Friday, August 10, 2012

Is Straight Innate?

From the Atlantic, Are Straight People Born that Way? This article makes a good companion piece to Beyond Sports: summer camp for gender variant children from the New York Times.  Both examine behavioral clues children exhibit and try to consider the correlation with adult sexual orientation and gender expression. Both articles too, give evidence of the impact of congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH) on adult females. From the Atlantic:

In other words, do children give us clues about whether they're going to ultimately be sexually attracted to males, females, or both? To a certain extent, yes. That's why plenty of gay and lesbian adults can point to childhood clues that they were "born this way." Most straight people could do the same, although typically no one asks straights when they knew they were straight. Behavioral patterns in childhood do show some correlation with adult sexual orientation.

Vilain points, for example, to the evidence from girls born with a disorder called congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH), including that gathered by the University of Cambridge psychologist Melissa Hines. CAH results in naturally increased levels of androgens (a "masculinizing" type of hormone), and females with CAH show relatively high early interest in male-typical childhood activities as well as relatively high rates of bisexuality and lesbianism as adults.

 Many of the points articulated in the Atlantic piece have been addressed here in earlier posts. Regardless, the argument of nature vs. nurture in terms of gender expression appears to more  a continuum of male to female, and vice versa, than a hard line dividing the two.



For more information read:

Gender and the Company We Keep

Designer's Choice: Transexual Models

In Malaysia: Social and Legal Claims on Gender

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