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Thread: homosexuality and natural selection.. and is Gender Dysphoria a 'disease'?

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    homosexuality and natural selection.. and is Gender Dysphoria a 'disease'?

    OK- please no transphobic/homophobic comments and no disrespect intended.

    1.)
    I understand that homosexuality was previously regarded in the DSM as a disorder however this has now been removed. The argument is that the only 'disorder' that existed was in the minds of everyone else. No treatment is required for homosexuality because it is not a disorder.
    I think this is logically valid, however, homosexual intercourse is not going to result in offspring. The selection pressure against homosexuality must therefore be significant- so i wonder if there there is some selective advantage in having a 'heterozygous dose' of gayness? I am reminded that heterozygosity for CF genes can protect against death by cholera.
    I also wonder how mate selection in early hominids affects this... I am assuming that female hominids didn't get to choose their mates... club over the head etc..

    2.)
    either a) Gender Dysphoria is a disease that needs treating, or b) it is not a disease- and does not need treating (as per homosexuality).
    Given that (all? most? many?) people with Gender Dysphoria feel the need (not a choice) to have some form of reassignment surgery/ hormonal treatment.... can one assume that (by definition) Gender Dysphoria is a disease?
    If it is a disease.. i.e. a mismatch between the brain/mind and the perception of the body.... this opens up the possibility of treating the mind to accept the body, rather than modification of the body to fit the mind.
    Given the current state of psychiatry.. is is very doubtful that any drug/ treatment could be taken that would 'align' the dysphoria.. but if such a treatment was to become available in the future- would it be ethical to offer to sufferers? Would it be unethical to treat those who already had surgery?
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    Homosexuality definitely exists in the wild. I forget how many species we've observed it in thus far, but it's a lot. Among other things, it is believed to do things like provide caregivers for children who've lost biological parents. Since a lot of heterosexual people would be "carriers," there's no reason for the genes to die out, especially given how many homosexual people have had biological children anyway. And, you know, bisexuality exists and probably contributes to that.
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    Quote Originally Posted by plant View Post
    .... this opens up the possibility of treating the mind to accept the body, rather than modification of the body to fit the mind.
    Even if such a possibility existed, how would this be any different from "brainwashing," which would not be acceptable?
    Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cougar View Post
    Even if such a possibility existed, how would this be any different from "brainwashing," which would not be acceptable?
    I think it best to accept homosexuals the way they are. Since they are here it is most likely highly beneficial to society, but at the same time I think it best to accept that many people will be sceptical of the different or unknown and that is also a very beneficial trait to society. We are all brain washed to some extent. Together we work though.
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    Homosexuality has been not just accepted but prized in earlier civilisations, no comment on religion will blot my copy, I am not but have many gay friends, if i had been born gay i would be a rich man now! As to the biological advantage it is not hard to speculate. Both male and female bonding can have survival advantage while reproduction is just one pressure on a hunter gatherer tribe.
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    I've seen people claiming before that a certain level of homosexuality in a population is favored because those who did not produce children can still assist in their support & upbringing. But that just doesn't work. First, it's been observed in species which aren't nearly that social and/or put a lot less effort into their offspring. And second, if that were the way it works even just in humans, then all human cultures would show some manifestation of the instinct to run our societies in that way.

    Gender dysphoria is the more interesting case here, because I don't know of anything to distinguish it from a different condition in which one thinks some other body part such as a hand or foot is wrong and doesn't belong there... but we view them completely differently, unhesitatingly calling the latter a psychological illness which must be treated by psychological means, not by mutilating the patient's body as the patient insists.

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    I would also add that at least in some primates, sex is not only a reproductive act, but is used as a type of social behavior called mounting, and it is not that some apes are purely heterosexual and other s homosexual. A dominant male will mount both males and females. So I donít think there is really always a clear-cut line.


