60 Minutes Science of Sexual Orientation: An update from the mother of twins

Recently, I posted a link to a NPR broadcast outlining two approaches to treating children who are gender non-conforming in their play and activity preferences. In light of that broadcast and the controversies surrounding these different approaches, I provide an update from Danielle, the mother of twin boys first featured in a 60 Minutes broadcast originally aired on March 12, 2006. The segment, titled Science and Sexual Orientation, was by any measure a provocative program. The producer answered numerous questions about the show on the CBS website and many blogs, including this one, provided commentary. I still use the clip in some of my classes to illustrate a variety of issues regarding how the media interprets sexual orientation research.

One of the most interesting aspects of the show was Leslie Stahl’s interview with twin 9-year-old boys, Adam and Jared. Recently, the mother of the twins, Danielle, wrote researcher Michael Bailey with an update regarding her son, Adam. Dr. Bailey and Danielle allowed me to share the note on the blog. She does not preach or lecture but rather reports on her experience. First, to set the stage, I want to reproduce an excerpt of the 60 Minutes segment introducing Adam and Jared:

The bedrooms of 9-year-old twins Adam and Jared couldn’t be more different. Jared’s room is decked out with camouflage, airplanes, and military toys, while Adam’s room sports a pastel canopy, stuffed animals, and white horses.

When Stahl came for a visit, Jared was eager to show her his G.I. Joe collection. “I have ones that say like Marine and SWAT. And then that’s where I keep all the guns for ‘em,” he explained.

Adam was also proud to show off his toys. “This is one of my dolls. Bratz baby,” he said.

Adam wears pinkish-purple nail polish, adorned with stars and diamonds.

Asked if he went to school like that, Adam says, “Uh-huh. I just showed them my nails, and they were like, ‘Why did you do that?’”

Adam’s behavior is called childhood gender nonconformity, meaning a child whose interests and behaviors are more typical of the opposite sex. Research shows that kids with extreme gender nonconformity usually grow up to be gay.

Danielle, Adam and Jared’s mom, says she began to notice this difference in Adam when he was about 18 months old and began asking for a Barbie doll. Jared, meanwhile, was asking for fire trucks.

Not that much has changed. Jared’s favorite game now is Battlefield 2, Special Forces. As for Adam, he says, “It’s called Neopets: The Darkest Faerie.”

Asked how he would describe himself to a stranger, Jared says, “I’m a kid who likes G.I. Joes and games and TV.”

“I would say like a girl,” Adam replied to the same question. When asked why he thinks that is, Adam shrugged.

In this email, Danielle reveals that at one time Adam thought he would like to be a girl. In fact, she considered puberty delaying drugs to allow Adam more time to reflect about his gender identity. At one point, he wanted to be a girl and bear a child via his own body.

With this update, Danielle discloses that Adam is not as definite about wanting to transition as he once was. She reports that he has adopted a male identification, albeit a somewhat unconventional one. Here is her update:

Adam has changed since we did the 60 Minutes show. He is the same yet different. From the research done a gazillon years ago about children like him- he’s basically following the guidelines as they were told to me. One day I would love to get my hands on the actual research papers! Anyway, he turns 12 on [recently]. He still shows a preference for society labeled “girl” items, yet he no longer states he wants to change his body into a girl. He no longer talks about having a baby from his actual body or wanting to know when he will start to grow his breasts. I think most of these changes are due to society (school peers) and his awareness of the actual facts of life. His favorite color is now purple instead of pink and he still prefers to buy “girl” tennis shoes. He dreams of becoming an actor/model and being a professional chef. As I stated, from what I know of this past research, he’s reaching the age where he’s blending in with his peers. I expect the next two years of Middle School to be difficult ones. Then he goes into High School where differences are just a way of life. I’m thinking he may actually find out who he is some time towards the end of High School. Again it follows what I know of this mysterious research paper.

I belong to several email groups with other families that have children like Adam. I don’t participate much because I’m not sure if most of them are following the right path with their children. I often wonder “if” I had told Adam that “yes” he could be a girl when he became old enough would he have stayed on that track of thought? However, at the urging of his therapist, I told him I understood he was a girl yet he was really a boy and couldn’t be a girl. A lot of the parents are allowing their children to grow long hair, dress 100 % as a girl, and go to school with a girl name and girl clothing. Therefore they are totally embracing their child in the opposite sex role. The children are living that role and that life style. So have I done my son an injustice by telling him that he has a boy’s body and even if he wants to be a girl during school hours he had to be the boy as his body was made? Then again, I have allowed him to wear just about anything he was comfortable wearing.

It’s a dilemma that I don’t think we will know the end of until this generation of children grows up. What happens if some of these children that have male bodies but are living life as a girl all through grade school finally reach an age where they decide they really don’t want to have a sex change and be a physical girl? Then what will the ramifications be on that child because of the parents’ actions?

It’s not like my child has Down syndrome and I can go to the library and check out 100s of books to get guidance on how to raise him. There just isn’t much out there for parents who face raising a child like my Adam. I have so many questions about parenting him and very little answers. So I go with my gut and wonder daily if I have made the wrong decision or if these other parents are making the wrong decision. Then again, what may be the wrong decision for one child in this situation may be the right decision for the other. Ah, what a world we live in! Fifty years ago we wouldn’t even be having these types of conversations or email groups.

I have to share something about Adam. I have often wondered how these other kids are developing compared to Adam. Many in the groups have started hormone therapy to stop puberty in the kids. That way the kids have more time to mature and make the final decision about the course of their lives. For the boys they won’t develop the deeper voice and the Adam’s apple and male characteristics. If they decide to transition the theory is that it will be easier without these developments. I made an appointment for Adam to have some baseline tests done. I was seriously thinking about doing the hormone therapy for him to give him more time too. However, much to my surprise he was ready deep into puberty. The doctor said we could still proceed with it but I really couldn’t expect to have undone what was already there. He was developing much earlier than expected. Now his twin, Jared, still hasn’t started into puberty. So, my question is – with boys that follow gender non-conformity – do they start developing earlier than their peers? I realize we won’t have the answer for many, many more years to come.

First of all, I am grateful to Danielle and Dr. Bailey for permission to reproduce this communication. Second, I think it is important for clinicians and advocates alike to reflect on what we can learn from this experience. As far as I can determine from available research, most boys who want to be girls later become men who don’t want to become women. Using the new paradigm with Adam may have altered his future in ways that could have added significant complication to his life.

Given that this email was sent to Dr. Bailey, I asked him for commentary.

Danielle is an admirable and unusual mother. She went to great lengths to protect Adam and to show him that she loved him regardless of his gender-related behavior and self-concept. She let Adam express his femininity (e.g., fill his room with “girls’” toys), while providing him with honest feedback about the likely results of his choices, outside their home. She also hesitated–in my view sensibly so–from encouraging Adam to begin a gender transition during childhood. I have met Adam, and I have read Danielle’s updates. I would be surprised at this point if Adam decides to change his sex. He seems a happy boy, and I expect he will become a happy young gay man.

I wonder, with Danielle, about the implications for gender-atypical children whose parents take the other, emerging, approach: allowing children to change their genders preliminary to biological sex changes in adolescence. Children like Adam start showing their behavior early (Adam at 18 months). All evidence we have suggests that only a minority (20% or fewer) of boys like Adam become women eventually. But if parents let boys become girls at childhood, will this drive up the probability? It seems highly plausible that it would. Sex reassignment is not minor medical intervention. It involves major surgery and lifelong hormonal treatments. All other things being equal, sex reassignment is something to be avoided. Of course, not all other things are equal. If a 6 year old boy wants to be a girl, it will cause him more short-term pain to refuse than to acquiesce. The costs and benefits are hard to estimate, and Danielle has been frustrated in her search for data-supported answers. It would be a fitting reward to her admirable example if people could set aside their differences (and the government could uncharacteristically support research on a controversial topic relate to sex), and begin to collect and share requisite data.

Danielle and Adam should remind us that even if treated liberally, gender-atypical children will not necessarily choose sex reassignment. Indeed, perhaps the most liberal goal of all is to allow gender-atypical children to be comfortable in their own (non surgically altered) skin. By all appearances, that is what Danielle has accomplished.

Since this email, I have corresponded more with Danielle. She has added some additional detail which I will report tomorrow. Specifically, she describes how she has responded to Adam when he has expressed questions about transitioning.

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  • Pathia

    It seems to me a live and let live approach would be best, until puberty when the hard choices have to be made. I was put into fairly passive, seemingly non-invasive or pushy therapy, much like Zucker’s, yet I was made miserable by it to the point of suicide.

    What is emotionally traumatizing and confusing to a child of 4-10 is completely different than to an adult. Parents, and I think therapists, seem to forget that they aren’t the same. Children are not smaller adults, their brains are still completely different.

    My family to this day insists that t here was nothing bad about the therapy that I had as a child, but all I remember was shame, embarrassment, alienation and constant chastising, which lead to a deep depression that I don’t think many pre-pubescent kids ever experience. The therapy was the direct cause of why I tried to kill myself, my parents asked me why I wanted to hang myself and my response at the time was because the therapy wasn’t working, so obviously I was a bad kid and shouldn’t be in the family anymore. I didn’t even understand death yet, but I was willing to suffer it.

  • Gen

    I honestly she should put Adam on hormone therapy. Everyone has questions about who they are and where their place is, especially around puberty. And if Adam does grow up to be transgendered, hormone therapy is almost as effective when done during adult years. I would say that Adam’s mother needs to let him make his own decisions about his identity. Yes, middle school will be difficult, but it’s horrible for everyone. When Adam enters high school, he should be in a much more welcoming environment. I would strongly suggest that he join his school’s GSA, and I srtongly encourage Adam and his mother to contact me if they have any questions. I’ve helped many of my friends with similar issues, and I know some fantastic people who can help.

  • Drowssap

    “A lot of the parents are allowing their children to grow long hair, dress 100 % as a girl, and go to school with a girl name and girl clothing. Therefore they are totally embracing their child in the opposite sex role. The children are living that role and that life style.”

    It kills me when I read that parents are giving gender dysphoric sons hormone therapy and encouraging them to embrace a female identity. These parents are going to feel like rubes when scientists come up with a simple cure and their grown kids have already gone through “transition” surgery. This is coming sooner rather than later folks.

    I’m so glad this mom had the sense to at least avoid the hormones. Like most boys, the dysphoria goes away during the teen years.

  • NickC

    I expect he will become a happy young gay man.

    But gee, Warren, what if that conflicted with what his church teaches?

    Consider what your “Sexual Identity Therapy” actually offers to someone like Adam. If he was growing up in an evangelical household and embraced that faith, he’d likely end up as one of your clients–a tortured individual trying to deny his sexual identity, in order to conform to what you think the Bible teaches.

    Fortunately for Adam, his parents are enlightened enough to accept him, and teach him to accept himself, whether his sexual identity ends up as transgender or gay or even a straight man with some feminine traits.

    Would you encourage evangelical Christian parents to extend equal acceptance of all those outcomes to their children? Or isn’t it the case that in your model, religious belief trumps acceptance of people as they are?

  • Pathia

    It kills me when I read that parents are giving gender dysphoric sons hormone therapy and encouraging them to embrace a female identity. These parents are going to feel like rubes when scientists come up with a simple cure and their grown kids have already gone through “transition” surgery. This is coming sooner rather than later folks.

    I’m so glad this mom had the sense to at least avoid the hormones. Like most boys, the dysphoria goes away during the teen years.

    Exactly how to fix something genetic/hormonal/brain deep without completely destroying the person? Do you think Adam wants to be different? He seems completely happy with who he is.

    You advocate destruction of personality. If you completely alter someone, or drug them into being another person when they were perfectly happy before, what exactly have you done, except erase a person from existence?

    Even if there was a medicinal or brain surgery to cure my GID, I would never undergo it, ever. It would alter my entire existence, I would likely commit suicide within a year, and be successful that time.

  • Boo

    It kills me when I read that parents are giving gender dysphoric sons hormone therapy and encouraging them to embrace a female identity.

    Just the sons bother you, eh? Daughters, whatever, let’s focus on the precious boychildren?

    I’m so glad this mom had the sense to at least avoid the hormones. Like most boys, the dysphoria goes away during the teen years.

    These kids don’t get cross-sex hormones in childhood. What they get are drugs that delay puberty, which have no permanenet effects. In all of these cases estrogen isn’t administered until at earliest 14-15, so again they’ve still got time for it to “go away” in teen years.

    The article doesn’t go into the details, but at first reading it sounds like this kid’s GID was less intense than that of Jona and other kids who transition. Was there a long period where Adam was adamantly insisting that he was a girl, experiencing extreme anxiety at having to interact with the world as a boy, or was he always just more of a femmy boy?

    However, at the urging of his therapist, I told him I understood he was a girl yet he was really a boy and couldn’t be a girl.

    There’s just something a tad oogie about therapy that involves lying to your child.

    What happens if some of these children that have male bodies but are living life as a girl all through grade school finally reach an age where they decide they really don’t want to have a sex change and be a physical girl?

    Haircut and a trip to The Gap.

    But at the end of the day, chalk this up as another fairly leave-it-alone approach where the kid turned out fine without resorting to Zucker’s kiddie torturing approach.

  • Eddy

    I realize that Adam wanted to birth a baby with his own body but nothing was said in the discussion about his sexual and affectional preferences. So, will Adam turn out gay because that’s what this was all about in the first place or will he turn out gay because society has concluded that any boy who experiences transgender feelings is actually gay? (What if he turns out to be a lesbian trapped in a man’s body?)

  • Drowssap

    Pathia

    Nature already has some sort of built in dysphoria repair mechanism that occurs during puberty. Most of the time it goes away on it’s own. Copying Mother Nature isn’t going to hurt anyone.

  • Boo

    Nature already has some sort of built in dysphoria repair mechanism that occurs during puberty. Most of the time it goes away on it’s own. Copying Mother Nature isn’t going to hurt anyone.

    Serious ethical problems and highly likely bad side effects aside, your Brave New World treatment doesn’t exist yet. The “treatment” right now involves crushing children’s souls. Is there another example of therapy where a successful outcome can be a suicidal child? Cause offhand I can’t think of any.

  • Dave G.

    Another case: Rebekah had twin boys; one preferred masculine activities, the other preferred at-home activities more like a girl. Both were allowed to mature in their own ways, without therapy, drugs or hormone treatments. Eventually both married and became fathers. (Any societal pressures to become GLBT etc. had been annulled.) The “non-masculine” twin fathered 12 sons and at least one daughter. The “masculine” twin fathered five. –So what does this show? Who are we to assign “masculine” or “feminine” traits? Let the kids grow up and lead their own lives, using the gifts they are endowed with. So far, I think Danielle is doing a great job!

  • Drowssap

    Boo

    Is there another example of therapy where a successful outcome can be a suicidal child?

    It’s impossible to blame that on the therapy. The other day I heard that 3 out of 4 couples who enter marriage counseling eventually divorce. That isn’t the therapists fault. Dysphoric kids have a lot of problems BEFORE they enter therapy.

  • Mary

    Dave G,

    I’m with you. Let the kids grow up.

  • Pathia

    Nature already has some sort of built in dysphoria repair mechanism that occurs during puberty. Most of the time it goes away on it’s own. Copying Mother Nature isn’t going to hurt anyone.

    I wasn’t suicidal until I was put into therapy, and I was not in it for that long. My parents may insist the therapy was harmless, but they do not deny that it was like a dark cloud of despair rolling over me.

    And what puberty? In my case and in dozens of others that I know, we barely had one, because we were also intersexed! But no one bothered to check out. I didn’t HAVE a puberty, I didn’t even get a wash of hormones of either sex when I was young. Except my parents forced testosterone on me against my will, to force a puberty on me. That ended up leading to two more suicide attempts, one of which involved with me waking up in the hospital. It also caused me to break out in rashes and hives to such an extent they had to put me on such a high level of antihistamines that I was doped out of my mind so badly that I failed half my classes my senior year, but it was all for my ‘good’ because god forbid I be DIFFERENT.

  • Drowssap

    Pathia

    I wasn’t suicidal until I was put into therapy, and I was not in it for that long. My parents may insist the therapy was harmless

    There is a 99.9% chance that your parents are correct. Therapy, or talking about problems with a friend or family member is harmless at the very worst. What could your therapist have said that made an otherwise happy, well adjusted kid turn suicidal?

