Archive | June 2015

A Comment About Human Sexual Orientation

This is just personal musings, call it a hypothesis, but one which I neither have the qualifications, nor the personal situation to pursue and verify.

Much has been made of “gay sex” in the animal kingdom and that does occur. There’s lots of same sex activity, especially among us mammals! Over 1500 species have been identified as engaging in same sex activities.

But I raise the question is this really gay sex? Or, as my hypothesis states, are mammals naturally bisexual?

I ask this question because the lions that engage in same sex activities will immediately turn to heterosexual activities if one of those males ascends to leadership of the pride. And the former pride lead, will move to same sex activities after having been engaged in heterosexual activities as well.

What’s going on? I think we’re seeing evidence that animals and especially mammals tend to be bisexual.

I further examine history and non Judeo-Christian-Muslim cultures, and I see a lot of reference to “gay sex” again in cultures like ancient Greece. But was it gay sex exclusively? Or was there a lot of bisexual activity going on? Many of those men famous for having male lovers, also had wives and children and appeared to love and cherish their wives too. Again, this, to me, hints that homo sapiens is naturally bisexual.

So why the heavy emphasis on heterosexuality and homosexuality in Western culture? Because our culture is wrapped around a religious myth about gender binaries and a religion that is often interpreted to look down with disdain towards anything related to non-heterosexual relationships.

I really suspect the “stomping out” of our naturally bisexual tendencies comes from Judeo-Christian-Muslim cultural sources.

I’m not denying that some people will be way over on the homosexual side of the spectrum and that some people will be way over on the heterosexual side of the spectrum. But I really suspect cultural conditioning forces most of us to choose one side or the other, when many of us might really be happy somewhere in that center. And guess what? That would probably look like a more normal bell curve too… hmm… things to think about, right?

As I said, this is simply a personal hypothesis based on reading about heterosexual and homosexual behavior in other species, coupled with reading about both kinds of behavior in non-Judeo-Christian-Muslim cultures historically.

So what is my point? If you think you might be bisexual, my reply would be that I’d tell you to explore it, because that really does, to me, appear to be the normal human default sexual orientation. ūüôā

Yet Another Reply To Those Who Continue to Demean Transgender People

I won’t comment on whether “transracial identity” is a thing or not except to say this – the¬†only reason conservatives raise this issue is to denigrate transgender people.

The two issues are not comparable. These are not apples and apples, but apples and oranges.

First off, “transracial identity” is a phrase that popped onto the radar of everyone just this week, in relation to one single person who has been living as a black woman for years even though she was born very, very white. Race is a completely social construct. We currently have no biological evidence that race is anything other than a social construct. Prior to this week, the term “transracial” was a clinical term restricted to discussing children of one race being adopted and raised by parents of another race, and any mental health issues that might arise therefrom. Now the word has been appropriated by non-professionals who are know-nothings seeking to create a false comparison between transgender and race as identifying characteristics.

On the other hand, there is a wealth of peer reviewed scientific studies that I have referenced elsewhere that demonstrate that being transgender is exactly what the American Psychiatric Association, American Psychological Association, the American Medical Association, and the American College of Physicians all say it is Рa medical condition.

So right off the bat the two things are different. One is not a biological component of self identity so far as we know and the other one, being transgender, is a biological component of self identity, based in white matter brain structures that form and set in a particular gender configuration before birth. Being transgender is recognized as a medical condition and has a standard treatment procedure, often referred to by those within the trans community as “transition”. This treatment procedure and the process of going through it involves hormone therapy, psychological therapy (to deal with the issues of people being assholes, not from being trans itself), and surgeries. “Transracial identity” has no such recognition and no such standard treatment plans.

Therefore why use one, which appears to be about one individual, to compare to the other? I’ll tell you why. Because the behavior of the one individual is seen by many as potentially unstable and disturbed. And comparing the situation of Rachel Dolezal to that of transgender people is an attempt to demean, marginalize, and ostracize transgender people by trying to point out that if Rachel Dolezal is ridiculous then transgender people are ridiculous too.

When you see someone doing this, odds are very high they are someone who has serious issues about transgender people. And they are further also advertising their great big lack of knowledge about the field of transgender studies and treatment today, as well as about human biology. No, Virginia, as I have said before, XX is not female and XY is not male.

And finally, those still arguing that being transgender is a “mental illness” – you are in the deep deep minority among health care professionals in both the mental health care and physical health care arenas.

