Lesbian Brains Similar to Straight Male Brains

Another grenade has just been lobbed in the debate over whether homosexuality is genetically or environmentally influenced. From MacPaper:

Homosexuals’ brains respond differently from those of straight men and women when exposed to sex hormones, but researchers now say the difference is less pronounced in lesbians than in gay men.

Lesbians’ brains reacted somewhat, though not completely, like those of heterosexual men, a team of Swedish researchers said in Tuesday’s edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

A year ago, the same group reported findings for gay men that showed their brain response to hormones was similar to that of heterosexual women.

In both cases the findings add weight to the idea that homosexuality has a physical basis and is not learned behavior.

If we eventually reach a scientific consensus that gay (or straight, for that matter) people are simply wired that way from birth, I wonder how the neocons will refute such scientific evidence. Wait a minute, I do know what they’ll do — they’ll put stickers on textbooks stating that science is just a theory and continue to outlaw gay marriage.

posted by Stephen Gordon
  • GreginOz

    Hmmm, is this excerpt relevant?
    “…First, as DailyKos convincingly argues, the true scandal of the Duke Cunningham hooker story is likely the gender of the hookers. There are some very carefully parsed statements regarding Brent Wilkes’ Watergate “hospitality suites,” such as the claim of the lawyer for Shirlington Limo’s Chris Baker that his client was “never in attendance in any party where any *women* were being used for prostitution purposes…”

  • Michael Hampton

    I hope lesbians’ brains aren’t the same as straight men’s brains. I like lesbians.

  • Graham

    I think a lot of anti-gay “conservatives” pretty much acknowlege this. While many cling to the “no one is born gay-it’s a perverted choice” viewpoint, a lot all but acknowledge a biological component but argue that God wants/requires them to fight the urges and serve “Him” by having a loveless heterosexual married life.

  • http://www.usatoday.com/tech/science/discoveries/2006-05-08-lesbian-brain-study_x.htm Craig H

    Organic homosexuality is a birth defect brought on by the absence of critical hormones in the placebo resulting in incorrect development of the area of the brain related to sexuality. The result is a brain that can be out of sync by various degrees with the sexual organs and appearance of the individual. This does not explain all homosexual behavior; there are heterosexual and homosexual individuals that will copulate with either sex based on freedom of choice and the lack of social mores in thier social settings. We should pursue a medical cure not social solutions.

  • Oje

    My personal view is people arent born gay, i believe its a choice. And i know people have different views and opinions and i can respect that. But to anyone who thinks people can be born gay i have one question for you, and no one has ever given me a decent respectable answer. If people are born gay and straight then how do you explain bi-sexual people? Were they born confused?

  • Michael Hampton

    No, they were socialized into confusion. Or maybe they were born confused. Who knows? It hasn’t been studied much, if at all.

    As of today, that’s the only decent respectable answer you’re going to get. You can continue believing it’s a choice if you like, however mistaken you are in your belief.

  • Daniel

    This begs the question, will neocons want to ban left-handed people from getting married? Even worse, a left hander wanting to marry a right hander, why we certainly can’t have that, that would be the end western christian civilization as we know it!

  • Scott

    I do support equality for homosexuals in most respects, but I think people need to focus on the truth and not junk science to support this view.

    This study doesn’t say anything we didn’t know. In fact, I’ve read almost identical studies before. The only reason this one is newsworthy is because it was pulished in PNAS. This journal is not only high impact, but is not peer-reviewed like most other scientific journals, so you can get away with publishing conclusions that are not fully supported by the experiment.

    People’s behavior alters their brain (this usually occurs at a young age when the brain is the most plastic). A musician will have a different brain structure from a construction worker who will have a different brain structure from a pedophile. Even racists (or bigots in general) often have a different brain structure. Indeed, more often than not behavior alters brain structure and not the other way around.

  • David Whiting

    I would have to fully agree with Scott on this. Although the study may have not been done as “junk science” it is the way Gordon jumped to his conclusion that this study supports the idea that sexuality is hard wired at birth that catapults this to the grey area of junk science. There is still far too much uncertainty with how the brain actually works to make this conclusion. Sorry Gordon, you are off on this one.

