Forms of dissociative disorder

Dissociation is a mental process, which produces a lack of connection in a person’s thoughts, memories, feelings, actions, or sense of identity. During the period of time when a person is dissociating, certain information is not associated with other information as it normally would be. For example, during a traumatic experience, a person may dissociate the memory of the place and circumstances of the trauma from his/her ongoing memory, resulting in a temporary mental escape from the fear and pain of the trauma and, in some cases, a memory gap surrounding the experience. Because this process can produce changes in memory, people who frequently dissociate often find their senses of personal history and identity are affected.

Most clinicians believe that dissociation exists on a continuum of severity. This continuum reflects a wide range of experiences and/or symptoms. At one end are mild dissociative experiences common to most people, such as daydreaming, highway hypnosis, or “getting lost” in a book or movie, all of which involve “losing touch” with conscious awareness of one’s immediate surroundings. At the other extreme is complex, chronic dissociation, such as in cases of Dissociative Disorders, which may result in serious impairment or inability to function. Some people with Dissociative Disorders can hold highly responsible jobs, contributing to society in a variety of professions, the arts, and public service — appearing to function normally to coworkers, neighbors, and others with whom they interact daily.

Depersonalization

Persistent or recurrent experiences of feeling detached from, and as if one is an outside observer of, one’s mental processes or body (e.g., feeling like one is in a dream).

During the depersonalization experience, reality testing remains intact.

The depersonalization causes clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.

The depersonalization experience does not occur exclusively during the course of another mental disorder, such as Schizophrenia, Panic Disorder, Acute Stress Disorder, or another Dissociative Disorder, and is not due to the direct physiological effects of a substance (e.g., a drug of abuse, a medication) or a general medical condition (e.g., temporal lobe epilepsy).

Dissociative Fugue

Dissociative Fugue is one or more episodes of amnesia in which the inability to recall some or all of one’s past and either the loss of one’s identity or the formation of a new identity occur with sudden, unexpected, purposeful travel away from home.

Specific symptoms include:

  • The predominant disturbance is sudden, unexpected travel away from home or one’s customary place of work, with inability to recall one’s past.
  • Confusion about personal identity or assumption of a new identity (partial or complete).
  • The disturbance does not occur exclusively during the course of Dissociative Identity Disorder and is not due to the direct physiological effects of a substance (e.g., a drug of abuse, a medication) or a general medical condition (e.g., temporal lobe epilepsy).
  • The symptoms cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.

The length of a fugue may range from hours to weeks or months, occasionally longer. During the fugue, the person may appear normal and attract no attention. The person may assume a new name, identity, and domicile and may engage in complex social interactions. However, at some point, confusion about his identity or the return of the original identity may make the person aware of amnesia or cause distress.

The prevalence of dissociative fugue has been estimated at 0.2%, but it is much more common in connection with wars, accidents, and natural disasters. Persons with dissociative identity disorder frequently exhibit fugue behaviors.

The person often has no symptoms or is only mildly confused during the fugue. However, when the fugue ends, depression, discomfort, grief, shame, intense conflict, and suicidal or aggressive impulses may appear–ie, the person must deal with what he fled from. Failure to remember events of the fugue may cause confusion, distress, or even terror.

A fugue in progress is rarely recognized. It is suspected when a person seems confused over his identity, puzzled about his past, or confrontational when his new identity or the absence of an identity is challenged. Sometimes the fugue cannot be diagnosed until the person abruptly returns to his prefugue identity and is distressed to find himself in unfamiliar circumstances. The diagnosis is usually made retroactively based on the history with documentation of the circumstances before travel, the travel itself, and the establishment of an alternate life. Although dissociative fugue can recur, patients with frequent apparent fugues usually have dissociative identity disorder

Most fugues are brief and self-limited. Unless behavior has occurred before or during the fugue that has its own complications, impairment is usually mild and short-lived. If the fugue was prolonged and complications due to behavior before or during the fugue are significant, the person may have considerable difficulties–eg, a soldier may be charged as a deserter, and a person who marries may have inadvertently become a bigamist.

In the rare case in which the person is still in the fugue, recovering information (possibly with help from law enforcement and social services personnel) about his true identity, figuring out why it was abandoned, and facilitating its restoration are important.