    Hormone shots or medicine in general, now that’s another story. Anything is possible.

  • Pathia

    “What could your therapist have said that made an otherwise happy, well adjusted kid turn suicidal?”

    That my grandparents would hate me, that other kids would beat me up and tease me. That I would be mocked and called words like ‘faggot’. That how I was acting was wrong, counter to scripture. That I would burn in hell. That I would be a failure in life and die of painful venereal diseases at a young age, that I would be cursed to fall into a pile of salt like Sodom and Gomorrah.

    That is what the therapist told me.

  • Pathia

    Hormone shots or medicine in general, now that’s another story. Anything is possible.

    I wasn’t forced actual medicine or hormone shots until I was 16. I had already been miserable for almost a decade. The only way I was able to get away from the treatment forced on me by my parents and their faith was to run away and live on the streets from 17-18 until I was my own legal self and able to go to college on government loans.

  • http://www.wthrockmorton.com Warren

    Pathia – You probably have a malpractice claim on your hands there. I feel badly that you went through that.

    That bears no resemblance that I can see to what Dr. Zucker advocates.

  • Pathia

    Warren, I don’t even know the doctor’s name, I started that therapy almost 20years ago now. I’m pretty sure the statue of limitations is out.

    He was affiliated with NARTH, or at least claimed to be, according to my parents. Though my treatment started before NARTH was founded, so I am not entirely sure. Given that I am to this day still estranged from my family it makes it difficult to find out things from when you were eight. Needless to say only a few things are clear, most of it is quite blurry.

  • Mary

    Pathia,

    I’m glad you made it.

  • Pathia

    Pathia,

    I’m glad you made it.

    I am still working at it, I’m 28, but where most people are at about 22 I think. Though this seems to be more common now a days for better for worse.

    I feel bad for droning on about my own life, but what happened to me shouldn’t happen to anyone else, even aspects of it. I just can’t stand the fact that more people than myself had to go through what I did, and I still find and ear about folks every day that have gone through the same kind of crap I did.

    For me living on the street and scrounging food out of the garbage and flipping tricks for cash was better than being in therapy. That’s how bad it was to me.

  • Mary

    I hear ya’. In many ways we are all still making it. And yes, scrounging for food and turning tricks was better. I don’t know if you are a christian or read the christian bible but somewhere in there it says that sometimes we are so hungry that even what is bitter tastes sweet. Not to the same degree that you have been, but I too have had bitterness that was sweeter than starving for understanding , acceptance, and love. I hope that made sense to you.

  • Boo

    There is a 99.9% chance that your parents are correct. Therapy, or talking about problems with a friend or family member is harmless at the very worst. What could your therapist have said that made an otherwise happy, well adjusted kid turn suicidal?

    Are you even bothering to pay attention to this stuff? The biggest part of this “therapy” is forced behavior modification. You’re actually saying that therapy, even the wrong kind of therapy, can never worsen someone’s problems? That’s obviously why therapists never have to carry malpractice insurance. Oh wait…

    That bears no resemblance that I can see to what Dr. Zucker advocates.

    Of course, he just does behavioral coercion which obviously can never cause problems.

    Bradley has been in therapy now for eight months, and Carol says still, on the rare occasions when she cannot avoid having him exposed to girl toys, like when they visit family, it doesn’t go well.

    “He really struggles with the color pink. He really struggles with the color pink. He can’t even really look at pink,” Carol says. “He’s like an addict. He’s like, ‘Mommy, don’t take me there! Close my eyes! Cover my eyes! I can’t see that stuff; it’s all pink!’ “

    Denial ain’t just a river in Africa, guys. The kid is depressed and withdrawn, and seeing pink gives him anxiety attacks. A shining success all around, surely. No potential suicidal risk here, nuh-uh.

    Los Angeles, London, New Delhi, and Singapore (14 January, 2008) – Psychotherapies such as cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) are under-regulated in the UK and should be subject to the same standards of evidence as drugs, assert two experts in psychological medicine writing in the Journal of Psychopharmacology (January issue published today by SAGE). They say the largely unrecognized potential for serious adverse effects resulting from talking therapies means rules should be tightened, particularly in light of the UK Government’s recent £150m investment in psychotherapy services for depression and anxiety, which will result in many more therapists practising in the UK.

    Why doesn’t Drowssap just tell them all its unnecessary?

    Another case: Rebekah had twin boys; one preferred masculine activities, the other preferred at-home activities more like a girl.

    And this has what to do with a kid who’s adamantly insisting that they’re a girl, wanting everything pink and girly, begging for dresses, freaking out about having to interact with the world as a boy, for years on end?

    And that whole coming up with a reason why childhood GID should be the only diagnosis exempt from the DSM’s provision that social nonconformity is not to be taken as evidence of mental disorder? Whenever you can get to it.

  • Drowssap

    That how I was acting was wrong, counter to scripture. That I would burn in hell.

    …that I would be cursed to fall into a pile of salt like Sodom and Gomorrah.

    Forgive my natural skepticism but it’s pretty hard for me to believe that a therapist would say this.

  • Pathia

    Forgive my natural skepticism but it’s pretty hard for me to believe that a therapist would say this.

    Then think of me as a liar, it doesn’t change what I remember as a child.

  • http://www.wthrockmorton.com Warren

    In an online forum, there is no way to know what is true. However, I am aware of therapists who might say such things and this is one of the reasons for the sexual identity therapy framework.

    I think skepticism is generated by your comment about NARTH prior to NARTH’s existence. One of the NARTH advisory board members said gender variant kids should be teased at school to fix them so it is hard to discount the content. You may have some reconstructions that make up memories. Most of us do.

    Again, what you are describing is nothing like Drs. Zucker or Bailey are promoting.

  • Pathia

    I think skepticism is generated by your comment about NARTH prior to NARTH’s existence.

    And I admitted as such. I was only eight, I will not discount constructed memories, however I do recall being made to feel like filth to the point of despair. Which the therapist was kind enough to point out was a sin as well.

    I can’t say he lied though, I was assaulted in school more than a few times, hospitalized once with a concussion. That we *DID* sue over, but I have no idea what happened to it, my parents kept me isolated from the incidentals of the settlement.

  • Drowssap

    Pathia

    Then think of me as a liar, it doesn’t change what I remember as a child.

    I’m not saying it’s not true. I’m just saying that it raises my skepticism. That doesn’t mean it’s not 100% true. It just seems incredible to me that a psychologist would tell you that you are going to be turned into a pillar of salt.

  • Pathia

    It just seems incredible to me that a psychologist would tell you that you are going to be turned into a pillar of salt.

    As far as I know he wasn’t a psychologist. I use the word therapist for a reason. He had a theology degree I think.

  • Evan

    Given that:

    1. scientists don’t know exactly what causes GID

    2. they don’t know what makes 80% of GID kids grow out of it before puberty

    Danielle seems to have taken the most reasonable decision. There simply is no evidence to support greater likelihood of GID stability well into puberty.

    Now, the problem is which child will grow out of it and which not? That question will only be answered as research comes up with more predictive factors both for GID and for the probability to vanish by itself in later years. Until then, the best decision is to not rush into one course that could commit the child in the future to serious body modifications, as Bailey pointed out.

    The 60 Minutes story is even more fascinating for all the implications both for gender identity and sexual orientation research. That case of identical twins with different sexual orientations really screams out! There is no ‘older brother’ effect to explain the difference in outcomes. There are two possibilities: either one brother has discordant self-concept and attractions (one could be bisexual) or genetic factors have a lower influence on sexual orientation than was previously presumed.

    Too bad research is so slow in this field. It’s not the first time I hear Bailey complaining about the support this kind of research gets from the government.

  • Pathia

    There are two possibilities: either one brother has discordant self-concept and attractions (one could be bisexual) or genetic factors have a lower influence on sexual orientation than was previously presumed.

    Identical twins are not identical. DNA diverges and unravels differently. This is becoming apparent, especially with cloning experiments. The clones, despite being exact duplicates, often end up looking completely different than the ‘parent/twin’ whatever you want to call them.

  • Drowssap

    Pathia

    The clones, despite being exact duplicates, often end up looking completely different than the ‘parent/twin’ whatever you want to call them.

    You are correct, identical twins are different and one factor is genetic expression. However genes express according to their environment.

    Google:

    Environmental factors weigh heavily in modulating gene expression in humans

    (this is how I avoid the spam filter)

    A gene that caused dysphoria wouldn’t commonly express itself because it causes trouble for it’s host. Genes are there to help us, not cause pain. Exceptions to this rule are few and far between.

  • Boo

    Until then, the best decision is to not rush into one course that could commit the child in the future to serious body modifications, as Bailey pointed out.

    Nobody is committing any of these children to serious body modifications. If Jona wants to stop being a girl, all Jona has to do is say “I want to stop being a girl.” Do you really think her parents or anyone else would try to keep her committed to it?

    Again, what you are describing is nothing like Drs. Zucker or Bailey are promoting.

    It’s not that far from what Zucker does. Again, the whole pink anxiety attack thing- any comment?

  • Drowssap

    Boo

    The point is that parents shouldn’t encourage their son to believe what is measurably false. He is a boy, not a girl. The fact that he believes otherwise is an indication that some wires are crossed. He should be encouraged to be a boy and any fantasies he might have are just that, fantasies. Love and consistency can probably go a long way in helping these kids. Maybe not all the way, but a long way.

    How it all sorts out in adulthood is up to their son when he becomes 18.

  • Pathia

    “The fact that he believes otherwise is an indication that some wires are crossed.”

    What happens if your mythical science cure that will come out of nowhere can only be set in place in the womb? What then? I don’t doubt there may eventually be a way to tweak a child in the womb to more likely be straight or non-GID. But what about the ethics of such a thing?

  • Evan

    Pathia,

    If it’s true that people who transitioned have to keep doing hormonal treatment, then maybe one day, given the technology, the reverse could become possible: doing treatment to keep gender identity problems at bay. It could be parents’ decision, first, and then later involve the child too. The cost of not transitioning would be far lower, both in moral and physical terms, than doing sex reassignment surgery.

    Obviously, every brain condition must have a physiological component and physiology is liable to chemical treatment. After all, you cannot either decide that what that person is is only restricted to a few low-masculinised brain areas. It’s more reasonable to change less, if the option becomes available.

    By the way, this is still not settled. Scientists have not proven yet how hormones and other pre-natal factors determine one’s brain structure. (I know of at least one study on model animals, that says some sexually dimorphic adult brain structures, involved in sexual arousal, can change as a result of changes in levels of circulating hormones. Maybe that could be the case with human brains too, but research cannot proceed due to ethical problems.)

  • Pathia

    “If it’s true that people who transitioned have to keep doing hormonal treatment, then maybe one day, given the technology, the reverse could become possible: doing treatment to keep gender identity problems at bay.”

    That may be an option for some, at some point in the future, but I would rather die than under go a treatment like that. I am intersexed ontop of it all, god knows what sort of side effects such a drug/gene therapy would do to me considering I have enough sex chromosomes for another person, if not moreso.

    I won’t deny circulating hormones can change someone mentally. I was exclusively gay/male oriented before I transitioned, now I am straight in the middle of the road bisexual. It could be psychological, or it could be biological. Like everything in the world, it’s likely a little bit of both.

    I would still refuse the treatment. I would also imagine most gay men and women would refuse a similar treatment too, unless they were actively seeking to change.

  • Drowssap

    Pathia

    What happens if your mythical science cure that will come out of nowhere can only be set in place in the womb? What then?

    If you said that a year ago I might have shrugged my shoulders and said, I dunno.

    But a few weeks ago Evan posted one of the most fascinating stories I have ever read on this subject.

    Google:

    Sexual Circuitry When Minnie Turns Mickey

    It’s a story in Harvard Magazine Online that discusses gender in mice. Scientists created instant, adult transgender mice by turning off one tiny organ in their nose. That and a lot of other things leads me to believe that transgenderism isn’t oocurring in the womb. One neurotransmitter probably seperates the feeling of male/female identity. Kids probably lose this neurotransmitter very early in life in the same way narcoleptics lose Orexin.

  • Drowssap

    Pathia

    One thing I should add…

    Now that scientists know that turning off an organ in a mouses nose alters it’s brain chemistry they’ll figure out which neurotransmitters are involved.

    When those same neurotransmitters are used in humans don’t be surprised if they instantly cure dysphoria. When that story gets blasted all over the Internet make sure you come back to Throckmorton to read my huge

    I TOLD YOU SO!

    8-)

  • http://aebrain.blogspot.com Zoe Brain

    Good Heavens!

    I agree with Dr Bailey, in both his reasoning and his conclusions!

    All evidence we have suggests that only a minority (20% or fewer) of boys like Adam become women eventually. But if parents let boys become girls at childhood, will this drive up the probability? It seems highly plausible that it would. Sex reassignment is not minor medical intervention. It involves major surgery and lifelong hormonal treatments. All other things being equal, sex reassignment is something to be avoided. Of course, not all other things are equal. If a 6 year old boy wants to be a girl, it will cause him more short-term pain to refuse than to acquiesce. The costs and benefits are hard to estimate, and Danielle has been frustrated in her search for data-supported answers. It would be a fitting reward to her admirable example if people could set aside their differences (and the government could uncharacteristically support research on a controversial topic relate to sex), and begin to collect and share requisite data.

    That’s almost identical to a comment I made that WordPress appears to have eaten.

    More please, frpm both sides. More light, less heat, and let us not get too confused with past mistakes.

  • Boo

    The point is that parents shouldn’t encourage their son to believe what is measurably false. He is a boy, not a girl. The fact that he believes otherwise is an indication that some wires are crossed. He should be encouraged to be a boy and any fantasies he might have are just that, fantasies. Love and consistency can probably go a long way in helping these kids. Maybe not all the way, but a long way.

    How is it measurably false? These kids aren’t delusional. They aren’t saying they, like, have vaginas when they really have penises. They say they like girl stuff because they actually like girl stuff. They interact with people like girls (or boys), they think like girls (or boys), while having boys (or girls) bodies. They know what their bodies are, so where exactly is the measurable falsehood? Those who transition and interact with the world as girls (or boys) by all accounts do great, and yes, they get plenty of love and consistency. If and when the time comes, they correct their bodies to the fullest extent modern medical science allows for, which is their choice to make when they get older.

    The only reason you want to “fix” them is because you don’t want to deal with them, because they make you uncomfortable. If the problem is located outside the child, then it’s someone else’s problem. You notice I’ve asked that question about social noncomformity like three times and no one’s even tried to answer?

    When they find the neurotransmitter that cures bigotry and shoot it right into your brain, don’t worry, I won’t give you a big I told you so.

  • Drowssap

    Boo

    Gender dysphoric boys don’t just like “girl stuff” better than boy stuff.

    Gender dysphoria means they believe they are the opposite sex. I’ve only seen one serious case in my life. There is no mistaking it when you see it. It is a serious, mental disorder.

  • Jayhuck

    Drowssap -

    The point is that parents shouldn’t encourage their son to believe what is measurably false. He is a boy, not a girl. The fact that he believes otherwise is an indication that some wires are crossed. He should be encouraged to be a boy and any fantasies he might have are just that, fantasies. Love and consistency can probably go a long way in helping these kids. Maybe not all the way, but a long way.

    That is true Drowssap, but at the same time, the parents should not force on the child what the child does not want. Being encouraged to be a boy doesn’t mean the child has to play with GI Joe, or love toy trucks, etc… The mother in the story above is a real testament to what unconditional love is like, and what it can do. SHE is a great role model, although I’m sure she probably wouldn’t see herself as such.

  • http://aebrain.blogspot.com Zoe Brain

    Drowssap – forgive me for being too unconventional here, but you say

    Gender dysphoria means they believe they are the opposite sex

    Now that means you must have a clear idea of what the sex is, especially if you are to diagnose someone as having a “serious mental illness”.

    Do you base it on chromosomes, endocrinology, soma (body shape), neurology, “mind”, socialisation, documentation, or what? A combination of those that must be judged on individual merit? Or is there one touchstone?

    Remember I speak as someone who is Intersexed. I would prefer to be a 100% standard model female, but I’m not, never have been, never will be.

  • http://aebrain.blogspot.com Zoe Brain

    Case in point : one of the children that was a “success” according to Dr Zucker in the follow-up of 25 girls with GID.