  • CLS

    Because gay men and women respond differently from straight men and women when exposed to hormones they must have been that way from birth. Sounds like false alternatives to me. I’m not saying it’s one way or another, but I think we’re jumping to conclusions on incomplete information. How do we know that the brain’s response isn’t learned?

  • Chris F

    It’s a chicken vs. egg question. Does the brain respond differently because they’ve engaged in homosexual activity or do they engage in homosexuality because their brain responds differently?

    As for gay marriage, ideally, we should separate marriage and state, and let anyone of age enter into a contract that they choose. It’s none of the state’s business.

    After they sign their contract, the couple (or group) can seek a religious institution to hold a ceremony or blessing. I would, however, not approve of any move to force religious institutions to betray their beliefs and perform or bless marriages that they find invalid.

  • Sandra Kallander

    Let’s talk about blindness. You can be born blind or acquire it. You can have problems with the iris, the cornea, the optic nerve, brain-damage, etc., etc. Sex and gender identity is just as complex, and genes play a part.

    You’re born not wanting sex. At a young age, you think kissing is yucky. Things change.

    All your sexual organs and glands (brain, etc.) are developing due to cues from your hormones and all are affected by your environment (chemicals that mimic hormones such as car exhaust, food, social interaction…).

    Female puppies positioned between two brothers in the womb are born with male traits due to hormone exposure. “Male” and “Female” are not absolutes. Ask a farmer. It’s time to open your eyes to what the Creator is showing us.

    We are human and we have morality, but it is a mistake to assume that the path others take (and the choices they are offered) will be the same as ours, or as easy. We are individuals.

  • Ian C

    You know, we’ve had a solution to the whole “gay marriage” thing for a while now that the vast majority of homosexual individuals (at least, of those I’ve met) would willingly concede *AS* a solution to their desires: civil unions rather than marriage.

    In the majority of the country, these are being fought just as ferociously as marriage itself. This begs the question: Is it *REALLY* about the “sanctity” of marriage (which by definition places it in the religious forum and therefore outside of the regulations of the state by way of Constitutional Amendment) — or is it more about the recognition/equality of those who live different lives?

    While I am fully heterosexual, my religious beliefs preclude me from the act of marriage due to its universally religious basis.

    This is directly impacting my life. I am daily pressured to compromise my principles and faith just to satisfy the expectations of those around me.

    (cont’d)

  • Ian C

    To answer an earlier question; “how does that explain bisexuals?”
    Easily, by means of comparison; Almost everyone is at least partially ambidextrous. There are aspects of hand-dominance variation in all people. Yet it is irrefutably a genetic trait to have one hand dominant over another. Left-handers for example appear in roughly 1/4th of the population. (Standard for a dominant/recessive single-trait genotype). There are a small percentage of people whom are truly ambidextrous. There are a number whom are trained to be so however.
    The body and brain are living mechanisms. People are born, genetically speaking, with certain predilections that *CAN* be forcibly trained otherwise. Of course, for “true” homosexuals and “true” heterosexuals the ease of training into the opposite characteristic is equal.

    “True” Bisexuals… are less clearly defined. They are the ambidexters. Now, out of those whom *claim* to be bisexual — most of those are born of cultural variance.

    Training.

  • Ian C

    Finally — to answer yet another statement: “We should be seeking a medical cure, not a social” — you are sick, deranged bastard if you really believe that. The precedent such an action would set if successful would have all people medically cured of their free will.

    That is intolerable and makes a poor, *poor* excuse for a libertarian, if that is what you appellate yourself as.

    (I apologize for the vehemence.)

  • Chris K

    We associate sights, sounds and scents to memories and emotions. A simple example of this is someone who gets illogically happy simply because he’s smelling a dish his mother made when he was a child for his birthday, or a sudden bout of nostalgia when you smell the perfume your ex used to wear. Why should it be surprising that we associate scents with sexual drive? If you always listen to a certain CD when you have sex, after a little while, just listening to that album will arouse you. If you are a man inhaling another males hormones as you are having sex, you will eventually associate those hormones with sexual pleasure. Its how the brain works.