A Supreme Decision

marriage equalityOn June 26, 2013 in a landmark decision the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a provision in DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act), which denied federal benefits to same-sex couples, was unconstitutional.  This decision marks the beginning of the end of religious-based groups and politicians’ using the government, the laws, taxes, and marital benefits to discriminate against same-sex couples and dictate what is and isn’t endorsed by law in private individual homes.  The Supreme Court also dismissed a case by California’s Proposition 8 ballot initiative trying to define marriage as between one man and one woman.  American President Barack Obama applauded the highest court saying the decision strikes down “discrimination enshrined in law.”  Yes, the ruling is a historic victory for civil rights in America.  The seeds of theocracy were thwarted once again!

But the decision, the debate, and its roots are sometimes lost or glossed over in the hype, emotion, and most certainly the mythical history and theological mumbo-jumbo.  The intention of this post is to remind everyone what the controversy is really about:  the separation of church (individual’s faith) and state… as well as how the neurological, biological, and embryonic evidence increasingly show that love, marriage, and sex are clearly NOT defined by or governed by some unanimous(?) religious ideology, theology, or book.  On the contrary, nature seems to dictate truths to humanity as humanity’s understanding evolves.  And in the case of love, marriage, sexuality, Proposition 8, and DOMA “nature” is screaming at humanity to evolve and revamp its understanding of human nature inside nature.

Products of Millions Not Either Or

intersex_babyAs I wrote about in my April 2011 post Sexual & Gender Ambiguity: My Once Gross Ignorance, one out of 100 births do not fall under traditional male-female physical identifiers.  On a molecular scale one out of 1,666 births has no clear XX or XY chromosome structure.  In other words, the gender and sexual makeup of these inter-sexed babies (who by the way grow into adults) inherit from their embryonic stage and beyond thousands upon millions of combinations of neurological and hormonal designs.  If sexuality or gender were black or white, then nature would show this consistently by having either hetero males or hetero females, nothing in between.  But clearly this isn’t the case and certainly isn’t any “law”.

For millennia mankind has only understood the visible world, or a world that could be observed and examined by our five senses, including genitalia and breasts.  Not until the last two to three decades has medical science revealed compellingly the incredible neurological-hormonal diversity within each of us.  It is a big part of what makes each of us a unique one in 7.13 billion.  And inter-sexed births are only the VISIBLE evidence of this unimaginable diversity!  Every single one of us have a slightly different feeling about attraction, at any given time in any given circumstance – compounding the complexity even more – and we act upon the attraction differently (if slightly) each time.

For example, some men are more aggressive than others, sadly even to the point of harassment or rape.  That is one extreme in a select group or type of males found all over the world.  Some women have the same level of sexual aggressiveness or sensuality while others have a more reserved approach or interest or frequency.  Many times these attractions are affected by environment.  But just as equally they are influenced by our internal neurological and hormonal blueprint.  And if “nature” can sometimes vary the genitalia, the macro-scale, then it certainly stands to reason that nature can vary the internal designs, the micro-scale.

Genetic or Lifestyle Choice?

What does medical science show us?  Three fields of science breach the sexual-orientation issue:  epigenetics, neurohormonal theory, and pheromone theory.

Epigenetics, the study of changes in gene manifestation or expression, over the last couple of decades has revealed that not all traits are INherited but heritable by external or maternal mechanisms; e.g. a pregnant mother shouldn’t drink alcohol or smoke at the risk of fetal defects.  Maternal mechanisms, including ancestral, certainly influence inborn traits even though they are not part of the DNA sequencing.  The point to consider is the diverse multitude of influential prenatal factors.

Neurohormonal theory, the study of embryonic homosexual and heterosexual brain development, has increasingly shown that not only do we ALL start out with the default “female” brain and that we ALL start out sexually as unisex, but during the second trimester there are a multitude of genes triggering or inhibiting hormones and enzymes for both the brain and hypothalamus as well as the sexual organs.  As I wrote in my February 2013 post Toss the 2-D Glasses, structural size differences of the anterior hypothalamus, the organ which regulates sexual behavior, has been observed between heterosexual and homosexual males.  This deserves repeating:  there is indeed a structural size difference measured between hetero and homosexual males.  It is not merely a post-natal adolescent or adult life-choice.  Reread the previous three sentences to allow it to sink in.

