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  #101  
Old 05-25-2012, 11:15 AM
Una Persson Una Persson is offline
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Originally Posted by CarnalK View Post
So, can I then assume that the more obvious distinctions I mentioned don't show a link between natural born women and transwomen?
No - you mentioned corpus callosum distinctions, and there is evidence to support mental gender has a strong tie to physical form of the corpus callosum.

See Yokota, Y. et al. "Callosal Shapes at the Midsagittal Plane: MRI Differences of Normal Males, Normal Females, and GID" Proceedings of the 2005 IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology 27th Annual Conference,
Shanghai, China, September 1-4, 2005.

You have to read further than the abstract; the abstract isn't very good.

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Abstract: We investigated differences in corpus callosum shape at the midsagittal plane using MRI for different subjects: normal males, normal females, and subjects with gender identity disorder (GID).
Later in the paper,
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We next examined how characteristic values ac GID subjects had compared to the normal subjects. Figs. 3(c) and 3(d) respectively depict histograms of the characteristic values ac for MTF and FTM in GID. To facilitate comparison to normal subjects, the histograms for normal males and females, which are already shown in Figs. 1(a) and 1(a), are displayed again in Figs. 3(a) and 3(b), respectively. Fig. 3 shows that the histogram for MTF evidently differs from that for normal males; it seems rather closer to that for normal females. Otherwise, the histogram for FTM appears to be swept toward larger ac, i.e. closer distribution to that for normal males than that for normal females. Consequently, it can be concluded that GIDs have characteristic values closer to their mental sex, i.e. gender, than to their physical sex.
There are other papers to review.

Edited: hijacking snark removed.

Last edited by Una Persson; 05-25-2012 at 11:16 AM..
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  #102  
Old 05-25-2012, 12:07 PM
CarnalK CarnalK is online now
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Originally Posted by Una Persson View Post
No - you mentioned corpus callosum distinctions, and there is evidence to support mental gender has a strong tie to physical form of the corpus callosum.
OK, then a brain scan would be a useful tool to differentiate between real gender misalignment and delusion.
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  #103  
Old 05-25-2012, 12:30 PM
Una Persson Una Persson is offline
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Originally Posted by CarnalK View Post
OK, then a brain scan would be a useful tool to differentiate between real gender misalignment and delusion.
Let me deliberately hedge here and opine that it could give one more piece of information that might help in a determination. It's also possible that there are several different physiological changes which could give evidence, and that one specific change may not be evident while others may. In the paper I cited, the test was not nearly 100% accurate in detecting birth females and males, although it did appear to have significant value towards that end.

There is also some theory about pituitary gland changes and pineal gland changes and their impacts, but again this has not been well-studied. Pituitary gland prolactinomas can cause gynecomastia and in some cases simultaneously suppress testosterone to insanely low levels (the reasons for this latter effect I cannot explain).

And of course, this is not a very well-studied area of medicine, and somewhat new, so it is all but certain, IMO, that other things could be at play which we do not yet understand.

Personally, my opinion is that while there is academic interest in brain structure differences, I don't believe it matters in the overall scheme of things. I think people in general and legally speaking should really not care what gender identity any specific person has. If they're not hurting or threatening one, then one should just chalk it up as "people are different" and not get so hung up on it. Like the aforementioned backhanded insult referencing Napoleon - I could care less if the guy at Starbucks is dressed in a bicorn hat and speaking with a French accent, so long as I get my Frappuchino. Now when Napoleon wants to cut in front of me at the DMV because, after all, he's Napoleon, that's where you draw the line.
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  #104  
Old 05-25-2012, 03:25 PM
AqualungBats5th AqualungBats5th is offline
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Originally Posted by bup View Post
I know a woman who has stated her transgender situation as, "I used to be a man."
Might this have more to do with explaining the situation in a way the general public might understand better, considering ignorance on this topic is still rather widespread?

Also, more than likely it's shorthand for: "I used to live in and move about the world in the role of a man, and I had that self perception because I didn't believe/didn't realize it could be different " rather than "that is what my internal identity was and then I changed".
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  #105  
Old 05-25-2012, 05:29 PM
Alessan Alessan is offline
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Some people define themselves by their external identity rather than by their internal one.
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  #106  
Old 05-25-2012, 06:20 PM
Quasimodem Quasimodem is offline
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Ask The Guy.....

....... who "painted himself into a corner" many years ago. It's a very sensitive subject indeed as I quickly learned. For me, it was a lot like walking around telling everyone you know that you're not racially prejudiced. If that's the way it is, fuck it, that's the way it is and if it's true for you, you shouldn't need to announce it (or prove it to everyone. That's what I learned the hard way.

Admittedly, your OP and my situation are different, yet alike in that the wrong questions were asked and the wrong and useless statements were made.

I learned to shut up about it, but I felt so bad I wanted to poke white-hot needles into both eyeballs simultaneously. Instead, I forced them open and saw where I'd screwed up. I hope there are no hard feelings about what I just wrote, because none were intended.

Q
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  #107  
Old 05-25-2012, 06:45 PM
Crab Rangoon Crab Rangoon is offline
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Originally Posted by cynyc View Post
Still pissed nobody listened to and commented on that podcast. My expectations are high for Americans and I never learn my lesson.
I listened to it - thought it was a good piece. I was saddened by the East Coast family that chose to take away everything their child enjoyed and tried to force an alternate identity on him (her). You know that kid will be forced to live a lie for most of his (her) life - even the mother said as much, yet seems fine with that fact as long as her kid plays well with the boys.