Treatment involves methods such as hypnosis or drug-facilitated interviews. However, efforts to restore memory of the fugue period are often unsuccessful. A psychiatrist may help the person explore inner and interpersonal patterns of handling the types of situations, conflicts, and moods that precipitated the fugue to prevent subsequent fugue behavior.

Dissociative Amnesia

The predominant disturbance is one or more episodes of inability to recall important personal information, usually of a traumatic or stressful nature, that is too extensive to be explained by ordinary forgetfulness.

The disturbance does not occur exclusively during the course of Dissociative Identity Disorder, Dissociative Fugue, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, Acute Stress Disorder, or Somatization Disorder and is not due to the direct physiological effects of a substance (e.g., a drug of abuse, a medication) or a neurological or other general medical condition (e.g., Amnestic Disorder Due to Head Trauma).

The symptoms cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.

Dissociative Identity Disorder

The presence of two or more distinct identities or personality states (each with its own relatively enduring pattern of perceiving, relating to, and thinking about the environment and self).

At least two of these identities or personality states recurrently take control of the person’s behavior.

Inability to recall important personal information that is too extensive to be explained by ordinary forgetfulness.

The disturbance is not due to the direct physiological effects of a substance (e.g., blackouts or chaotic behavior during Alcohol Intoxication) or a general medical condition (e.g., complex partial seizures). Note: In children, the symptoms are not attributable to imaginary playmates or other fantasy play.

DDNOS
Dissociaitive disorder nos otherwise specified is when a person has some of the symptoms of a dissociaitve disoreder but do not fulfill any of the specific diagnosic criteria.

If you really knew me…

Got this idea from a thread on pandoras aquatium and thought I would join in :P

 

 

  1. If you really knew me you’d know that I long to be “normal” more than anything in the world. I wish that my life had been “boring” and “predicatable”, I wish that I wasn’t “interesting” or “unusual”, I hate it when people imply that I am faking to gain “attention” as attention is the last thing on earth that I actually want.
  2. If you really knew me you’d know that I LOVE physics more than anything. I read physics books for fun, I spend time reading reports and trying to keep up to date with research, not because I have to but because I am interested
  3. If you really knew me you’d know how much I miss education. I have been out of education for a year now and I miss it so much. I go on university websites and search for essay and coursework titles which I then set myself, I even set myself essays in subjects that I never studied. I just love to research things, to read, to learn. If I go too long without writting a report/essay or without researching something new then it’s like I can feel my brain atrophying, everything becomes harder, reading gets harder, thinking gets harder, it’s like everything starts to slow down and die… scary I know lol, but as I love learning it’s not that big an issue
  4. If you really knew me then you would know that I have a bit of an obsession with cats lol
  5. If you really knew me then you would know that I have a chronic fear of having no money… I will not buy thing that I technically need (new clothes, food, etc) as I am so scared of running out of money and going back to how life used to be (I have been homeless in the past and at other timeshad to resort to stealing food to survive)

Male abuse awareness week

There is a cultural bias which maintains that males cannot be victims. Males are expected to be confident, knowledgeable, and aggressive. When boys are victimized, they tend to be blamed more for their abuse and are viewed as less in need of care and support, than girls who are abused.

,

Types of male abuse, facts and statistics

- At least 41 percent of the victims of domestic violence are men. (Harvey P. Forehand)
– As many as 1 in 5 males will be sexually abused before the age of 18. And one in five of adult rape victims are male. (Federal Bureau of Investigation in the US, or FBI)
– One in six men will be a victim of domestic abuse in their lifetime. (The British Crime Survey 2006/07 figures)
– Same-sex batterers use forms of abuse similar to those of heterosexual batterers. They have an additional weapon in the threat of “outing” their partner to family, friends, employers or community. (Lundy, Abuse That Dare Not Speak Its Name: Assisting Victims of Lesbian and Gay Domestic Violence in Massachusetts, 28 New Eng. L. Rev. 273 (Winter 1993)
– women who abuse men tend to prefer forms of abuse that don’t involve physical violence. The hurt, the injury caused by the habitual use of vicious mockery, frequent emotional blackmail, spreading odious lies and so on aren’t visible. (Harvey P. Forehand)
– Male Sexual Harassment in the Work Place on the Rise; According to a report by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission there were a record amount of harassment complaints filed by men in 2006. The figures given in the report state that of the 12,025 sexual harassment claims made in 2006 15.4 percent of these claims came from men. This shows a significant increase of male harassment cases made in the last ten years of 4.5. ([link])
– Munchausen by Proxy is when someone is causing illness or injury in another to obtain attention; usually by a parent or caregiver against a child (in 85% of cases the child is male) ([link])

