by Margie Nichols, Ph.D. By coincidence, as the news about a drug that can ‘de-masculinize’ female fetuses hit the blogs, one of my sex therapy listserves began a fascinating discourse about the prevalence of PCOS in female to male transgender people. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a genetically transmitted syndrome with some potentially distressing symptoms and consequences. However, in the population of young women presenting themselves for hormone treatment to transition from a female to a male body, PCOS is relatively prevalent. Since PCOS is a syndrome caused by an excess of androgens – male hormones – in biological female, this again raises the issue of hormones in both gender identity and sexual orientation. Certainly hormones could not be the sole factor determining these complex psycho-social phenomenon, but it looks like they may play a role and that the two- gender and orientation – are at least partially intertwined.
Category: Queer Mind: LGBTQ and Beyond
by Margie Nichols, Ph.D. What we now call ‘intersex’ conditions – children born with a whole variaty of biological variations that can result in ambiguous or mixed gender – have long been interesting because of what they might tell us about how genes and hormones effect not only physical characteristics but also behavior. For example, Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia is a condition that affects genetic females. Medical specialists believe it results from over-exposure of the female fetus to androgens – male hormones. CAH girls not only sometimes exhibit some male body characteristics – they also tend to be tomboys and, as adults, while most are heterosexual a higher than expected number are lesbian or bisexual. Makes one think about the role of hormones is sex-stereotyped behavior – and sexual orientation. But a physician named Dr. Maria New is promoting the use of a drug called dexamethasone for women carrying CAH girls to use while they are pregnant. This drug is not FDA approved for this use and has never been tested in pregnant women before. But it is increasingly used to prevent ‘abnormal behavior’ in CAH girls. As Sharon Begley reports in Newsweek, New and a colleague suggest that women having little interest in… Read more »