Debates, Transperson | Crystal clear about gender: – What is really the problem here?

In tonight’s Debate, gender, rights, transgender people and biology were the topics. Among the participants who debated on NRK1 was Professor of Evolutionary Biology Glenn-Peter Sætre.

– Biology is about life, and a key trait is the ability to reproduce. Gender must be understood in that connection, he said.

Watch the video above: Crystal clear about gender: – What is the problem here?

– Biologists define gender based on the type of gametes we produce. There is no middle ground, there is no spectrum. There are two clear categories, and that is how it is all over the animal kingdom, he continued.

– The male body and the female body are different, and need different medicine. Biological gender is important, and not just for how one feels, he added.

Aleksander Sørlie, who is a trans person and leader of the Patient Organization for Gender Incongruence (PKI), answers:

– There is no one in the trans movement who denies this. What we question is the extent to which it is actually the case that today we divide our society based on these gametes, Sørlie said.

The biologist replied that when he went into this matter, he was presented with a different model of thought:

– There you completely ignored biology, and defined gender based on what you experience yourself to be. And we can define the world that way, but it has some negative consequences, says Sætre, and refers to some of what was raised in the Debate, including how to understand women, in prisons, women’s sports and in changing rooms.

– We can not fail to see that there are actually areas of conflict, Sætre concluded.

– What is the problem?

The Minister of Culture and Gender Equality, Anette Trettebergstuen, also spoke in the debate. She was clear in her case when she received questions from host Solvang about these conflict areas:

– There are practical areas where it is possible to find a solution, but I think: What exactly is the problem here? The biologist is right, but FRI is also right. Most are born male or female, and there are two biological sexes, but then we have a group of very few people – and this is the actual reality that the biologist here is concerned with – who do not feel at home within those gender categories.

And then we have to ask ourselves one question, says the Minister for Gender Equality:

– How should we as a large society take care of the people who, because they do not feel at home in those gender categories, live bad, unfree lives and experience being marginalized, have poor living conditions, are often suicidal and are discriminated against? asks Trettebergstuen, before answering herself:

– For me, it is quite obvious that it does not go beyond anyone, neither women’s nor other people’s rights, that these people get the respite they want by being able to define themselves as a third gender category. We do not create more biological sexes by doing so. We give people who do not fit into the existing categories a separate sanctuary, and that should not be a problem, Trettebergstuen concludes.


Before the broadcast, the Debatten editorial staff received criticism on social media. Solvang responded to that criticism after the broadcast, and you can read it here.

One of those who criticized was former SNU (Sexual Policy Network for Youth) leader and professional adviser in Skeiv Youth, Sol Stenslie.

– I think Solvang and the editorial staff were more nuanced in the debate itself, she says, and adds:

– I also think the editors and Solvang should get kudos for opening the broadcast by pointing out the terrible statistics related to the living conditions survey for transgender people in Norway. Such as, for example, that 1 in 3 transgender people have been raped and that 1 in 3 transgender people have tried to take their own life.

She adds:

– I understand that Solvang and the editorial staff will provoke before a debate to create buzz before their broadcast, but it should not be at the expense of facts.

Stenslie praises Trettebergstuen:

– Trettebergstuen made an excellent effort. That the Minister for Gender Equality enriches the debate by explaining that intersex also exists when the counter-debaters were obsessed with talking about biological gender and the bisexual model. The best thing was that she, like Jentoft and Sørlie (two transgender people in the Debate, jour.anm.) Could confirm that giving human rights to minorities does not come at the expense of the majority’s rights, says Stenslie.

Also Ingerid Oppedal Dowerdock, who criticized the Debate and received a response from Solvang on Instagram before the broadcast, was pleased to see the actual broadcast. She also highlights Trettebergstuen:

– I think Solvang was good. He held his tongue in his mouth and appeared respectful. I liked that he made follow-up comments or questions to the most unreasonable statements. I liked that Trettebergstuen was so very clear, and that Alexander (Sørlie, jour.anm.) And Christine (Jentoft, jour.anm.) Were so good at arguing, says Dowerdock to Nettavisen.

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