American Psychiatric Association Position Statement About Transgender Persons

American Psychological Association Position Statement About Transgender Persons

American Medical Association Position Statement About Transgender Persons

American Medical Association 2011 Annual Meeting Webcast Explaining Hormonal In Utero Causes of Being Transgender

American College of Physicians Position Statement About Transgender Persons

Summary of Research About Neurobiological Causes of Being Transgender

Why Conservatives Are Totally Wrong About Caitlyn Jenner

MTF_Brain_Scan_differencesConservatives have been screaming about Caitlyn Jenner for the last few days. They have also been making woefully unscientific statements about gender, claiming anyone with gender identity issues must be mentally ill, and screaming about 5th grade biology, as if XX and XY settled all debate in all cases. Let’s explore the reality of gender versus the conservatives’ childish wish list of what they’d prefer it to be.

The position of the American Psychiatric Association is that gender identity issues are not mental health problems. Caitlyn Jenner is not mentally ill.

The position of the American Medical Association is that being transgender is a medical condition that has a specific neurobiological cause, and can be treated via hormone therapy, surgery, and social transition (which is what Caitlyn Jenner is doing).

The position of the American College of Physicians is identical to that of the AMA.

There are now dozens upon dozens of peer reviewed scientific studies that demonstrate the neurobiological basis for why people are born transgender.

These studies also have helped identify when it happens (in utero) and why it happens. The lack of this basic scientific knowledge of this topic by conservatives is yet another failure of right wing politics and evidence of denial of reality.

Further, gender (and sex which are different things) are not predestined via genetics.

1 in 30,000 females at birth is XY, due to AIS. Do you even know what AIS is and how it produces this effect? These women have female genitalia.

1 in 30,000 females at birth is XY, due to Swyer’s. Do you even know what Swyer’s is and how it produces this effect? These women have female genitalia too.

Most XY females are sterile but some are not. If she gets pregnant, carries to term, and gives birth, is she still a man just because she is XY?

1 in 25,000 males at birth, with penis, testicles, scrotum, the works, is XX, due to de la Chapelle syndrome. If an XX dad fathers a child is he female because he is XX? How absurd!

1 in 600 children at birth is XXY (Klinefelters). For years, doctors assumed Klinefelters were all males because it was the males who had reproductive issues. They someone went and actually looked for XXY females and discovered that they exist too, and usually have no reproductive issues. If a Y chromosome is always male, why do some Klinefelter’s babies become male and some become female?

Hint: Science itself abandoned the use of the Y chromosome as the “male marker” clear back in the early 1970s. The IOC and NCAA followed suit in the 1990s. The simplistic childish XX/XY explanation you got in school was simplistic because you needed a simple explanation of the general case but not all cases. Genes are not destiny. Genes are blueprints and nature can and will implement variations on blueprints rather frequently.

And genitals do not define maleness either. If they do, are you going to tell that young soldier who lost his legs, and his genitals to an IED that he is now a female? Really? Don’t be insulting.

Gender is defined in the white matter structures of the brain. There are significant differences between the white matter structures of the average male heterosexual brain and the average female heterosexual brain. These differences cannot be changed once they set between the 8th and 24th weeks of pregnancy.

If there are any variations in hormonal ratios between testosterone and estrogen within the mother’s womb outside the “average” range, the child’s brain will develop along a different path than their body. This is how people become transgender. This is why you can’t pray it away. This is why it is not a mental illness.

We do not know how to alter the white matter structures of the brain without killing the patient. But we do know how to align the external body to the internal brain of the individual with this medical condition.

Just like a cleft palate, club foot, or other birth defect, there are therapies and surgeries to assist in correcting this issue.

Claims that deny the above facts demonstrate gross ignorance of the science, and ugly hateful  condemnation of a medical condition that people are simply born with.

Conservatives, claiming the mantle of science, ought to be the very first raising the flag for transgender people, to ensure that they are treated rationally, compassionately, and ethically within modern medical guidelines, and to ensure they are treated equally under the law.

But all I see coming from the right wing is ignorance, hate, irrationality, denial of reality, and, quite frankly, bowing down to the social conservative wing of the GOP, the worst part of the Republican party, the one that is driving more people away from the GOP, and the one that most interferes with rational discussions about budgets, fiscal priorities, energy security, , national defense, and sensible foreign policy.

So what will it be, conservatives? Deny science to bow at the altar of religious bigotry? Or stand on the side of science and the law to tell the religious bigots to shut up? So far conservatives have bowed at the altar of religious bigotry. Will any have the courage to stand tall in the 21st century? Let’s watch and see, but don’t hold your breath.