This Biology Teacher Used Science To Shut Down Transphobia

If you're enraged by the garbage meme floating around Facebook claiming that it's a "psychological disorder" to identify with a gender different from the one you were born with, you're not the only one.
Sick of seeing the meme make the rounds, biology teacher Grace Pokela decided to use actual science to issue an expert clapback that's now gone viral. On Thursday, Pokela took to Facebook to post an exposition explaining why human genetics just doesn't work the way that this meme claims.
"You can be male because you were born female, but you have 5-alpha reductase deficiency and so you grew a penis at age 12," she wrote. "You can be female because you have an X and a Y chromosome but you are insensitive to androgens, and so you have a female body."
"Don't use science to justify your bigotry," she concluded. "The world is way too weird for that shit."
Pokela, who teaches at Arlington High School in Lagrangeville, told The Huffington Post that she felt compelled to respond because of the amount of people who she felt "manipulated facts" to fit their own agendas. The information presented in the meme, she said, made it clear that it was made by someone who "wasn’t a scientist or an educator, and in fact had no interest in science."
"The fact that a group of people would deny evolution, deny global warming, and deny basic principals of ecology but then turn around and use science to support their bigotry was something I found repellent," she told HuffPo.
Since Pokela posted her response on Thursday, it has gone viral, amassing over 44,000 reactions and 28,000 shares at the time of writing. And while her post has received some negative comments, the response has mostly been overwhelmingly positive, and she's glad to have changed at least one mind.
"I had someone say that I had changed her mind," she said. "I’m paraphrasing, but she basically said, ‘Before today, my heart wasn’t transphobic, but my mind was. You made something click for me today.’ That was incredibly special."
Ultimately, Pokela just hopes that her post will help others feel more empowered.
"Seriously, if you are ignorant about something, please err on the side of tolerance," she said.

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