Alex Blaze

Did ya hear? The NY Times thinks you're a big sissy!

Filed By Alex Blaze | April 10, 2007 3:24 PM | comments

Filed in: The Movement
Tags: leslie feinberg, medicalization, New York Times

In case you needed to be told by anyone else, the NY Times has an article up about the origin of sexual orientation, or, as it should be called, "Gay men aren't really men after all". Here are a few earth-shaking quotations.

When discussing hormonal influences in the womb that might cause sexual oriention:

Antimale antibodies could perhaps interfere with the usual masculinization of the brain that occurs before birth, though no such antibodies have yet been detected.
See? Being gay is "antimale" because the NY Times says so! Even if these antibodies can't be detected, at all, they must be there because something is destroying masculinity!

When discussing the Fraternal Birth Order Theory (that older borthers increase a boy's chance of being gay) the article says:

The effect supports the idea that the levels of circulating testosterone before birth are critical in determining sexual orientation. But testosterone in the fetus cannot be measured, and as adults, gay and straight men have the same levels of the hormone, giving no clue to prenatal exposure. So the hypothesis, though plausible, has not been proved.
Again, it can't be measured, and nothing has given the idea credence, but it has to be presented as a plausible theory because it hasn't been disproven. After all those studies on adult gay men attempting to prove that we have much less testosterone than straight men all showing that that theory was wrong, they come up with a spin-off that can't be tested, and, therefore, can't be proven wrong. I mean, isn't it just as plausible that straight male fetuses are the ones getting too little testosterone? Prove me wrong.

Just one more heterosexual = masculine quotation:

The male brain is sexually oriented toward women as an object of desire. [...]

Presumably the masculinization of the brain shapes some neural circuit that makes women desirable. If so, this circuitry is wired differently in gay men.

Oh, and lesbians don't exist:

Desire between the sexes is not a matter of choice. Straight men, it seems, have neural circuits that prompt them to seek out women; gay men have those prompting them to seek other men. Women's brains may be organized to select men who seem likely to provide for them and their children.
But I guess this is what one would expect from the medicalization of sexuality. Either you get quack psychologists like those at Exodus or Richard Cohen or Paul Cameron trying to sell their cures that have no chance at working or you get studies like these that assume that being queer is naturally inferior and set out to explain it using the stereotype of the age. The only goal of either of these is the elimination of sexual and gender diversity, a sexual cleansing of the gene pool, if you will. Honestly, I can't see any other purpose for this research.

And if the whole testosterone thing isn't a stereotype, then would somebody please tell me why medical researchers bought into it, then couldn't prove it, then tweaked it in such a way that it can't be disproven or proven, even while admitting that the most it could explain is one in fifteen gay men?

To paraphrase Leslie Feinberg, instead of looking for the gay gene, why not look for the straight gene? And what about the bisexual gene? Is anyone looking for that? What about the "I was really drunk that one night in college" gene?

Well, I wouldn't expect so much from an article that included this piece of earth-shaking research:

In experiments in which subjects are shown photographs of desirable men or women, straight men are aroused by women, gay men by men.
Holy cow! Good work, Perfessor!

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Oh yeah, didn't we already know, gay man=sissy and lesbian woman=tomboy, except when they're not.

Just another pile of crap from the NY Times.

Love that Fraternal Birth Order theory. Seeing as I'm the older brother in my family maybe the Times can figure out if there was a time machine involved or something.

Wow - that's real good science. Almost as good as the science that says there's no global warming.

Actually, it is my understanding that the idea is that gay men likely have and oversupply of testosterone in comparison to straight men. Which explains certain larger physical attributes.

Testosterone has to be metabolized via the catalyzing hormone, aromatase. Without aromatase, which the sheep researchers associated with small, LeVay-like structures (oSDN - ovine sexually dimorphic nucleus) in the hypothalamus. The oSDN in straight rams was "significantly" larger and contained more neurons than in male-oriented rams and ewes. In addition, the oSDN of the straight rams expressed higher levels of aromatase, a substance that converts testosterone to estradiol so that the androgen hormone can facilitate typical male sexual behaviors. Aromatase expression was found to be no different between male-oriented rams and ewes (See: OHSU Press release).

I remember an article from either Bogaert or another person researching birth order from several years ago and even there it was stated that if anything gay men had an oversupply of testosterone during in utero development stages. The anti-male antibodies have nothing to do with the particular male fetus, but should be a product of the mother, There was a Scandinavian hopital which studied miscarriages and found that the greatest number came from women who had previously carried male children and were carrying males at the time. Thus it seemed that some women might have an immune response to carrying successive male children.

In the end there might be several biological ways to 'create' gay men. I don't see what is so stereotypically slanderous to gay people in that articles unless you don't understand it in the first place. And I guess the better part of the readership of the NY Times might be such. But then the article doesn't really explain it either and probably does give one that impression.