    A child was born with male chromosomes, normal testes, but “micropenis of unknown cause”. This child was surgically castrated, as it was thought that a normal male life was impossible, and he’d be better off as a girl. This disregards the experience of transsexual men, who manage quite well even without testes.

    Later, “she” showed signs of a male mind, and so was diagnosed as a girl with gender dysphoria, and treated by Zucker for that.

    Was he a boy who had been mutilated as an infant, or was she a girl with a mental illness? This is not a hypothetical question, it’s an actual case.

    In fact, of those 25 girls, 4 were intersexed in one way or another, and had been surgically altered to look like girls.

  • Drowssap

    Zoe Brain

    Now that means you must have a clear idea of what the sex is,

    Do you base it on chromosomes, endocrinology, soma (body shape), neurology, “mind”, socialisation, documentation, or what? A combination of those that must be judged on individual merit? Or is there one touchstone?

    XX = female

    XY = male

    Yeah, I know there are some strange exceptions as there should be with billions of people on the planet, but that basic definition works well enough to explain 99.9% of everything we see.

  • Jayhuck

    Drowwsap -

    I’d be careful with that 99.9% number

  • Drowssap

    Jayhuck

    parents should not force on the child what the child does not want

    I can tell from that comment that you are not a dad. 8-)

    As any parent will tell you 99% of their day is spent telling their kids to eat, get dressed, take a shower, study, go outside and play, go to bed, etc. etc. Kids require constant supervision and guidance.

  • Drowssap

    Jayhuck

    I’d be careful with that 99.9% number

    Ok, maybe it’s 98.9% but it is a good enough measure to explain virtually everything.

  • Jayhuck

    Drowssap -

    You completely missed the point. Telling the kids to do things they NEED to do is one thing, forcing a child with issues such as the children above to like or love things they do not like is another thing entirely. I have a great deal of experience with children – and unconditional love, that you seem to tout, involves a parent NOT enforcing their own particular will on a child under such circumstances – the parent will not win in the end if they try this anyway – as the other parent in the NPR story quickly found out.

  • Drowssap

    Zoe Brain

    A child was born with male chromosomes, normal testes, but “micropenis of unknown cause”. This child was surgically castrated

    To me that is just plain ridiculous. Something went wrong which caused this boy’s penis to grow really small. But that doesn’t mean he isn’t a boy. By comparison is a really hairy man, not really a man? Maybe part ape? That’s just crazy logic.

  • Jayhuck

    Being a boy doesn’t mean liking or wanting to play with GI Joe or trucks anymore than being a girl means one has to like or play with Barbie or kitchen sets. These are ideals and stereotypes created, sometimes, by the media and corporations. Many people fit these stereotypes – sure – but many don’t, and its not a bad thing or detrimental to the kids. Having the parents force desires or likes on a child, however, IS detrimental!

  • Pathia

    Ok, maybe it’s 98.9% but it is a good enough measure to explain virtually everything.

    Maybe, you’ve got two of us right here (Zoe and myself), and we both have entirely different conditions that made us this way. I can’t count how many transgirls and boys I’ve met that ended up discovering that are intersexed or have/had some sort of hormone anomaly that was undiscovered until after their GID diagnosis.

  • Drowssap

    Jayhuck

    Telling the kids to do things they NEED to do is one thing

    IMHO every effort needs to be made to help children with this problem learn to live in the skin they were born in. That definitely falls into the “need” category more than say taking a bath each night. Luckily for the kids involved most of the time this seems to fix itself during puberty.

    Any parent with a longterm view of their child’s future is going to take this into account when they consider nurtering an opposite sex identity in very young children.

  • Drowssap

    Pathia

    I can’t count how many transgirls and boys I’ve met that ended up discovering that are intersexed or have/had some sort of hormone anomaly that was undiscovered until after their GID diagnosis.

    Ya know, I wonder how many gender related biological anomolies show up in completely straight, non-dysphoric people. I’d imagine quite a few.

    Until we really know what causes the feeling of being in the wrong gendered body I’m not sure how much this stuff is really causing dysphoria. I put my money on some very, simple wiring in the brain that can be turned on and off like a light switch once we understand it. I don’t think that will be long, a decade tops. Time will tell.

  • Pathia

    I put my money on some very, simple wiring in the brain that can be turned on and off like a light switch once we understand it.

    Considering the amount of drugs I’ve done legal or otherwise, I somehow doubt that anything science comes up with anytime soon will flip that switch. I’ve had many switches flipped, so to speak, but never has my GID gone away.

  • Drowssap

    Pathia

    Considering the amount of drugs I’ve done legal or otherwise, I somehow doubt that anything science comes up with anytime soon will flip that switch.

    hehe, understood.

    But I think in this case it’s not just random chemicals shooting around in the brain that might switch gender on/off. Very specific neurotransmitters do the job.

    Google

    When Minnie Turns Mickey

    Damaging one tiny organ in the nose of adult mice makes them instantly transgendered. This not only shows that both male and female wiring is present in all brains, it also shows that brain chemicals can turn these on and off at any time. You don’t learn to be a girl or boy, these instincts are precoded.

    Google

    Files get mind-control sex swap

    Scientists learn how to change the gender orientation of flies as easy as flipping a switch. Once again it shows that male/female wiring is in everyone. Specific neurotransmitters supress or express it.

    Google

    In fruit flies, homosexuality is biological but not hard-wired, study shows

    Same basic idea. One chemical changes sexual orientation more or less instantly.

    We aren’t going to figure this stuff out in 50 years. It’s more like 5 or 10 years and we’ll have some basic idea of how humans work.

  • Drowssap

    Pathia

    Think of it this way. Maybe 20 or 30 years from now there will be drugs on the black market that some people will pay top dollar for that create the feeling of being the opposite sex. And all this time, you had that for free. 8-)

  • Pathia

    Think of it this way. Maybe 20 or 30 years from now there will be drugs on the black market that some people will pay top dollar for that create the feeling of being the opposite sex. And all this time, you had that for free.

    I don’t suffer from GID anymore. If I were given this treatment it would MAKE me GID again. I don’t really even think about my body, or my life as living ‘opposite’ or anything. I’m just…me… The only time it comes up anymore is in online discussions like this, I don’t even discuss it in reality, there’s no need. I’m just…me!

  • http://aebrain.blogspot.com Zoe Brain

    Drowssap – depending on your definition, it’s 98.3%, or close on 99.8%. The majority, anyway. 1.7% are technically IS, but if you exclude minor conditions, it’s more like 1 in 500.

    But we’re not talking about “majorities”. I exist. Over half a million people like me exist in the USA alone. A minority we may be, but you can’t just ignore us as being unworthy of consideration.

    Please, give me a definition of male and female that covers people like my boyfriend (who is 90% 46xx, 10% 46xy, and has transitioned from FtoM), one of my girlfriends who’s just had MtoF surgery (she’s 47xxy), a person I know with Swyer syndrome (46xy, but capable of giving birth as a surrogate mother), and me (46xy, but feminised by Androgen Insensitivity, then masculinised with Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia – we think)

    I agree, for most people on the planet, 46xy+male gender identity+male genitalia+male endocrinology+male soma, or 46xx+female etc etc go together. That’s not the issue.

    Please answer the question. I’m not trying to trap you, or win some debate for the sake of winning, the question is not hypothetical for me.

  • Evan

    Pathia,

    I’ve had many switches flipped, so to speak, but never has my GID gone away.

    I’m a bit of a sucker for brain science these days. :) Can you tell me a few switches you managed to flip during your experiences?

  • Pathia

    I’m a bit of a sucker for brain science these days. :) Can you tell me a few switches you managed to flip during your experiences?

    The senses are quite capable of being flipped (Fractals taste like the best creme brule ever for example). I’m pretty sure you can figure out what does that, it’s fairly overgeneralized in the movies though.

    Also, under the right situations I can be hypnotized into the state of feeling species dysphoric. As in, I can become convinced I am actually not human for a time. I will become quite distressed when people say I don’t have a tail, for example. I suppose that’s the closest to another dysphoria I could say I could flip on and off :D

  • Evan

    Pathia,

    LOL! I have read about the phantom limb syndrome, but never heard about any dysphoria involving a missing tail (one that actually never was there).

    But the interesting fact I have found in a few messages on this blog is that transgender people can feel greater fluidity in sexual orientation. Is that true? How fluid can sexual feelings be for a transgender person? Do they fluctuate following a certain pattern in time or towards particular types of people? Is any of that related to changes in diet and/or hormonal changes?

  • Drowssap

    Zoe Brain

    Please answer the question. I’m not trying to trap you, or win some debate for the sake of winning, the question is not hypothetical for me

    What’s the exact line of demarcation between male and female?

    That’s not a trap, that is a good question that I might not be qualified to answer.

    However I’ll say this, in all the chats I’ve ever had I have never talked to someone with an opposite sex bone structure. The other thing I’ll say is that I think the term born “intersexed” is far too broad. Take the child born with a tiny penis or undescended or poorly formed testicles. That’s not intersex. That’s an indication that something went wrong as the boy formed. Are midgets only part human because they are half our size? No, midgets are 100% human but with a physical disability. Just because something went physically wrong doesn’t mean that someone isn’t entirely one gender or the other.

    However those things probably have no impact whatsoever on our personal sense of gender.

    Beyond any shadow of a doubt our conscious mind senses it’s gender due to the presence of specialized neurotransmitters. We already understand the basics in animals. It’s only a short matter of time until we figure out humans.

  • Evan

    Drowssap,

    We already understand the basics in animals. It’s only a short matter of time until we figure out humans.

    Man, you’re optimistic! But consider the fact that those flies and mice are easy to grow and manipulate. What is more, they are easy to study, sometimes using invasive technology. You can switch genes on and off and see the results. You can change gonads and see how that affects gender-typical behaviour. But you’re still building links between genetic and biological alterations and behaviour. You cannot ask mice to rate their sexual phantasies on the Kinsey scale. And you cannot manipulate genes in humans to see how they jump around looking for mates.

    But I hope you are right. After all, the pace of scientific discovery is not predictable. But we do have some ideas about the limits of present technology. Scientists can tell that we cannot see with great precision the size of some small brain areas in infants and how they develop in time, given some variables. Now that is a great limitation.

    __

    Anyway, I’m not so sure that biology and genetics will sort it out. Maybe after they have their say, we’ll scratch our heads and go back and look into how society can work with genes and biology. I expect to find more surprising inputs from society than from a bunch of proteins. What we understand by nature has not worked the same in different historical periods. There must be some cyclicity in how humans work their nature. Whenever past civilisations became more liberal they explored body limitations, including gender and sexual flexibility.

  • Drowssap

    Evan

    Man, you’re optimistic!

    I think scientists are incredibly close to understanding gender. Somebody needs to find out which neurotransmitter(s) get whacked when that tiny nose organ is turned off in mice. Realistically they are probably working on that right now. By the time regular folks like you and me hear about this stuff it’s going on all over the world. It might (or might not) work differently in humans but I doubt that we are vastly eskew of mice. The fact that transexuals exist at all is a strong indicator that we aren’t different from other animals. Male/female wiring is in everybody, it just depends on what is turned on/off.

    Side Note:

    If this turns out to be true (and it will) that means that transexuals grew to adulthood missing a key neurotransmitter that tells masculine circuits to operate. Even after scientists give this natural chemical to Dysphoric individuals and it cures their GID I wouldn’t be surprised if they tend to be more feminine than the average guy. They’ve had a lifetime of feminine experiences. Therapy might be a huge benefit for many of these people.

  • Pathia

    Somebody needs to find out which neurotransmitter(s) get whacked when that tiny nose organ is turned off in mice.

    I really doubt this, especially since it is obviously scent oriented. I know people who have kallman’s, this means they have zero sense of smell, it’s completely disabled, and they are trans.

    How is any sort of neurotransmitter in the nose, that operates via signals misfiring when they don’t even have a sense of smell?

  • http://aebrain.blogspot.com Zoe Brain

    Drowssap

    What’s the exact line of demarcation between male and female?

    That’s not a trap, that is a good question that I might not be qualified to answer.

    Good, Honest answer. I’m sure that I’m not qualified to answer it either, but we have to, don’t we? To take our best guess, and cross our fingers. Otherwise we can’t talk about “the opposite sex”, or even homosexuality and heterosexuality as universals.

    Fortunately, the question rarely comes up. Men are men, women are women, usually. So it makes sense to talk about same-sex marriage and the like in that context. But when dealing with Intersex and Transsexuality, it doesn’t.

    I’ll give an example:

    Odds of a newborn infant being a girl:

    If apparently normally male, 1 in 3000

    If with male chromosomes, and exposed to DES in the first trimester, 1 in 5

    If underdeveloped male, anywhere from 1 in 1000 (if merely hypogonadic) to 1 in 5 (if 46xx, ovarian tissue present etc)

    If apparently normal female, 999 in 1000

    You may be able to change the odds a little by upbringing: the brain is not completely immaleable, But only a little, and there will almost certainly be deleterious side-effects.

    That male/female divide is based on perceived gender identity, which I believe from the evidence is a matter of neurology. Not so much current neurology, for that changes during puberty etc, but an inherent tendency formed during the first trimester, about which we know very little, and whose existence can only be deduced at present. The evidence from DES strongly indicates a hormonal initial cause, but the mechanism of later effect is unclear.

    So in my view, there is a touchstone. It isn’t genitalia, or chromosomes, or endocrinology, or soma. It is purely neurological, and results in a self-perception of inate gender. That’s most unsatisfactory from a diagnostic viewpoint, as we only have the subjective patient expressed opinion to go on. They could be lying, out of a wish to live in what to them is perceived as a more desirable gender role. They could be delusional from another condition. They could even be lying to make a political statement, or to hide from pursuit by legal authorities by changing their bodies. They could be attention-seeking. In children, it could even be a problem that will likely self-correct to some extent.

    What I would like to see happen….

    The first examination of a patient presenting with apparent GID, after the usual tests for Intersex conditions, is an MRI scan. If this shows cross-gendered neurology, the diagnosis is confirmed immediately. If not, further tests would be required, similar to today. The results of patient treatment would then be fed back in to the MRI diagnostic criteria to refine them. In other words, if we find someone who is TS who doesn’t have cross-gendered neurology, we re-define what “cross-gendered neurology” means. Similarly, if we make a mistake, and someone who isn’t TS apparently has “cross-gendered neurology”, we change the definition too.

    We then must advise legal authorities about the situation – the medical definition of male and female. Some patients will be unclassifiable as either, so what to do with them? I favour a charitable, humane approach consistent with canon law dating back to the middle ages. They get to choose which legal category, if any, they want, and then are legally considered that sex. If they make a mistake, they have to go through a prolonged evaluation to correct it. That may be one in 100,000, if that, but they deserve consideration too.

    Then there’s the problem of someone who looks male, but has a female mind. Fortunately, most of those desperately want to look female anyway. Should they be compelled to have surgery to attain legal recognition, especially when the surgery is risky, expensive, and has a 70% failure rate? Or will a lesser degree of surgery do? BTW that’s not a hypothetical either: MtoFs have it easy, but FtoMs have it tough. Many of the latter only have limited surgery, removal of breasts as a minimum, and usually meto rather than the more risky phallo plasty.

  • Evan

    Drowssap,

    You might be right. Here is some more interesting stuff from Professor Donald W. Pfaff of Rockefeller University.

    Dr. Pfaff’s research has proceeded through four steps to demonstrate how steroid hormone effects on nerve cells can direct natural, instinctive behaviors. First, Dr. Pfaff is known for discovering exact cellular targets for steroid hormones in the brain. A system of hypothalamic and limbic forebrain neurons with sex hormone receptors, discovered in rodents, was later found to be present in species ranging from fish through primates. This hormone-sensitive system apparently is a general feature of the vertebrate brain, and Dr. Pfaff has recently found that knocking out the gene for the estrogen receptor in animals prevents female reproductive behavior. The deletion results both in masculinizing female animals and, counterintuitively, feminizing males’ behavior.

    I’m not sure what that feminising or masculinising exactly means, whether it’s reproductive behaviour or other gender-typical behaviour, but this scientist is on to something about what causes gender-typical behaviours in all vertebrates, including humans. He is also known for his pioneering work in the study of arousal.

  • Evan

    Correction: ‘whether it’s only reproductive behaviour or other gender-typical behaviour too‘.

  • http://aebrain.blogspot.com Zoe Brain

    Given my weird endocrine system, maybe I should contact him.

