Hormone link to lesbianism
- Hormone link to lesbianism
By Martin Hutchinson
BBC News Online health staff in Madrid
Lesbians are more than twice as likely to suffer from a hormone-related
condition, fuelling theories that hormones play a role in developing their
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
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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,
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
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.
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?
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@...>
>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
> >Lesbians are more than twice as likely to suffer from a hormone-related
> >condition, fuelling theories that hormones play a role in developing
> >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
> >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
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