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    I think it is accepted that the distorted body image found in anorexia is a disease with life threatening outcomes. I guess there is a link there to dysphoria. If it’s to becalled natural then so is diabetes. Isthis just semantics?
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
    Originally Posted by Ken G

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    Evolution works on populations, not individuals. Homosexuality can have many beneficial functions in a population. For example, when population pressure mounts on rats the colonies tend to produce more homosexuals which reduces competition for food and resources. You have to be careful though when projecting across species, population pressures may or may not affect the prevalence of homosexuals in humans, there isn't enough data to be sure, at least as far as I know. Studies continue though and I'm not privy to the most recent results. As others have indicated, homosexuals also increase the number of caregivers per child which helps the group as a whole. Interestingly some studies have indicated that homosexuals tend to bond with the offspring of their siblings but not so much the offspring of others in the group. Genetically I suppose that does help propagate the genes forward. If no siblings are present then perhaps that attention can be expressed more generically.

    According to my psychology professors that can also happen with childless uncles who are not gay. Aunts weren't mentioned in that respect. Another thing they said was that childless people, especially life long single people can actually "transfer" their care of family members to the care of the entire group, or species for that matter. They substitute the group for the family which can help provide a sense of purpose to continue living and provide emotional completeness.

    Again, evolution works on populations, not individuals. There are many species that have non-breeding members, ant and bees come to mind.

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    Quote Originally Posted by profloater View Post
    I think it is accepted that the distorted body image found in anorexia is a disease with life threatening outcomes. I guess there is a link there to dysphoria. If it’s to becalled natural then so is diabetes. Isthis just semantics?
    Semantics count because it leads to attitudes.

    The OP and many posts seem to assume a view of homo/bisexuality, transsexuality and gender dysphoria as genetic or evolutionary certainties that are selected for, (echoes of the "gay gene" fallacy) when this is hardly established as true. Genetic determinism is a largely discredited view, and human psychology is a field where lines are often unclear. Certainly sexual activity and desire have large social components.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    Semantics count because it leads to attitudes.
    Yeah, this.

    The whole thing gets rather meta very quickly.

    What if someone who suffers this disease fears surgery more than the problems of gender dysphoria? They opt not to have that surgery while managing their situation in other ways. What if someone else is pleased with every step they make on their way to surgery? In what way do they possess the attribute of "a disease"? And virtually everyone who deals with this is in between those to two examples.

    It seems to me that there are as many solutions as there are people out there and surgery is just one of many options. It isn't a singular treatment for this issue. Probably, in retrospect, some may find that the "surgical option" was a minor step of the path to managing their personal solution. Things have to be messy after surgery (or any other "solution"), making it not the only hurdle to cross and not really a solution at all. Life is complicated.
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    It might be an epigenetic thing rather than a genetic thing.
    If it were strictly genetic, we'd have known it by now.

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    O Bearded One.. i think you are incorrect. Evolution works at the level of the individual that reproduces or ....not (perhaps by dying.. or by being a homosexual male hominid).
    (I'm not talking about modern gay couples who adopt/ IVF/ Rent a womb etc etc... and i am ASSUMING that lesbian hominids would have been subjected to a clunk on the head just like their hetero counterparts.)

    Species selection is discredited as far as i am aware.
    Last edited by plant; 2018-Dec-19 at 12:21 PM.
    "It's only a model....?" :-)
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    Squink- there is a high concordance rate between identical twins in terms of sexual orientation.

    Arch Sex Behav. 1993 Jun;22(3):187-206.
    Homosexual orientation in twins: a report on 61 pairs and three triplet sets.
    Whitam FL1, Diamond M, Martin J.
    Author information
    Abstract

    Twin pairs in which at least one twin is homosexual were solicited through announcements in the gay press and personal referrals from 1980 to the present. An 18-page questionnaire on the "sexuality of twins" was filled out by one or both twins. Thirty-eight pairs of monozygotic twins (34 male pairs and 4 female pairs) were found to have a concordance rate of 65.8% for homosexual orientation. Twenty-three pairs of dizygotic twins were found to have a concordance rate of 30.4% for homosexual orientation. In addition, three sets of triplets were obtained. Two sets contained a pair of monozygotic twins concordant for sexual orientation with the third triplet dizygotic and discordant for homosexual orientation. A third triplet set was monozygotic with all three concordant for homosexual orientation. These findings are interpreted as supporting the argument for a biological basis in sexual orientation.
    "It's only a model....?" :-)
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    Quote Originally Posted by plant View Post
    Squink- there is a high concordance rate between identical twins in terms of sexual orientation.