    Or better, get my endo to contact him with the blood test results etc.

    Thanks for this.

  • Boo

    Gender dysphoria means they believe they are the opposite sex. I’ve only seen one serious case in my life. There is no mistaking it when you see it. It is a serious, mental disorder.

    In what sense to they believe they are the opposite sex? Do they insist they have vaginas when they really have penises? Do they insist that they have XX chromosomes when they really have XY? Or do they mean that, for lack of a better term, they feel like the opposite sex “on the inside” i.e. in their thinking processes, socially, emotionally, etc., which external evidence tends to bear out, and since they’re kids and lack sophisticated ways of expressing themselves, “I’m really a girl” is the best they can do to express how they’re feeling?

    Insisting that something is a mental disorder just because you want it to be does not make it so. What is your standard for judging them as mentally disordered, other than that they say things you happen to disagree with? Your belief that people with the chromosomes of one sex shouldn’t say they feel like the other sex is your own belief, and is an example of social noncomformity, which, once again, the DSM specifically states is not supposed to be a criteria for mental disorder. So once again I ask, why is GID the only, and apparently arbitrary, exception?

    And what possible difference does it make if some sort of intersexed condition is discovered after the fact? Their brains are exactly the same as they were before. As far as anyone knows, I don’t have any kind of IS condition other than the possible hypothetical cross-gendered brain thing, so by your definition I am mentally disordered. But oh wait, we found out recently that my brother inherited some kind of chromosomal abnormality from my dad which is making it very difficult for him to have kids. My mom has decided that this is probably the reason I’m TS, even though we haven’t checked to see if I inherited it, and we don’t even know if it could cause that. But suppose I did and it can, so what? Nothing about my life as it’s been changes. But suddenly my mental disorder no longer exists because we decide that a particular way of existing caused by one condition makes me disordered while the exact same way of existing caused by something else does not? My mental processes are exactly the same either way.

  • Drowssap

    Evan

    Dr. Pfaff has recently found that knocking out the gene for the estrogen receptor in animals prevents female reproductive behavior. The deletion results both in masculinizing female animals and, counterintuitively, feminizing males’ behavior.

    Evan you are my hero! How do you know about all the good stuff? 8-)

    Judging from what I’ve read about flies and mice I assume that’s male/female behavior he is refering to. WOW! Scientists seem to know a lot about this stuff. I’m surprised this hasn’t shown up all over the place. The fact that male/female wiring is sitting there in perfect working order in EVERYBODY is the biggest news I’ve heard in a long time, maybe ever. This explains everything. It makes previous theories on transgenderism and homosexuality appear primitive at best. It still doesn’t explain why on opposite sex wire might be kicked on, but at least scientists have a decent idea whats going on.

  • Drowssap

    Boo

    If GID isn’t a disorder why do people feel the need to get “corrective” surgery?

  • Drowssap

    Zoe Brain

    It is purely neurological, and results in a self-perception of inate gender.

    You got that right! That’s exactly it. It’s not the body that determines our sense of gender, it’s our mind.

  • Boo

    If GID isn’t a disorder why do people feel the need to get “corrective” surgery?

    I can’t speak for everyone else. Me, in no particular order:

    1. Cause I found the sexual options for chicks with dicks to be limited and unattractive

    2. To get my legal ID changed

    3. To lessen the chances of getting beaten up, killed, or otherwise hassled if someone inadvertantly discovered I had something down there they didn’t approve of a la Tyra Hunter

    Perhaps you misunderstood my question- I’m asking why GID is considered a mental disorder, especially since in the childhood GID diagnosis the problem is mostly external to the diagnosee.

  • Pathia

    If GID isn’t a disorder why do people feel the need to get “corrective” surgery?

    I am the opposite side of Zoe. I don’t intend to get surgery. I am quite happy being a ‘chick with a dick’. The crowd I run with finds it exotic and erotic. Maybe some day in the future, when I’m older I might change my plumbing, but not anytime soon.

  • Drowssap

    Boo

    To lessen the chances of getting beaten up, killed, or otherwise hassled if someone inadvertantly discovered I had something down there

    So you got a sex change operation to increase your personal safety in social situations? I didn’t think surgeons would perform sex reassignment for that reason but fair enough.

    I’m asking why GID is considered a mental disorder, especially since in the childhood GID diagnosis the problem is mostly external to the diagnosee.

    I don’t think I totally understand your question. If you mean why is GID a mental disorder it’s because when a boy thinks he is a girl living in a boy’s body there is a clear missfire going on.

  • Drowssap

    Evan

    Once again a line from Dr. Pfaff’s bio page…

    This hormone-sensitive system apparently is a general feature of the vertebrate brain, and Dr. Pfaff has recently found that knocking out the gene for the estrogen receptor in animals prevents female reproductive behavior. The deletion results both in masculinizing female animals and, counterintuitively, feminizing males’ behavior.

    You realize this explains both gay men and lesbians at the same time?

    A M A Z I N G ! ! !

  • Boo

    So you got a sex change operation to increase your personal safety in social situations? I didn’t think surgeons would perform sex reassignment for that reason but fair enough.

    The “official” diagnosis is very far removed from the actual experiences of most transpeople. According to the DSM, I got surgery because I like to masturbate while I think about knitting. I kid you not, it’s in the DSM.

    I don’t think I totally understand your question. If you mean why is GID a mental disorder it’s because when a boy thinks he is a girl living in a boy’s body there is a clear missfire going on.

    Who gets to decide that the body is paramount over the brain? And again, think about what you mean when you say “boy thinks he is a girl.” Actually, strike that. In honor of the singular focus of transphobes everywhere, laser-like, solely on MtFs, think about what you would have meant if you’d said “girl thinks she is a boy.” They think they think like the opposite sex because they do think like the opposite sex.

    Since you like Brave New World scenarios so much, try this one on:

    Tomorrow your brain is transplanted into a female body. You wake up with exactly the same tastes, behaviors, thinking patterns, etc that you have now, but you got yourself a vagina and double Xs. You feel really weird not having Mr. Happy down there, and you find no desire to watch Steel Magnolias, eat chocolate ice cream out of the container, and cry. By your own argument, you are now mentally ill.

    Also, the childhood GID diagnosis can be made without that criteria. You need four out of five of:

    (1) repeatedly stated desire to be, or insistence that he or she is, the other sex

    (2) in boys, preference for cross-dressing or simulating female attire; in girls, insistence on wearing only stereotypical masculine clothing

    (3) strong and persistent preferences for cross-sex roles in make-believe play or persistent fantasies of being the other sex

    (4) intense desire to participate in the stereotypical games and pastimes of the other sex

    (5) strong preference for playmates of the other sex. In adolescents and adults, the disturbance is manifested by symptoms such as a stated desire to be the other sex, frequent passing as the other sex, desire to live or be treated as the other sex, or the conviction that he or she has the typical feelings and reactions of the other sex.

    Note that 2-5 are all examples of social noncomformity, which, to repeat the broken record thing, the DSM says is not supposed to be used as criteria for mental disorder. (Because the distress of social noncomformists is caused entirely by the reactions of other people to them, which is by definition the other person’s problem) The childhood GID criteria contradicts the DSM’s own definition, but no reason is given as to why.

    In other words, a girl who likes boy stuff too much, without thinking she’s a boy inside, is still mentally ill. In practice of course, it’s really overwhelmingly about boys who like girl stuff too much, because we need all the weapons in our arsenal for the War On Sissies.

    Damn that needlepoint over there is hot… oh wait, ignore that!

  • Boo

    This hormone-sensitive system apparently is a general feature of the vertebrate brain, and Dr. Pfaff has recently found that knocking out the gene for the estrogen receptor in animals prevents female reproductive behavior. The deletion results both in masculinizing female animals and, counterintuitively, feminizing males’ behavior.

    You realize this explains both gay men and lesbians at the same time?

    Then why do so many lesbians have babies?

  • Drowssap

    Evan

    If we had animal models that explained left/right handedness this good do you think there would be much doubt about the cause of handedness?

    This animal stuff explains the whole thing!

  • Drowssap

    Boo

    If my male brain was transplanted into a healthy female body I wouldn’t expect to live very long because my nervous system can’t run a female body. But that fact aside, yes I would have a real problem.

    Boo, don’t you find it ridiculously interesting that a complete set of male/female wiring is in everybody? That blows me away. I mean, where has this data been all my life? 8-)

  • Pathia

    Boo, don’t you find it ridiculously interesting that a complete set of male/female wiring is in everybody? That blows me away. I mean, where has this data been all my life?

    I don’t understand why this would be news to you. You do realize that we all start female, right? If you were to force a lack of testosterone/effect of testosterone on a mammal fetus it will triggure an XY female. That is in fact what happens with CAIS, complete androgen insensitivity. They have a XY karyotype, but are completely immune to testosterone, which means they cannot be masculinity.

  • Drowssap

    Pathia

    I don’t understand why this would be news to you. You do realize that we all start female, right?

    You don’t find it interesting that adult mice and flies (and apparently other animals) can be turned transgender in an instant? You are tough to impress. Scientists thought it was astounding.

  • Pathia

    You don’t find it interesting that adult mice and flies (and apparently other animals) can be turned transgender in an instant? You are tough to impress. Scientists thought it was astounding.

    No, it does not impress me at all. Of course it’s going to be a switch in them. Comparing our biological systems to mice is fine, but comparing our BRAIN? Hardly. Human brains are so incredibly complex compared to any other non-primate and maybe non-cetacean mammal it’s insane. We have free will, that mucks up everything.

  • Evan

    Drowssap,

    If we had animal models that explained left/right handedness this good do you think there would be much doubt about the cause of handedness?

    This animal stuff explains the whole thing!

    Assuming other animals would have such behavioural trait, left/right handedness, it would, at least, point to something similar in humans.

    But what these news tell us, at best, is that whatever creates gender sense is hormone-linked (Captain Obvious to the rescue!). You bust one gene regulating a hormone, gender sense goes awry. However, one might get the same result with a number of other genes, so it might not be a case of looking for a needle in the haystack as much as looking at a whole haystack of hormone-regulating genes that support one’s gender-typical traits. Just compare male and female abilities to get an idea of what could be related to that: spatial orientation, aggression, motor skills, awareness etc. On the other hand, researchers cannot play with human genes to seek an answer to these questions. And you would need a whole bunch of scientists doing research on brain-related hormonal effects in humans. I don’t see many right now, besides Breedlove.

    Pathia,

    We have free will, that mucks up everything.

    I could point you to some recent research that throws a shadow of doubt over how much free will we have, but that’s beside the point here. We don’t have much free will in what we feel or one could just wish GID away.

  • Evan

    Drowssap & concerned,

    Please take some time to watch this 62-minute movie of Professor Pfaff’s presentation on the influence of hormones on sexual behaviour, a general theory of arousal, the preservation of the emotional part of the brain all the way up to humans and many other interesting issues relevant both generally and specifically to this topic and the interest area of this blog. The presentation includes some technical points.

    In the final part, he gives an interesting answer to a question about problems related to sexual differentiation, sexual identification and mate choice in humans.

  • Pathia

    Please take some time to watch this 62-minute movie of Professor Pfaff’s presentation on the influence of hormones on sexual behaviour, a general theory of arousal, the preservation of the emotional part of the brain all the way up to humans and many other interesting issues relevant both generally and specifically to this topic and the interest area of this blog.

    I don’t really need a scientist to tell me what I grew up living through. I have been on multiple cocktails of hormones throughout my life, and it has never altered my preferences. It has altered my sex drive, but not what I like to look at.

    I was bisexual when I was essentially a eunuch when I was younger (though I dated only men at the time because I was shy). I was bisexual when I was forced testosterone therapy and I am bisexual now after years of estrogen therapy. Nothing has really changed.

  • Drowssap

    Evan

    I watched the whole 62 minutes. Absolutely fascinating.

    In the last 5 minutes when he answered the question about gender identification I disagreed with him, but then I wondered if I really do. He talked about how large the lesbian pride parade was and he wondered if a lot of that was cultural. I don’t think lesbians are a cultural phenomenon, but maybe the way lesbianism is expressed is cultural. Maybe that’s what he meant, he was trying to be quick.

    BTW, on one of the slides he wrote that by increasing a chemical (was it a hystamine?) scientists simultaneously increased sexual behavior and decreased agression. That reminded me of his discovery that reducing estrogen intake in a specific part of the male brain caused feminization. Totally counterintuitive.

  • Drowssap

    Evan

    And you would need a whole bunch of scientists doing research on brain-related hormonal effects in humans. I don’t see many right now, besides Breedlove.

    I’m beginning to think that this riddle isn’t going to be solved by SSA researchers. Virtually nothing of interest comes from the field. Each year we get another study that shows gay people are more likely to be left handed. Congratulations, now move on please. Maybe this year they’ll discover some weak corelation with a gene. (yawn) I think this is going to be figured out by a scientist like Pfaff working in a related field.

    I’m sure you remember the story from a few months ago about the chemical that switched sexual orientation in flies in minutes. That wasn’t from an SSA researcher but you can bet the gay sheep scientists are going to try that out pronto.

    I have reason to believe there is some (maybe a lot) of secret research going on in the field of SSA. Maybe these guys are doing more interesting work that’s not fundable or allowed at a university.

  • Pathia

    BTW, on one of the slides he wrote that by increasing a chemical (was it a hystamine?) scientists simultaneously increased sexual behavior and decreased agression. That reminded me of his discovery that reducing estrogen intake in a specific part of the male brain caused feminization. Totally counterintuitive.

    Now that part was the only interesting one for me. When mom was pregnant with me, she had massive allergic reactions and she was given EXTREMELY high doses of anti-histamines through most of her pregnancy, right from the start to the end.

    That wouldn’t have altered my chromosomes into their mismash of XX, XY and XXY, but it could have done something to my brain.

  • Drowssap

    Pathia

    Human brains are so incredibly complex compared to any other non-primate and maybe non-cetacean mammal it’s insane.

    Yes human brains are more complicated. We have an advanced brain to help us solve difficult problems and accomplish amazing tasks. However what outside force would cause humans to evolve a massively different formula for creating a sense of gender? If it’s simple and it works it doesn’t need to change.

    A model T has pistons and a Porsche 911 has pistons.

  • Drowssap

    Evan

    You are right, transgenderism in humans could be the result of something completely different from what causes it in mice and other animals.

    However, Rant Warning!

    We now have several animal models that reliably predict and explain transgenderism. On the flip side we have zero human models that tell us much of anything. The problem I have is that the animal models get no respect or EVEN NOTICE from either side of this debate. I’ve never heard Dean Hamer, Narth or anybody inbetween say, “this is how transgenderism works in animals, we think it applies to humans on this level.” It’s complete silence from all parties. It’s as if this research is meaningless. Animal research is respected and important in every field of medicine. Somehow in the field of sexuality and gender identity it’s not even worth a mention. What the heck is going on? (scratching my head)

  • Evan

    Drowssap,

    complete silence from all parties. It’s as if this research is meaningless.

    You’re right, they don’t study model animals just for the sake of it. They tried to figure out the essentials to work on humans. Now Pfaff says they figured it out in mice and that basically it’s the same thing in all vertebrates, including humans. But it’s curious that they don’t see the commercial potential to do such research on humans, with all precautions taken, of course. If there is a continuum of gender sense and sexual orientation in the human population then some will fall in between self-identified groups. I imagine that must take a toll on their well-being. Gender identity is probably one of the most basic dimensions of a human being; if there’s an ongoing imbalance going on in that area, that must cause many psychological problems and relationship difficulties. (I wonder if there is a correlation between sexual identity liberation in the Western world and the negative demographic dynamics and future forecast on that compared to other parts of the world.)

  • Drowssap

    Evan

    But it’s curious that they don’t see the commercial potential to do such research on humans.

    IMHO they are afraid of getting branded a hater and having their careers ruined. Top scientists make good money and have a great life. Why get tangled up in sexual identity politics? Somebody leaked on the web a request for research dollars to study the gay germ theory. It was a request for private money. I think this stuff is being researched but it’s all secret because nobody wants the trouble.

    I wonder if there is a correlation between sexual identity liberation in the Western world and the negative demographic dynamics and future forecast on that compared to other parts of the world

    Birth rates started falling in the western world first but that’s spread everywhere.

