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Hormone link to lesbianism

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  • Pierre Tremblay
    Hormone link to lesbianism By Martin Hutchinson BBC News Online health staff in Madrid http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/3032454.stm Lesbians are more than
    Message 1 of 2 , Jul 2, 2003
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      Hormone link to lesbianism
      By Martin Hutchinson
      BBC News Online health staff in Madrid

      http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/3032454.stm

      Lesbians are more than twice as likely to suffer from a hormone-related
      condition, fuelling theories that hormones play a role in developing their
      sexuality.

      Little is known about the origins of polycystic ovarian syndrome - one in
      ten women has the condition, which is linked to an excess of male sex
      hormones in the bloodstream.

      Symptoms include excess hair, acne, and obesity, as well as a heightened
      risk of more serious health problems such as diabetes. Patients also often
      suffer fertility problems.

      The latest research, presented at the European Society of Human
      Reproduction and Embryology conference in Madrid on Monday, came from a
      clinic which is one of only two in the UK to offer fertility treatment to
      lesbian women.....

      http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/3032454.stm

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    • Pierre Tremblay
      Greetings Anna! You may appreciate the following paper available via Science Direct: FROM GENDER INVERSION TO CHOICE AND BACK: Changing Perceptions of the
      Message 2 of 2 , Jul 6, 2003
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        Greetings Anna!

        You may appreciate the following paper available via Science Direct:

        FROM GENDER INVERSION TO CHOICE AND BACK: Changing Perceptions of the
        Aetiology of Lesbianism Over Three Historical Periods - by Lorene Gottschalk
        - Women's Studies International Forum Volume 26, Issue 3 , May-June 2003,
        Pages 221-233

        Abstract: This study examined the dominant cultural beliefs about the
        aetiology of lesbian sexual orientation and identity over three historical
        periods and sought to establish the relationship between such dominant
        beliefs and women's perceptions and understanding about how they became
        lesbians. The findings from this study add weight to arguments that women
        are influenced by popular ideas about homosexuality in terms of their
        experiences during the process of becoming lesbians, how they interpret the
        aetiology of their lesbianism, and the lifestyle choices they make.
        Throughout the 20th century, the underlying belief about the aetiology of
        homosexuality has been that it is essential or biologically based, although
        biological theories were mitigated by the theories of feminism during the
        1970s. For women who became lesbians in the 1950s and 1960s, a belief in a
        biological basis was overwhelmingly the dominant account. In the 1970s and
        early 1980s, choice was the dominant account, and in the 1990s, there is a
        tendency to go back to biological explanations.

        Study Sample: 79 lesbians.

        A note: This study reports that it is lesbians themselves who have generally
        present themselves to be masculine (gender inverted) and to have acted
        accordingly. Therefore, if you are correct in assuming that the assumption
        of masculinity in lesbians represents a stereotype that is apparently
        insulting to lesbians, I would then recommend that solving this problem may
        begin by lesbians ending the practice of apparently being the ones who are
        insulting themselves. But all is not lost as the following study by the same
        author indicates�


        Same-sex Sexuality and Childhood Gender Non-conformity: a spurious
        connection - by Lorene Gottschalk - Journal of Gender Studies, March 2003,
        vol. 12, no. 1, pp. 35-50 (Referenced in Ingenta)

        Abstract: Biological and hormonal theories of same-sex sexuality are usually
        based upon an assumption of congenital gender inversion, that is, that a
        lesbian is in some way masculinised and a gay man in some way feminised.
        Commonly, and also because of the assumption of biology, such evidence of
        gender inversion is sought in childhood. In this paper I present a challenge
        to the theory that childhood gender non-conformity is associated with
        homosexuality, noting in particular that discussions of gender
        non-conformity and 'homosexuality' do not attempt to explain the experiences
        of heterosexual women. By demonstrating that childhood gender non-conformity
        has been wrongly associated with same-sex sexuality and posing an
        alternative explanation for childhood gender non-conformity, it is my
        intention to present a challenge to the theory that same-sex sexuality is
        related to congenital gender inversion.

        However in the following paper, an important behaviour of lesbians - who are
        more masculine and apparently forming a majority in the lesbian world - is
        noted in terms of their common highly negative response to females
        proclaiming they are lesbian but have femme identity, meaning to be more
        like average feminine women�.