;

Useful websites and books

Why men do not disclose – [link]
ManKind (chariity supporting male victims of abuse) – [link]
M-Power – [link]

Abused Boys: The Neglected Victims of Sexual Abuse – by Mic Hunter
Victims No Longer: Men Recovering from Incest and Other Sexual Child Abuse – by Mike Lew
The House On Telegraph Hill (An Asylum): Growing Up with Abusive Parents and a Lifetime After – by Charles S. Wilson

 

 

Reclaim the night march

went to this tonight. For those who haven’t heard of it it’s a march to end violence against women. Anyway let’s just say that about 90% of those there were feminists, unfortuantly feminists scare me a bit… and I felt that I did not deserve to be there as I am not a strong emowered women, I am a weak and broken woman. So ye… not feeling great, however, I did discover an organisation while I was there called “object” which is an organisation set up to challenge the sexual objectification of women, I have now joined said organisation :)

After the march there were a load of speakers, which I stayed for. Then I had to try to get home… but it was dark, and there waa a bit of a walk outside to get to the tube station… so I ended up standing in the lobby for about half an hour panicing and trying to prepare myself. I must have looked like such an idiot/ There were all these amazing and strong women and then there was me – cowering in a corner *sighs*

But anyway, let’s say something about the event itself.

 

Thousands of women from all over the UK and the rest of Europe will be travelling to London to attend the 7th Reclaim the Night march on Saturday 27th November 2010. Be one of them!

-Reclaim the nights website

 

In the summer a U.K. study revieled that a significant number of people thought that rape victims were at least partially to blame for their attacks. The various reasons that respondents blamed women for were the unsurprising — if she had been drinking, if she had worn something revealing, if she had engaged in some other kind of sexual contact with the rapist, etc. — but no less disturbing than they’ve always been.

In Britain, it is estimated that one in two women will experience domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking during their lifetime, and rape convictions are at an all-time low – just 5.6% of all reported rapes end in a conviction. Every week, two women die at the hands of a former or current partner and new cases of child sexual abuse are reported weekly.

I told someone about this event last week, and they said it was “stupid”, that being able to walk the streets at night was not a right, that people should be sensible and take precausions if they are going somewhere that could be dangerous. A few problems there… number 1: After I escaped from my abusers I carried a knife for a long time as I feared that they would come after me (which insidently they did), but this resulted in me being arrested. Secondly, why is it that the potential victims are being punished by having to be constantly on edge or even by not going out at all, whereas the would be attackers are free to go and do whatever they like?

 

And now some pictures from shadow light photography of the event:

 

False Memory Syndrome – What The Studies Say

Professor Alan Schefflin, Santa Clara University Law School and Dr. Daniel Brown reviewed 25 recent studies (spring 1996) on Amnesia for childhood sexual abuse. They state:

“No study failed to find it….Amnesia for childhood sexual abuse is a robust finding across studies using very different samples and methods of assessment. Studies addressing the accuracy of recovered memories show that recovered memories are no more or no less accurate than continuous memories for abuse”.

Herman & Schatzow (1987): 53 women – 36% always remembered, 64% some amnesia; 36% mild to moderate amnesia; 28% “severe memory deficits”. 74% found corroboration, with 40% getting confirmation for perpetrators, other family members, physical evidence and 34% from siblings or other victims.

Albach (in press): 97 women with a history of CSA and a matched control of 65 non-abused women. 35% in the sexually abused group reported amnesia at some time, compared to 1% in the control group who reported amnesia for nontraumatic unpleasant childhood experiences. Psychotherapy was not typically reported to be the cause of recovering the abuse memory.

