Wednesday, July 4, 2012

VIDEO – Gender Binary & LGBTI People: Myth and Medical Malpractice

Here is a video of the presentation “Gender Binary and LGBTI People: Myth and Medical Malpractice” that I gave on April 27, 2012 at the Freethought Festival organized by “Atheists, Humanists, and Agnostics” at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. This video clearly shows all the slides as I explain them, and is much easier to follow than the slideshow and audio file of this same presentation that I posted on May 13th.

This Freethought Festival was the first of its kind, and I am honored to have been a part of it. You can “attend” all the other thought-provoking Freethought Festival presentations at this link.

P.S.  Here are some comments from another site:

1 comment:

Hugh said...

An impressive presentation, well done!

In trying to figure out what caused my own gender identity issues, I spent a lot of time last year looking into how sexual development takes place in the unborn child, and what you've said ties in with what I've read elsewhere.

I think my first 9 months of life were no different from those of a typical man, except that something happened partway through the second trimester that severely disrupted my endocrine system and meant that for a few weeks my testicles stopped producing any testosterone. During that time I developed as female instead of male. The things I think are female are: complex movement/body language, my process of arousal and orgasm, courtship behaviour and a lot of my instinctive social behaviour in general. I’m anatomically male so my testosterone production during the first trimester must have been normal male. It must have returned to normal later in the pregnancy too, because all my higher intellectual functions (e.g. 3D shape rotation, aptitude for sciences and maths, conscious gender identity and sexual orientation) are all solidly male.

I couldn't find anything in the publicly accessible scientific literature about the effects of exposure to high doses of artificial hormones on human brain development. I did, however, discover that there is a potent nonsteroidal estrogen called DES that was until 1971 commonly used as a treatment for miscarriage. Aside from its use for miscarriage, DES was for many years a standard treatment for men with advanced prostate cancer. Just 3mg per day produces effects in adult men that are considered to be medically identical to surgical removal of the testicles as far as male hormone production is concerned. The starting dose for treatment of miscarriage was 5mg per day. In other words, for the entire time their mothers were on DES, the “DES sons” were being exposed to more than enough DES to completely suppress testosterone production in an adult man.

Last year I joined a support group for DES sons. In general they seem to be a lot more psychologically female than I am (which isn't surprising considering that for many of them their testosterone production must have been completely shut down for the entire second and third trimester). It seems like about half the group are using women's names. The impression I've got from reading through the message archive is that a lot of them have physical intersex conditions such as cryptorchidism, hypospadias or micropenis - probably about a third. Hormone problems similar to mine seem to be quite common too, as is infertility. It's certainly a very different picture from the one the CDC paints on their website. I can't help but get the impression that the only reason comparatively few health problems have been found in the DES sons so far, is because a lot of people are trying very hard not to look!

I don't think the problem ended with DES. There's a unique period of time in every person's life starting about 6 weeks after conception and ending a few months after birth, during which sexually dimorphic development is taking place. The whole process is entirely hormone-driven, and if you expose an unborn child to something that interferes with testosterone production (if it's a boy) or mimics the action of testosterone (if it's a girl), then you'll cause a period of intersexed or opposite-sexed development. No one seems to be taking this into account when giving medication to pregnant women. I have been trying to raise awareness of the problem, so far without success. Is there anything you can suggest that might help?