Queer Trivia - How can you turn a monkey into a transgender?

Some views about primates in drag and wisdom.

Tony Fauci, I believe, is the person I should ask. Even after the Great Puppy Outrage of 2021, the NIAID pope and Facebook aunt heartthrob is said to have had no second thoughts regarding his organization's support of...questionable studies. Per the Washington Free Beacon:

Dr. Anthony Fauci’s division of the National Institutes of Health paid over $200,000 during the coronavirus pandemic for researchers to study why transgender women have high rates of HIV by injecting male monkeys with female hormones.

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) in December 2021 gave Scripps Research $205,562 for the study, which aims to determine why transgender women have high rates of HIV. As part of the study, researchers subject male monkeys to feminizing hormone therapy to study how it impacts the monkeys’ immune systems, according to the National Institutes of Health.

The enemy of my enemy is my friend. Here’s PETA on the subject:

[The] proposed experiment…will subject male rhesus macaques to feminizing hormone therapy to see whether that makes them more susceptible to HIV, purportedly to help transgender women. But rather than holding a proper clinical study with willing human patients that would yield relevant information, these experimenters have decided to use monkeys, who can’t become infected with HIV. It’s just bad science to suggest that dosing monkeys with feminizing medication makes them good stand-ins for humans.

PETA correctly recognizes that the proposal is illogical. But this senselessness extends beyond the simple reality that AIDS research cannot be conducted in a species that does not get the disease. My first inquiry was not meant to be taken seriously. How can you turn a monkey into a transgender? You can't do it. As I wrote a few months back:

What we call gender is real and actually, in a way, more dignified than sex. It is the way that sex—a fundamental feature of who we are as human animals—affects our higher lives as social and spiritual beings. It is an elevation of bodily facts into tradition, a carefully held and transmitted way to habituate our understanding of who and what we are.

That isn't something monkeys have. Gender is a uniquely human trait that is determined by a combination of physical and social factors. A monkey that has been pumped full of estrogen is just that: a monkey who has been pumped full of estrogen. A man who has been pumped full of estrogen is significantly more complicated.

Gender-bending monkeys aren't required to explain why gender-bending males get HIV and develop AIDS at astronomically greater rates than the normal population. Various behaviors result in various effects. As a result, structured outcomes are associated with groups characterized by certain sets of behaviors. (In 2022, this is the type of common wisdom that will get you kicked out of polite society.)

I'm not sure how this—doping Rhesus monkeys with feminizing hormones to attempt to give them AIDS—is supposed to help the great cause of dignity for trans women, as I'm sure it is for most individuals who aren't employed by the federal bureaucracy. The project is, if anything, exceedingly hazardous to the transgender agenda. When the experiment fails to generate the expected result (as it undoubtedly will), it may raise unwanted concerns.

And this at a time when American society's glass ceilings are finally being broken by male-to-female transitioners. Dr. Rachel Levine (née Richard) is a four-star officer in the most elite of the uniformed services and the United States Assistant Secretary of Health. Caitlyn Jenner (a former Olympian) came close to becoming the governor of California. And Amy Schneider, a born-male engineer with a jawline to die for, is breaking records night after night on Jeopardy!

Mr. Schneider is being marketed to the public as a fearless female leader. In truth, he's a squinty-eyed and unsettling figure who makes for unappealing evening viewing. His carefully honed set of quasi-feminine tics—the slightly tilted head; the wide, unblinking stare; the manufactured voice and stringy, shoulder-length hair; the proudly worn pearl necklace given to him by his girlfriend (because "every lady needs a string of pearls")—all add to the undeniable impression that something is wrong here. If Amy's streak on television has one redeeming quality, it's that he injects a much-needed injection of testosterone onto the Jeopardy! stage during Ken Jennings' temporary tenure as host.

To be fair, every long-running Jeopardy! Champ is unforgivably irritating in his own way. Jennings, who first appeared on the show in 2004 as a celebrity competitor for 74 days, has an unsettling aura about him. (Can you tell me what Backpfeifengesicht is?) Buzzy Cohen is precisely what you'd expect from an adult who prefers to be called "Buzzy." I actually forgot to add Brad Rutter on this list, despite the fact that he is the highest-winning competitor ever; that's really all you need to know. James Holzhauer is a lifeless robot with an oddly toothy smile that I wished would not emerge on my TV the next night at 7:55. Matt Amodio is a Yalie who is apparently unable to utter the rather simple words “Who is…” And let’s not forget that Tom Nichols won five times.

Surprisingly, the one first-rate player who isn't obnoxious is the one and only woman on Jeopardy! Julia Collins, who won 20 games in a row in the spring of 2014, was inducted into the Hall of Fame. This, however, is the exception rather than the rule. Almost every other notable player in the game's history has been a guy in some capacity.

And this makes sense—again, the type of common sense that may get you kicked out of polite society. Because humans aren't just monkeys, there are distinctions between male and female that go beyond physical appearance. As a quantitative matter, it has been shown repeatedly that the kind of broad knowledge that games like Jeopardy! test is far more pronounced in boys and men than in women and girls. General knowledge has been primarily a male domain since Adam named the animals. This is a fact not of sex, but of gender—the nexus between our social and our biological selves. That can't be reduced to a statement about chromosomes or hormones, and it can't be totally overcome either.

On the one hand, the fact that the highest-winning lady in Jeopardy! history is a guy is a bizarre insult to truth. On the other hand, it's appropriate.

I'm working on a grant application that I'd want to submit to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). I'm asking for half a million dollars to inject some monkeys with estrogen and see whether they improve their trivia skills. It's not going to work, in my opinion.

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