What follows is a talk I gave in front of a few progressive women. As usual, I put this together
by jumping from website to website and gathering information without saving my sources. So I
will try to put the sources I know I used at the end.
SPEECH ON LGBTQ ISSUES
My plan was to talk exclusively about transgender issues, but I found so much
commonality between transgender rights, gay rights and all the new gender
identities that are coming to light, that this talk will be a mixture of all of it!
We know morally that we should accept all LGBTQ people regardless of whether
it is a choice or a biological issue. They are people, so they should have equal
rights. It’s as simple as that.
However, I will let you know, right up front, it is biological.
Oddly, some transgender and homosexual people would rather not know whether it
is biological and they don’t want research results spread to the public. The reason
is that they are afraid if the conservatives know that gayness begins in the womb
and it is largely about hormones in the womb, they fear that conservatives will try
to find a way to “correct” it. What if some pharmaceutical company develops a
patch to regulate hormone flow and change the fetus’s gender orientation? It would
be manipulating a person’s very essence. It is not LGBTQ people who need to
change; it is society that needs to change.
The reason I think people should be told it is biological, is that 70% of people
accept LGBTQ people if they realize that it is biological. It is sad that a person’s
gender identity has to be proven in order to be accepted, but that is our culture, so I
will supply some evidence that might be helpful. My purpose is to increase
understanding in a positive manner.
Let’s get familiar with some new terms. Facebook has 58 gender identity terms to
choose from, but I will just go over the most common ones! This is about gender
Cisgender – most of us are probably cisgender – having the same gender identity
as what matches our birth certificates.
Transgender – having a different gender identity than what is on the birth
Now these are all similar:
Non-binary gender. The person doesn’t fit either the male or female category. I
have heard the term “non-binary” a lot.
Pangender. The feeling of being many genders.
Bigender. Goes between being male and female genders.
Gender Fluid. Switching between genders.
See how similar these are? The key is to find the identity description that best
matches who you feel you are.
Here is another common term: Queer. This is an umbrella term. It means being a
nonconforming gender - and proud of it. Non-binary, pansexual, bi-gender, and
gender fluid can all fit under the term “queer.”
One more - Intersex. It is a term for a combination of chromosomes, hormones, or
internal sex organs that differs from the expected patterns of male or female. The
odds could be 1 of every 2,000 or as high as 1 of every 200 people being intersex.
There is a model named Hanne Gaby Odiele speaking out on this now, as she is
Intersex; being born with male parts inside her body. She was forced to get an
operation when she was a child to take out the male parts, and that is just not
So things are not as cut and dried as they seem when it comes to gender!
There are at least 1,400,000 trans people in the U.S. and .6% of the world is
transgender. And there most likely are more, since many hide their identities.
LET’S DO SOME COMPARISONS WITH OUR FELLOW ANIMALS
The reason I bring up animals is that homosexuality exists throughout the animal
kingdom, is common, and is natural.
There are over 1,500 species of animals that exhibit some form of homosexual
behavior. 8% of sheep are exclusively homosexual. With Giraffes – 94% of all
sexual activity is homosexual. Flamingos have monogamous partners - it can be
two males, two females or a male and a female. Macaque monkeys have social
hierarchies and power based on lesbianism. Some snails have both male and
female organs (They are Intersex)! That just gives you an idea – I could go on and
When female rat fetuses are administered male hormones before they are born, the
female rats exhibit male sexual behavior during adulthood. Similarly, when male
rat fetuses are given a steroid drug before birth to counteract the self-produced
male hormone, the male rat exhibits female sexual behavior as an adult.
It should be pretty clear already that this is biological and has always been a part of
Here is a fascinating, yet tragic example – in human form. In the 60’s, a baby boy
from Canada was having a circumcision, and his penis was accidentally burned
almost completely off. So “experts” decided he would be raised as a female, and
the baby underwent surgery and was given hormones to become female. He was
given a lot of experimental psychological sessions, which turned out to be harmful.
Now, remember, his brain in the womb developed as a male – and his brain always
told him he was a male. He was extremely depressed, and as an adult, he
ARE THERE ANY BODY DIFFERENCES BETWEEN GAY AND STRAIGHT
There are tendencies toward minor body differences between gay and straight
people. Here are a few that are interesting.