The West Coast family seems to me to be doing it right - as long as no surgery happens there is always an opportunity to change back if the child develops differently along the way. Listen to your kid - they know how to be who they are better than anyone else.
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  #108  
Old 05-25-2012, 06:51 PM
Crab Rangoon Crab Rangoon is offline
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Here's a little something from the World Health Organization's website that might help define some terms.

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Sometimes it is hard to understand exactly what is meant by the term "gender", and how it differs from the closely related term "sex".

"Sex" refers to the biological and physiological characteristics that define men and women.

"Gender" refers to the socially constructed roles, behaviours, activities, and attributes that a given society considers appropriate for men and women.

To put it another way:

"Male" and "female" are sex categories, while "masculine" and "feminine" are gender categories.

Aspects of sex will not vary substantially between different human societies, while aspects of gender may vary greatly.
You can see a person's sex (if they are nekkid) - you cannot see a person's gender.
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  #109  
Old 05-25-2012, 07:51 PM
Lamia Lamia is offline
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Originally Posted by Una Persson View Post
There is also some theory about pituitary gland changes and pineal gland changes and their impacts, but again this has not been well-studied. Pituitary gland prolactinomas can cause gynecomastia and in some cases simultaneously suppress testosterone to insanely low levels (the reasons for this latter effect I cannot explain).
I was diagnosed with a pituitary prolactinoma when I was 18, and at some point one of the many doctors I saw explained that the hormone prolactin has a sort of see-saw relationship with both estrogen and testosterone. When prolactin levels go up, as they do when you have a prolactin producing tumor or sometimes just when a tumor is pressing on the pituitary gland, estrogen and testosterone levels drop.

I'm a cisgender woman so I can't speak from personal experience as to what effects elevated prolactin levels would have on a male-bodied person (the most obvious symptom in women is irregular periods or amenorrhoea), but I remember seeing a story on IIRC Dateline about a man who'd had a prolactinoma since childhood but wasn't diagnosed until he was an adult. He said that prior to receiving treatment he'd had kind of a "womanly" figure (gynecomastia and round hips), and also that he'd had a very low sex drive and had been impotent the few times he'd tried to have sex. All of this was presumably due to low testosterone levels, and he said that it changed pretty quickly after he had surgery for the tumor and began taking medication to suppress the excess prolactin.

ETA: FWIW, I feel my own experience with having a hormone imbalance has made me more sympathetic to transgender people. I know that it can be pretty unpleasant to have a body that's not making the hormones it "wants", and that even if you're testing within the normal range your current hormone levels may not be in the best place for you as an individual.

Last edited by Lamia; 05-25-2012 at 07:56 PM..
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  #110  
Old 05-26-2012, 07:58 AM
Una Persson Una Persson is offline
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Originally Posted by Lamia View Post
ETA: FWIW, I feel my own experience with having a hormone imbalance has made me more sympathetic to transgender people. I know that it can be pretty unpleasant to have a body that's not making the hormones it "wants", and that even if you're testing within the normal range your current hormone levels may not be in the best place for you as an individual.
My understanding...and I'm going to go out on a limb from memory without citations handy, is that while hormones can change thoughts and feelings about gender, the change overall is not to the level that a transgendered person will feel. I read a couple of studies where prostate cancer sufferers were on modest amounts of estrogen (it was early in the era) and they found a small percentage of the men felt "unsexed" or without gender, and a couple of men felt some leanings towards feeling they were female. But none of them came out with this crushing feeling of "OMG why doesn't my body fit me, I'm a woman not a man, what's going on?" Another few studies I researched on female bodybuilders who were taking large amounts of testosterone found huge increases in aggression, violence, and to the point of growing facial hair and having their voice change - but IIRC none of them felt "male", although some felt like they were "genderless."

My opinion based on the limited research I've found on this subject is that hormones will push someone towards one side or another, but overall there's much more at play.
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  #111  
Old 05-26-2012, 10:14 AM
Lamia Lamia is offline
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Originally Posted by Una Persson View Post
My understanding...and I'm going to go out on a limb from memory without citations handy, is that while hormones can change thoughts and feelings about gender, the change overall is not to the level that a transgendered person will feel. [...] My opinion based on the limited research I've found on this subject is that hormones will push someone towards one side or another, but overall there's much more at play.
I was writing in a hurry to get my edit in before I ran out of time, so I maybe wasn't as clear as I could have been. As far as I can tell, my own problems with out-of-whack hormones never had any effect on my own gender identity. Amenorrhoea in women and a loss of libido in both men and women are fairly common symptoms of endocrine problems so some patients may feel like "less of a woman/man" because of that, but I've never heard of this leading to identification with the opposite sex.

But what I have heard from some transgender people, including here on the SDMB, that sounds familiar to me as someone with an endocrine problem is that when they started on hormones they felt "right" or "better". Some have even said that the hormone treatment was more important to them than having the surgery, and not just because the hormones affected their appearance. I could believe that with at least some transgender people there is something going on with their bodies that makes them "want" higher levels of estrogen or testosterone than people of their physical sex can normally produce on their own. Now, if e.g. MtF transwomen were just men with high estrogen levels and/or low testosterone levels I'd expect this would have been known to medicine for years. It could be proven easily with a blood test. But if there's something about an MtF woman's body that functions better with the estrogen levels of a healthy cisgender woman, there may be no way to test for this other than by just giving her estrogen and following up with questions about how she feels.

I know there's been research indicating that one of the brain structures that is different in transgender people than cisgender people of the same physical sex is the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus links up with the pituitary gland and releases some hormones itself, so maybe there's something going on there -- although I really don't know enough about the science involved to say what exactly this might be.
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  #112  
Old 05-26-2012, 10:23 AM
Hedda Rosa Hedda Rosa is offline
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Originally Posted by Living Well Is Best Revenge View Post
Not a whoosh. I hear people quite often say things like, "That girl looks like a tranny." Or something like that.
Jokes like that or "hot tranny mess" I've always understood to be a transvestite joke. Is that just me?