The brain registers love as love, despite gender.

Pheromone theory, the study of released airborne molecules which elicit certain social reactions from a member of the same species, has increasingly shown different secretions and excretions will elicit different sexual arousal in homosexual and heterosexual males and females.  These amounts and different chemical makeups (primarily estrogen steroid derivative or EST) are all regulated by the anterior hypothalamus.  This EST regulation has been confirmed in several varying species of laboratory animals, as well as in human males and females.

Scientists decipher 3 billion-year-old genomic fossils. Click on image for larger view & explanation.

The brain (or the anterior hypothalamus) registers love as love, despite gender or antiquated traditions.

Whether one thinks the scientific data is preliminary, compelling, or conclusive, at the very least neuroscientists and embryologists agree that sex-genes and sexual hormones are unpredictably developed and expressed under very complex systems.  Therefore, sexuality and orientation cannot be rigidly oversimplified into A and/or B formulas or law.  Nature and the scientific data simply do not reflect that position.

Shaky Religious Foundations

Despite the U.S. Constitution stating “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion” much of what proponents of DOMA and Proposition 8, like the National Organization for Marriage, construct their stance and subsequent law-making on religious traditions.  I have written numerous posts regarding the fallacy of religious monism.  This also includes the global fallacy of “biblical inerrancy” claimed by Jewish, Christian or Islamic fundamentalists alike.  I will later be publishing another article on biblical inerrancy called The Holy River.

I have also discussed the social dangers in preaching and teaching exclusiveness and elitism, which directly or indirectly fragment unity and nurture ill-will and intolerance to diversity – diversity confirmed in a multitude of life systems, Earth systems, atomic and subatomic systems, and cosmic systems, but even more importantly in spiritual or metaphysical systems!  Without having to repeat much of what I’ve already covered, this is a short list of those related posts…

Origins of Judeo-Christianity and Its “Holy” Bible:
Constantine: Christianity’s True Catalyst/Christ
The Suffering Messiah That Wasn’t Jesus
Canaanites Killed & Removed From Native Lands
Correcting the Gospels of Jesus
Whoops! Not God’s Wrath After All?

On the science of spirituality, the paranormal or metaphysical:
Connectivity – Part 1
Connectivity – Part 2
Connectivity – Back to Physics Class
Connectivity – The New Paradigm

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Unquestionably nature, or more precisely human nature, cannot be “cured” or “cleansed” of what is perceived morally as right or wrong.  Nature is oblivious to morality and we should give eternal thanks for that… treating all humans as our equal.

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Toss the 2-D Glasses

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Simply put Things are not always as they appear.  Some would say they never are.  Still others claim there are always the black-and-white and they never change.  My experience has taught me one profound thing:  A violent storm brings down the greatest oak, but a reed stands by moving to and fro.

Marty Feldman

Marty Feldman

For many centuries, perhaps even two or three millennia, there has been a two-dimensional ideology assumed, proliferated, defended, and in some cases subjugated with little more basis than ego.  Sexual-orientation or sexual-matching has increasingly been shown by science and nature not to be binary, or black-and-white, but instead as varied as the full color spectrum wheel.  To be more accurate, nature has been hinting to us all along:  appearances can be deceiving.

The Holy Nature of Embryology

There is a widespread misnomer out there which states or implies that human beings are born only one of two ways:  male or female.  This misnomer subsequently implies or states that according to Sears Craftsman Tool-amics a bolt does not connect, or join with another bolt.  A nut does not join with or connect with another nut; they cannot fit together.  The only way the bolt and nut are happy and causing the world to be happy is if the bolt is joined with the nut.  Or is it the nut joined with the bolt?  Nevertheless, it would seem that nature (or Craftsman Tools) supports this binary system, right?  Nope, hang on Marty Feldman!  It seems you do not get out to nature much.