Gay men, like straight women, have an increased density of fingerprint ridges on
the thumb and the pinkie of the left hand. You can compare your right and left
hands when you get home!
There is a tendency for arms, legs, and hands of WHITE gay men to be smaller
relative to their stature. Lesbians are more likely to have longer bone growth in
their arms, legs, and hands. It probably has to do with hormones either being
released or inhibited during growth of the fetus.
Gay men and lesbians have a 50 percent greater chance of being left-handed or
ambidextrous than their straight counterparts. I’m left handed, but I am not
lesbian. So again, these are tendencies and percentages of people.
Mentally rotating a 3-D object, straight men and lesbian women tend to do better
than gay men and straight females.
The hypothalamus in your brain is responsible for all sorts of things, including
regulating hormones and sex drive. In straight men, a cell cluster in the
hypothalamus is more than twice the size of the cluster in straight women. In gay
men, that cell cluster is similar in size to straight women’s.
In brain scans, there are differences in the shape of the brain.
Transgender people’s brains, for instance, more closely match the shape of their
identity gender than those of their natal gender.
You might notice that quite often a gay man and straight woman are similar and a
lesbian and straight man are similar - but not always, of course. There are many
variations of similarities and differences.
Here is another possibility for how a fetus becomes homosexual or transgender. I
have read and read about epigenes, but I find understanding them difficult, and
hope that I explain them correctly. At least it will give you an idea of what their
role is in the body. Epigenes are biochemicals that are on top of genes and can
control how the gene is expressed – whether it is turned on or off, and how much.
Epigenes from the parents are supposed to be wiped out at the moment of
fertilization. There is supposed to be a clean slate, but some scientists think that an
epigene from the father might slip in and it signals a gene in the fetus to accept
more testosterone, which in the case of a female fetus, could masculinize her. And
if an epigene from the mother slips in, it could signal a gene in the fetus to reject
testosterone, which could feminize a male fetus. This is not fact yet in gender
identity, but there is evidence for it and more research is being done.
Now this is really cool. In any family, the second-born son is 33% more likely
than the first to be gay, and the third son is 33% more likely than the second, and
so on, as though there is some sort of “maternal memory,” something that stays in
the woman. Like her immune system becomes more effective at fighting the male
fetal hormones with each new male fetus. And she feminizes the fetus. The irony
of parents, especially a mother who is angry that her son is homosexual or trans, it
is likely that it is because of her.
And they have done enough research to know it’s not your upbringing, not
relationship with parents, whether you were raised by your grandma (I originally
thought that was the reason), not early-childhood sexual experiences and whether
you go to a Catholic school that makes you gay or trans.
So it is all about the hormones in the womb, what kind of hormones (there’s more
than just testosterone – I only mention testosterone because it is the strongest
influence), the amount the fetus receives from its positioning, and whether the
hormones are accepted or kept from the fetus by many different means.
LET’S TALK ABOUT TWINS - THE FAMOUS TWIN STUDIES
People always talk about twin studies. Why is one identical twin gay and one
straight? Even though the genes are the same and the DNA is the same, the
activity of those genes is not the same. Also, there is different positioning in the
womb between the twins; one can get a greater blood supply, and the placenta and
umbilical cords can influence each twin differently. So one could get a different
concentration of hormones than the other for instance.
That said, there is still a lot of sharing with identical twins, and several studies
have shown that identical twins are more often both transgender than fraternal
twins who each have their own amniotic sac in the womb.
WHAT DO TRANSGENDER PEOPLE FACE IN SOCIETY
49% of trans people attempt suicide. 18% of homeless people in cities such as
Chicago are transgender. In 2001 it was found that transgender people were kept
out of shelters because shelters are separated by male and female. They didn’t
know who to put them with, so they turned them away.
At least 63% of transgender individuals experience acts of discrimination on a
regular basis, including housing discrimination, job discrimination, and physical
assault, even in the workplace. Transgender people are not always treated
respectfully by police, so many transgender people won’t report violence that
happens to them. Male to female transwomen of color have the most violence
against them and are killed the most.
Families often reject transgender teens and they end up incarcerated or homeless.
Even successful transgender couples continue to face barriers to fostering and
adopting in many places. Some insurance plans still have exclusions for
transgender-related care. They face day to day prejudice, such as unsympathetic
nurses and doctors.