Roe & Schwartz (1996): 52 women, hospitalized for sexual trauma. 88% reported history of csa. 77% not remembered for significant time (3 to 45 years)

Bernet et al (1993): 624 undergraduates reported at least one experience of sexual abuse prior to age 15. 36% reported no memory for a time. Only 30% had been in therapy so “unlikely that they remembered their abuse as a consequence of psychotherapy”

Belicki et al (1994): 55.4% of abused students in study reported disrupted memory. “Subjects reporting no abuse responded significantly differently than the other three groups with respect to definitons of sexual abuse, psychiatric symptoms and sleep and dream behaviour. There were no significant differences in response the the questions between those who reported and those who did not report corroboration of abuse. There were also no significant differences in response to the questions bewteen those who had disrupted memory and those who had continuous memory for childhood sexual abuse. Those who had recovered memories were just as likely as those who had a continuous memory to have corroborative evidence for the abuse.

Van Der Kolk & Fisler (1995): 46 adults in in depth interview. Of the 36 subjects with childhood trauma 42% had suffered significant or total amnesia at some time. Corroborative evidence available for 75%. Williams (1994) : 129 women who had been sexually abused as children. 38 % failed to report or were amnestic for childhood sexual abuse though it was clearly documented in medical records 17 years earlier. 32% said they were never abused. “Amnesia for sexual abuse in a community sample is not an uncommon event. There was a tendency for women with the clearest evidence of abuse to be more amnestic”

Widom & Morris (in press): Court substantiated abuse and child-neglect cases. 39% of the sexually abused failed to report the documented child abuse. “We have also found substantial under-reporting of sexual abuse among known victims of sexual abuse. This is particularly impressive since these are court substantiated cases of childhood sexual abuse”

Spiegel: “Memories in dissociate amnesia are not so much distorted as they are segregated from one another.”

Williams: In general, women with recovered memories had no more inconsistencies in their reports than women who had always remembered….their retrospective reports were remarkably consistent with what had been reported in the 1970’s….the stories were in large part true to the basic elements”.

Dalenberg (1996):Memories of abuse recovered in psychotherapy were no more or no less accurate than memories of abuse that had always beem remembered. The overall accuracy rate of both continued and recovered memories of abuse was quite high (70%) Just over half the patient sample significantly improved their accuracy for their abuse memories in the course of psychotherapy”.

About those who coined False Memory Syndrome

Ralph Underwager, one of the founders of the False Memory Syndrome Foundation, is credited with having coined the term. In 1993, he gave an interview with the Dutch paedophile magazine, Paedika, in which he was reported as saying that paedophilia could be a responsible choice and that having sex with children could be seen as ‘part of God’s will’. The other co-founders of the FMSF were Pamela and Peter Freyd, whose adult daughter made accusations of childhood sexual abuse. The American media gave them almost unquestioning support until their daughter, psychology Professor Jennifer Freyd, felt obliged to speak out publicly, to stop the damage that she felt her parents and their organisation were doing to abuse survivors.

Other early promoters of false memory syndrome in the US were Paul and Shirley Erberle. In the 1970s, when child pornography laws were less rigid, they edited a magazine called Finger in which there were explicit illustrations of children involved in sexual acts with adults, with features entitled ‘Sexpot at Five’, ‘My First Rape, She Was Only Thirteen’ and ‘Toilet Training’. Another key figure is Felicity Goodyear-Smith, author of First Do No Harm (1993). Felicity Goodyear-Smith admits to a personal as well as professional involvement in the issue. Her husband and parents-in-law were imprisoned for sexual abuse offences, having been members of the New Zealand community, CentrePoint, that encouraged sexual intimacy amongst its members, including the children. Although the adults involved were prosecuted for these acts, including public sex with children, Goodyear-Smith claims that this was simply ‘childhood sexual experimentation’ and quotes studies that claim to show that adult-child sex can be harmless. The false memory syndrome foundation was formed by Pamela and Peter Freyd, who were theirselves accused of abuse by their daughter (insidently their daughter – Jennifer Freyd – wrote an amzing bok called “Betrayal Trauma: The Logic of Forgetting Childhood Abuse“).

Is it just me, or do all of these people appear to have alternative motives?

