One of the main tenets of transgenderism is that gender is merely a social construct, not a biological reality. It follows that a person born a woman can actually become male or vice versa with little pushback or fanfare.

Though it focuses mainly on child’s play, new research debunks the idea that there are not gender differences. It might also debunk some of these ideas surrounding transgender transitions.

A new study published in the “Infant and Child Development Journal” just last November examined a meta-analysis of research that reviewed 16 different studies on the topic of gender differences of about 1,600 children altogether, and found that innate biology seems to influence boys and girls’ toy choices. What’s more, this seemed to span across all countries, whether high or low on the “Gender Inequality Index.” Brenda Todd, a study co-author and senior lecturer in psychology at City University London, says, “The size of sex differences in children’s preferences for male-typed and female-typed toys did not appear to be smaller in studies conducted in more egalitarian countries.”

Quartz reported on this study.

This runs counter to the popular narrative that gender differences expressed in childhood play are determined entirely by social expectations. Social factors certainly do have influence, and the paper found evidence of this: For example, as boys got older they were increasingly likely to play with conventionally male toys, reflecting the impact of environmental rather than biological causes. But overall, the data reflect broader findings in psychology, which show that biology and society interact to cause gendered behavior. In other words, contrary to the popular progressive belief, gender is partly socially constructed—but it’s not just a social construct.

It’s hard not to read this and expand this to the gender debate — about whether boys and girls boast innate differences — to the transgender debate. After all, if biology is innate, it might suggest that transgenders choose to change due to dysphoria rather than some act of transcending a socially constructed gender binary. A highlighted portion from the published study itself reads: “Despite methodological variation in the choice and number of toys offered, context of testing, and age of child, the consistency in finding sex differences in children's preferences for toys typed to their own gender indicates the strength of this phenomenon and the likelihood that has a biological origin.”

This study shows what many parents already know: Boys and girls have innate differences and any “social construct” surrounding gender is due to those preferences, not the other way around. To take this a step further, this doesn’t mean men and women don’t struggle with their biological gender — dysphoria is very real — but it doesn’t mean transitioning is healthy or the most helpful reaction to that, or that we should indulge personal claims of gender fluidity.

Nicole Russell is a contributor to the Washington Examiner's Beltway Confidential blog. She is a journalist in Washington, D.C., who previously worked in Republican politics in Minnesota. She was the 2010 recipient of the American Spectator's Young Journalist Award.

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