Not Quite a Life Choice

choices

No, this isn’t about the stupid bathroom bills. Though I may get to that one day.

One of the things you hear all the time is that being gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender is a life choice. Of course, being that many feel that way, one of the options they choose for their loved one is to “pray away the gay”. Doesn’t work, been totally debunked, yet persists with certain sects despite facts to show it does not work.

When I first attempted to come out back in the 90’s, there was little information. Yes, it was in the DSM used by doctor’s and psychologists, first as Gender Identity Disorder and later as Gender Dysphoria. Since then a lot of research has been done and changes have come about. There was one study done back in 1991 that showed that chemical imbalances caused genetic changes that predisposed someone to be gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. I will include a snippet here, though I feel that with the technical jargon, I might lose some, but hang in, we will return to just me talking in a moment.

Full text available at https://www.thieme-connect.com/products/ejournals/abstract/10.1055/s-0029-1211110

Exp Clin Endocrinol Diabetes 1991; 98(5): 141-150
DOI: 10.1055/s-0029-1211110
Original

© J. A. Barth Verlag in Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York

Gene- and Environment-Dependent Neuroendocrine Etiogenesis of Homosexuality and Transsexualism

G. Dörner, Ingrid Poppe, F. Stahl1 , J. Kölzsch2 , R. Uebelhack3

  • 1Institute of Experimental Endocrinology, Humboldt University Medical School (Charité), Berlin/Germany
  • 2Department of Dermatology, Humboldt University Medical School (Charité), Berlin/Germany
  • 3Department of Psychiatry, Humboldt University Medical School (Charité), Berlin/Germany

Summary

Sexual brain organization is dependent on sex hormone and neurotransmitter levels occurring during critical developmental periods. The higher the androgen levels during brain organization, caused by genetic and/or environmental factors, the higher is the biological predisposition to bi- and homosexuality or even transsexualism in females and the lower it is in males. Adrenal androgen excess, leading to heterotypical sexual orientation and/or gender role behavior in genetic females, can be caused by 21-hydroxylase deficiency, especially when associated with prenatal stress. The cortisol (F) precursor 21-deoxycortisol (21-DOF) was found to be significantly increased after ACTH stimulation in homosexual as compared to heterosexual females. 21-DOF was increased significantly before and even highly significantly after ACTH stimulation in female-to-male transsexuals. In view of these data, heterozygous and homozygous forms, respectively, of 21-hydroxylase deficiency represent a genetic predisposition to androgen-dependent development of homosexuality and transsexualism in females. Testicular androgen deficiency in prenatal life, giving rise to heterotypical sexual orientation and/or gender role behavior in genetic males, may be induced by prenatal stress and/or maternal or fetal genetic alterations. Most recently, in mothers of homosexual men — following ACTH stimulation — a significantly increased prevalence of high 21-DOF plasma values and 21-DOF/F ratios was found, which surpassed the mean + 1 SD level of heterosexual control women. In homosexual men as well – following ACTH stimulation – most of the 21-DOF plasma values and 21-DOF/F ratios also surpassed the mean + 1 SD level of heterosexual men. In only one out of 9 homosexual males, neither in his blood nor in that of his mother increased 21-DOF values and 21-DOF/F ratios were found after ACTH stimulation. In this homosexual man, however, the plasma de-hydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEA-S) values and the DHEA-S/1000 × A (A = androstenedione) ratio were increased before and after ACTH stimulation. Furthermore, highly significantly increased basal plasma levels of dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate were found in male-to-female transsexuals as compared to normal males, suggesting partial 3β-ol hydroxysteroid dehydrogen-ase deficiency to be a predisposing factor for the development of male-to-female transsexualism.

 

So basically, there was a chemical/medical causation according to this study. There were more studies to come. A later study in 2009 showed that the brain of a MTF (Male-to-female) transgender person was different. Positing a theory that the idea that gender identity is truly in the brain and not derived from what sexual organs you were born with.
Full article can be found at http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1053811909003176

Volume 46, Issue 4, 15 July 2009, Pages 904–907

Regional gray matter variation in male-to-female transsexualism

Abstract

Gender identity—one’s sense of being a man or a woman—is a fundamental perception experienced by all individuals that extends beyond biological sex. Yet, what contributes to our sense of gender remains uncertain. Since individuals who identify as transsexual report strong feelings of being the opposite sex and a belief that their sexual characteristics do not reflect their true gender, they constitute an invaluable model to understand the biological underpinnings of gender identity. We analyzed MRI data of 24 male-to-female (MTF) transsexuals not yet treated with cross-sex hormones in order to determine whether gray matter volumes in MTF transsexuals more closely resemble people who share their biological sex (30 control men), or people who share their gender identity (30 control women). Results revealed that regional gray matter variation in MTF transsexuals is more similar to the pattern found in men than in women. However, MTF transsexuals show a significantly larger volume of regional gray matter in the right putamen compared to men. These findings provide new evidence that transsexualism is associated with distinct cerebral pattern, which supports the assumption that brain anatomy plays a role in gender identity.