Repressed memories in none sexual abuse cases

Repressed memory in war vets or holocaust survivors has been a long acknowledged phenomena. It was only when it began to be about sexual abuse that people start yelling about FMS.

All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second it is violently opposed. Third it is accepted as being self-evident” (Arthur Schopenhauer)

Mental health and “coolness”

Had a few conversaions recsetly about people faking mental illnesses, specifially people faking DID. Now whenever these topics come up the first thing I think is “why would anyone fake this?” and the most common reply is “attention” or “be look cool”. Now ok the attention one I sort of get, but to look cool? really? How exactly is essentially saying “so ye, I was raped and abused as in infant and so my mind sort of split as a defence mechanism, so now I don’t remember large chunks of my life, I get awful headaches, doctors don’t trust me with medication, I can’t hold down a job and I get confused by really simple stuff” cool? Maybe I am just out of the loop and misunderstand the meaning of the word “cool” but to me the fact that a person was ABUSED is not a “cool” thing :/ and pretending that you were abused just so that you have something to say when conersations start to die is also not a “cool” thing.

I don’t know, I just don’t get it… living with this is HELL 90% of the time. The constant noise, the never knowing what day it is, the never being able to plan anything as you’ve no idea if you are going to be functional let alone “you” on any given day, the “waking up” in unknown places and haing to go into a shop to ask “excuse me, thais may sound like an odd question, ut what city is this?”, not to mention the flashbacks, the nightmares, the insomnia, the “flashes” that make nosense, the fact that no therapist will touch you with a barge pole so you are constantly being bumped from one psych to another, etc…

Just some thoughts… Also if anyone I’ve been talking about this with reads this: none of this is a critism or anything like that, it’s just basically me thinking out loud and wanting to get some peoples opinions in order to help me to understand.

Sexuality

As I am sure many of you know this week we saw spirit day and as many will also know I am bisexual.

Well on spirit day I heard so many anti-gay arguments :/ and so I decided to write an article on homosexuality, nature and science :)

Fruit flies are among the most sexually proficient creatures on earth. Their ability to produce a new generation in two weeks has made them the darlings of genetics researchers for nearly a century. Put a male fruit fly into a bottle with a female, and he will almost instantly start to breed with her. However, in a lab in the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda (Maryland) there are some fruit flies which defy this usual behaviour, these male flies when placed in a bottle with a female will totally ignore her. But when these males and females are all placed in a container together the females will cower in the corners while the males essentially have an orgy in the middle. Why is this? Well it’s because the scientists have added a single gene to the males, and this gene has basically altered their sexuality.

To some extent this research is welcomed because it supports what many of us have long felt: that sexuality is an innate characteristic, like skin colour, rather than a life-style choice, as conservative moralists contend. And if that is true, then gays deserve legal protection similar to the laws that prohibit racial discrimination.

However, as these things often are, it is a double edged sword. Despite the obvious political benefits of proving that sexuality is genetic there is a problem that can be seen in many people’s interpretation of this research – that homo/bi/pan-sexuality is a “defect”, an “illness”, that needs to be “fixed”.

No matter how people feel about the issue, it is increasingly hard to argue that genes play no role in homosexuality. The evidence began to pile up in 1991, when studies showed that identical twins were more likely to have the same sexual orientation than other pairs of siblings. That same year, a California scientist reported slight brain differences between gay and straight men, although the conclusion is disputed. And in 1993, an NIH researcher found a stretch of DNA on the X chromosome that seemed to harbour one or more genes affecting sexual orientation.

Going back to the fruit fly experiment I mentioned earlier; the main limitation is that although the scientists have managed to create homosexual male flies they have so far failed to cause the same effect in females. The gene in question though is interesting, it was discovered long ago, and is one of the most thoroughly studied of all fruit-fly genes. It is called the “white” gene because, among many effects, it influences eye colour, and a particular mutation in the gene causes a fly’s normally red eyes to be white (The gene’s specific job is to produce a protein that enables cells to utilize an essential amino acid called tryptophan. If fruit flies are unable to process tryptophan properly, then they cannot manufacture red eye pigment). On the surface it’s hard to see how this could affect sexual preference.

Under normal circumstances, the white gene is active only in certain cells; including brain cells, and does nothing to disrupt standard sexual behaviour. In these experiments normal version of the gene was inserted into embryonic flies, but transplanted the gene in such a way that it was activated in every cell.

