Understanding the science and Satanic advocacy of LGBT equality
One of the areas that Satanism can be shown to have a positive impact on society is the support of equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) persons. The opposition of LGBTQ rights is, exclusively, derived from Religious ideologies. The objections to gay rights stem from two main logical fallacy arguments, incredulity that science doesn’t agree with them on the subject of binary reality and appeal to authority, that god hates sin, and says homosexuality is a sin, so it’s ok to hate homosexuals. With the Supreme Court decision on marriage equality (Obergefell v Hodges, 2015), a lot of wind was taken from the conservative sails in their war on homosexuality; however, one lost battle doesn’t slow the war to turn back social progress. In true conservative fashion, when a villain doesn’t exist they invent a whole spectrum of perceived persecutions against their Christian values, and are all too eager to jump into the colosseum to be sacrificed by non-existent lions to demonstrate their hateful ideology. We see this in the religious liberty laws, bathroom bills and pseudo-free speech arguments that are made against LGBT equality. It is the burden of Satanists and humanists everywhere to educate and fight back against this social injustice; with our vote, our voice and our minds.
Many religions start off with a false dichotomy through their stories of creation and how god created man and woman. People are primed to this idea that men and woman are the two (binary) options from early indoctrination. This binary thinking is reinforced in various themes through religious texts, such as the fight between good and evil, believers and non-believers; it has a symmetry that makes the concept both appealing and understandable. As much as some people want to believe that science/reality agrees with their religious texts, it simply does not. I cannot tell you how many times I have had conversations with people who assert with conviction that sex and gender are the same thing and that science says there is only male and female gender. Religions or just conservatives in general have a long history of ignoring science in favor of their dogmatic conclusion, so let us discuss some scientific facts.
There are two words of primary importance to understand in this discussion, sex and gender. Sex is a biological construct that encapsulates the anatomical, physiological, genetic and hormonal variations that exist in a species. Biologically it is not even as clear cut as the simplified genomic descriptors of XX (women) and XY (men), as there are a variety of other chromosomal configurations that are rare but possible. It is also, not always clear cut from an anatomical perspective as there are hermaphroditic developments where a person is born with both genitalia (Johnson & Repta, 2012; Archer & Lloyd, 2002). Gender is a multidimensional construct that refers to roles, responsibilities, limitations and experiences provided to an individual based on their presenting sex. In other words gender is how we develop masculine and feminine attributes. Gender is psychological or cultural rather than biological. This is why we call it gender roles or gender relations or gender identity; it is rooted in social structure and largely expressed through social norms (Stoller, 1968; Johnson & Repta, 2012). In this regard I have seen the argument made that transgender persons simply suffer from a psychological disorder of gender dysmorphia. Which in itself is an attempt to misrepresent scientific research; because it is an appeal to the psychological research of the 19th and 20th century. I have had people cite prominent psychiatrists and their papers on the subject as evidence; however citing research from the 1990s that was A) done before the completion of the human genome project B) doesn’t agree with current research; does not validate the argument. Also given the centuries of stigmatizing, demonizing and victimizing people who are different, and then raising children with these barbaric beliefs is there any surprise that LGBTQ individuals might be slightly conflicted or traumatized about their orientation? Just because as a society we have nurtured a level of animosity or disdain for some minority doesn’t mean that they naturally suffer from some psychological disorder.
Categorizing oneself as a woman or man does not have uniform, unvarying meaning. Developmentally, children’s understanding of gender changes as they age, the complex and fluid dynamics of gender are solidified as we become more aware of social interactions and roles in society (Halim et al. 2011). Gender identity crystallizes along with understanding of other gender constructs, including gender stereotypical attributes and the ascription of these attributes to the self (Tobin et al. 2010). Essentially these are nurture attributes, how we are raised. Our parents paint our rooms blue for boys or pink for girls, buy us certain toys based on their expectation of our behavior etc. These are learned expectations instilled in us long before we really understand the concept of gender as children.
The initial problem with studying the biological drivers of gender is the complexity of our biology and the lack of in depth research into the area. Current research dealing with sexual orientation also has many complexities of how to create standardized data sets. Biological studies of transgender identity development, often recruit transgender individuals with one particular sexual orientation, which may produce results related more to the individual’s sexual orientation than gender identity. Given the complexity of these conditions and the general lack of education for most people it is understandable that there is confusion over this topic. Genetics is one area of research being conducted to ascertain the biological roots of gender identity. Biological study of sex and gender has several layers like genetics and proteomics.
Research for transgender genetics is usually conducted among siblings where one is transgender to provide a baseline and control for gender identity. Like cisgender people, most transgender people have XX or XY chromosomes. Some intersex conditions appear to predispose people to gender dysphoria, but this is thought to be due to hormonal variations rather than direct effects of chromosomes (Gooren, 2006; Corsello et al., 2011; Bao & Swaab, 2011; Hines, 2010; Berenbaum & Beltz, 2011). Case reports have documented the existence of transgender individuals with a number of chromosomal variations, including XXY, XXXY, XYY, XXX, XO and mosaicism, but more systematic studies reveal that variations are uncommon. Together, genetic studies provide some support that genetic variations in hormones could play a role in shaping gender identity in some people.