    India, Mexico, Iran, etc. etc. It’s much more pronounced in urban areas while it hasn’t fully taken hold in many rural areas.

  • Evan

    getting branded a hater and having their careers ruined

    I wonder who’s ruining who.

  • Drowssap

    Evan

    I wonder who’s ruining who.

    ?

    As an example I mean the way the TSroadmap person and fellow travelers went after Michael Bailey. To them he is histories greatest monster.

  • Pathia

    As an example I mean the way the TSroadmap person and fellow travelers went after Michael Bailey. To them he is histories greatest monster.

    Bailey says people like me don’t exist, and if we claim to exist we are liars. I’m not inclined to feel any sympathy at all for him. Did they go overboard? Maybe, but I’m not going to shed any tears that his crap was stopped mostly.

  • Jayhuck

    Drowssap -

    What in this world does this mean?

    The deletion results both in masculinizing female animals and, counterintuitively, feminizing males’ behavior.

    What do the words masculinizing and femininizing mean? I’m curious to know how you interpret masculine and feminine :)

  • Jayhuck

    Has Dr. Pfaff’s work been reproduced by anyone. Nothing is really proven in science until that happens. And just WHO is Dr. Pfaff?

  • Jayhuck

    Drowssap -

    My apologies – I found the link to Dr. Pfaff’s page – interesting. I still don’t understand , and the page doesn’t expound on, what is meant by masculinizing and femininizing, nor does it talk about the likelihood that such a thing could be replicated in humans. I also can’t find anything about his work being reproduced by his peers.

  • Jayhuck

    Re: Michael Bailey -

    I’m not sure about his book, the Man Who Would Be Queen – from the sound of it it seems that people unfairly attacked him because they did not like what he was saying, but there were some valid critiques made of this study on bisexuality – not the least of which was the small sample size.

  • Drowssap

    Jayhuck

    What do the words masculinizing and femininizing mean? I’m curious to know how you interpret masculine and feminine

    In one case he refered to specific female mating behavior. Girl mice need to present themselves and arch their backs in a certain way for males to impregnate them. If they don’t do it mating is impossible. So this (and I assume) other female mating behavior goes out the window. As for how it masculinizes them I’m not sure. Also, I don’t remember a specific example of male mice becoming more feminine. I could have missed it though, the presentation was very technical.

    From a different story on more or less the same phenomenon…

    Google – When Minnie Turns Mickey

    “The females started to behave exactly like males.”

    “these mice emitted ultrasonic vocalizations normally sung by males to attract mates and, like males, they mounted their cage mates and engaged in pelvic thrusting”

    The point is that animals (almost certainly humans too) have a complete set of opposite sex wiring that lies dormant in our brains. We don’t need it so it’s turned off. However if something happened and it kicked on, you’d be transgender. That’s the theory anyway.

  • http://www.wthrockmorton.com Warren

    Stay tuned, I am putting up 2 chapters of Bailey’s book either later tonight or tomorrow morning and you can judge for yourself…

  • Pathia

    I’m not sure about his book, the Man Who Would Be Queen – from the sound of it it seems that people unfairly attacked him because they did not like what he was saying, but there were some valid critiques made of this study on bisexuality – not the least of which was the small sample size.

    He stated that people who transitioned early like me were below average intelligence, very likely to be in sexwork (Granted I did it for awhile, but that was because I was HOMELESS), to not settle down and find a life partner. He also stated that all transpeople are gay men, or heterosexual men who become women.

    I am 1.) Bisexual 2.) Have a Master’s degree 3.) Living with my partner of 8years

    All of these are pretty much statistical impossibilities according to his ‘opinions’

    If you consider me a part of the autogynephilic group, then you have the following against it.

    I am 1.) Bisexual 2.) Transitioned in college at 22 3.) Sleep with men fairly regularly

    I violate both of his definitions, however he insists that it is a binary state, you are either one, or the other. Yet I, and many others I suspect Zoe too, don’t fit into any set. His sample size for his ‘study’ in the book is about 10transsexuals he met at a gay bar. Not exactly deep science.

  • Drowssap

    Warren

    Right on, I’ll get my readin’ on!

  • Jayhuck

    Drowssap -

    Its an interesting THEORY :)

  • http://aebrain.blogspot.com Zoe Brain

    In Dr Bailey’s defence… an all IMHO…

    Many of the more inflammatory quotes were taken out of context.

    The book was not just based on “10 sex workers he met in a gay bar”. One wasn’t a sex worker, and his work recapitulated Blanchard’s, he just used the examples as, well, examples illustrating universal concepts.

    After publication, Dr Bailey stated that the book didn’t pretend to be science – though given the full title “The Man Who Would Be Queen: The Science of Gender-Bending and Transsexualism”, and published under the auspices of the American Academy of Science, the misapprehension is understandable.

    Dr Bailey shares my aversion to political correctness. A scientist must let the chips fall as they may, and report accurate observations and both popular and unpalatable conclusions with equal objectivity. This has led him to use some undiplomatic phraseology – his work on bisexuality is entitled “Gay, Straight or Lying” for example.

    Many of the attacks on him have been on him rather than on his work, While understandable given the deliberately provocative nature of his publications, something he himself takes pride in, they cloud rather than clarify the issue. Has he been unfairly maligned? Certainly. Even many of his critics agree.

    But rather than me put words in his mouth, I’d dearly like him to speak for himself. His rational and calm words already published on this site have given me cause to re-evaluate his work from my previously jaundiced view. I fully expect to have my views confirmed, but if not, that would be wonderful. I would have learnt a great truth, that’s far better than being correct.

    My own view:

    Now the main competing theory is AGP (AutoGynePhilia) theory, a theory based in the Freudian concept that every single human motivation is sexual in nature. In AGP theory, the early transitioners are really gay boys who want to have sex with straight men. The late transitioners have a paraphilia, a fetish, that makes them want to have female bodies based on misdirected male sexual urges (Autogynephilia). This last is associated with talents for the military, computer science, or the creative arts for reasons unknown, and the neurological evidence is swept under the carpet as an irrelevant, unexplained phenomenon based on dubious evidence. As for FtoMs, they’re all inexplicable and may not even exist. Any testimony by any TS women which contradicts this is a lie, and they must all be pathological liars as so many of them contradict it.

    All men are heterosexual, gay, or liars too, bisexuality doesn’t exist in men, those who say they’re bisexual are gay. Except in transsexuals, where those claiming to be bisexual have to actually be non-gay to make it all work. And women are all bisexual. The evidence that many late transitioning women end up being androphillic is ignored as an unexplained phenomenon, or maybe they’re just lying.

    I’d appreciate Dr Bailey telling me where my opinions are wrong.

    Being told you don’t exist, that you are lying, does tend to colour one’s perceptions.

  • Jayhuck

    Zoe,

    I think there are plenty of VALID arguments against his work on bisexuality. I am not as familiar with his book TMWWBQ however. And for a scientist, he definitely doesn’t, at least in his choice of words, seem to act like one.

  • http://aebrain.blogspot.com Zoe Brain

    Having just read Dr Bailey’s presentation for the Catholic University, something doesn’t add up. I mean by that that his presentation is calm, rational, and good science. I just wish I had the graphics so I could assess sample sizes etc.

    I’ll quote from my blog :

    I wish researchers would do a bit less of the neo-Freudian psychological theorising, and a bit more measuring of how the brain works using fMRI scans. I just want to know, and not just for objective reasons. Let the cards fall as they may, but at least let’s observe them, and not deal from the bottom of the deck. Then, armed with knowledge, we can address the moral and ethical issues with some confidence that we’re not doing exactly the wrong thing due to the best of intentions.

  • Pingback: The Man Who Would Be Queen - Chapters 1 & 2 — Warren Throckmorton

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  • Pingback: The Man Who Would Be Queen - Chapters 1 & 2 — Warren Throckmorton

  • Pingback: The Man Who Would Be Queen - Chapters 1 & 2 — Warren Throckmorton

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  • Drowssap

    Evan

    Maybe I’m a little slow…

    Remember that Pfaff slide that showed that tweaking some hormone or subsystem created animals that were less agressive but parodoxically showed increased sexual behavior?

    (this may mean nothing but it’s interesting)

    According to Bailey’s brain scan study gay men are on average more excited by sexual imagery than straight guys. Stereotypically speaking gay men are also less agressive. I remember reading the account of a bouncer who worked in both straight and gay bars. He said he’d rather work in gay bars any day compared to straight bars. Gay men were much better mannered and rarely fought or caused trouble like straight guys.

  • Drowssap

    Evan

    …one last link…

    Remember your link showing a birth order effect for Asthma?

    Today on Science Daily

    Mother’s Prenatal Stress Predisposes Their Babies To Asthma And Allergy, Study Shows

    “They found increased levels of IgE expression in cord blood among infants whose mothers experienced higher level stress even when exposed to relatively low levels of dust mite during pregnancy. This indicates that mother’s stress during pregnancy magnified the effect of dust exposure on the child’s immune system such that the child’s immune response at birth may be altered even with lower levels of dust exposure in the home. The results held true regardless of the mother’s race, class, education or smoking history.”

  • Boo

    If my male brain was transplanted into a healthy female body I wouldn’t expect to live very long because my nervous system can’t run a female body. But that fact aside, yes I would have a real problem.

    You neatly sidestepped my point. Would you be crazy specifically for continuing to think like a guy in that scenario?

  • Drowssap

    Boo

    Would you be crazy specifically for continuing to think like a guy in that scenario?

    Not at all, I’ve got a healthy brain with all of it’s male instinct wiring turned on. How could I think any other way?

  • Drowssap

    Boo or Pathia or Zoe

    I’d post a link but that spamkiller would hose this message.

    Google:

    Behaviour: The subtle difference between the sexes signaling-gateway

    It’s new research on transgender mice published in Nature, it’s republished on this site. Once you read it you’ll never wonder what transgenderism or homosexuality is again. Scientists officially know. What causes this difference, now that’s an open question.

    For the video of these mice go to YouTube and search for: Gender-bending mouse

  • Pathia

    Drowssap,

    It’s going to take alot more than that to convince me either way, sorry. I’m not that easily convinced of anything.

    I am not a mouse.

  • Evan

    Drowssap,

    Humans don’t have a functional vomeronasal organ like mice to look for mates by the trail of their scent. In most higher primates, sexual feelings come from seeing their conspecifics. Those mice might have been lead into error by busting one essential part of their reproductive system, but we don’t know how they experience psychological attraction (or if they do experience it). In humans we have this advantage that they can communicate their feelings, but that can be tricky: they might be interested in defending a preference by making use of ‘human’ reasons or they could not understand exactly what they feel. This is where politics gets in the way of research and most of it gets silenced or boycotted.

    Can you imagine how strong that ‘switch’ must be to get humans to act on their attractions just like mice, bypassing all layers of conscience, identity, culture? I know all species have some forms of cognition and do not act as spontaneous as most people think, but humans are definitely the champions on this account. That can scramble many things in the study of their behaviour.

    For example, how do you get people with GID to volunteer for this type of research? Answer: even if you get some, researchers are going to get blasted by advocating groups just for conducting such studies. Maybe that is the thrust of Bailey’s positions: one needs to create awareness in both directions just to be able to do some research.

  • Drowssap

    Evan

    Agreed. In humans sexual orientation has little or nothing to do with smell. However their general discovery answers every question about orientation and gender specific behavior.

    “Numerous attempts to identify a unique brain structure or circuit that underlies sex-specific traits within one species have so far failed.”

    That creates an interesting scientific question. If there is no such thing as a male/female brain how do higher animals posess gender specific instincts and behaviors? Now we have an answer. Everyone has a complete set of male/female wiring. Neurotransmitters/hormones continually work to supress our opposite sex wiring. If something gets in the way of that, gender will flip in an instant.

    I expect a lot more animal research in the coming months and years. I bet in ten years they’ll be able to do this sort of thing on humans with neurotransmitters/hormones. Our base orientation will be an instinct and in a lab environment they’ll be able to flip it just like they do with mice. I can’t think of any reason that nature would make sexual orientation more complicated than eyesight or hearing.

  • Drowssap

    BTW… I mixed gender identification and orientation in that last post. I did mean to include both, as I have little doubt they are biological instincts.

  • Drowssap

    Pathia

    It’s going to take alot more than that to convince me either way,

    Well that’s good because a lot more is coming. These scientists figured out gender. That’s Nobel Prize time. Now that scientists know the answer everyone will jump on the ship. People like to back a winning race horse, and this one is it.

  • Drowssap

    Evan

    For example, how do you get people with GID to volunteer for this type of research? Answer: even if you get some, researchers are going to get blasted by advocating groups just for conducting such studies.

    I think you’re right. This will always be a huge problem. On the plus side this kind of research can now be done all over the world. South Korea is investing heavily in medical research and I doubt they have to worry about political correctness. Other countries like India pump out plenty of top scientists and engineers. It’s likely that the answers won’t come from the Western world.

  • Boo

    Not at all, I’ve got a healthy brain with all of it’s male instinct wiring turned on. How could I think any other way?

    And so transpeople are crazy because…

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton/ Warren

    Boo – You have asked repeatedly regarding what makes GID a D. Essentially any condition must cause “clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning” to be considered a disorder.

  • Drowssap

    Boo

    I don’t think you are crazy unless you are hallucinating, and you aren’t.

    That scientific discovery leaves me little doubt that transgenders are missing a hormone/neurotransmitter that supresses the female identity wiring that EVERYONE has. You, me, Warren, Dean Hammer, Narth’s board of directors, everyone. We all have that wiring. Maybe your brain never produced that hormone. Maybe it did, but at a very young age something knocked out or disrupted it’s production. That’s the way narcolepsy works. A virus konks out the production of Orexin and wham… you’ve got Narcolepsy. I don’t consider that “crazy.” Your feelings are completely understandable and rational. You should “feel” like a woman. In another decade or so scientists will be able to make anyone “feel” like a woman.

  • Drowssap

    Boo

    my 2 cents on this

    If I felt like a woman and yet I was physically a man I’d know pretty quickly that the feelings were real but something didn’t add up. I’d get in therapy and have an expert help me manage my feelings as best they could. No doubt you probably tried this so I don’t know how succesful I’d be. But from my outsiders opinion I’d do everything I could to keep the skin I was born in. I think that’s where our opinions part ways. I believe you feel like a woman, you should. But surgery is a 1 way trip and there will probably be better options in the future. I’d hold out if I could.

  • Pathia

    I think that’s where our opinions part ways. I believe you feel like a woman, you should. But surgery is a 1 way trip and there will probably be better options in the future. I’d hold out if I could.

    Sure, I’m holding out for better surgical procedures! You forget something. Even if that brain wiring was miswired or misfired or whatever, it may NOT be reversible in humans, keep in mind we have something called memories, and a diverse emotional range.

    Just because you cure the underlying condition, does not mean the feelings will ever go away, or change. I have lived with this ‘miswiring’ for twenty eight years. No magic pill is going to make it vanish at the drop of a hat any more than a magic pill instantly cures severely depressed people.

  • Drowssap

    Pathia

    it may NOT be reversible in humans,

    Actually I think dysphoria will be 100% reversible, probably in minutes. However you are right about the memories and experiences, that’s a different story. That might require therapy, maybe a lot of therapy.

  • Pathia

    Actually I think dysphoria will be 100% reversible, probably in minutes. However you are right about the memories and experiences, that’s a different story. That might require therapy, maybe a lot of therapy.

    Why? I have to ask why? Why should I bother? Let’s assume it is as simple as you say.

    I have a good job now, I have a partner that I’m in love with, we have as legal of a relationship as in possible in my state. I haven’t been depressed in years. I haven’t had problems with ANYTHING at all in years. I live a pretty good life now by all measures.

    Doing this would just completely screw it all up and turn it all upside down again and probably leave me suicidal again.

    Why in God’s name would I even think of trying it, seriously, WHY?

  • Drowssap

    Pathia

    I have lived with this ‘miswiring’ for twenty eight years.

    Unless you have some sort of widespread damage (doubtful) your wiring is probably fine. It appears that dysphoria happens because your female wiring isn’t being supressed like it is in everyone else. You are probably missing a single neurotransmitter, hormone or whatever humans use to supress that wiring. So maybe you have a tiny scratch somewhere, or a cluster of neurons was disrupted early in your life or in the womb. But unless you suffer from IQ depression or Palsy or some other serious symptom your brain is fine.

