The New York Times

Why Sex Is Not Binary

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.

THE COMPLEXITY IS MORE THAN CULTURAL. IT’S BIOLOGICAL, TOO.

Two sexes have never been enough to describe human variety. Not in biblical times and not now. Before we knew much about biology, we made social rules to administer sexual diversity. The ancient Jewish rabbinical code known as the Tosefta, for example, sometimes treated people who had male and female parts (such as testes and a vagina) as women — they could not inherit property or serve as priests; at other times, as men — forbidding them from shaving or being

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from The New York Times

The New York Times5 min readSociety
Why the Oscars, Emmys and Tonys Are Not Ready for They and Them
Sam Smith, the British crooner with a voice often described as heaven sent, announced in September that “my pronouns are they/them.” Days later, the Brit Awards, which had nominated Smith for top male artist earlier in the year, said the categories w
The New York Times4 min read
Exercise Advice for Surviving Cancer, and Maybe Avoiding It
New guidelines say exercise may help cancer patients live longer, or help you avoid getting cancer in the first place.
The New York Times5 min readPolitics
How Deutsche Bank Hired Its Way to the Top in China
Numerous corporations have been fined in recent years for misconduct. The question is whether the large penalties deter bad behavior. Corporations cannot seem to avoid misconduct. Ford Motor recently announced a criminal probe of its emissions and fu