With every cell sucking in tryptophan from the blood, a shortage of tryptophan developed in the brain, where it has important uses. Since tryptophan levels were altered, the researchers hypothesize; the brain was unable to make enough serotonin, one of the neurotransmitters that carry messages between nerve cells. Serotonin is a multi-purpose chemical, and abnormal levels of it in humans have been linked to everything from depression to violent behaviour. In the case of the gay fruit flies, the scientists speculate, a shortfall of serotonin produced the change in sexuality.

One piece of evidence that supports this theory is the drug Prozac, which relieves depression by lifting serotonin levels in the brain. At the same time, though, the serotonin boost tends to dampen sexual desire. In contrast, low serotonin levels can produce heightened sexual activity, at least in lab animals. In experiments done in the U.S. and Italy, scientists used drugs and special diets to suppress serotonin in rats, mice, cats and rabbits. The result was increased sex drive and, sometimes, homosexual couplings.

However, there are a few issues still with this theory: why would the increase of sex drive from the lack of serotonin often be homosexual rather than heterosexual? And if sexual orientation is genetically determined, then why do some identical twins differ in sexual preferences? Will children be given genetic tests to determine the odds of their becoming homosexual? Will prenatal tests lead to abortions of foetuses that might grow up to be gay?

On top of this genetic research is something else I feel needs addressing: as well as the whole “sexuality is a choice” argument people often use the “it’s not natural” argument, well observations by zoologists begs to differ. More and more we are discovering that homosexual and bisexual activity is not unknown within the animal kingdom.  Nothing is more experimental and broad-minded than Mother Nature after all.

One example is Roy and Silo, two male chinstrap penguins at New York’s Central Park Zoo, who have been inseparable for over six years. They display classic pair-bonding behaviour—entwining of necks, mutual preening, flipper flapping, and the rest. They also have sex, while ignoring potential female mates. In 2004 some filmmakers went in search of homosexual wild animals as part of a National Geographic Ultimate Explorer documentary about the female’s role in the mating game the programme (called “girl power”) included a variety of species displaying homosexual and bisexual behaviour.

Studies suggest 75 percent of bonobo (an African ape closely related to humans) sex is non-reproductive and that nearly all bonobos are bisexual. Frans de Waal, author of Bonobo: The Forgotten Ape, calls the species a “make love, not war” primate. He believes bonobos use sex to resolve conflicts between individuals.

Among plants, sometimes flowers possess both male and female sex organs, sometimes they are unisexual and on different plants, sometimes unisexual and on the same plants, sometimes flowers are designed so they can’t self-pollinate, other times they have to pollinate themselves.

Among animals we find everything from the male seahorse who carries the eggs, hatches them and takes care of the young, to the “polyandrous” Spotted Sandpiper whose females may lay up to four nests in a season, each equipped with a different male incubating the eggs. Of course the common earthworm is both male and female, and some snails sometimes mate with themselves, producing offspring.

The higher up the evolutionary scale you go, the kinkier it all gets. Among communities of mice and other mammals, when population density reaches a certain high level where diseases and famine threaten, not only does homosexual behaviour appear but also parents begin killing their own offspring.

Since 1988, the Department of Agriculture (US) has been doing studies in Idaho on hormonal and genetic differences in rams. The reason for its importance is not only to find human applications, but no sheepherder wants to pay $4000 for a breeding ram that isn’t interested in ewes. In an extensive study they found the “Dud Stud Phenomenon” iwhich is where rams were judged to be homosexual. The study showed that about 8.5% of rams studied were homosexual – close to the estimate of 7-10% of humans in the U.S.