Transvestite (or crossdresser) is not the same thing as transgender, and it's possible to be a crossdresser while also being firmly cisgender.

I think crossdressing comes up for more joking because of Drag Queens and the types of over-the-top shows they are associated with, and of course lets not forget the classically hysterical frat-boy-does-halloween.
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  #113  
Old 05-28-2012, 09:59 PM
Martin Hyde Martin Hyde is offline
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Originally Posted by Miller View Post
I'm not talking about brain activity, I'm talking about the architecture of the brain, as determined through post-mortem autopsy - at which point, there's no brain activity to measure.

This page is a handy collection of a variety of studies on transexuality that demonstrate, once again, that you don't know what you're talking about. Here's some highlights:
Your cites didn't do anything to show that I didn't know what I'm talking about, but again show you really want this to be true even though the science isn't saying that it is. Even the brain structure studies show similar results to the brain activity studies, that GID patients have some abnormalities from a normal brain of someone of their biological sex, some of the abnormalities make it "more similar to the brain of the gender they identified with than their biological sex" but you've yet to provide one small bit of evidence to support you fatuous and wildly off base claim that people with GID "literally have women's brains in a man's body."

FWIW, in response to another poster saying I'll "never find science to support my side", my argument is the default position: the reasonable scientific assumption that a biological male has a biological male brain. To show that certain biological males have literally female brains requires some actual proof first, so the onus is not on me to disprove such a silly assertion.

All you guys have proven is brain deformities in GID patients, and to be quite frank that's what I would expect, they're clearly not of sound mind since they believe they are something they factually cannot be.

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What possible information could be divined by showing transexuals erotica? Gender identity and sexual orientation are entirely separate phenomena, and no useful information about a person's gender identity can be derived by examining what they find arousing.
Biological gender and sexual orientation are tightly linked, as the vast majority of mammals naturally are attracted to and desire heterosexual intercourse. You would have to ask the researchers who did these studies the reason for their approach, though. It certainly isn't my responsibility to answer for them. You can read more about the study here and follow up on it to your heart's content.

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Incidentally, are you willing, based on the DSM-IV, to affirmatively state that homosexuality is not a mental illness? If not, can you explain why the DSM is authoritative on the subject of transexuality, but not on homosexuality?
Homosexuality is an aberration from the norm and while we have no definitive understanding of why it happens we know that attraction and sexual desire happen in the brain itself, so the cause for the aberration is probably in some way related to a defective physical brain or defective hormone processing or something of that nature. I think if not for political pressure the DSM-IV would recognize homosexuality as a mental defect as it obviously and most absolutely, undeniably is. However, practically speaking there is no known treatment for homosexuality (that works, at least as I'm aware) and in fact untreated homosexuals mostly have no problems with their day to day lives so it's a disease that is fairly harmless. No worse than mild personality disorders for example that many persons have.

Since it doesn't really impair life quality or cause problems functioning I would probably say if I wanted to be more "precise" homosexuality should be called a general "mental defect" and probably not a illness proper, because illnesses by definition have negative affects on the person. Of course mental illness is a vaguely defined term, so there's also that to consider.
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  #114  
Old 05-28-2012, 10:30 PM
Una Persson Una Persson is offline
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Does anyone else want to step up to the microphone and go on the record here and state that lesbians, gays, and transgendered are mentally ill or mentally defective? Come on, don't be shy now.
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  #115  
Old 05-28-2012, 11:45 PM
Miller Miller is offline
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Originally Posted by Martin Hyde View Post
Your cites didn't do anything to show that I didn't know what I'm talking about, but again show you really want this to be true even though the science isn't saying that it is. Even the brain structure studies show similar results to the brain activity studies, that GID patients have some abnormalities from a normal brain of someone of their biological sex, some of the abnormalities make it "more similar to the brain of the gender they identified with than their biological sex" but you've yet to provide one small bit of evidence to support you fatuous and wildly off base claim that people with GID "literally have women's brains in a man's body."
Nonsense. I was, at worst, slightly facile in suggesting that a transgendered person has the exact brain of the gender with which they identify. What the links show is that brain structure is a secondary sexual characteristic, and that transgendered people have a mix of secondary sexual characteristics from both genders. The point being, you can't draw the bright line you've attempted to create between transgendered and intersexed people.

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Homosexuality is an aberration from the norm and while we have no definitive understanding of why it happens we know that attraction and sexual desire happen in the brain itself, so the cause for the aberration is probably in some way related to a defective physical brain or defective hormone processing or something of that nature. I think if not for political pressure the DSM-IV would recognize homosexuality as a mental defect as it obviously and most absolutely, undeniably is. However, practically speaking there is no known treatment for homosexuality (that works, at least as I'm aware) and in fact untreated homosexuals mostly have no problems with their day to day lives so it's a disease that is fairly harmless. No worse than mild personality disorders for example that many persons have.
Ah, the hand of the mighty Gay Mafia! Tell me, exactly what form did this political pressure take? What were the repercussions for psychiatrists who didn't toe the line? How did the gay rights lobby manage to coerce a majority of the psychiatric profession to go against their conscience and vote to remove homosexuality from the DSM? Remember, this is 1973 - we couldn't even get gay sex fully decriminalized until 2003.
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  #116  
Old 05-29-2012, 12:08 AM
Una Persson Una Persson is offline
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Originally Posted by Martin Hyde View Post
All you guys have proven is brain deformities in GID patients, and to be quite frank that's what I would expect, they're clearly not of sound mind since they believe they are something they factually cannot be.
By that same criteria any believer in a miracle-containing religion is also not of sound mind, as they believe in something non-factual. I think you've just stipulated that at least 90%+ of the planet is of unsound mind.