    Homosexual orientation in twins: a report on 61 pairs and three triplet sets.
    Whitam FL1, Diamond M, Martin J.
    Cool. I hadn't seen that. Could still be DNA methylation, but with data like that, it's hardly needed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by plant View Post
    Squink- there is a high concordance rate between identical twins in terms of sexual orientation.

    Arch Sex Behav. 1993 Jun;22(3):187-206.
    Homosexual orientation in twins: a report on 61 pairs and three triplet sets.
    Whitam FL1, Diamond M, Martin J.
    Author information
    Abstract

    Twin pairs in which at least one twin is homosexual were solicited through announcements in the gay press and personal referrals from 1980 to the present. An 18-page questionnaire on the "sexuality of twins" was filled out by one or both twins. Thirty-eight pairs of monozygotic twins (34 male pairs and 4 female pairs) were found to have a concordance rate of 65.8% for homosexual orientation. Twenty-three pairs of dizygotic twins were found to have a concordance rate of 30.4% for homosexual orientation. In addition, three sets of triplets were obtained. Two sets contained a pair of monozygotic twins concordant for sexual orientation with the third triplet dizygotic and discordant for homosexual orientation. A third triplet set was monozygotic with all three concordant for homosexual orientation. These findings are interpreted as supporting the argument for a biological basis in sexual orientation.
    Were these twins raised separately or in the same social environments?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    Were these twins raised separately or in the same social environments?
    I assume that mainly itís the same household. And I see the point youíre raising. If there is an environmental factor, then itís possible that identical twins, sharing a genome, would react to an environmental factor in the same way, while fraternal twins might react differently. So that would make it hard to determine whether there is a genetic cause or a response to an environmental factor.


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    They got a lower correlation with non identical twins, but atthat sample size with a 10 per cent factor (?) those rates are not all that significant. We are always told it is not any simple gene correlation so the whole thing is complex and as was said there is almost certainly an epigenetic factor. We mustwatch out for CRISPR techniques though!
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
    Originally Posted by Ken G

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    There are several studies that show parts of the brain being sexually dimorphic with trans brains falling under their identities, as compared to their assigned gender. Mainly the ones about BNSTc, and the INAH3 receptors, as the grey matter studies have been shown to be more mosaic seeing that neuroplasticity comes into play here.