Note that last sentence, it bears repeating: These findings provide new evidence that transsexualism is associated with distinct cerebral pattern, which supports the assumption that brain anatomy plays a role in gender identity.

 

There have been many other studies since then. All supportive of the idea that this is definitely NOT a life choice, but an affect of chemical or hormonal imbalance in utero or even genetic predisposition.

So that is the science of it. Science tells us it is not a life choice.

Now to the more personal aspect. Let me just say this, with all the hate and ignorance in this world, who in their right mind would CHOOSE to be transgender? There is a suicide rate statistic that I have heard range from 40% to 47% that attempt suicide. There is an article from the Huff Post back in 2015 that talks about this. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/brynn-tannehill/the-truth-about-transgend_b_8564834.html

So who would choose to live this life? A life where family and friends might reject you. A life where transgender kids find themselves evicted from their homes by their own families and forced to live on the streets or go into the sex trade. A life where ignorance and prejudice prevent you from getting the proper health care you need. Where due to exclusions for transgender health in insurance policies, many were forced to turn to the sex trade in order to afford the health care services they needed. Let me tell you, hormones are not cheap. Interesting that the pills to cut back testerone cost me maybe $5 for a three month supply, while it is over $180 for the estradiol patches for three months. I get teased and told, “Welcome to womanhood where even your dry cleaning costs are higher than a man’s”. I guess that can be another topic.

The first time I tried to come out, I lost family, friends, and also my job. I was alienated, financially ruined and decided that my life was irrelevant and reverted in order to support my kids. That irrelevance almost did me in. I truly believed that what I wanted in life, what I hoped for meant nothing. I lived a life of service to others. I put others before me. I was selfless because I had no self. I was not allowed to exist. And so, I slowly descended into darkness. I was fortunate that in my rebound, I met the love of my life. She has been the rock to which I have stayed anchored through all the changes. She stuck with me and found in the end that I was a much more beautiful person when I was allowed to exist.

I will come back to this in time, but felt that I just needed to get it out there that there is science behind this. It isn’t a life choice, it is life. The interesting thing is that many Native American tribes believed in the Two Spirits, the Winkte, the Bordache. They accepted that there might be more than two genders. Yet when the Europeans came and saw this, they wanted it eradicated before more Europeans came and started to accept this way of things. There is an interesting article at Indian Country Today, Two Spirits, One Heart, Five Genders, http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2016/01/23/two-spirits-one-heart-five-genders

I have also read that many transgender people also possess high IQs. They are highly intelligent, yet because of who they are, they are pushed aside. One statistic stated that they are the most underutilized segment of the population. Why is it that we can’t just accept people for who they are rather than trying to force them to conform to our vision of what the world should be?

I am fortunate in my second attempt to be me, to have the warm love and friendship of many of my friends and family. I am finally able to realize the beauty within me. I am able to show true happiness and not just a mask that hid a darkness that waited to envelope me. I am alive!

As I continue on my journey, I grow stronger each day. I am empowered by the friends and family who support me. As my Navajo friends say, I walk in beauty.

In beauty I walk
With beauty before me I walk
With beauty behind me I walk
With beauty above me I walk
With beauty around me I walk
It has become beauty again
It has become beauty again
It has become beauty again
It has become beauty again

Hózhóogo naasháa doo
Shitsijí’ hózhóogo naasháa doo
Shikéédéé hózhóogo naasháa doo
Shideigi hózhóogo naasháa doo
T’áá altso shinaagóó hózhóogo naasháa doo
Hózhó náhásdlíí’
Hózhó náhásdlíí’
Hózhó náhásdlíí’
Hózhó náhásdlíí’

My heart to your heart, one heart, one spirit.

All my heart, Emma

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About Emma Morgaine Croft

I have been called many things on my journey, Professor, White Wolf, Rainbow Warrior and Spirit Walker. I had a blog on blogger.com for a number of years. I think the last post was when Papa passed back in 2012. I had also written for World Wide Hippies online mag for a year or so and even won a Golden Note for online writing. I got burned out writing and decided to stop for a bit. The only writing I did was comments on things I shared on Facebook. Unfortunately, that often got into a lot of angry and ugly talk. I try to maintain my cool, but there are just some unreasonable people out there. I found it emotionally and spiritually draining. I saw my niece's blog on here and thought that maybe it was time to resurrect Thoughts On A Cloudy Day. These are my thoughts and meanderings. You can accept them or walk away. I hope that in some way, these thoughts can spark other thoughts and sharing by people around the world. My dream is to make the world a better place for all people. My heart to your heart, one hear, one spirit.
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