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It certainly isn't my responsibility to answer for them. You can read more about the study here and follow up on it to your heart's content.
Which page or paragraph of the full paper are you referring to? Or did you only review the abstract at this time?

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Homosexuality is an aberration from the norm and while we have no definitive understanding of why it happens we know that attraction and sexual desire happen in the brain itself, so the cause for the aberration is probably in some way related to a defective physical brain or defective hormone processing or something of that nature.
Different != defective, even if the difference does not appear to be beneficial to one.

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I think if not for political pressure the DSM-IV would recognize homosexuality as a mental defect as it obviously and most absolutely, undeniably is.
No it's not.
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  #117  
Old 05-29-2012, 12:17 AM
Inner Stickler Inner Stickler is offline
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Originally Posted by Martin Hyde View Post
I think if not for political pressure the DSM-IV would recognize homosexuality as a mental defect as it obviously and most absolutely, undeniably is.
It's not a defect if it doesn't interfere with their ability to interact with the rest of the world. There's no evidence that being gay, in and of itself, has a deletorious effect on a person's quality of life.
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  #118  
Old 05-29-2012, 01:10 AM
CarnalK CarnalK is online now
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Originally Posted by Una Persson View Post
Does anyone else want to step up to the microphone and go on the record here and state that lesbians, gays, and transgendered are mentally ill or mentally defective? Come on, don't be shy now.
But isn't it obviously a mis-coding of sorts?The point that homosexuality is a harmless quirky defect, doesn't particularly offend me.

Last edited by CarnalK; 05-29-2012 at 01:15 AM.. Reason: rules
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  #119  
Old 05-29-2012, 02:54 AM
Miller Miller is offline
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Originally Posted by CarnalK View Post
But isn't it obviously a mis-coding of sorts?
Not really. Opposite-sex attraction is a useful motivator for reproduction, but not a necessary one. A 100% homosexual population is still a viable one, and in some circumstances (such as reduced access to resources) a potentially more successful one that a 100% heterosexual population. It's a variance, not a defect.
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  #120  
Old 05-29-2012, 04:49 AM
Johanna Johanna is offline
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Originally Posted by Miller View Post
It's a variance, not a defect.
Makes sense to me!

It's very unfortunate to see the attempts to cast it in a negative meaning by the use of highly pejorative and prejudiced language.
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  #121  
Old 05-29-2012, 05:26 AM
eclectic wench eclectic wench is offline
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Originally Posted by Martin Hyde View Post
Homosexuality is an aberration from the norm and while we have no definitive understanding of why it happens we know that attraction and sexual desire happen in the brain itself, so the cause for the aberration is probably in some way related to a defective physical brain or defective hormone processing or something of that nature. I think if not for political pressure the DSM-IV would recognize homosexuality as a mental defect as it obviously and most absolutely, undeniably is. However, practically speaking there is no known treatment for homosexuality (that works, at least as I'm aware) and in fact untreated homosexuals mostly have no problems with their day to day lives so it's a disease that is fairly harmless. No worse than mild personality disorders for example that many persons have.

Since it doesn't really impair life quality or cause problems functioning I would probably say if I wanted to be more "precise" homosexuality should be called a general "mental defect" and probably not a illness proper, because illnesses by definition have negative affects on the person. Of course mental illness is a vaguely defined term, so there's also that to consider.
Lefthandedness is also an aberration from the norm due to a difference in the brain. Does that make it a mental illness? Like homosexuality, it can be suppressed at a behavioural level but not "unwired" - you'll still be innately left-handed even if you're forced or force yourself to use your right hand. And, unlike homosexuality, lefthandedness actually does have negative effects. So it is a personality disorder? A mental illness? A mental defect? Is it only because of political pressure from the mighty left-handed lobby that it isn't recognised in the DSM-IV?

Seriously, like someone else said, a difference isn't necessarily a defect. It's bizarre to argue that it is.

Last edited by eclectic wench; 05-29-2012 at 05:28 AM..
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  #122  
Old 05-29-2012, 09:05 AM
Una Persson Una Persson is offline
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Originally Posted by CarnalK View Post
But isn't it obviously a mis-coding of sorts?The point that homosexuality is a harmless quirky defect, doesn't particularly offend me.
I don't know if I can factually answer that question. But if so, there are nonetheless several mis-codings which aren't defects, but just differences - left-handedness was just brought up, and is a good example. Colour blindness would be a bad example, except in certain very specific circumstances.
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  #123  
Old 05-29-2012, 09:51 AM
CarnalK CarnalK is online now
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Originally Posted by Una Persson View Post
I don't know if I can factually answer that question. But if so, there are nonetheless several mis-codings which aren't defects, but just differences - left-handedness was just brought up, and is a good example. Colour blindness would be a bad example, except in certain very specific circumstances.
Well, I would say it lies at least between left handedness and colour blindness. Miller's blithely hand waving it away as "Oh, they'd still probably reproduce" is kind of silly. A "difference" that completely messes with your ability/desire to reproduce is fairly called a "defect" from a biological standpoint. It is a defect I think we can safely let run though.