  • Pathia

    Unless you have some sort of widespread damage (doubtful) your wiring is probably fine. It appears that dysphoria happens because your female wiring isn’t being supressed like it is in everyone else. You are probably missing a single neurotransmitter, hormone or whatever humans use to supress that wiring.

    As stated before, I am intersexed (under some definitions). I am literally allergic to all forms of testosterone therapy. It makes me break out in hives all over my body and my skin falls off in patches and I break out in acne worse than I had when I was 15.

    If my wiring was repaired, I would continue to be hormonally closer to female, with no way to medicate myself to my new view of my inner masculinity. ‘Fixing” my wiring would literally send me straight into hell.

  • Drowssap

    Pathia

    I am literally allergic to all forms of testosterone therapy.

    I’m sure that many people would be allergic to hormone therapy. However in this case it’s not going to be testosterone that registers people their gender identity. It’s going to be something more specialized and in all likelihood very small amounts in the brain.

  • Pathia

    It’s going to be something more specialized and in all likelihood very small amounts in the brain.

    For me to revert to male after this treatment would REQUIRE testosterone therapy. That is my point, and it would be required for many male to female transsexuals too.

    My body (I have had no surgery yet mind you) does not produce the natural amount of hormones that a male does, nor does it produce a natural female amount. My natural state is more akin to a eunuch, or a woman without a womb. I require hormone augmentation to keep from developing osteoporosis (I showed signs of osteo at NINETEEN for example before they found out was round with me) and various other diseases.

    Hormone therapy may not be part of the cure, but it will be a necessary part of the ‘followup’ and ‘upkeep’ of the aftermath. My hormonal system is broken and genderless. I would already be dead without modern medicine. Even so, I am told I will only live into my 40′s at best, though I am to prove them wrong.

  • Drowssap

    Pathia

    Even so, I am told I will only live into my 40’s at best, though I am to prove them wrong.

    I’m sorry to hear that. Medical science keeps improving, ya never know when something might be developed to help people with your condition. Hopefully something will pop up.

  • Pathia

    I’m sorry to hear that. Medical science keeps improving, ya never know when something might be developed to help people with your condition. Hopefully something will pop up.

    My condition is well beyond orphan drug level, I don’t even know what it’s called, if it even has a name, or anyone else with it, initially it was considered a klinefelter’s varient, but now my doctors think otherwise. There was even a writeup on me in some endocrinology journal *laugh*

  • http://aebrain.blogspot.com Zoe Brain

    My condition is well beyond orphan drug level, I don’t even know what it’s called, if it even has a name, or anyone else with it, initially it was considered a klinefelter’s varient, but now my doctors think otherwise. There was even a writeup on me in some endocrinology journal

    In which case there is nowhere near enough data to predict your lifespan. The normal rules don’t apply, and something that would always cause an early death in someone remotely normal may be quite healthy for you.

    OK, the bad news is that you could also drop dead tomorrow. We just don’t have enough data.

    Something that might help : at 37 my cholesterol level was 450. Most who have readings that high have homozygotic hypercholesterolemia, and are dead by 30. I was told I probably wouldn’t make 40. I turned 50 in March.

    Another thing that might help: my syndrome has been tentatively named IPSR – Idiopathic Partial Sex Reversal. About 12 cases known, but there are 4 different types. I’m the only type 3 – well, that we know about. Nothing in PubMed, nothing in the literature about any of the cases.

    One conjecture is that both initial diagnoses I had were in fact correct. That I have both Androgen Insensitivity, and Adrenal Hyperplasia. It would explain why my 46xy body reacts to medications as if it were 46xx. The odds of that though would be about 1 in 169 million. If so, I’m probably the only case that’s ever been recorded. Oh Joy. One Intersex condition that masculinises even a genetic female, and one that feminises even a genetic male. Irresistible force, meet immovable object. What Fun. Not.

    Parthia, you and I are in unknown territory. There’s not enough data to make predictions about anything, nor how we will react to even the safest, or most dangerous, medication. To repeat, the usual rules do not apply.

    Remember this – a passing meteorite could hit anyone. We may live a long time, we may die tomorrow, but nearly everyone’s in that situation anyway. Live every day as if it’s your last, as it may be, or one of innumerable others still to come, as it also may be.

    Hugs, Zoe

  • Boo

    Boo – You have asked repeatedly regarding what makes GID a D. Essentially any condition must cause “clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning” to be considered a disorder.

    No, let’s try again.

    I am asking repeatedly:

    What makes GID a mental disorder.

    In addition to the criteria you have listed above, there’s one more hurdle mental disorders usually have to pass, according to the DSM. It’s that little one I’ve raised like four or five times and no one’s ever commented on. Come on, you remember what it was:

    The

    Distress

    Can’t

    Be

    Caused

    By

    Social

    Noncomformity

    If I have a problem with the way you’re acting, and decide to make you miserable because of it, it’s my problem. UNLESS I have a problem with your gender presentation. Then it’s your mental illness. Childhood GID is the only exception to the DSM’s rule on this. My question is:

    WHY?

    Check the childhood GID criteria again. It requires four of five criteria, and four of the five criteria listed are examples of social noncomformity.

    So why are kids who behave in unusual ways genderwise considered to have Gender Identity Disorder, but the FLDS people, who behave in unusual ways religionwise, are not considered to have Religious Identity Disorder?

    The only attempt the DSM makes to justify it is this:

    Gender Identity disorder can be distinguished from simple nonconformity to stereo-typical sex role behavior by the extent and pervasiveness of the cross-gender wishes, interests, and activities.

    So, according to the DSM, social noncomformity is not evidence of mental disorder unless it has a certain level of “pervasiveness.” (And ONLY regarding gender noncomformity) So some social noncomformity is okay, but after a certain level my discomfort with your behavior is just going to get to the point where it becomes your mental disorder. That makes perfect sense, in the sense of not actually making any sense at all.

    And then there’s this:

    The diagnosis is not made if the individual has a concurrent physical intersex condition (e.g., androgen insensitivity syndrome or congenital adrenal hyperplasia) (Criteria C)

    Think about it for a second. Why is this relevant? Whether the person has a concurrent physical intersex condition or not, their behavior is the same. For all I know, it’s remotely possible that I could have some kind of condition along these lines. But either way, I’m still me. So why are we checking my chromosomes or whatever to determine if my mind is disordered?

    Oh, and let’s not forget this charming tidbit:

    In child clinic samples, there are approximately five boys for each girl referred with this disorder. In adult clinic samples, men outnumber women by about two or three times. In children, the referral bias towards males may partly reflect the greater stigma that gross-gender behavior carries for boys than for girls.

    So other people being squicked out more by feminine boys than masculine girls means feminine boys are more mentally disordered. Because of the way other people treat them. And therefore a society in which masculine girls are treated more harshly than feminine boys means the girls would be more mentally disordered?

    Can you name me any other condition in which the mental disorder is measured precisely and exclusively by the amount the behavior of the individual weirds other people out? I work with schizophrenics, and over the years I’ve gotten used to that kind of behavior, so they don’t make me uncomfortable. Are they now no longer disordered? Do they become more disordered the instant they get around enough people who aren’t used to them?

    Or to put it another way, how crazy was Jesus?

    I don’t think you are crazy unless you are hallucinating, and you aren’t.

    So you agree with me that GID is not a mental disorder. Thank you Drowssap. I still find your Brave New World fantasies are still both eccentric and nightmarish.

  • Drowssap

    Boo

    What makes GID a mental disorder.

    Transexuals are significantly more likely to be left handed. That’s pretty much case closed that it’s some type of mental difficulty.

  • http://www.wthrockmorton.com Warren

    Drowssap – I do hope that was tongue in cheek.

  • http://www.wthrockmorton.com Warren

    I do not think it is clear that the distress is caused by social nonconformity. The distress is very early and involves distress with aspects of sex that is hard for me to attribute to social nonconformity alone. I do think however, that these are excellent issues to raise which may result in the modification of the critieria to address them.

  • Drowssap

    Warren

    Drowssap – I do hope that was tongue in cheek.

    An increased incidence of lefties is classic evidence of Pathological left handedness. I googled and found one link which indicated that nearly half of the TS population is left handed. That’s a HUGE difference and a clear indication that the problem lies somewhere hidden in the brain, not the body.

  • http://aebrain.blogspot.com Zoe Brain

    An informal poll involving ~1000 TS people showed only slightly higher incidence of Left Handedness than the normal population,, only slightly higher than statistical significance.

    However an astounding 30% were ambidextrous.

    We need more and better data.

  • Pathia

    An increased incidence of lefties is classic evidence of Pathological left handedness. I googled and found one link which indicated that nearly half of the TS population is left handed. That’s a HUGE difference and a clear indication that the problem lies somewhere hidden in the brain, not the body.

    Where pray tell did you find this? I mean, just doing an informal poll of the house that I live in (There are six of us here, all trans one way or another at the moment) and lets see…NO ONE is left handed.

    There, I did a poll. It’s about as official as any other poll involving transsexuals!

  • Drowssap

    In order to dodge the spam filter…

    Google: Transexual left handed

    Zoe Brain

    However an astounding 30% were ambidextrous.

    That’s actually what scientists care about most. Most of the stories you’ll read are about what scientists call “non-righthandedness” Roughly 90% of the population is right handed. When scientists discover that a subpopulation has different ratios that is an indication that something was altered in the brain.

    Fun Fact:

    Half of all premature babies are left handed and a significant cause of premature delivery is the common Herpes virus.

    Google: Herpes Virus Link To Preterm Birth And High Blood Pressure During Pregnancy

  • Boo

    Transexuals are significantly more likely to be left handed. That’s pretty much case closed that it’s some type of mental difficulty.

    No, that means the condition of being cross-gendered is probably caused by differences in the brain. But where is the “disorder” part coming from? Read the case histories again. The distress is not coming from within the kids, it’s coming from the way other people treat the kids. If distress is imposed from outside, it’s not a mental disorder, because it’s distress due to social noncomformity. Once again, my decision to treat you badly is my bad behavior, not your mental disorder. If the way these kids are treated leads to them developing depression, then the proper name for their diagnosis is “depression.” (Or more specifically, major depressive disorder or whatever)

  • Boo

    I do not think it is clear that the distress is caused by social nonconformity. The distress is very early and involves distress with aspects of sex that is hard for me to attribute to social nonconformity alone.

    Go get out your copy of the DSM and read the childhood GID criteria. Four of five are about kids behaving in ways others object to. And you need four of five criteria for a diagnosis. Then reread the case histories in the articles you’ve linked to. The distress comes from them being punished for behaving in ways that come naturally to them.

    Before I transitioned, I had depression and anxiety over not being able to interact with the world as female without being beaten up, made fun of, or otherwise punished in some way. Transition involved changing my body, not my mind. Now I feel no distress over my gender. My body has changed. The way others perceive me has changed. My mind has not changed, except that I no longer experience distress over my gender. If the mind stays the same and the body changes, and this fixes the problem, then where was the problem located? The mind or the body?

    I do think however, that these are excellent issues to raise which may result in the modification of the critieria to address them.

    Not if Zucker and Blanchard, who are sitting on the DSM committees, have anything to say about it.

  • Jayhuck

    Drowssap -

    When scientists discover that a subpopulation has different ratios that is an indication that something was altered in the brain.

    Perhaps – but its a bit of a stretch for you to lump the ENTIRE subpopulation under your theory umbrella. There are still 70% that are NOT left-handed – so what about them? The left-handed ratios really don’t tell us anything more than for SOME there might have been something altered in the brain – and that’s really not telling us anything.

  • Drowssap

    Jayhuck

    There are still 70% that are NOT left-handed – so what about them?

    You have to understand that left handednes (or non-righthandedness) is not a disorder. It’s an indication that something happened. Consider it the Canary in the mineshaft of the human brain.

    Half of all premature babies are non-righthanded. That doesn’t mean that only half were negatively affected by premature delivery. ALL were negatively affected but only some switched hand orientation. There is nothing wrong with being left handed, right handed or ambidexterous. When the ratios are off it’s one marker that something went wrong. Physical shortness is another marker, so is lower IQ or other negative symptoms.

  • Drowssap

    Boo

    No, that means the condition of being cross-gendered is probably caused by differences in the brain. But where is the “disorder” part coming from?

    IMHO the disorder comes in to play because something was damaged or altered in the brain. Increased non-righthandedness indicates something has been changed.

    Hypothetically speaking

    All male children are born with brains that produce a specialized neurotransmitter that creates a sense of “maleness.” Some sort of environmental damage disrupts the production of this hormone and these boys (or girls) become dysphoric. Doctors should restore production of this hormone, not teach these kids how to work around their dysphoria. If a child catches the mumps and loses his hearing should we teach him sign language or restore his hearing? I think that’s where we difer. Right now we do not know what has changed in the brain. But soon enough we will, and at that point we should repair it.

  • Patrick

    IMHO the disorder comes in to play because something was damaged or altered in the brain. Increased non-righthandedness indicates something has been changed.

    But isn’t the same true of homosexuality – that there is a higher amount of left-handers amongst homosecuals. And if so, won’t you also then have to view homosexuality as a disorder as well – something to be fixed.

    Perhaps you do subscribe to that view.

  • Drowssap

    Patrick

    And if so, won’t you also then have to view homosexuality as a disorder as well – something to be fixed.

    Homosexual men are about a third more likely to be left handed. If it turns out that some outside force has altered people’s brains and created SSA then I think everyone (gay, straight and inbetween) would agree that a repair option needs to be available.

  • Patrick

    Lets review the logic here.

    For TS persons you claim that the higher incidence of left-handedness is a marker that there is an indication that brain damage has occured and this is why it is a disorder.

    So now you point out that homosexual person’s also have a higher incidence of left-handedness.

    But for some reason you seem to be unwilling to draw the same conclusions that homosexuality is a result of brain damage as well and is hence a disorder as well.

    Now, why pray tell, is their asymmetry in your line of thinking. Why is being TS a disorder and being gay isn’t ?

    (And btw this gay man does not think there has be be a *repair* option if an outside force causes homosexuality – I am curious why you think you can speak on behalf ov everyone here – what conceit!)

  • Drowssap

    Patrick

    Let me be more specific.

    I strongly believe that recent scientific discoveries indicate the general cause of both TS and homosexuality.

    In both cases I assume that it’s the result of a missing, neurotransmitter. Without this hormone female wiring that is present in ALL brains isn’t properly supressed. You could take the straightest, straight guy with a lifetime of experience, subtract a single neurotransmitter and make him gay. By the same token the reverse is going to be true with gay people. I assume the reason this hormone isn’t being produced is some type of minor, environmental damage that took place in the womb or early in life.

    I could be wrong, but I doubt it. Watch the headlines, this is the direction the train is headed. The next time you see a story about scientists that create gender bending animals read it.

  • Drowssap

    Patrick

    Look, my first hypothetical was an easy one. If SSA is due to some type of environmental damage no matter how minor, forget about it. Everyone will ultimately agree that there needs to be options available for those who want to fix it.

    But let’s say that theory turns out to be 100% wrong. SSA has nothing to do with some type environmental damage, it’s the result of a normal gene. Are we really supposed to “cure” children who have absolutely, nothing wrong with them? Believe me, I get that point. However… what about Dwarves? That trait is caused by perfectly healthy genes. Given the option would parents want that cured or prevented? Of course! You, me and every other person would want that taken care of ASAP. And that’s the rub. Nobody really cares that dwarfism is caused by healthy genes.

    Pretend you were the parent of a 2 year old. Doctors run a test and determine that he has the “gay” gene. His brain doesn’t produce a specialized neurotransmitter that makes boys a little more masculine and attracted to girls. If they give him a shot of special cells that neurotransmitter will turn on and he’ll be like everyone else. What would you do? What do you think most people will do? More importantly if you don’t give him the shot how do you think he’ll respond when all his friends got the shot and he’s the only gay kid at his school?

    About a year ago I was chatting with a researcher who happens to be gay. The subject came up and he told me something I never forgot. He said that we are now living in the beginning of the end for homosexuality. The question isn’t IF but HOW SOON. I’m not a scientist and I have no way to know if he is correct. However I haven’t heard a plausible, alternate future. If you know of one let me know and I’ll quote you instead of him. Personally I don’t see how SSA survives more than a couple more decades. I’m not saying you’ll be straight, but it will probably be prevented in future generations.

