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View Diary: Why Scientists Don't Understand Anything about Sexual Orientation (214 comments)

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  •  Why would trans people purposefully combine (1+ / 0-)
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    sexuality and gender identity in specific, limited groupings as you seem to describe - such folks would seem to be the most understanding people on the planet when it comes to their separation, I would think?

    Not questioning your assertions, I am just a bit baffled.

    "So, please stay where you are. Don't move and don't panic. Don't take off your shoes! Jobs is on the way."

    by wader on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 12:54:01 PM PDT

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    •  We suffer from Stockholm syndrome (4+ / 0-)

      Shrinks rule our lives and control whether we transition or not. Unfortunately, not every one of us is able to realize that they are our true enemies, and that it is vital never to internalize anything they say to us.

      Shrinks impose typologies and make us jump through hoops to fit whatever typologies they believe in at the moment. It's all pseudoscience, but they have the weapons. So too many trans people come to think in terms of typologies and who is a "real" trans or not.

      The solution is to get us out of the hands of the shrinks, which is why it was so important to get trans removed from DSM, as homosexuality was removed back in 1973.

      Unfortunately, the American Psychiatric Association is an old boy's club, and the old boy in charge of us (Kenneth Zucker) got us continued into the next edition.

      The good news is that DSM-V is so bad overall that the NIMH has stopped using it for research purposes. It has no scientific credibility, but it still gives shrinks power to fuck over US trans people -- especially trans kids.

    •  Well, there are basically two major subgroups (5+ / 0-)
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      atana, VeggiElaine, wader, Nowhere Man, nickrud

      of trans people.

      On the one hand, you've got the progressives of the queer theory, gender theory, and feminist traditions, who believe that gender is entirely socially-constructed, sex is a continuum, sexuality is inherently fluid, and being trans is a reaction against confining gender roles.

      This group tends to believe that everyone is inherently bisexual or pansexual because sexual orientations aren't actually real because the things they reference (sex and gender) aren't real.

      On the other hand, you've got the gender essentialists who believe sex is binary, gender roles are biologically-rooted, sexuality is fixed, and being trans or gay is an expression of a biological difference in the brain.

      This group tends to insist that all 'real' trans people are straight because thy think that the process that creates a transsexual brain is a related but more severe version of the process that creates a homosexual brain.

      Neither group is entirely comfortable with people like me.

      "Let’s just move on, treat everybody with firmness, fairness, dignity, compassion and respect. Let’s be Marines." - Sgt. Maj Michael Barrett on DADT repeal

      by kyril on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 01:15:40 PM PDT

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      •  I can think of other possibilities (5+ / 0-)
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        kyril, VeggiElaine, wader, CS in AZ, sturunner

        e.g. gender and sex might be biological, but have far more diversity than any culture has recognized. Some cultures are more accommodating of the natural diversity than others; our culture is very anti-diversity in general. That is the main argument evolutionary biologist and trans woman Joan Roughgarden made in Evolution's Rainbow.

        My own view is that brains are really complicated and the truth, when we get it, will also turn out to be really complicated -- as biology usually is.

        •  Orientation & transition (2+ / 0-)
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          atana, Dogs are fuzzy

          I have noticed different attitudes and feelings toward men since beginning transition.  I'm trying to figure out whether that's due to hormones or to variation in the implied social constructs.  

          In any case, we really stretch that binary idea presented regarding sexual appetites.  Once again, the scale itself does not apply.

          I do not demand tolerance, I demand equal rights. --Anna Grodzka

          by VeggiElaine on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 01:55:52 PM PDT

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          •  I didn't find that estrogen had any influence (1+ / 0-)
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            on my "orientation", which would describe as "asexual lesbian": i.e. I (greatly) prefer the company of women but I have no real interest in having sex with them.

            Perhaps if males had not beaten me into PTSD for the first two decades of my life, I would have found them erotic -- I don't know. As it is, I just find them to be something I avoid as much as I can.

