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Paul Grobstein's picture

Some more grist for thinking about sex/gender diffs

Jesse Bering's Forecasting sexual orientation (15 September 2010 in Scientific American's Mind and Brain) is an interesting and thoughtful piece that focuses on homosexuality but is relevant for a number of more general issues that we've been exploring, including the question of "timing" that dfishervan raises and adowton responds to.  Yes, early behaviors (like genes, etc) are statistically predictive of later behaviors/identities in populations of people but not absolutely predictive in any given case.  Maybe then we should not only acknowledge and accept a wider range of sex/gender identities in adults (or humans of whatever age) but acknowlege and accept as well some degree of fluidity in sex/gender identity at different times in individual lives?
Bering's piece also struck me as interesting because "homosexual" and "heterosexual" are in some ways better defined operationally than "woman" and "man" and so there is perhaps here less arbitrariness in assigning people to groups for research purposes in this case.  On the other hand, as Bering points out, here too there are clearly not only two discrete categories: given the opportunity, a significant number of people would identify themselves as "bisexual."  My guess is that there is some movement along this continuum in many individual lives as well. 

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