Robin Dunbar, a professor of evolutionary psychology at the University of Liverpool, claims several potential functions of homosexuality.  Dunbar says the bonobo’s use of homosexual activity for social bonding is a possible example, adding, “One of the main arguments for human homosexual behaviour is that it helps bond male groups together, particularly where a group of individuals are dependent on each other, as they might be in hunting or warfare.” For instance, the Spartans, in ancient Greece, encouraged homosexuality among their elite troops. Another suggestion is that homosexuality is a developmental phase people go through. This is similar to the argument of play in young animals to get their brain and muscles to work effectively and together. Off the back of this, there’s the possibility you can get individuals locked into this phase for the rest of their lives as a result of the social environment they grow up in. However, Dunbar also makes it clear that homosexuality doesn’t necessarily have to have a function. It could be a spin-off or by-product of something else and in itself carries no evolutionary weight. For example, sexual gratification, which encourages procreation – an organism is designed to maximize its motivational systems.  In other words, if the urge to have sex is strong enough it may spill over into non-reproductive sex, as suggested by the actions of the bonobos and macaques.

To the western world, homosexuality (both animal and human) is an anomaly, an unexpected behaviour that above all requires some sort of “explanation” or “cause” or “rationale.” In contrast, to many indigenous cultures around the world, homosexuality and transgender are a routine and expected occurrence in both the human and animal worlds. Most Native American tribes formally recognize–and honour–human homosexuality and transgender in the role of the ‘two-spirit’ person (sometimes formerly known as berdache). The ‘two-spirit’ is a sacred man or woman who mixes gender categories by wearing clothes of opposite or both sexes  and often engaging in same -sex relations.

Another point is that compared to straight men, gay men are more likely to be left-handed, to be the younger siblings of older brothers, and to have hair that whorls in a counterclockwise direction. Do these common biological traits among gay men imply that maybe their sexuality is biological too?

One huge problem is that this topic/issue has never been properly researched because it’s so politically sensitive.  What can be known though is that homosexual and bisexual behaviour can be seen throughout the natural world and that among human populations, homosexuality occurs at a certain rate in all populations – regardless of race, age or gender. These two things have got to imply that there is some degree of genetic, or innateness to sexuality.

To me the most obvious and compelling argument, even ignoring the genetic research, studies of brain chemistry and studies of identical twins raised apart, which strongly support statistically its not choice but nature,  is that no one would CHOOSE such a behaviour that generated so much hate and discrimination. Just think of the many personal accounts of those that have tried so hard to change out of the fear of God or fear or judgement/discrimination/bullying/etc, but fail since you CANNOT change natural sexual orientation. Many commit suicide, or leave Christianity feeling they can’t respect a God that would make them gay and then condemn them. How can one believe that God condemns people who love each other tenderly and unselfishly just because they were born homosexual? To me this echoes of the time when left-handedness was seen as inherently evil, or when mental illness was seen as possession. Still others try desperate to hide their sexuality, some even undergoing conversion therapy in secret and many end up DYING during said “therapy” due to ECT being administered incorrectly (not that I agree with ECT anyway but that’s another debate).

Bibliography

“Bonobo Sex and Society,” Scientific American, Mar. 1995

Homosexuality: Its Nature and Causes, D.J. West

A sexually dimorphic nucleus in the human brain. Swaab, D.F. and E. Fliers

Twin and sibship study of overt male homo-sexuality. Kallmann, F.J.

A genetic study of male sexual orientation. Bailey, J.M., and R.C. Pillard.

A linkage between DNA markers on the X chromosome and male sexual orientation. Hamer, D. H., S. Hu, V. L. Magnuson, N. Hu, and A. M. Pattatucci.

Nature via nurture: Genes, experience, and what makes us huma. Matt Ridley

Charity events

Well my justgiving page closed the other day for my 2 peak challenge. I raised £25 for rethink… I hiked up and dwon Ben Nevis (1344m), Scafell Pike (977m), and Snowdon (1085m) in a single 24 hours a total of 27.5 miles (which may nto be mch but this was on mountains :P and with traveling between them in between).

 

My next “mission” is taking place on the 5th of December and is to run 5km while wearing a santa suit. This time the money is going to War Child – my justgiving page is here. I’m hoping that I’ve learnt lessons from my Rethink fundraising and so can make a larger success of this one (not that I am forgetting about Rethink, just got a few events coming up before I have another go at fundraising for them again)

 

I am also in the process of planning to do some fundraising for ECPAT, which is a global network of organisations and individuals working together for the elimination of child prostitution, child pornography and the trafficking of children for sexual purposes. I just haven’t worked out what to do yet… I’m open to suggestions though :)

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 36 other followers

%d bloggers like this: