop differently under the influence of prenatal hormone exposure. Others, such as the Wolffian ducts and Müllerian ducts initially develop in everyone, but depending on which sex the foetus ends up being, one develops into various structures, and the other attrophies)
The nearly the entire sexual development process is dictated by prenatal exposure to testosterone...
And hormonal exposure during puberty completes the process and develops the secondary sexual characteristics that adults have, but children lack...
Given how complex this process is, how many elements does it take before you can claim someone is or is not a member of a given sex?
Sure, you can pick something specific, but that leads to weird convoluted situations, or definitions that are absurd even in the majority situation.
-Genetics? That's an invisible trait, and most people would have no clue what their genetic code actually says they are. They would be working it out in reverse from more obvious physical traits... (which raises the question of why even bother with the genetics if that's not what you're using in the first place)
-Reproductive ability? That's just one whole big can of worms considering all the various reasons someone can be entirely infertile. And besides which it would mean the only way to conclusively prove someone's sex is if they had a child...
Presence of reproductive cells of a specific type? Less problematic, but there's still a lot of room to exclude lots of people from being anything at all?
-Genitals? ... OK, how do you define what any given sex's genitals are meant to look like? And what do you do with surgically created genitals, whose appearance may not be distinguishable from anyone else's except to experts? Even then, what does it really prove one way or another if they ARE surgically created? After all, if it's being used as a defining characteristic, how can it be argued that changing what's there doesn't also change what physical sex you are?
-Other sexually dimorphic characteristics... This is even worse, because depending on what you're using, you could define a lot of people as something that by current logic would make no sense. (manboobs, anyone?). If you use a combination of traits, you end up right back where you started, because that's ambiguous. If you measure 8 traits, and 4 imply one thing, and 4 the other, what then?
- behaviour... Don't even get started on this... To begin with behaviour is one of the least stable things here. Even if a person has some instincts related to their sex, amongst populations as a whole most such traits would vary considerably, and people could even hide or alter them on purpose with considerably less effort than physical traits...
Anyway, I have to wonder why people are so convinced you can't change biological sex. Have those of you so certain of this actually really considered what your implied definitions would have to be to make that true?
You either have to have some really misleading and problematic definitions, or worse, you don't have a clear definition at all, and keep changing what your definition is (either because you don't really know what it should be, or deliberately for some ideologically based reason)
But that's just it. It's an ideological or philosophical point, nothing more.
Depending on what you choose to make your definition of what male and female are, you may change who does and does not belong to either category. But regardless, edge cases are inevitable, and there really isn't any way to claim your specific definition is valid even in a biological sense.
(besides which, lots of people have a tendency to point out things as biological fact that are provably untrue. Such as... Men being unable to breastfeed. Which simply isn't true in the slightest. It's not easy to make it possible, and it's questionable whether it's a good idea to do it even if you can, but that's a completely different issue to stating it to be outright impossible)
Anyway, I just wish more people could admit that their definition is not some kind irrefutable fact.
Quite the opposite.
You can't really discuss something if people insist on treating something as factual that isn't.
My definition of sex is somewhat arbitrary. But, so is yours. They likely have some
basis in biological fact, but the nature of sex as a concept inherently renders it impossible to have a single 'correct' definition.
Some definitions are certainly less problematic than others, but that still doesn't make them factual rather than ideological in nature.
It is what it is. It shouldn't matter anyway, unless it rubs up against some practical concern.
And the only real practical concern I can think of with regard to the question of what a transgender person is, (or isn't), is where the subject of having children comes in.
Which... Honestly, largely comes down to the same questions you'd be faced if you found your partner turned out to be completely infertile.
The reasons are likely to be different, but the issues are largely the same....
Aside from that every other aspect of arguing about whether they are male or female is of little to no relevance in any biological sense anyway. It's a social and cultural issue...