  • Pathia

    Personally I don’t see how SSA survives more than a couple more decades. I’m not saying you’ll be straight, but it will probably be prevented in future generations.

    If it’s such a binary gene, then explain how I am bisexual?

  • Patrick

    Drowssap,

    I don’t want to turn this into a discussion about homosexuality – I brought up homosexuality to make a parallel argument.

    Namely, if GID is a disorder because it is marked by the higher than average amount of left-handedness present – then you would have to make the same statement about homosexuality.

    This is your viewpoint I am quoting. With respect to your viewpoint you logically cannot claim that GID is a disorder while homosexuality is not.

  • Ann

    If they give him a shot of special cells that neurotransmitter will turn on and he’ll be like everyone else. What would you do? What do you think most people will do?

    Drowssap,

    While I nor anyone else cannot say what causes SGA, I think what you are saying makes a lot of sense. We already have evidence that childhood diseases and other environmental factors cause damage and are willing to research that, why not this? In the interest of a child’s well being, I am sure most parents would opt for a safe and proven method to restore what was lost. For adults, I am not sure who, if any, would opt for this but at least it would be a viable alternative for those who want to.

  • Ann

    Drowssap,

    Oops – I am sorry – meant to say ” can” instead of “cannot”

  • Evan

    Pathia,

    If it’s such a binary gene, then explain how I am bisexual?

    Great question! That’s why we need research — to find out why we are the way we are. It’s interesting because we can also understand why others are the way they are.

  • Drowssap

    Patrick

    With respect to your viewpoint you logically cannot claim that GID is a disorder while homosexuality is not.

    I can see where you are coming from and in a sense you are correct. Technically speaking SSA might be the result of some, tiny damage but SSA itself is not “crazy.” Assuming this is all correct (and it will be) people don’t have “gay” or “straight” brains. There is no such thing. What we’ve got are two instincts that are built into every human brain on Planet Earth.

    A) Attraction to male instinct

    B) Attraction to female instinct

    Men don’t need to be attracted to men, in fact our DNA depends on the fact we aren’t. So men produce a neurotransmitter that suppresses that instinct. If something happens to that neurotransmitter the instinct isn’t supressed and wham… SSA. That’s what happened to the mice. Fully formed, adult mice turn transgender like flipping a switch.

    So is that brain damage? Well, the attraction to men instinct works flawlessly. It also happens to be a perfectly healthy instinct. Unfortunately men don’t need it, women do.

    Brain damage? Probably no more than a small scratch or a few thousand missing neurons. How do I know? Because gay men are just as smart as straight men. Maybe they have more eating disorders or MAYBE a little more neuroticism than average. But that could be caused by a lot of things including stress. By all measures their brains work just fine. Gay men are only about a third more likely to be left handed which is another piece of info that it’s just a scratch.

  • Pathia

    Men don’t need to be attracted to men, in fact our DNA depends on the fact we aren’t.

    You are forgetting we evolved as social creatures. There needs to be more bonding in a social structure than patterened male:female relationships and nothing more, that leaves the group split into two groups.

    It’s always been my theory that gays exist to keep men and women from murdering each other, because they exist in the void. The same could be said for any sort of flavor or the GLBT umbrella.

  • Ellie

    Drowssap

    Out of pure curiosity, if you took a sample of straight, non-pedophile, non-whatever other risk factors for left handedness you can think of, what percentage of the sample do you think would be left-handed?

  • Drowssap

    Ann

    We already have evidence that childhood diseases and other environmental factors cause damage and are willing to research that, why not this?

    That’s what absolutely KILLS me. Dr. Kenneth Zucker (same guy from the story) said in 2000 that homosexuality appeared to be the result of some type of environmental damage, possibly immunological. Since then take a guess how much research has been done in that direction? You guessed it, none. You can’t even BRING UP potential environmental damage and homosexuality without being branded a hater.

    Luckly all isn’t lost. Just because you can’t research this with government money or in a university doesn’t mean you can’t do research at all. There is work being done but it’s not made public…. unless it leaks out, which has happened.

  • Drowssap

    Ellie

    if you took a sample of straight, non-pedophile, non-whatever other risk factors for left handedness you can think of, what percentage of the sample do you think would be left-handed?

    Well, about 90% of the population is right handed. The other 10% is considered “non-righthanded.” Almost all of the 10% are going to be lefties, a few ambidexterous. Give or take a few percent that’s about where the world sits to the best of my knowledge.

  • Drowssap

    Pathia

    Although we don’t see a lot of bisexuality in men it could theoretically have an adaptive advantage. So yeah, maybe a few men should be bisexual, more in environments where that would come in handy, less where it doesn’t.

    But male homosexuality comes in handy exactly 0% of the time. It’s a game plan that never spreads DNA.

  • Ellie

    Drowssap

    what I’m really wondering is, presuming that this was arrived at via a correct random sample (i.e., call up 10,000 people ask them their sex and age and which hand is dominant and then send them $5) it would inevitably include a certain percentage of gay, trans, pedophile, dropped on their head when they were babies, whatever else causes higher rates of left-handedness, respondents. So if those groups have a higher percentage of non-right handedness, and you purposefully eliminated them as best you could from the sample (I don’t know how you exclude pedophiles, ‘sir are you a pedophile?’ would probably not tend to go over well as a survey question), then would the percentage of lefties go down? Is handedness a completely environmental trait?

  • Ann

    You can’t even BRING UP potential environmental damage and homosexuality without being branded a hater.

    Drowssap,

    Yes, you are so right about this.

    There is work being done but it’s not made public…. unless it leaks out, which has happened.

    I am really looking forward to what research can tell us – with knowledge, fear diminishes and that can only lead in a good direction.

  • Drowssap

    Ellie

    Oh… I see what you are saying and you are correct.

    Buried in that approximately 10% lefties are plenty of people whose handedness is a result of a phenomenon known as pathological left handedness.

    So maybe only 8% of the population is naturally left handed, or 5% or ? Right now scientists don’t know. In fact they’ve only recently identified 1 gene that appears to increase the odds of left handedness.

    I should also note there is another phenomenon known as hard right handedness. When scientists look at a subgroup and for instance 98% is right handed that’s another clue that something isn’t as it should be. But as near as I can tell that’s much less common than the lefty version. It’s hard even to find links on hard right handedness.

  • Drowssap

    Ann

    I am really looking forward to what research can tell us – with knowledge, fear diminishes and that can only lead in a good direction.

    100% amen.

  • Ellie

    Drowssap

    Is it possible hard right handedness results when too many things ‘go right’ (pun not intended)? i.e., no little babies have gotten a certain virus, or whatever? This just interests me because, doing a Pathia-esque study of the inhabitants of my house (one of whom may be Lesbian, I don’t know) we have two male lefties, one female lefty, three female righties, and a female quasi-ambidextrous…ok ‘ambidextrousy’ doesn’t work. The female lefty, and one of the righties aren’t biologically related to me. Kind of interesting, I guess.

  • Drowssap

    Ellie

    Approximately 50% lefties… WOW! That’s way above average.

    As for too many things going right creates more right handedness… from a purely theoretical standpoint I don’t see why not. In fact, too many things going “right” can actually cause health problems.

    Take the modern, high calorie diet. Our ancestors would have KILLED for the food we throw away. And yet, our diet is harmful. Diabetes and obesity are now epidemic. We aren’t built to eat so much and do so little.

    Another thing, resting feels great. But if you lay down and rest for days your lungs will slowly fill with fluid.

    Oh yeah and a sedentary lifestyle is harmful to our bones. Humans are built to work steady and have a low calorie diet. That’s what 250,000 years of Hunter, Gatherer natural selection will do for ya. 8-)

  • Patrick

    That’s what absolutely KILLS me. Dr. Kenneth Zucker (same guy from the story) said in 2000 that homosexuality appeared to be the result of some type of environmental damage, possibly immunological

    This is precisely the point about science being value neutral. Scientists are just as likely to be affected by our homophobic culture as anyone else. The above quote is telling. If he was truly being value-neutral about it he would have called it “environmental changes” – not “environmental damage”. Damage is a value-ladden term, whereas saying changes is not.

    And Drowssap and Ann wonder why people get up in arms when they say they are damaged — Good grief !

    (As an aside here – just where do you think this money coming is coming from for this research – any bets that it is coming from groups sympathetic to – or outright in support of eugenics)

  • Drowssap

    Ellie

    You mentioned that one person in your home might be a lesbian. Gay women are roughly twice as likely to be left handed as straight women. That’s a much larger difference than what gay and straight men have. It could be that gay women are exposed to more testosterone in the womb. Exposure to greater than average testosterone is also thought to increase the odds of non-righthandedness.

  • Pathia

    Drowssap

    I am wondering, in all these statistics of…well…anything. How do you even classify Zoe or myself as male or female? I can talk to different doctors and get a different answer on what my biological sex is *laugh* I don’t even know which statistics apply to me!

    Things are never so black and white as you seem to think, and never will be, for better for worse.

  • Drowssap

    Patrick

    If he was truly being value-neutral about it he would have called it “environmental changes” – not “environmental damage”. Damage is a value-ladden term, whereas saying changes is not.

    To be fair to Zucker that wasn’t his quote. I was trying to remember what he said. I don’t think he used the exact phrase, “environmental damage.” I think he used the phrase (among other phrases) developmental instability.

    As for where the money is coming from for non-politically correct, outside research I am utterly out of the loop on that one. I have no idea.

  • Ellie

    Patrick

    An infant getting a virus which caused major changes to their brain that resulted in non-standard behavior (as an example of a plausible scenario of an immunological event) would be considered by most people to be ‘damage.’

  • Drowssap

    Pathia

    How do you even classify Zoe or myself as male or female?

    That’s not as interesting to me as do you have male or female instinct wiring triggered in your brain. I’ll guarantee you that someday soon scientists will be able to take a petite Miss America and shoot her with a neurotransmitter that minutes later makes her feel like a male Lumberjack. Unless we are vastly different from other animals perceived gender is going to be about brain hormones and the instincts they trigger.

  • Drowssap

    Ellie

    I can’t post links because the spamkiller would hose out my messages. But let me just say that in the last 5 years or so the number of things pinned on pathogens has grown exponentially.

    Example

    1 in 5 cases of Schizophrenia triggered by the common flu virus

    Wash your hands, especially if you are pregnant.

  • Pathia

    That’s not as interesting to me as do you have male or female instinct wiring triggered in your brain. I’ll guarantee you that someday soon scientists will be able to take a petite Miss America and shoot her with a neurotransmitter that minutes later makes her feel like a male Lumberjack

    I always ‘felt’ female, sure, but I certainly don’t act it, I keep my hair cropped short. I’m not often mistaken for a man, but I’d bet most figure me for a lesbian. I wear tattered jeans and t-shirts to work (I love IT :D ). I don’t even own a single dress. I’m the agressor in my relationships, yet I still view myself as female. Ironically, I wasn’t able to be assertive until I transitioned. When I was male, I was shy, passive and socially inept. Now I’m an extrovert.

    If anything I have both wirings firing, and I enjoy it and wouldn’t have it any other way. Any other arrangement would be like brainwashing, or replacing me with a pod person. My family would probably disown me again and my partner would leave me.

    Why would I change anything?

  • Drowssap

    Pathia

    Why would I change anything?

    If you are happy you shouldn’t.

  • Pathia

    If you are happy you shouldn’t.

    Then why talk of this being so inevitable, and having all children forcibly immunized against SSA and GID? I mean, just look at all the people who don’t even trust immunizations for MMR and chickenpox or HPV. You expect them to take a vaccine that modifies brain pathways, or hormone receptors?

    What happens if a bad batch of vaccine goes out and makes a couple of thousand children gay?

  • Ellie

    Drowssap

    What I actually think is interesting is that the two least normal members of my household (myself and one of the other girls) are right-handed (I suppose some people would argue that the possible lesbian counts as less than normal, but I think if our house voted, she’d get to stay on the island :) ). The two of us have a condition that some researchers have posited arises from being exposed to too much testosterone in the womb (it’s also got a 70:30 male-female ratio, so how two girls got it and wound up in the same house, I don’t know), and I don’t think they ever really worry about handedness. I’ll check. Interesting how everybody comes up with environmental causes that can produce radically different results. I guess the explanation has to be interplay with different genes.

  • Patrick

    An infant getting a virus which caused major changes to their brain that resulted in non-standard behavior (as an example of a plausible scenario of an immunological event) would be considered by most people to be ‘damage.’

    In a society that viewed homosexuality and heterosexuality as equally normative – then no most wouldn’t consider it as ‘damage’. Only in our society that only considers heterosexuality as normative – would we we automatically jump to the conclusion that ‘damage’ occurred.

  • Ellie

    Pathia

    I think the question is, if you had never had the experience of feeling like a different gender than your biological sex, how would you have turned out? Say that some undetected virus in your mother during pregnancy caused whatever your situation is. If another mother gets treated for it, and their baby turns out, for lack of a better word, ‘normal,’ then the baby will theoretically just grow up like every other biological member of its sex, and never even know that it could have had the joys of going through GID or whatever it would have been classified as. There are parts of me that see this as ideal. It eliminates a lot of really bad situations (which I’m sure you know much better than me) with families being angry with the child, the child being teased by peers, etc. But I also realize, having as I do a ‘disorder’ as I just alluded to in a reply to Drowssap, that it is an integral part of my personality, and should I have the chance to go back to my birth and fix it, I’m not sure that I would. Although I think that I would for my baby, if I knew that he/she was going to go through the same nasty things I went through in school (luckily my problems were dealt with, and what remains are the type of things adults write off as quirky, especially in nerds, so I have much fewer problems now).

  • Pathia

    I think the question is, if you had never had the experience of feeling like a different gender than your biological sex, how would you have turned out?

    Unless they know how to overwrite my entire genetic code, likely I still would have ended up off one way or another. I have too many chromosomes, that happened at conception. Zoe and I have GIDNOS, not GID. Part of GID is that there are no underlying intersex conditions, which is not the case for me or Zoe. Ergo, we are GIDNOS.

    I am completely and utterly sterile, from birth, I cannot have children. My problem is self correcting, I cannot pass on my genes.

  • Ellie

    Patrick

    Why on earth should our society consider homosexuality and heterosexuality equally normative? If the root cause of homosexuality is environmental, then it would seem that homosexuality is indeed not normal at all, but rather some kind of biological mistake that occurs sometime after conception but before a baby turns two. If this is so then it is not ‘normal.’ I think it is possible to make a fairly good argument that people are more likely to be more happy over all if they are straight than if they are gay, even if we decide to enter into the realm of societal acceptance of homosexuality as just as normal as heterosexuality, so it makes perfect sense to prevent homosexuality if we know how. But now we’re back to your ban on research into the origins of homosexuality.

  • Pathia

    I think it is possible to make a fairly good argument that people are more likely to be more happy over all if they are straight than if they are gay.

    Uh…no…if everyone way perfect and more happy being no-gay, why are there ex-exgays and ex-extranssexuals?

  • Jayhuck

    Drowssap -

    You have to understand that left handednes (or non-righthandedness) is not a disorder. It’s an indication that something happened. Consider it the Canary in the mineshaft of the human brain.

    You seemed to miss my point. I understood what you were trying to say with your left-handedness data, but you still can’t take this data and lump EVERYONE in that subgroup under one theoretical umbrella. This data really doesn’t tell us much at all. You’re treating everyone in that subgroup the same and that may be your ideas downfall.

  • Jayhuck

    Drowssap -

    What I’m trying to say is that, when it comes to orientation at least – how we become gay, straight or bi is going to be a complex interplay of genes, other biological factors and the environment. This is NOT something anyone is going to figure out soon. We may solve little pieces of the puzzle over time, but we’re not going to get a good idea of the big picture in the near future. Complex behaviors are going to require complex explanations for their origins.

