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COMMENT: “Gay brain” study makes sweeping generalisations

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  1. Joanne McKillop 21 Jun 2008, 6:53am

    I dunno how this applies to LGB people but there are such things as males with a female-shaped brain. We generally know them as “transwomen.” Likewise there are females with a male-shaped brain who we call “transmen.” The phenomena have been well documented as having nowt to do with sexuality.

    Methinks this study’s gotten its wires crossed…

  2. and the point of this piece is what precisely? to fill a page writing about a current news story with line after line of the bleedin obvious?

  3. and the point of this piece is what precisely? to fill a page with line after line of the bleedin obvious?

  4. Peter Rivendell 21 Jun 2008, 8:28am

    I don’t know whether this scientific study is filled with sweeping generalisations but this article is.

    I think the gay community (possibly quite rightly) fears such studies because we know that for every piece of research that looks for a ’cause’ someone somewhere will be wondering if they can find a ‘cure’.

  5. There’s an excellent editorial on this research in New Scientist magazine. It makes a point that is particularly relevent after the recent comments by Iris Robinson:

    “…the notion that homosexuality is “unnatural” is equally wrong”

    Surely this is the message that we should be concentrating on, especially when sections of society still think gay people are far from ‘natural’.

  6. There’s an excellent editorial in New Scientist magazine about this research. It’s makes a very important point, which I think is more relevent after Iris Robinson’s recent outbursts:

    “..the notion that homosexuality is “unnatural” is equally wrong”

    I think this is the message that needs to be emphasized after this, or any other study like it is published; especially when the ‘unnatural-ness’ of homosexuality is the main argument that intollerant people depend on.

  7. Robert, ex-pat Brit 21 Jun 2008, 11:22am

    I too feel that such generalisations will only enforce the stereotyping of the effeminate gay male or butch lesbian. Yes, they do exist but they are not the majority as straight society purports. The other part of the downside is that if it is genetic, and probably is, then the right wing religious zealots will have a field day pressuring governments to find a “cure”. The only positive outcome could be that if genetics and other physical components come into play, then it will weaken the ex-gay argument quite drastically.

  8. Stephen Pickells 22 Jun 2008, 12:49am

    I think Mr Umbach is missing the point of this study. The general public can and will infer whatever they want, but the research team didn’t make any generalised pronouncement. They simply published their findings, which just provide one more piece of evidence that suggests sexual attraction is perhaps linked to neurobiology as opposed to social conditioning. If one was to infer from this study that all gay men conform to a stereotype, and all lesbian women conform to another, then one would have to infer that all heterosexual men and women conform to their own stereotypes. And whilst those stereotypes do exist, most people realise that they are broad generalisations and not indicative of individuals.

  9. Stephen Pickells 22 Jun 2008, 5:10am

    Just to add to that last comment. By only discussing men and women, I’m not trying to trivialise people living with an intersex condition. But considering that they comprise about .1% of the population, it might be a lot harder to get a reliable sample for a comparative study.

  10. i think that author of this artice is being a touch over sensitive. Will there be any feminsit groups who object to this study becuase it lumps all heterosexual women into the same group? i doubt it becuase, simply, it doesn’t. This study was dealing purely with the sections of the brain that environmental upbringing cannot change (unlike, for example, mannerisms or choice of hobbies). As such it offers the most convincing argument yet that, whether through genes or hormones in the womb, gays are born and not made.

  11. Andris, Riga 22 Jun 2008, 7:18pm

    For some men their being gay is so obvious that they don’t have a particular reason to come out. I’ve spotted gay people in the streets and my conclusions have turned out to be right.

    For other men, their being gay is not so apparent and there are, indeed, very masculine gay men.

    I’m afraid the feminine gay man is the most visible group and fits the stereotypes. To prove it count the gay fashion designers and soccer players you know and compare the numbers.

  12. Im sorry, I try to keep an objective opinion when comment reports but what you’re saying is ridiculous. Finally Scientists come up with some evidence that perhaps gives a biological, natural reason for homosexuality and the only way you can react is in a defensive manner. I read the article and thought “at last!!”, what has been reported is balanced and doesn’t attempt to explain any kind of behaviour.

    I’m not sure the I understand the paranoia behind articles like this, but the LGBT world could do without this defensive attitude.

  13. Christian Perkins 25 Jun 2008, 2:23am

    This DISCOVERY does not suggest any stereotype.
    It only informs us of the similarities found.
    AGAIN, because gay men share similar brain structures to straight women, this does not write out gay men’s destiny’s to be that of a feminine man, simply that we share biological similarities.
    I believe the level of how “feminine” you behave can arise due to a complete interaction of “nature AND nurture”, not a strict result of brain size comparisons to straight women. AS obviously, which this article has failed to realise, if gay men are being stereotyped, so are straight women (and again, gay women and straight men). SO the only assumption this discovery has made, is that if you are a gay man, you are likely to have a similar brain structure to a straight women.

    Why should we think that this affects homosexuals more then heterosexuals. Are we really that “sensitive”? Articles like this reinforce the belief that gay people will search for insults against them, when none are present.

  14. This reaction is silly. So what if gay men and straight women are likened. How does that contradict diversity within gay men, unless of course you believe that all straight women are the same. There are straight women who like decorating and sports as well.

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