Friday 18 February 2011

The AMA on the Origins of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity

Click to start the presentation in a new window.

Money Quote:

"Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity are conferred during the first 12 weeks of gestation, and they are irreversible"

There are some blatant contradictions which Dr Kate O'Hanlan struggles with - but that's really the fault of the constraining binary language; homosexual or heterosexual. In fact, Biology doesn't conform to a strict binary, and the edges blur between those two extremes. Someone in the minority near the divide can be "pushed over" one way or the other - usually towards behaviourally exclusive heterosexuality (regardless of feelings) due to societal pressure, but being abused as a child, or less commonly as an adult, can cause a push the other way. When the trauma is particularly strong, such as rape trauma resulting in a pathological fear of men, or extreme religious pressure to "resist their inner demons", they can become fanatics. The extreme Right-Wing Religious Homophobic politician who's caught with his pants down is now so common it's a cliche.

Or, untraumatised, they can remain happily Bisexual, or Asexual.

A similar case applies when it comes to Gender Identity, that minority who are bigendered can be pushed one way or the other, or remain androgenous or neutrois. How large those minorities are is another matter, but 1 in 3 seems a good estimate.

This accounts for all of the observed facts; that both gender identity and sexual orientation are inherent, congenital, and unchangeable for most intents and purposes, for a few they are not quite, if the person is traumatised enough. For the rest, the trauma does the same amount of damage, but has no other effect whatsoever.


cornince said...

What about the observation that most transgendered children end up not being transgendered by adulthood? I've read about how most will end up gay or bisexual. I'm wondering about your thoughts, and how it fits with the biased-interaction theory of psychosexual development and related theories.

Anonymous said...

This is why children are usually put on hormone blockers instead of cross-sex hormones, usually until the age of consent, usually 18.

A gay child probably would not respond well to cross-sex hormones, they are fine with their gender identity of course. The administration of cross-sex hormones is usually used as a diagnostic tool, as a true transsexual will feel relief from the treatment, whereas a gay man or woman would probably find it unpleasant.


starstattoo said...

@cornince: Whether people bravely dress & act as their gender identities or suppress their true selves is cultural. In the West, gay is more socially accepted than transgender - hence the high murder rates for trans people. In Iran & Thailand, gender reassignment surgery is rather common, as those cultures understand "trapped in the wrong body" better than two men in love. Many gay people there get surgery even if they aren't truly trans, because that's what's accepted. Homosexuality is a death-penalty crime in Iran, but the gov't will help pay for gender reassignment.

starstattoo said...

Around the world, since ancient times, women have lived as men, especially to fight in war Mulan-style. Hundreds of women fought this way in the US Civil War. Even in the 20th century, there were men, with wives & careers, who were only discovered to be female by coroners or funeral directors after their death.

Anonymous said...

@ cornice: What about the observation that most transgendered children end up not being transgendered by adulthood? I've read about how most will end up gay or bisexual.

It's a case of mixing your definitions. The definition of "transgendered child" is typically quite broad, indicating little more than various forms cross gendered play or preferences. That's not the same definition applied to transgendered adults. And it's not close to the definition of "transsexual" at all.

cornince said...

Hi y'all,

Thanks for the responses.

Hi Zoe,

I'm wondering if you've seen this yet:

Zoe Brain said...

Ah the infamous "questioningtranssexuality", full of snake goddesses and quotes like "Jason Dirk Reitz, a lame ass pretentious little special piece of poopoo who "helps" people..."

Written by a Butch female who thought she was trans, found out she wasn't, and since then has been on a one-FAB (Female At Birth) crusade against the concept because everyone must be like her. If they're not, they must be made to be, for their own good.

But the worst thing is that trying to find the 5% of good stuff in there (and she has some keen insights) is like wading in a sewer. She writes with concentrated bile as ink.

Compare and contrast:

Now look at time cube.

The latter is the classic "Kook Site", and is typical of those who are schizophrenic with OCD.

Anyway, her (minor) disabilities impede communication. Pity, because in the sewer you do find the occasional diamond.

There *is* a need for support for those who in their questioning of their gender, think they might be transsexual, but eventually determine they are just Transgendered (though often they insist they're not). That is an insight that is truly valuable.

Sex Identity usually crystallises young (see Diamond on the subject), but may not. The questions she raises are good ones. She just is handicapped by her insecurity, having to constantly prove that she's "not like THEM".

But I'm not a qualified psych, so take my surmises as those of someone whose objectivity is questionable, whose psych training is negligible, but who has noticed certain patterns.