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Originally Posted by eclectic wench
And, unlike homosexuality, lefthandedness actually does have negative effects
Smearing ink versus hardwired against wanting reproductive sex? Hmm.
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  #124  
Old 05-29-2012, 11:02 AM
kayT kayT is offline
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Why is it silly to say homosexuals will still reproduce? It seems to be obviously true that many people of all sexual preferences enjoy raising children and find ways to do so even if their reproductive organs don't work or they prefer non-reproductive sex. And given the ridiculous overpopulation of our world, not wanting reproductive sex seems to me to be a valuable asset and not a negative effect!
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  #125  
Old 05-29-2012, 11:05 AM
Johanna Johanna is offline
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Look in Chutney Popcorn, The L Word, The Kids Are All Right, etc. All about gay women and their girlfriends/wives poppin' out babies right and left like it's goin' out of style.
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  #126  
Old 05-29-2012, 11:17 AM
Miller Miller is offline
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Originally Posted by CarnalK View Post
Well, I would say it lies at least between left handedness and colour blindness. Miller's blithely hand waving it away as "Oh, they'd still probably reproduce" is kind of silly. A "difference" that completely messes with your ability/desire to reproduce is fairly called a "defect" from a biological standpoint. It is a defect I think we can safely let run though.
There's no "probably" about it. The desire to reproduce is separate from the desire to have sex. The fact that gay people are wired to want sex with their own gender doesn't mean they're also wired to not want to have children, as is amply demonstrated by the increasing number of same-sex parents.

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Smearing ink versus hardwired against wanting reproductive sex? Hmm.
Left handed people have an average life span about ten years shorter than right handed people.

Not sure how that compares to the average life span of homosexuals, but I kind of suspect we don't do all that much better.
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  #127  
Old 05-29-2012, 11:19 AM
CarnalK CarnalK is online now
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Originally Posted by kayT View Post
Why is it silly to say homosexuals will still reproduce? It seems to be obviously true that many people of all sexual preferences enjoy raising children and find ways to do so even if their reproductive organs don't work or they prefer non-reproductive sex. And given the ridiculous overpopulation of our world, not wanting reproductive sex seems to me to be a valuable asset and not a negative effect!
It's silly because yes they may close their eyes and think of England, but babies aren't produced every time. Maintaining a population is a lot easier when people naturally want to do what's required so that the odds add up.

Some percentage of the population not being reproductive is normal. That doesn't mean that all the people with low sperm counts or non-sticky uterine walls don't have a defect. How far are you willing to go here? Would you reject that dwarfism is a defect? I mean smaller people means less resources used, so little people are a valuable asset, right?

Last edited by CarnalK; 05-29-2012 at 11:19 AM..
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  #128  
Old 05-29-2012, 11:20 AM
Miller Miller is offline
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It's silly because yes they may close their eyes and think of England, but babies aren't produced every time. Maintaining a population is a lot easier when people naturally want to do what's required so that the odds add up.
We have much more reliable methods than that now.
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  #129  
Old 05-29-2012, 11:29 AM
kayT kayT is offline
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Originally Posted by CarnalK View Post
It's silly because yes they may close their eyes and think of England, but babies aren't produced every time. Maintaining a population is a lot easier when people naturally want to do what's required so that the odds add up.

Some percentage of the population not being reproductive is normal. That doesn't mean that all the people with low sperm counts or non-sticky uterine walls don't have a defect. How far are you willing to go here? Would you reject that dwarfism is a defect? I mean smaller people means less resources used, so little people are a valuable asset, right?
So not reproducing is a defect now? I always thought I don't have children because of a choice I made, but apparently it's because I didn't get the maternal gene. Now I know, I'm defective! And really we do NOT need to worry about maintaining a population! Have you noticed how overpopulated we are?

By the way, I have to say sorry to the OP as we have drifted a long way from your topic.
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  #130  
Old 05-29-2012, 11:31 AM
CarnalK CarnalK is online now
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Miller, I never said gay people don't want to raise children. I would have to be pretty blind to think that. See my first paragraph above. Yes, we can deal with it now, it doesn't change my point, as I never said we should "fix" gay people.

And ok, so lefties have some longevity deficiency. But obviously there is some other factor causing both, as I can't imagine people die younger BECAUSE they are left handed. But your lower likelihood to reproduce is a direct result of homosexuality. So it's not a straight (ha!) comparison, imho.

eta: kayt, no need to get ridiculous. I am using "defect" in clinical way, not attacking every childless person on the planet. What about my question?

Last edited by CarnalK; 05-29-2012 at 11:36 AM..
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  #131  
Old 05-29-2012, 11:45 AM
Miller Miller is offline
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Originally Posted by CarnalK View Post
Miller, I never said gay people don't want to raise children. I would have to be pretty blind to think that. See my first paragraph above.
Certainly, heterosexual desire leads to an increased number of children - I'm not arguing that point. But "most number of children possible" is not always a desirable outcome, particularly in situations where you have a limited amount of resources. Nature has developed a bewildering number of reproductive strategies, very few of which rely on sexual attraction as we understand the concept. The fact that some percentage of the human species is capable of reproducing without opposite-sex sexual attraction is not evidence of a defect, it's just an alternate reproductive strategy.
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  #132  
Old 05-29-2012, 02:20 PM
CarnalK CarnalK is online now
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Originally Posted by Miller View Post
The fact that some percentage of the human species is capable of reproducing without opposite-sex sexual attraction is not evidence of a defect, it's just an alternate reproductive strategy.
You can think of it that way if you want, but it doesn't make sense to me at all. Except for most recently in human history, homosexuality is basically opting out of reproduction. I know there's all sorts of speculation that it may have some evolutionary advantage, none of it really rings true. eta: Unless you can show that limited resources tends to increase # of homosexuals. Most animals make as many offspring as possible and let the lack of resources starve them to a more reasonable size population.

