Hardwired (and this could be a double entendre)

More and more evidence is mounting (sorry, there’s another double entendre) that our sexuality and gender identities are neurologically based and certainly not just lifestyle “preferences.” UCLA has done a study focusing on this, and their researcher Eric Vilain says, “Our research implies that genes account for some of the differences in male and female brains. It’s quite possible that sexual identity and physical attraction is ‘hard-wired’ by the brain. If we accept this concept, we must dismiss the myth that homosexuality is a ‘choice’ and examine our civil legal system accordingly.”

Be sure to read the whole article for some interesting things on differences in startle responses in gay and straight people.

P.S. Just found the link to this latter study.

5 thoughts on “Hardwired (and this could be a double entendre)

  1. All right kids, who determines “male and female typical traits” if we are not even sure what is genetic and what’s not?

    So, we take an ideological idea of “maleness” and “femaleness” and then go about trying to determine its genetic origin. Anyone else see the problem with this?

    (Ideology is a cultural notion like a hidden file in Windows; everyone assumes its just a basic fact, a truism, because they don’t see the cultural assumption behind it.)

    And another thing, how do you explain bisexual people based on this model?

    These gender studies give me the willies ’cause they are typically done with too few people (oh, say, 49 out of 5 billion — hello?!?) and they are riddled with cultural assumptions.

    I mean, on one hand, it’s a good thing to show that being gay is not necessarily a “lifestyle choice” but on the other hand I shudder to think of the “gene therapies” developed to “cure” gay people.

  2. Yeah, I see your point about bisexuality – I was wondering about that myself. I think research like this can go in two ways. If it’s genetic, then it’s not a choice, so all you people trying to “convert” alternatively-sexual people back off! vs. If it’s genetic, then maybe we can “fix” it (which is just plain scary).

    On the other hand, for intersex people (who are starting to make themselves heard), this is, in fact, an interesting idea. Parents often opt for surgery when the little one is still little (with the motivation of sparing them greater pain, later), but often choose incorrectly. Some intersex folks argue that no surgery should be done at all until the child is old enough to “feel” male or female and decide for him or herself.

    Have to keep in mind that gender identity and sexual preference are two totally separate things. I can be a homosexual guy who actually thinks of myself as a heterosexual female, or I could be a straight guy who wants to be female myself… The issue is very complicated.

    Whether the research is a good idea… I believe that the more knowledge we have, the better.

  3. I think it’s ironic that this story appears in the same week that Justice Scalia delivered his rant against the Texas sodomy law ruling.

    That’s cosmic (dramatic) irony, not literary irony. :)

  4. Another radical thought:

    Why do hermaphrodites or “intersex” people have to “chose” a gender? Hello, there are more than two options; that’s just another cultural ideology that tells us there are only two.

  5. Shania Twain even says, “Man, I feel like a woman.”

    Thank you for ignoring this totally useless, random thought.

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