Think about what will happen if the American Health Care Act under Trump is
passed. Transgender will be a preexisting condition and won’t be covered.
Doctors can claim religious differences and refuse any kind of service.
Planned Parenthood currently helps transgender people and many of their clinics
have hormone treatments for them, which has been so helpful since most trans
people are low income. Of course, Planned Parenthood is being attacked and shut
down at many locations.
Trans people need accurate and consistent IDs to open bank accounts, start new
jobs, enroll in school, and travel. However, the name and gender change process is
complicated and sometimes just too expensive. Moreover, many state and federal
governments have intrusive requirements, such as proof of surgery, with a doctor’s
affidavit or a court order (Illinois still is like that, although it is being challenged)
and this has made it impossible for some trans people to update their IDs. Think
about this – many trans people do not want to have an operation. They are fine
without the surgery! Yet, to get a new birth certificate, driver’s license, and
passport, they must show proof of surgery. It shows such a lack of understanding.
Most cannot afford an operation. As a result, a third of trans people have not
updated any of their records or IDs.
And just to let you know, almost 99% of trans people are happy with their gender
reassignment, whether with surgery or without. There is only 1% that regrets the
WHAT IS GOING ON
North Carolina recently had the “the infamous bathroom bill” but it was partially
repealed, because they lost too much business. So boycotting can be fairly
successful. They replaced this bill with another bill and one part of the new bill
says that no changes can be made to it until 2020, after the next election. So no
specific protections can be added for LGBTQ people.
As far as bathrooms, I would bet many of us have had male to female transgender
people in our restrooms and never knew it. *Note: Someone from the meeting
voiced the opinion of most liberal women, proclaiming, “Who cares!” when it
came to whether there were transwomen in women’s bathrooms. I said, “Exactly!”
Only 15 states and the District of Columbia prohibit all forms of discrimination -
15 out of 50. Transgender people are told they are protected under categories such
as the Civil Rights Act and Fair Housing Act, but trans people are not specifically
named as being protected in any of them. Since we know they are discriminated
against, they need specific protections under the law.
I will say that 15,000 trans people are serving in the military today. 150,000 either
are serving or have served. Up until last year, they had to keep it hidden, but now
they can openly serve in the military.
WHAT IS NEEDED
Visibility – There are positives and negatives to visibility. We need positive
images of transgender people in the media and society. I think that is definitely the
way to go. Unfortunately, some hateful people might become violent if they feel
“the old ways” are being changed. Still, ultimately, there has to be visibility for
change to occur, and no one should have to hide to protect racists’ feelings.
We’ve had one success. Mark Green, Trump's nominee for Army secretary
resigned. I think it is due to the continued pressure of the Democrats because of
Green’s derogatory comments about Muslims and LGBTQ people.
Texas and Alabama are enacting laws to make adoption and fostering more
difficult. Michigan, South Dakota, North Dakota and Virginia already have such
laws, called “religious freedom laws.” And now Trump has signed an executive
order about enacting religious freedom laws federally. And he will be sued.
In Tennessee, they just passed a “Law limiting undefined words.” It’s bizarre!
They passed a law that said words that are undefined will have their natural and
ordinary meaning. So words like husband will mean a male and wife will mean a
female. It will prevent same-sex spouses and LGBT parents from being treated the
same as heterosexual families under the law. So often, these silly sounding laws
are underhanded and are for the purpose of discriminating against a minority.
There is another law in Tennessee that is being considered where children born
through artificial insemination would not be considered “legitimate” children of
their parents. That would be discriminatory against LGBTQ people and couples
and single people who can’t have children without help.
WE, as women, need to support transgender people. We know what it is like to be
thought of as a lesser being.
So we have to continue to speak up.
The only actions I can think of at this moment: The usual letter writing. Spread the
word by social media about transgender and gay rights. Sign petitions. Jump in
the conversation when something comes up. Don’t laugh if someone else makes
fun of them. Contact the local GLAAD Group and see where we can help.
Sources I used and may have quoted from:
http://sitn.hms.harvard.edu/flash/2016/gender- lines-science-transgender- identity/
http://healthland.time.com/2012/12/13/new- insight- into-the-epigenetic-roots-of-homosexuality/