            •  I would describe myself similarly (0+ / 0-)

              It's not sexual re men or even necessarily physical, more aesthetic.  Just different.

              I'm sorry about your experiences.  I had some terrible ones too.  I try to limit the scope of my damages to specific people so the contagion doesn't spread to otherwise wonderful people.  I wouldn't want to ignore nearly half the humans on earth because of the meanness & smallness of a handful of them.

              I do not demand tolerance, I demand equal rights. --Anna Grodzka

              by VeggiElaine on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 02:24:45 PM PDT

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            •  You are aware, perhaps, that most men prefer (0+ / 0-)

              the company of men, but have no real interest in having sex with them?

              I don't know exactly what that means with respect to your personal observation, other than to say that it does not sound at all out of character for a heterosexual woman, your description notwithstanding.

              This is an amusing subplot in a popular tv comedy: Two men, both vain and shallow, discover they have a lot in common. As they become friends, they bumble into a homosexual relationship, because neither of them has ever actually had a friend before, so they can't interpret a desire to spend time with another person as anything other than sexual.

              To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

              by UntimelyRippd on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 07:51:57 PM PDT

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            •  There are too many stories like yours (0+ / 0-)

              It's really rough emotionally even to read about the lives of trans* people, so I can't understand what it's like to live them.

              I try to dissociate, distance myself, and hide behind the habits of thought that earned me a hard science degree, but then I just get furious about the crimes against science instead.

              Freedom isn't free. Patriots pay taxes.

              by Dogs are fuzzy on Tue Jul 09, 2013 at 11:47:46 AM PDT

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        •  well, for us materialists, at some level (0+ / 0-)

          it is all biological. so then the question becomes, to what extent can it be manipulated post-delivery? and the answer to this must itself depend on the individual -- their genetics+development, leading to their being born in an anatomy already prepped to go in certain directions.

          it might be possible to actually redirect a person's gender or sexual identity by manipulating their environment (including giving them drugs of various sorts), but attempts to do anything like that have thus far been miserable failures, not to mention pointless ones.

          To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

          by UntimelyRippd on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 08:14:02 PM PDT

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      •  More to the point, neither group has any (0+ / 0-)

        significant body of scientific evidence to back up their absolutisms.

        To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

        by UntimelyRippd on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 07:42:40 PM PDT

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      •  Neither group is scientific (1+ / 0-)
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        Last year I suddenly found myself interacting with a large number of trans* people in another of my online hangouts. Of course I read up on their experiences and tried to learn about the science behind it.

        I was shocked at how bad the "professional" literature was even by the pathetic standards of psychology. I wondered why the field had not attracted some A-player of a graduate student who would see that she could make a name for herself by being the first competent person in the literature.

        An activist suggested to me that the bitterness of the politics in trans* studies deters potential researchers who just want to be science nerds. That includes both the public politics and the academic politics, in which job opportunities depend on pleasing the Giant Figures in the field who got that way by being pompous. This is, in the technical terms of philosophy of science, fucked.

        If so, maybe the same issue is holding back research on sexual orientation?

        Freedom isn't free. Patriots pay taxes.

        by Dogs are fuzzy on Tue Jul 09, 2013 at 11:42:40 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  A lot of people have a need to be "right" (4+ / 0-)
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      kyril, wader, gramofsam1, FarWestGirl

      especially when they are continually told that they are wrong. Part of their ego formation compels them to decide that their choices are the choices everyone "should" make or "would make" if they really knew their own minds.

      This is exemplified by the "everyone is bisexual" or "everyone is really gay," subgroups. And it is common among members of groups who define themselves by their sexuality when that sexuality is atypical.  There is a need to express one's own choice as an ideal and to denigrate anyone whose choices may be different even when they are only a slight variant of your own.

      This is also seen among traditionally oppressed social, religious or political groups: The need to take their hurt and anger at their oppressors and re-focus it towards other groups. More often than not, such anger is turned towards other oppressed groups and not the original oppressors themselves.

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