Last edited by CarnalK; 05-29-2012 at 02:23 PM..
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  #133  
Old 05-29-2012, 02:28 PM
Broomstick Broomstick is online now
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Social insects, where massive numbers of the population opt out of reproduction, might disagree with that stance.

Granted, we aren't social insects, we're mammals. Let me introduce you to the naked mole rat which employes a similar reproductive strategy.

The point is, some individuals opting out of reproduction is hardly an unknown strategy in the wild. For that matter, homosexual behavior has also been observed in wild animals. Either it actively serves some evolutionary purpose, or else it is not harmful enough to be harshly selected against.

The other thing is that in the old days when virtually everyone was expected to marry in some cultures no one thought much if a man only rarely had sex with his wife, and that only to produce children, and spent the rest of his time with other men. What women did amongst each other was likewise often overlooked or ignored so long as they otherwise conformed to the role of good wives who produced children. Most homosexuals are capable of having sex with the opposite gender even if it's not their preference. If that was the price of otherwise being able to do what they wanted most of them could endure it. I've always found it odd this notion that being homosexual made one incapable of having procreative sex. It doesn't.

In other words, homosexuality need not hamper human reproduction even in a primitive society.
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  #134  
Old 05-29-2012, 02:32 PM
Broomstick Broomstick is online now
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Originally Posted by CarnalK View Post
Most animals make as many offspring as possible and let the lack of resources starve them to a more reasonable size population.
Sorry, hit submit before addressing this point.

Actually, this is not true of human societies. Many hunter-gather societies actually did limit human births, employing various strategies to do so. For example, it might be taboo for any man to have sex with a nursing woman and women might nurse 3-4 years. Some hunter gatherers would only raise one child at a time, so if twins were born one of them would be killed immediately. Infanticide was used to dispose of deformed, unwanted, and children too close in age to those already living. These strategies where probably most common among nomadic groups (where infants and toddlers needed to be carried and it would have been difficult or impossible for a woman to carry more than one for any lengthy time) but some highly civilized and advanced societies in the past, like Ancient Rome, also practiced infanticide. Romans also attempted birth control of various sorts and abortions as well.

So, we aren't "most animals".
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  #135  
Old 05-29-2012, 02:39 PM
CarnalK CarnalK is online now
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So, we're going to hypothesize that <10% homosexuals are some sort of worker ant, that aren't actually sterile and are still able to compete for leadership?

Having a trait that still gets passed on, isn't proof that it's somehow advantageous, fyi. Just that it's not disastrous. I've said from the beginning that it isn't a fatal defect.
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  #136  
Old 05-29-2012, 03:44 PM
Miller Miller is offline
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Originally Posted by CarnalK View Post
You can think of it that way if you want, but it doesn't make sense to me at all. Except for most recently in human history, homosexuality is basically opting out of reproduction.
Except for most recently in human history, homosexuality did not exist. Sure, people had same-sex encounters, and a certain percentage of the population would prefer same-sex encounters, but the concept of sexual orientation is a product of the modern era. People who we would, today, identify as "gay" still got married, and still produced children, as was expected by society. They would almost certainly be producing fewer children, but they would still be reproducing.

Quote:
I know there's all sorts of speculation that it may have some evolutionary advantage, none of it really rings true. eta: Unless you can show that limited resources tends to increase # of homosexuals. Most animals make as many offspring as possible and let the lack of resources starve them to a more reasonable size population.
Very few animals have "as many offspring as possible." Virtually all of them all have evolved some sort of limitation on how often they can reproduce, from lengthy estrus cycles, to specialized fertility, to complicated courtship rituals. Homosexuality is just another such limiter - one that evolved out of our natural ability to make rational reproductive decisions.

Quote:
Having a trait that still gets passed on, isn't proof that it's somehow advantageous, fyi. Just that it's not disastrous. I've said from the beginning that it isn't a fatal defect.
If homosexuality really meant opting out of reproduction, as you said previously, then it would absolutely be a fatal defect - on a generational level, if not a personal level. The fact that the trait persists indicates that it either confers a pretty strong group survival advantage, or it's not as much of a bar to reproduction as you think.
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  #137  
Old 05-29-2012, 05:47 PM
typoink typoink is online now
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I've always had a hard time with "transgender" as a concept because I find "gender" troublesome as a concept. In this context, it's a (fluid, at times) social concept, and so I think it's only tenuously "real." It's useful, of course, but something about it grates.

I feel nothing but support for trans individuals, because I believe people have total autonomy over their identities. I don't think it's right for any social constructs (save necessary laws) to be forced on anybody.

A "woman's brain in a male body" has always bothered me as a phrase, because I don't like the implication that there's such a thing as a "woman's brain." If trans persons often have structural brain similarities to persons of opposite biological sex, that is of course important and meaningful, but it also implies a threshhold for "real" transgender versus "choice." I'm not a fan of that.

I suppose part of the problem for me is that I don't find either gender identity to be fully relatable, but I also don't feel like "genderqueer" fits me right. I think of myself as male-identified, but a very mix of masculine, feminine, and...odd traits. "Cisgender" implies things I don't like. I hate binaries in general, because I tend to find myself in a middle zone and frequently told I don't exist.

It took me a long time to not hate it, but I'm increasingly in love with the broad concept of "queer." Categorizing people is always ugly; it's useful inasmuch as it assists understanding, but awful inasmuch as it assists in defining.