Going strictly by primary education or the family’s birds-and-bees story, one would probably know that gender is determined by the father’s sperm, correct?  Of those 14-million hyper-fluid target-seekers, the winner will either have the pointy-arrow or the downward cross chromosome and SHAZAAM it’s done!  The embryo grows into a heterosexual boy or girl.  Simple, right?  Nope, strike two Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.

For a quick introduction into the commonly unknown, overlooked, or ignored phenomena of inter-sexed births, read my post Sexual & Gender Ambiguity:  My Once Gross Ignorance.

Gomer Pyle, USMC

Gomer Pyle, USMC

Even though at fertilization the male sperm carries the DNA gender-identifier, decades prior to conception there are many variables that took place throughout the parents’ hormonal-development that factor into their reproductive systems.  Concurrently there are also variables still remaining to be developed over the following embryonic weeks that hinge on the mother’s hormonal and embryonic condition.  Yes, the embryo begins to change during the first several days, but there is still much to be sorted out.

Ultimate Ambiguity: The Chicken or the Egg?

Every living organism has inherited traits, or a blueprint passed down to them from previous generations known as genetic code.  During reproduction living cells follow two subset codes called the genotype and phenotype.  For about the first 21 days the embryo’s development is directly controlled by the mother’s genotype.  This coding controls everything developing internally and inherited.  After 21 days further development begins according to the phenotype coding that tells the cells how to construct all the external (physical) features of the eventual fetus.  This includes the development of our hormonal or endocrine system.  Amazingly at 56 days the observable fetus is neither male nor female.  More amazingly, however, is that the baby’s hormonal-system and sexual development, is an extremely complex transcription and translation of inherited RNA.  And who did the parent’s inherit their RNA from?  What of those four grandparents?  Where did they inherit their RNA from?  Are you beginning to glimpse the exponential complexity of embryonic-fetal cell development which programs the prenatal hormonal (sexual) system?

Anterior hypothalamus and INAH3

Anterior hypothalamus and INAH3

And yet, we are only beginning to scratch the surface of human development from embryo to full grown adult.  Genetic coding of the embryo and fetus is only one part of the entire blueprint.  Hold on, it gets bigger and more definitive.

The Rising Reality of Sexual Orientation and Attraction

Modern neuroscience and genoscience have clearly found over the last several decades that simple physical-sexual genitalia DOES NOT wholly determine a person’s sexual attractions.  For the last twenty-odd years the accumulating molecular and neurological data (nature) are showing that sexual attraction and behavior are a product of a combination of genes, hormones, and evolving cells which likely determine future sexual preference from before birth.

In 1990 Harvard Medical School neuroscientist Dr. Simon LeVay began researching the origins of sexual orientation.  It began when he reviewed a study done in the late 1980’s at UCLA which found that an area of the human brain, known medically as INAH3, was larger in men than in women.  From this evidence it was deduced sexual behavior is in part due to biological differences in the brain.  Therefore, when he concluded his 1990 study he indeed found that there were structural differences (again nature) in the brains of homosexual men compared to heterosexual men.

LGBT worldA fascinating landmark finding in his 1990 research showed that the INAH3 region of the brain in heterosexual men was over twice as large as the same region in women and homosexual men.  This definitive evidence establishes that there is a natural biological difference between gay and heterosexual men.  However, LeVay is quick to point out that this fact does not prove there is a specific homosexual gene.  To date, neuroscience and genoscience studies haven’t made that determination.  In his October 2012 lecture to Elmhurst College, LeVay cautions of a potential Gattaca nightmare (eugenics and genetic discrimination) and what biased parents or people may do to their prenatal child if it is determined they possess “the gay gene”.  Personally, I too find that horrifying and no different than sexual or racial hate crimes.

What has become increasingly clear from the neurological, biological, genetic, and behavioral-psychological data regarding sexual development and orientation is that none of the components can be singled out as autonomous or non-relational to its other “siblings” if you will.  It is a multi-spectrum micro and macroscopic epigenesis (formation) with no permanent walls, laws or lines.  Our human brain registers love as love, despite gender.

Unquestionably nature, or more precisely human nature, cannot be “cured” or “cleansed” of what is perceived morally as right or wrong.  Nature is oblivious to morality and we should give eternal thanks for that… treating all humans as family.

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Live Laugh Love

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