The indomitable Dr. Charles Roseman and I have a commentary out in Scientific American. In it we discuss the ever-controversial topic of sex and gender. We present a question first framework, as the questions should drive the ways in which we operationalize sex. We contend that a strict sex binary is useful in some circumstances (evolutionary questions about sexual reproduction or utilizing historical demographic data, for example), but in others it is inadequate (e.g., associations between the sexes, hormones, and athletic performance).
We also discuss why non-human comparisons are not particularly helpful in the current debates, and suggest that “Scientists like us would do well to embrace intellectual humility and listen carefully before deciding that any one definition of sex is useful for understanding the living world.”
Thank you to Kate Wong for working with us on this commentary