The recent editorial on single-sex restrooms for restaurants (May 22) makes two scientifically inaccurate assumptions. First, human beings are not naturally divided into two biological categories — male and female. 
Approximately 1 in 100 people are born intersexuals (hermaphrodites), that is, people whose bodies differ in some way from standard male or female bodies. Intersexuals may have XXX, XXY, or XYY chromosomes (rather than the more common XY chromosomes), or they may have ambiguous genitalia.
The International Olympic Committee abolished “sex tests” before the 2000 Olympics with the approval of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, which described the tests as unfair, discriminatory, and based upon flawed assumptions about gender. 
Second, biology does not determine whether people are male or female. 
Scientists know that maleness and femaleness are socially constructed. 
People determine whether others are male or female many times a day without any knowledge of their chromosomes or their genitals. When a person enters a restaurant and is classified as a woman by everyone present based on her external physical appearance, no one knows anything about her chromosomes or genitals. That person’s femaleness is a social fact.
I suggest that it would be much more disruptive if that person were to use a men’s room, rather than a women’s room.
I also suggest that it would be much more tolerant and open-minded to let that person use a women’s room, rather than challenge women to demonstrate their femaleness by presenting some form of biological proof.
Loring Danforth, Lewiston


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