I've no real dog in this race, and, of course, I fully support trans persons to define themselves, their identities, and the common (and uncommon) experiences they face. I just find myself frequently worried that the current dialogue could erect walls instead of the sort of true understanding, compassion, and acceptance all people (trans, cis, and otherwise) should enjoy.
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  #138  
Old 05-29-2012, 07:12 PM
Martin Hyde Martin Hyde is offline
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Originally Posted by Una Persson View Post
By that same criteria any believer in a miracle-containing religion is also not of sound mind, as they believe in something non-factual. I think you've just stipulated that at least 90%+ of the planet is of unsound mind.
I would agree but it's a difference of degree. Believing something that is wrong about the world, like the existence of a SkyGod or that you can win a free trip to the Bahamas selling magazines door to door just makes you garden variety stupid. However if you genuinely believe that you yourself are something fancifully impossible for you to be that is a sign to me of a grave disorder. People believing in SkyGods or who buy into MLM schemes are dumb, but they're just dumb about something most people are dumb about. People that believe they are 19th century French Emperors or people who are born with dicks and an XY chromosome who think they're "women inside" are sadly afflicted with a grave dysfunction of the mind.

Quote:
Which page or paragraph of the full paper are you referring to? Or did you only review the abstract at this time?
Miller wanted to know why you would even have transgendered people watch erotica and monitor brain activity, I told him the paper he can look into to get an answer as to why the researchers did what they did.

Quote:
Different != defective, even if the difference does not appear to be beneficial to one.
I would disagree. If I was a farmer and I bought a bull to fuck my cows to produce more cattle I would be extremely pissed at my defective merchandise if my expensive bull ended up being unwilling or unable to fuck the cows. I'm sure professional farming with prize stud bulls probably frequently don't rely on the cattle actually mating normally and can manually extract the semen and implant it as it were, but the point remains an animal that won't copulate with its opposite gender is defective to that farmer who purchased it for that sole purpose.

Humans aren't farm animals, but biologically if any mammal can be said to have a "purpose" (in as much as a species can have a "purpose") it is to continue to exist by propagating, anything that is less than efficient at getting that done is not ideal. And in the normal course of a species existence a dispassionate biologist would observe members of the species that were for various reasons not adept at siring children were defective as compared to the rest of the species.

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No it's not.
It clearly is.
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  #139  
Old 05-29-2012, 07:31 PM
CarnalK CarnalK is online now
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Originally Posted by Miller View Post
If homosexuality really meant opting out of reproduction, as you said previously, then it would absolutely be a fatal defect - on a generational level, if not a personal level. The fact that the trait persists indicates that it either confers a pretty strong group survival advantage, or it's not as much of a bar to reproduction as you think.
There are plenty of genetic disorders that cause blindness, deafness and early death. They persist, but I doubt you'd say that indicates they are somehow useful.
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  #140  
Old 05-29-2012, 07:56 PM
I Love Me, Vol. I I Love Me, Vol. I is offline
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Originally Posted by ugly ripe tomato View Post
So? If she wants to post she will, and if she doesn't she won't. Why assume the OP was even thinking of her?
I think that's being a little rough on Alessan. It seems to me that he/she () was simply trying to directly answer the question posed by the OP, but chose to use discretion by not naming names (as this can be a sensitive topic).
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  #141  
Old 05-29-2012, 10:31 PM
Enola Straight Enola Straight is offline
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I believe I've seen on CSI an episode regarding those who seek gender re-assignment surgery: Male-to-female::female-to-male TG is 75%/25%

Accurate?

Does this indicate a genetic or chromosomal phenomena?
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  #142  
Old 05-30-2012, 01:01 PM
Miller Miller is offline
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Originally Posted by Enola Straight View Post
I believe I've seen on CSI an episode regarding those who seek gender re-assignment surgery: Male-to-female::female-to-male TG is 75%/25%

Accurate?

Does this indicate a genetic or chromosomal phenomena?
Most likely, a sampling error. A lot of FtMs can successfully pass without having any sort of surgery at all: you can get pretty far just by taking testosterone and some breast binding. Consequently, a lot of transguys transition without any medical intervention at all, and so are invisible in those statistics. And that's assuming that statistic is counting top surgery as gender reassignment surgery. While surgery can be very effective in turning a penis into a vagina, the reverse is not as successful, and the majority of transguys don't bother.
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  #143  
Old 05-30-2012, 01:17 PM
Miller Miller is offline
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Originally Posted by Miller View Post
Most likely, a sampling error. A lot of FtMs can successfully pass without having any sort of surgery at all: you can get pretty far just by taking testosterone and some breast binding. Consequently, a lot of transguys transition without any medical intervention at all, and so are invisible in those statistics. And that's assuming that statistic is counting top surgery as gender reassignment surgery. While surgery can be very effective in turning a penis into a vagina, the reverse is not as successful, and the majority of transguys don't bother.
Forgot to add:

Anecdotally, I've talked about this with my boyfriend, who's a transguy. Based on his own observations in the community, and his talks with friends who work in the clinics, this disparity may be disappearing: a lot more biological women are coming out as some variety of trans or gender queer, in roughly the same proportion as biological men. I don't know if there are any studies that back this up, though. My boyfriend attributes this change to greater community visibility, and the existence of an actual FtM celebrity. I'm not so sure I'm convinced of the siren power of Chas Bono, but I don't really have a better theory.
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  #144  
Old 05-30-2012, 06:20 PM
YogSosoth YogSosoth is offline
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Originally Posted by Miller View Post
Forgot to add:

Anecdotally, I've talked about this with my boyfriend, who's a transguy. Based on his own observations in the community, and his talks with friends who work in the clinics, this disparity may be disappearing: a lot more biological women are coming out as some variety of trans or gender queer, in roughly the same proportion as biological men. I don't know if there are any studies that back this up, though. My boyfriend attributes this change to greater community visibility, and the existence of an actual FtM celebrity. I'm not so sure I'm convinced of the siren power of Chas Bono, but I don't really have a better theory.
Whoa, you're gay? Or wait, you could be a woman, I don't know, I really don't keep track of this stuff. But if you're not, then whoa, you're gay!? Not that there's anything wrong with that. Just surprising, is all. Apologizes if I've offended you, I didn't mean to
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  #145  
Old 05-30-2012, 09:11 PM
kayT kayT is offline
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In looking at the Straight Dope Picture Gallery, Miller appears to be male and satanic.
ETA: and cute. Very cute.