        The Misunderstood Gender: A Model of Modern Femme Identity - by Levitt H.M.;
        Gerrish E.A.; Hiestand K.R. - Sex Roles, February 2003, vol. 48, no. 3-4,
        pp. 99-113 (Referenced in Ingenta)

        Femme identity remains a highly controversial topic. It has been maligned in
        both heterosexual and queer contexts, and is rarely represented in empirical
        literature. In this study we examined how femme women experience their own
        gender identity. Interviews were conducted with femme-identified lesbians;
        the focus was upon 4 content areas: identity development, experiences in
        the lesbian community, heterosexual society, and romantic relationships. The
        interviews were analyzed using Grounded Theory (B. J. Glaser & A. Strauss,
        1967), an empirical method of generating models of subjective phenomena. The
        core category in this model "Maintaining integrity: Upholding beliefs about
        sexual desire and gender representation" reflects the need to uphold their
        sense of integrity across a variety of contexts by confronting stereotypes
        about both women and lesbians.

        Cheers!

        Pierre

        Ps. I find it most interesting that "femme" has been greatly maligned in the
        lesbian world (as it is be noted in the paper) and that 'femme' males -
        effeminate males - have also been maligned in the gay world (as reported in
        the book Sissyphobia. See related review of the book: "Nellies need not
        apply": Gay culture celebrates effeminacy as a social ideal. Why does it
        ridicule it as a sexual one?
        http://dir.salon.com/sex/feature/2001/08/01/nelly/index.html
        One can only now wonder about what this means. It also should also not be
        deemed "insulting" if people end up believing that lesbians are what the
        majority of lesbians have present themselves to be - for whatever reason(s)
        they have been behaving in such ways - meaning: masculine. Looks to me like
        there is a great deal of sexism - in the form of a great dislike for
        femininity - in both the gay and lesbian communities. Kind of sad, no? Is it
        not also most interesting that those 'researchers' studying lesbians have
        been producing the kind of studies noted above: femmes being "rarely
        represented in empirical literature." Have they therefore been guilty of
        that "bias" that should not exist in research, but does exist when
        "politics" is involved. Meaning that� 'Well, this is what we believe about
        lesbians or gay men (what we believe about "ourselves" when the researchers
        happen to be gay or lesbian), and we must therefore select our study samples
        so that any challenge to our beliefs - from the results to be created - will
        be kept to a minimum.'

        >From: "Anna Michaels" <anna.m@...>
        >To: "Pierre Tremblay" <pjtremblay@...>
        >CC: evolutionary-psychology@yahoogroups.com
        >Subject: Re: [evol-psych] Hormone link to lesbianism
        >Date: Sat, 5 Jul 2003 21:48:42 +0100
        >
        >"Pierre Tremblay" <pjtremblay@...> posted:
        > >
        > >Hormone link to lesbianism
        > >By Martin Hutchinson
        > >BBC News Online health staff in Madrid
        > >
        > >http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/3032454.stm
        > >
        > >Lesbians are more than twice as likely to suffer from a hormone-related
        > >condition, fuelling theories that hormones play a role in developing
        >their
        > >sexuality.
        > >
        > >Little is known about the origins of polycystic ovarian syndrome - one in
        > >ten women has the condition, which is linked to an excess of male sex
        > >hormones in the bloodstream.
        > >
        > >Symptoms include excess hair, acne, and obesity, as well as a heightened
        > >risk of more serious health problems such as diabetes. Patients also
        >often
        > >suffer fertility problems.
        > >
        > >The latest research, presented at the European Society of Human
        > >Reproduction and Embryology conference in Madrid on Monday, came from a
        > >clinic which is one of only two in the UK to offer fertility treatment to
        > >lesbian women.....
        >
        >More terrible "science journalism" from the BBC...
        >
        >Patients of a fertility clinic get portrayed as representative of lesbians
        >as a whole, presumably with the clinic not realising that most lesbians
        >won't have needed the services of a clinic at all, or maybe wanting to give
        >the impression to potential clients that they should all involve a clinic.
        >
        >It should also be obvious that, with one in ten women suffering PCOS, and
        >very few of them being lesbian (the elists for PCOS women show no evidence
        >of lesbianism, with much talk of worries about boyfriends and husbands
        >being repulsed by the very undesirable effects of the PCOS), if there is a
        >link it must be a rare one.
        >
        >This also, by trying to link lesbianism with excess androgens, shows a
        >repetition of some of the sterotyped and insulting views of lesbianism. As
        >excess or masculine sexual behaviour in females - always a male fantasy,
        >disregarding that it could actually be a true orientation - or of lesbians
        >as bearded or otherwise hairy. It is instantly obvious in lesbian clubs and
        >magazines that excess androgens have nothing to do with most of the women.
        >Many lesbians are femme, and those that aren't particulary so are rarely
        >masculine, even though they might eschew attire that would attract men, or
        >acquire skills or employment that enable them to earn enough or have
        >security of employment so that they can be independent. The more masculine
        >ones often turn out not to be lesbian, but female-to-male transsexuals.
        >
        >And the BBC has an active lesbian and gay group, and equality officers too
        ><sigh>...
        >
        >Anna
        >
        >anna.m@...

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