The sex binary is a form of hierarchy and oppression. Sex, in of itself, are categories made by other people to impose ideas of gender onto a person based on something as simple as their genitals. Penises and vaginas are not inherently gendered. They exist in a state of objectness until the person they are attached to determine what their gender is. Penises are not inherently male and vaginas are not inherently female. This goes against the basic biology 101 that many people are taught, but bear with me.
Sex is much more complicated than just penises and vaginas. Sex is a combination of primary sex characteristics (penises and vaginas), chromosomes, hormones, secondary sex characteristics (breasts, body hair, etc), and several other categories. Basically, sex is not something as simple as penis = male and vagina = female. While this is generally true, this is not always the case.
There are XY cis women who exist, XX cis men, cis men who have vaginas (due to childhood mutilation), and various other forms of intersex people. These people bring light to the outdated idea that sex is based on genitals, just as trans* people do. Trans* people challenge the very notion of the sex binary.
I’ve written a couple articles about my vagina (such as Gender: Peacock) and how my vagina is a male vagina because it is attached to me, a man. This does not mean all vaginas are male either. Vaginas can be male, female, neither, a combination, any combination of genders that exist. Penises are the same way. Note the trend that these organs exist separate from identity until someone applies an identity to them.
Normally, the labeling of one’s body is done by doctors at birth. These assumptions as to whether the child is male or female is done on the basis of their genitals. What about a person, assigned female at birth, has a vagina, is XY, and identifies as male? Sex is complicated and just as varied and gray scale as gender and sexuality. The lines are blurry and crisscross across each other like the neurons in our brains, and probably just as complicated.
‘Biological sex’ is something that is often used to oppress and assert dominance over identity as well. Someone’s ‘biological sex’ is often used to remind someone that they really aren’t their actual and identified gender, but what someone else deems them to be. ‘Biological sex’ also is used against cis people, especially cis women, to remind them that their vaginas make them weak, should bear children, that they need to be nurturing, caring, and sensitive.
‘Biological sex’ is an outdated category that is used to stereotype and oppress people, on the basis of organs that are not inherently gendered. We do not gender spleens, hearts, or lungs, why should we gender penises and vaginas? It is used to cram people into tiny boxes of a cissexist and sexist society that use these ‘biological truths’ to oppress and marginalize people. The attempt to categorize people by their genitals is a way to erase and disprove trans* people’s identities and to entirely erase the existence of the millions of people in the world who exist in the grays and outside of these boxes.
‘Biological sex’ is used to polarize issues, exclude people, as well as marginalize, oppress, and erase people and their very real existences. The basic idea of ‘biological sex’ categories people according to organs that are not inherently one way or another and imposes identities that may or may not be correct as determined by someone onto someone who cannot even talk in the beginning. This does not mean that those who identify with what they are assigned with at birth, it means that those who do not are equally valid and correct. Penises and vaginas are not inherently one gender due to what someone else says they are. By stating that they are biologically male or female, people are imposing cissexist ideas onto others, even if they do not mean to be cissexist. The idea of ‘biological sex’ or ‘real sex’ is inherently cissexist because it imposes that biology and the person’s own classification are trumped by the ideas of other people.
Yes, ‘sex’ differences exist. Penises and vaginas exist. However, these organs are not inherently male or inherently female. There are female penises and male vaginas. Why does one doctor override the person and other doctors in this instance? What makes a penis or vagina all powerful over identity in this ONE small instance? What happened to bodily autonomy? Penises just happen to be typically on men. Vaginas just happen to typically be on women. That doesn’t make it an absolute truth. Penises could have easily been originally categorized as female. Same with vaginas and being categorized as male. Sex, as two distinct categories that are black/white and binary, was created by people. It is not scientific. The existence of penises and vaginas is scientific. There is scientific proof that penises can be female and vaginas can be male (or neither/both/fluid/etc.) and that is scientific fact because trans* people exist. They exist. Their gender/identity is not. That is personal. The only reason people say penises are male is because of someone said, this will be this category and that will be that category. This includes all aspects of ‘sex’. Just because they are typically one way does not make it an automatic truth.
In this modern age, where biology isn’t destiny and does not define people, ‘biological sex’ has no place. ‘Biological sex’ is an archaic dinosaur that people continue to bring into existence by believing it is something that is absolute despite the contrary being true. Penises are just that, penises. Vaginas are just that, vaginas. Like any other organ, they are not inherently anything besides what they are, organs with specific names.