What is ‘sex’?

Last year, a transsexual named Jenna Talackova was disqualified (but was able to compete again after taking this case to court) from the 2010 Miss Universe pageant.

In Christine Delphy’s article, she explains the difference between sex versus gender; Sex describes the genitalia and sexual functions to procreate while gender describes what culture and social roles considers masculine or feminine. Jenna does not have the male genitalia anymore but she is not able to procreate.

What about the men and women who are sterile? Are they not considered a man or women because they cannot procreate?  Our culture sees Jenna as a female; she presents herself in a feminine form. She attempted to compete in what society would consider a female activity. Being put on hormone therapy for over five years should mean she has developed completely (since the rule for athletes is, I believe, a minimum of three years of hormone therapy). In both aspects, Jenna should, without a doubt, always be considered a woman.


Hopefully, all the unnecessary controversy brought light onto the transgender community and encouraged more to be bold and proud of who they are.


Delphy, Christine. “Rethinking Sex and Gender.” Ed. Carole R. McCann and Seung-Kyung Kim.Feminist Theory Reader: Local and Global Perspectives. New York: Routledge, 2003. Print.


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