Hormones are a biologically important factor in our development and different hormones kick in at different times during our development so variations in these affect our outward appearance. The target of the majority of current research relates to the effects of hormones on the developing fetus. Prenatal hormones are implicated in sex differences between cisgender people using the same models, and there remains considerable debate about the scientific evidence for what is termed brain organization theory (Cohen-Kettenis & Gooren, 1999; Diamond, 2006; GIRES et al., 2006; Gooren, 2006; Veale, Clarke, & Lomax, 2010a; Corsello et al., 2011; Meyer-Bahlburg, 2011; Bao & Swaab, 2011; Hines, 2010; Berenbaum & Beltz, 2011).
Now, I find that many people seem to be confused how a person cannot be sure what their gender is or how people can identify with another gender. When you are born hormones cause us to develop, some, may remember the line from Jurassic Park where the scientist says that all “vertebrate embryos are inherently female, requiring an extra hormone at the right phase to make them male”. While this is not technically true; they are actually undifferentiated, possessing organs that can grow into either male or female reproductive systems. The point is that in humans various hormones at certain stages drive the sexual development, in doing this, for example during development an enzyme that helps conversion of testosterone does not work properly and it causes a decrease in masculinization of genitalia with those with XY chromosomes (men). Children with this faulty enzyme are often identified as a third sex due to a non-differentiation of their identity. Now before anyone gets ahead of me and thinks that transgender people have some type of genetic disorder that makes them, let’s be clear that enzyme malfunctions can happen naturally and does not always result in some ‘disorder’ and sometimes it is not a big deal, there are hundreds of genetic conditions that produce either a nonfunctional or nonexistent enzyme that has an effect on us. The point I am trying to make here is that hormones are important for sexual differentiation Male/Female, and sometimes there are things that may not work as well in our body and in the case of transgender people it can cause some Gender/sexual development to be unclear. This is why it is not a black and white, binary issue.
Since sex differentiation/identity does not happen right away or happens in stages, we can clearly see how there might be confusion over what gender a person might identify as. Physically derived attributes from our genetics can develop differently from our psychological development; this is the nature vs nurture component of this issue. There have been several books recently written about parenting in light of our understanding of science and the current social dynamics we find ourselves in the 21st century such as Gender Neutral Parenting or Parenting from the Inside Out. I am not going to go into the dynamics of parenting except to say that we do not gain any mystical knowledge when we become parents and so ignorance of a particular subject such as gender roles does not resolve itself. Most parents who are ignorant on this issue and have Binary idea of boys and girls and instill some NURTURE aspect into a child’s identity, which creates room for a child’s developing confusion. Parents may inadvertently be putting their own expectations on their child which maybe the real issue for Gender Dysphoria (distress or conflict over their assigned gender and the way they think/identify). We can strive to raise our children in a world that is far more amazing and diverse that any generation previous could imagine; minimizing gender rules allows children to find their place and usually with less psychologically damaging effects. This really is a cornerstone of humanism and Satanism, reduction of suffering in the conscious person. This is not a difficult or strenuous goal, reducing stress during a child’s development can help them to be more socially conscious of the diversity of people in our world at different stages of their lives. We change as individuals, hormones kick in or turn off at different stages of life, just like in puberty, a host of changes occur in a developing adolescent because of hormones that were not previously active. If there are excess, or deficiency of a specific hormone in this stage we see the impact on the child and thus we have the terms late and early bloomers, which very well could be no differentiation at this stage as well. It is another roll of the dice that could yield an individual who is not clearly in a category of what we might consider male and female.
We should not twist or try to distort what science says to conform to our beliefs, there is no clear cut black and white when it comes to human development. Personally I always wonder why anyone would want for things to be binary and simplistic. Our world is so much more amazing than a narrow spectrum of black and white color. Biological diversity is one of the amazing aspects of nature and the sooner we embrace this the easier it is to realize that there are people living among us who deserve no less than the same rights to be themselves as anyone else. If there is a more satanic issue of a fight against oppression of people for purely arbitrary religious motives, and fighting against laws and institutions that create inequality while demonstrating empathy for others; I cannot think of one.
Halim, M. L., Ruble, D. N., & Amodio, D. M. (2011). From pink frilly dresses to Bone of the boys: A social‐cognitive analysis of gender identity development and gender bias. Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 5, 933–949. doi:10.1111/j. 1751-9004.2011.00399.x.
Tobin, D. D., Menon, M., Menon, M., Spatta, B. C., Hodges, E. V., & Perry, D. G. (2010). The intrapsychics of gender: A model of selfsocialization. Psychological Review, 117, 601–622. doi:10.1037/ a0018936
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Cohen-Kettenis, P. (2005). Psychological long-term outcome in intersex conditions. Hormone Research, 64(suppl. 2), 27–30.
Corsello, S. M., Di Donna, V., Senes, P., Luotto, V., Ricciato, M. P., Paragliola, R.M., & Pontecorvi, A. (2011). Biological aspects of gender disorders. Minerva Endocrinologica, 36, 325–339.
Bao, A.-M., & Swaab, D. F. (2011). Sexual differentiation of the human brain: Relation to gender identity, sexual orientation and neuropsychiatric disorders. Frontiers in Neuroendocrinology, 32, 214–226
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Hines, M. (2010). Sex-related variation in human behavior and the brain. Trends in Cognitive Science, 14, 448–456.
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