Episode 6: A Rainbow Brain

Click here for a transcript of this week’s episode: A Rainbow Brain TranscriptNote: Conversational pieces of transcripts may deviate slightly from the spoken podcast, but all facts and science are preserved. 

Today on Brainstorms, we dive into the science behind sexual orientation and gender identity. We start from the days when homosexuality was “treated” using conversion therapy, and move all the way into the genetics of transgender siblings. We focus on male homosexuality, female homosexuality, and body-brain gender conflict as it relates to the structure of the brain. As it turns out, we truly do have science to thank for the progress of LGBT rights in the United States today. Whether you are on the LGBT spectrum, identify as an ally, or are still a bit skeptical about transgender issues, join me on A Rainbow Brain to uncover the biological truths behind one of the most important social movements of our time.

Here are some sources for further reading:

  • If the history of conversion therapy intrigues you, I highly recommend this personal essay by a gay man who was subjected to conversion therapy by his family as a teenager. It’s heartbreaking and highly informative at the same time, and you’ll never look at the history of homosexual stigma quite the same ever again.
  • If you’re curious to learn more about people who don’t identify with the gender binary, here is an amazing article from the Guardian describing a recent research paper that exploded the biological basis for gender altogether. If you want to read the whole article in Nature, all the power to you! Here’s a link.
  • Most importantly, here’s an article from the NY Times about Roy and Silo, the gay penguins whose relationship captured the heart of New York City and the globe. And here’s a picture of the pair, if you’re so inclined. They’re adorable.
  • Be sure to check out all of the sources used for this episode to find even more information!

The sources used for this episode are as follows:

History of Gay Conversion Therapy

Personal Story of Gay Conversion Therapy

Half-Century of Conflict Over Attempts to “Cure” Gay People

Statistics About American Views of Homosexuality

Enlarged SCN in Homosexual Men (Research Paper)

Sex and the Brain (Textbook)

We Are Our Brains by D.F. Swaab

History of DES

Spontaneous Otoacoustic Emissions and Sexual Orientation in Women (Research Paper)

2D:4D Ratio Among Homosexual Women (Research Paper)

The Owner’s Manual for the Brain by Pierce Howard

Biology of Transgenderism

 

Image: http://people.bath.ac.uk/mir20/images/neurons.gif

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