Exclusive: Professor says he can’t give a ‘biological’ definition of a woman

Daily Caller News Foundation

  • Michael Sawey, professor of biology at Texas Christian University, told students in his “Contemporary Issues in Biology” class Thursday that he could not give them a “biological answer” for the word woman.
  • “Some would argue that ‘do we even have to decide,’ again that’s not a question for this class but it is an interesting question I think, so I’m not really giving you an answer,” Sawey said in a video obtained by the Daily Caller News Foundation.
  • A slide from the class presentation discussed “gender identity” and said that “feelings about your gender identity begin as early as age 2 or 3.”

A biology professor at Texas Christian University (TCU) told students that he could not give them “a biological answer” when a student asked what is a woman during his biology class.

Professor Michael Sawey and was teaching his students about “gender identity” in his Contemporary Issues in Biology class Thursday. In a video obtained by the Daily Caller News Foundation, Sawey says that he doesn’t “really have a biological answer” after a student asked him what the definition of a woman was.

“That is something that is going to depend on the culture,” Sawey said in the video. “Some would argue that ‘do we even have to decide,’ again that’s not a question for this class but it is an interesting question I think, so I’m not really giving you an answer. I don’t really have a biological answer to give you because it’s about gender which is not biology.”

The class was discussing the topic of gender identity and terms such as “cisgender” and “transgender.” One of the slides of Sawey’s presentation obtained by the DCNF said that “feelings about your gender identity begin as early as age 2 or 3” and that “some” people may not identify with either male or female.

Screenshot from classroom slideshow presentation / provided by TCU student to the Daily Caller News Foundation

The student who asked Sawey told the DCNF that they raised the question because of Matt Walsh’s documentary titled “What Is A Woman,” where the Daily Wire political commentator goes around asking various professors, doctors and regular people if they can tell him the definition of a woman.

“I’m a huge Matt Walsh fan and [I] love his documentary, so it kind of just came to me,” the student said. “So I typed in the chatbox ‘so what is a woman.”

The student said Sawey’s answer was “absurd” and that the professor attempted to normalize separating gender from biological sex.

“I think he really tried to make it seem like it has always been this way, but the reality is this is a recent, new idea by people on the Left,” the student said. “That is crazy to think otherwise.”

Sawey said his statements were “taken out of context” but based on “facts, not opinions” in a statement to the DCNF.

“I was trying to precisely define two different terms (biological sex vs gender),” Sawey said. “We use the terms male/female to refer to biological sex. The terms man and woman refer to gender. This is a biology class, so we focus on biology. Gender norms may change as a culture or society changes, but that is independent of the underlying biology.”

The student explained that Sawey had covered several issues during the class including “prostate cancer, pregnancy and abortion. When speaking about abortion, the student explained that Sawey told his class to trust his views on abortion because he was a biology professor, but said it struck them as strange that he couldn’t give a definition of a woman but could explain the biological components of abortion.

“He kind of prefaced the lecture with ‘we are going to be talking about some other topics, but my job here is just to present you with the facts from a biological standpoint,’ but then he goes on to lecture for 20 minutes about gender and how it’s not a biological construct,” the student told DCNF.

In the same class, Sawey also talked about how some people try to “erase” individuals who don’t fit inside of the traditional gender norms, according to the student. Sawey said that the best way to handle situations where someone is conflicted about their gender identity is to “err on the side of compassion, [instead of] judgement and hate,” according to the student.

TCU did not respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.

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