Last edited by kayT; 05-30-2012 at 09:12 PM.. Reason: Sucking up to the mods
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  #146  
Old 06-04-2012, 10:27 AM
FlyingRat FlyingRat is offline
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A friend's blog just linked to a very well-written article (Part 1, Part 2) on transgender issues within the context of the evolution of feminism. In the context of this thread, I feel this (from the second page) is worth reposting:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Natalie Reed
Any theory of gender, if it’s to have any meaning or usefulness or validity at all, must speak to the actual full realities of gender. And that requires speaking to the actual realities of gender variance. All of them. Not just whichever ones you can slot into the pet theory you refuse to abandon for fear of losing a political edge, or fear of admitting to having been wrong. It requires speaking to the actual lived experiences of human beings, all of them, not telling certain people that their lives are wrong, or don’t exist, so that you can continue believing whatever makes you comfy or meets your particular political goals. Your degrees, ambitions, publications or worries over how a fact might be misinterpreted do not trump anyone else’s actual existence. Views must be adapted to fit the facts. Otherwise, yours is just another inaccurate worldview imposed by the privileged on the actual world, and the lives within it.

Otherwise, you’re not addressing the social dynamics of gender. You’re covering them up, and thereby perpetuating the problem.
And, she goes on to say, the above applies to both sides of the argument-- those who claim that gender is entirely a social construct, and those who resort to biological reductivism. We should be dealing with what is, in all its aspects, not with what we think it should be.

Last edited by FlyingRat; 06-04-2012 at 10:29 AM..
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  #147  
Old 06-04-2012, 10:56 AM
Farmer Jane Farmer Jane is offline
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Originally Posted by eclectic wench View Post
I know very little about this, so someone tell me if I'm talking shite, but:

Following on from what Inner Stickler said: if being transgender were a mental illness, wouldn't the best cure be mental as well? Like depression, say, where the treatments are psychoactive drugs and psychological therapies?

From the little I know, that kind of mind-focused treatment doesn't really work for transgender people. What works - and I'm defining 'works' as 'gives them the same chance as anyone else of living happy, productive, functioning lives' - is transitioning. So there is a 'cure', and a more reliably effective 'cure' than we've got for depression or schizophrenia, but it doesn't have any element of mental treatment. I don't see how that's consistent with mental illness.
Is there a neuro Doper who can weigh in on this thread? Because I've kind of wondered the same thing. We know that certain drugs can treat/manage other psycho-neurological conditions. Why not this?

If a transgender person is suffering and a medication can possibly stop it, why is that better or worse than surgical transformation?

I have some female students that live as boys (they are 'studs', apparently). They wouldn't dream of surgery, but according to some Dopers (I think), they are trans, or genderqueer, or some other such title that they wouldn't give themselves. (For the record, they're happy with the distinction of being "gay".) I mean, the only difference between a couple of my students and the seven year old boy* who wanted to join Girl Scouts is that these girls are fine with being called women and the kid actively wanted to be a girl. Or was. Or ; this shit is confusing.

I apologize if I'm coming off as insensitive. It's a topic that I've struggled with for years and still can't quite understand.

*person with a penis?
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  #148  
Old 06-04-2012, 11:03 AM
Ethilrist Ethilrist is offline
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Originally Posted by Farmer Jane View Post
If a transgender person is suffering and a medication can possibly stop it, why is that better or worse than surgical transformation?
An it harm none [else], do as thou wilt.

Also known as, if such a medication were available, I don't believe transpeople would use it, as they would believe (prior to beginning medication) that it would be forcing them to live a lie, even if (after beginning medication) they no longer believed that. Since they have the right to make that choice, they get to. It's not like forcing medication on people so they stop committing violent crimes, or self-destructive (to the point of suicide) acts. If they want to have surgery done on themselves so they look, feel and work, physically, the way they want to, they get to.
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  #149  
Old 06-04-2012, 11:15 AM
Farmer Jane Farmer Jane is offline
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Originally Posted by Ethilrist View Post
An it harm none [else], do as thou wilt.

Also known as, if such a medication were available, I don't believe transpeople would use it, as they would believe (prior to beginning medication) that it would be forcing them to live a lie, even if (after beginning medication) they no longer believed that. Since they have the right to make that choice, they get to. It's not like forcing medication on people so they stop committing violent crimes, or self-destructive (to the point of suicide) acts. If they want to have surgery done on themselves so they look, feel and work, physically, the way they want to, they get to.
...and this is where I have a hard time. No matter how much I wanted to be a boy when I was a kid (yeah, that obviously passed), the idea of surgically making a penis for me would have been beyond weird. (My mother never restricted my TV. I was exposed to everything, with little explanation to follow. :P)

So if young trans people are really really suffering and a pill could help, why do the surgery? It's my understanding that it's not going to be the same, and the possible complications from surgery are terrifying.

Last edited by Farmer Jane; 06-04-2012 at 11:15 AM..
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  #150  
Old 06-04-2012, 11:28 AM
Ethilrist Ethilrist is offline
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Volunteering to live their lives in a medicated lie would be equally terrifying to some people.
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