    I’m sure you’re aware of that, but it often seems at times, that in your writings, you aren’t. I know I’ve said these things before I just thought they were worth reiterating :)

    In the meantime, while scientists are busy – or not busy – working to come up with answers, good gay, straight and bi men must live their lives. And while I know this is an old soapbox of mine, I’m hoping that one day we will all be able to live together in peace, enjoying the same rights the other does, respecting the other, even if we don’t necessarily agree. Social progress needs to be made now – science will progress at its own, invariably slow – and rightly so – speed :)

  • Ellie

    Pathia

    first, I said ‘more happy overall’ not perfectly happy. Second, we’re not talking about people going through psychological boot camp and coming out ‘straight’ on the other side. We’re talking about taking babies and altering whatever is ‘wrong’ in their genes, brain, whatever scientists finally figure out it is (or else treating pregnant mothers, if that’s the issue), so that they grow up without homosexuality ever being an issue for them. It’s like, instead of them going through the typical development of a gay kid, they go through the typical development of a straight kid. A little boy would grow up doing normal boy things, feeling just like all the other boys. Instead having his first crush on a boy, it’s on a girl. Naturally, with no extra prodding from anyone; no weird psychological issues, no pressure from his parents. No being called names on the playground, no confusion and fear during puberty, no taking a girl to the prom because he feels like he has to, no struggling with his orientation, no outing himself to parents, family, and friends, no fear of gay bashing. When he finds the woman he loves, he can easily get married, they won’t have to jump through hoops to get kids (barring infertility, but it’s still generally much easier to adopt as a straight couple).

    The thing with that scenario is that it isn’t the parents forcing a teenager through Love In Action, or reparative therapy, or fire and brimstone preaching frightening someone into squashing their gay tendencies. It’s an actual straight person (not an ex-gay), because whatever was going to cause him to be gay was eliminated at or around or before birth. This is presuming some kind of biological cause is found, of course.

  • Pathia

    We’re talking about taking babies and altering whatever is ‘wrong’ in their genes, brain, whatever scientists finally figure out it is (or else treating pregnant mothers, if that’s the issue), so that they grow up without homosexuality ever being an issue for them.

    And it feels evil to me to do this sort of modification. Evil. I have no other word for it. It feels wrong, period. I’d feel filthy if I did this to any child.

  • Pathia

    Ellie

    I triggered some sort of spam filter I think with that last one. What I mean to say, is any kind of genetic modification, or hormonal modification in the womb feels absolutely wrong to me. That is not the time to be doing behavior modification. I think if we start meddling with that sort of behavior and feeling change in the womb, it’s going to have catastrophic consequences down the road. It just feels wrong.

  • Jayhuck

    Ellie,

    OMG – are you serious? Back in the ’50′s and 60′s, would you, if you could have and were ever in such a situation, have tried to turn a baby you knew was black white? Please tell me you’re kidding. And please refrain from using the term “wrong” when talking about gay people. NOTHING is wrong with them – homosexuality is NOT a disease. The only people that cause the bulk of problems for gay people are conservative Christians. You are taking the decision for something that is not a disease out of the hands of your child and making it for them – I see something truly wrong about that. Forcing your own ideas – good, bad, right or wrong, on them.

    Besides, there will most likely NEVER be a day when science can do this. The most that will ever likely happen – if it ever passes ethical standards – is that science might be able to reduce the chance a child is a certain orientation – but as in the past, when science has meddled in these issues, terrible outcomes have resulted.

  • Jayhuck

    Ellie,

    Just to add to my post above – I’m sure you are a mother that would be only be doing such things to improve the life of your child – but don’t become that cliche parent that does something they believe is best all the while ignoring or downplaying the potentially bad side effects or outcomes of such therapy, or that parent who believes they are doing what is right for the child but is acting more out of self-interest and internal biases – and don’t believe for a minute that if one of your children were gay that they couldn’t have a very long and very happy life.

  • Ellie

    Pathia

    I guess this is sort of the point where we can’t say anything definitive either way, because the research is just not anywhere near what we’re talking about. Actually, I think that the reality is that there will be several different ‘root causes’ of homosexuality, so one cure-all would be impossible. And it does seem, at least in part, to have a psychological component, even though I think some kind of biological factor must be involved as well. I totally understand where you’re coming from as far as caution is concerned.

    Actually, to be a lot more open than I usually am online, I have some kind of version of Asperger’s Syndrome (multiple psychologists later and still no stable diagnosis, isn’t that typical). There are pieces of it that almost destroyed my life. I was mercilessly teased up through junior high (and then ignored in high school, which had its own nasty consequences), which I am understanding of, having been through b-mod and now having some grip on how weird I seemed to the other kids, as well as understanding that the pecking order is somwhat integral to the function of an elementary/junior high school (I’m not understanding of why my teachers sometimes facilitated the teasing…). Unfortunately I am not a particularly docile person, and I started ‘acting out’ once the teasing got bad enough, and then went through a totally weird phase once a psychiatrist rather stupidly put me on Prozac. I don’t want to give details, but I did extremes that go from, I’m lucky I didn’t get myself thrown in jail until I turn 21, to I’m lucky I didn’t commit suicide. But the plus side that I’ve gotten out of it is the fact that I now, at the age of twenty, am a senior in college, getting two BAs, and once I got the adults on my side I managed to get my behavioral issues in line and have developed a (somewhat normal) personality that I actually like. I didn’t enjoy much of my childhood, and a lot of what happened to me back then still follows me around, but it made me me (I really do think I wouldn’t be focused on school the way I am if I didn’t have my Aspie ‘special interests’ going), and I wouldn’t trade it in for normalcy, even if I could. But would I want my children to suffer through it (and they could also be at risk for full blown autism)? No, and I do think, if I had the option and it was proven safe and effective, that yes I would prevent them from getting Asperger’s, even if that means they will not ‘do something amazing’ like get PhDs or become concert pianists.

    BTW, the childhood vaccine, autism link is, as far as I know, complete bunk, but could actually lead to your child dying or having other serious side effects (blindness, heart problems, sterility, etc) from those diseases if an outbreak occurred in his school. So please, if anyone has a kid who hasn’t been vaccinated, get them vaccinated. Better to have a live Aspie on your hands than to have a dead five year old.

  • Jayhuck

    Ellie,

    I’m sure you heard this already, but I’m going to repeat myself anyway – Homosexuality is NOT a disease – FYI

  • Ellie

    Jayhuck

    Did I say it was? Maybe you think I implied it, but I didn’t intend to, at least not in the way you mean.

  • Jayhuck

    Ellie,

    You didn’t say it was – but you did talk about altering something that was “wrong” in a babies brain that made them homosexual – so yes, I would say that it was implied. Homosexuality is neither a disease nor a disorder. That is why it would be better if you didn’t use the term “wrong” in association with gay people

  • Jayhuck

    Ellie,

    Sorry – you also seemed to compare homosexuality to other things that ARE disorders – so forgive me if that is not what you were doing, but it did sound as if you were.

  • Ellie

    Jayhuck

    I’m not bringing up Asperger’s syndrome as a direct comparison, merely using it to illustrate that I have a certain insight into understanding the complicated questions of ‘if I could prevent my child from going through this, would I,’ as well as the ‘If I could go back and change my own history at birth, would I.’ I’ve contemplated these questions often enough before, even though I rarely talk about them (I seem to be going through some kind of confessional period right now :) ) because there is a possibility that, should the research present an answer, it would be possible to ‘fix’ future AS cases before they even start.

    AS is a weird disorder, in that it has a lot bad going for it (aside from being itself a disorder it is associated with higher incidences of OCD, Tourette’s, and bi-polar disorder, among other things), but it also seems to be responsible for some of the most major developments in science and art (many historical psychologists like to think Mozart Newton and Einstein had it. Many currently living artists, mathematicians, physicists, computer scientists, etc, have been diagnosed. I personally know two boys who present with AS symptoms, but who haven’t been formally diagnosed. They’re also two of the most incredible pianists I’ve ever met). It’s safe to say that if I didn’t have AS I would have had a much happier life, even though I probably would not be on the trajectory towards the life of an academic that I’m on (and which I’m really looking forward to). Given where I stand now, knowing that I weathered the storms and am going to come out more or less fine in the end, I don’t think that I would go back and change things for myself. But for my children, yes, if there is the chance of altering whatever problems cause AS, I’d opt to change them. Even if it means a daughter who’s going to turn out to be a housewife instead of a woman with a career, or a son who decides to go into accounting instead of physics. Because I recognize that for all the good things I have and value in myself, I still have a mountain of baggage left over from my past and I still have AS, which can make life incredibly difficult (try having a three hour conversation with somebody in which you have to constantly monitor: where you’re looking at any given moment, the tone of your voice, the other person’s reactions without the benefit of the natural ability to pick up on ‘body language’ and understand the messages most people receive through eye contact, your side of the conversation so that you don’t fall into the typical Aspie behaviors of either dominating the conversation [usually w/ some topic the NT has absolutely no interest in], or else choosing a subject that is inappropriate but absolutely fascinating to you. Trust me, just going eye contact, ok, it’s been forty seconds, now look to the side, eye contact, ok it’s been a minute now look at the bookshelf, eye contact, what did that signal that mean?! for ten minutes is exhausting). As far as choosing to have an Aspie baby, the pitfalls just seem to outweigh the rewards to me. Of course if they were already adults, no, it would be so much a part of them by that time it would be worse to undo than to keep. But if they could grow up not knowing what it’s like to have both the good and the bad qualities, I would definitely choose that course. Because being a grown-up w/ AS is not that fun, even if you do get to play concert piano or become a professor.

  • Jayhuck

    I believe I understand your feelings about Aspergers but that doesn’t have anything to do with being gay.

    Please re-read, if you didn’t see them before, my posts: 103475 and 103477.

  • Boo

    IMHO the disorder comes in to play because something was damaged or altered in the brain. Increased non-righthandedness indicates something has been changed.

    And why does “changed” automatically equal “disordered,” other than that the hypothetical change makes us act in ways that some other people disapprove of? When I initially told friends that I was transitioning, the reactions ran the gamut from “You’re rebelling against God!’ all the way to “Oh my God! That’s the coolest thing I’ve ever heard!” Which reaction was “right”?

    If a child catches the mumps and loses his hearing should we teach him sign language or restore his hearing?

    Yes, because a hearing impaired person is objectively disabled. And because restoring hearing does not involve forcibly restructuring someone’s personality. Feminine boys are not objectively disabled, they just make people like you uncomfortable. Your discomfort should be your problem, not theirs.

    Your constantly bringing up left handedness is ironically ironic, because not so long ago that was considered a disorder that everyone was trying to “cure.” Now, no one cares.

    And everyone else- anyone who tells you they know exactly what’s going to happen in this field in 30 years is full of it. I mean, not to be offensive, but Drowssap is the guy who didn’t even know that therapy has the potential to cause harm.

  • Patrick

    Ellie wrote:

    Why on earth should our society consider homosexuality and heterosexuality equally normative?

    Do you know what normative, in the philosophical sense means – hint it doesn’t mean normal (back to naturalistic fallacy) – it refers to what ought to be – as in morally ought to be – as in heterosexuality and homosexuality are equally valid moral states (and treated as such).

    As to your comment that homosexuals would be less happy than heterosexuals – in an accepting environment – is impossible for you (or anyone) to know.

  • Drowssap

    Ellie

    Sorry, I gotta run and I don’t have time to respond to much of anything in this thread since last night…

    However you mentioned that the Vaccine/Autism connection is bunk and you are correct.

    MUCHO recent research shows that Autism is the result of a maternal immune response gone wrong. Flu virus appears to trigger this reponse in a few cases. Other than that they don’t know what triggers it. The mom’s immune system attacks the babies brain and scratches up the myelin which leaves the kid slightly damaged and potentially allergic to it’s own brain. That appears to be one reason why many autistic kids have inflamed brains.

    Here are a few Autism links

    Google:

    California researchers say ‘flu virus in mothers can trigger schizophrenia and autism

    Google:

    Some Cases Of Autism May Be Traced To The Immune System Of Mothers During Pregnancy

    Google:

    Autistic kids have inflamed brains

  • Jayhuck

    Thank you Boo – why does “changed” for some automatically equal disordered? To echo another – whose name I’ve forgotten now – what if we one day discovered a High IQ/Intelligence level was caused by a virus or autoimmune process? Would this automatically make it a DISORDER? Surely we have other criteria that things should meet before they are classified as such?

  • Eddy

    Jayhuck said: The only people that cause the bulk of problems for gay people are conservative Christians.

    I find this statement to be both reckless and confusing…with the ‘only’ thrown in along with ‘the bulk of’. In the future, could you clarify–and provide documentation if you plan to let the statement ride as fact. Thanks.

  • Pathia

    I find this statement to be both reckless and confusing…with the ‘only’ thrown in along with ‘the bulk of’. In the future, could you clarify–and provide documentation if you plan to let the statement ride as fact. Thanks.

    I don’t know if there’s any documentation or study, but I’ve never been gay/trans-bashed by an atheist. I’ve been assaulted three times, once was also an attempted rape. Two required hospitalization. All three involved a disturbed individual first, but they were very much christian given the sorts of things they were screaming at me while they beat me. ‘Burn in hell fagg*t” and “Join sodom and gammorah” were the sorts of things they yelled in the assault.

    Does that mean all christians hate gays? Of course not, not even close. However, everyone I know that has been assaulted, and all of my own assaults involved a christian as the person committing the assault.

    This is of course entirely anecdotal, but again I simply don’t know any atheists that hate gays to the point of assault, however there are obviously not as many of them either, so…regardless. It’s VERY hard not to become anti-christian when you are GLBT, because you are just completely broadsided with hate, especially if you’re not in the northeast, or weast coast.

  • Mary

    Nazis hated gays and they were not christians. Just a remark.

  • jayhuck

    Eddy,

    Where do you think people learned that GAY is bad – or rather, SINFUL? I’ve seen it in action my whole life Eddy – kinda hard to provide documentation for something like that. Conservative Christianity is what gives out the message to people that being gay is wrong and sinful. I’m not saying they are the ONLY cause of bigotry and prejudice that the gay community faces, but they either provide ammunition without clarification, or directly participate in discriminating against the gay community. I grew up in a very conservative Christian community, and state for that matter.

  • jayhuck

    Its sad, but I don’t know any atheists that hate or discriminate against gay people either.

  • Patrick

    Pathia I wonder if they were really Christians though – or if they just co-opted anti-gay religious language.

    I have noticed that people who aren’t seemly Christian in anyway (don’t go to church, don’t read the bible, don’t act out their faith etc) will sometimes state that they are against homosexuality because the ‘bible says so’. It is almost like they want to add a veneer of ‘respectability’ to their beliefs by using religious language – when what they really might feel is just negatively about homosexuals. Not of chose that there is *anytthing* respectable about attacking another person.

    As for atheists, well I am sure there are some who feel negatively towards glbt persons. But secular humanists (which a fair number of atheists are) are probably one of the biggest pro-glbt groups out there.

  • Jayhuck

    I agree with you Patrick.

    I also don’t want to make it sound like ALL conservative Christians are hateful, hate-spreading people. I don’t believe that. I think that conservative Christians often have good intentions, but don’t realize the consequences of their words and actions – especially when they aren’t backed up with some clarification.

    I also agree that there are people who CLAIM to be Christians – who have a Christian veneer like you said – who abuse and discriminate against gay people.

    It is a bit more complicated than I made out in my earlier post – and I do think conservative Christians are doing a much better job of explaining their positions – but when you’ve got a group of people saying that gays don’t deserve equal rights, that sends a message to people.

  • Pathia

    Pathia I wonder if they were really Christians though – or if they just co-opted anti-gay religious language.

    Considering two of the assaults were done by people I knew from highschool, and knew decently well because we were in classes together. I ‘m pretty sure they went to church. Good ole’ southern baptists. Funnily enough the police that were about that laughed at me and called me a bitchy queen that got what she deserved. They wouldn’t charge the assaulter with anything, though they threatened to arrest me for disturbing the peace, because needless to say I was a bit hysterical at that point. They ALL went to the same church. Fancy that!

    Gotta love the good old boy networks in the south, hmm?

    Now, did they read the bible much? Probably not, but I bet they were ‘told what it said’ often enough.

    They didn’t just hate gay people either, mind. The local country club forbid black and hispanic members, no matter their income.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton/ Warren

    The thread is drifting. Could we get it back to the mom of these twins or have we exhausted that topic?

    I am still trying to find time put her follow up remarks together….

  • Jayhuck

    We might have exhausted the topic?

  • Eddy

    My bad! I’ve been weaning myself away from my addiction to this site and I should have let the overgeneralized statement stand unchallenged. I will refrain from responding to the replies to my post.

  • Pingback: 60 Minutes Science of Sexual Orientation mother of twins, part 2 — Warren Throckmorton

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  • Fg68at

    Two years since. It would be nice to have an update information. :-)