    And I add this as an edit cause I forgot to mention that you are mistaken in thinking Gender Dysphoria can't be cured because there are also studies that say the current treatments of transgender therapy (which vary from case to case basis, and not all transgender people have GD) have helped allieve Dysphoria symptoms at a 94% success rate in personal mental health, with only issues when it comes to ostracization from society for merely existing, from family and friends (that's a heartbreaking thing alone), and add in hostility in public spaces to come home and see it all online too. Just find any comment section on any site that posts something about a transgender person, and I sadly promise you will find hostility. That kinda stuff *causes* mental health issues. People are just unaware of the biological affects cross-sex hormones have on the body that does physically change them to the point of even facing some of the same health risks associated with their identities. This, and the brain studies are why trans people see the irony when those who talk bad about them talk about "basic biology," when they don't have a clue. They're usually in denial of intersex existences as well, and the myriad of chromosomal combinations. That's the other irony, when those who smack talk bring up chromosomes, when there are cases of XY mothers who've given birth to live children, and they probably've never even gotten tests to see their own karyotype, haha.
    Last edited by Captain Stone; 2018-Dec-30 at 07:15 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by plant View Post
    The argument is that the only 'disorder' that existed was in the minds of everyone else. No treatment is required for homosexuality because it is not a disorder.
    I think this is logically valid, however, homosexual intercourse is not going to result in offspring. The selection pressure against homosexuality must therefore be significant- so i wonder if there there is some selective advantage in having a 'heterozygous dose' of gayness?
    Note that there is a problem with prefacing a question like "can homosexuality be beneficial to the survival of a population" with a discussion of why it isn't a disorder (which it very obviously isn't, any more than being lefthanded is). The problem is in pointing the discussion along lines of, lefthandedness isn't a disorder because it doesn't affect natural selection, but homosexuality might (either as a benefit to survival, or a detriment). But, why would that which positively or negatively affects the survival of cavemen have any bearing on what is a disorder today? I would argue that whether or not homosexuality is detrimental to the survival of a pretechnological species (it obviously can't be all that detrimental, as it persisted) has nothing whatsoever to do with whether it is regarded as a disorder. Indeed, it is arguable that overpopulation is a far more serious threat to modern humanity than underpopulation, so whether or not homosexuality helped the cavemen is hardly of any relevance to today. Moreover, what we regard as a disorder is always a personal matter pertaining to an individual, and is never an evolutionary issue. Should we call it a disorder for people to have less than average intelligence, on grounds that high intelligence was beneficial to human evolution? Disorders are about what makes individual lives unpleasant or difficult, it cannot be argued at the "greater good" level or you can see what the consequences might ultimately be. So I get what your evolutionary question is here, but let's just forget anything about "disorders" as they are unrelated to your question.
    2.)
    either a) Gender Dysphoria is a disease that needs treating, or b) it is not a disease- and does not need treating (as per homosexuality).
    Now that we have focused the question onto what is beneficial for individuals, not societies, we can ask if someone suffering from gender dysphoria is experiencing a disease. It makes their life difficult, sometimes to the point of suicide (e.g., https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5178031/), so that sure sounds like a disease. But we can ask, if someone "suffering from" gender dysphoria is born on a deserted tropical island and is raised only to survive off the land with no societal norms or influences of any kind, do they suffer at all? In other words, is gender dysphoria a conflict between the person's own body and mind, as framed here, or a conflict between a personal sense of what fits, and a societal sense of what should fit? I don't really know the answer, but I would need to see evidence of something internally inevitable about gender dysphoria before I would regard it as a disease. It might just be the "disease" of not fitting other people's expectations, and the intense suffering that can produce in a social context. If it is a disease, we look for the solution in the individual. If it isn't, we look for the solution in societal acceptance.
    Given the current state of psychiatry.. is is very doubtful that any drug/ treatment could be taken that would 'align' the dysphoria.. but if such a treatment was to become available in the future- would it be ethical to offer to sufferers?
    We would first have to answer the above question, because quite clearly, that's the key thing to know. If gender dysphoria is nothing other than an individual forming a different concept of gender than does the society in which they live, it would be somewhat monstrous to medicate them until they conform their attitude. But if gender dysphoria really is a kind of disconnect between mind and body that has nothing to do with arbitrary societal norms, then yes, medication could be quite appropriate in principle. To call it a disease, either it has to come from the individual independent from the society in which they live, or if the society plays a role, it must be an inevitable and inherent aspect of humanity, and not an arbitrary set of norms imposed by evolutionary pressures that may or may not even exist any more.
    Last edited by Ken G; 2018-Dec-31 at 04:07 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by plant View Post
    O Bearded One.. i think you are incorrect. Evolution works at the level of the individual that reproduces or ....not (perhaps by dying.. or by being a homosexual male hominid).
    (I'm not talking about modern gay couples who adopt/ IVF/ Rent a womb etc etc... and i am ASSUMING that lesbian hominids would have been subjected to a clunk on the head just like their hetero counterparts.)

    Species selection is discredited as far as i am aware.
    Selection and evolution are two different things. Evolution does indeed happen to populations, not individuals. Individuals don't evolve. It is Natural Selection that occurs at the level of individuals, or even genes. Natural Selection is one of the major components of Evolution.

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