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[personal profile] pastwatcher
I'm not super friendly to the idea that people can give any single evolutionary theory for how gender and sexuality work. Many people have demonstrated how culture factors in, and many have also ignored this. Many* have also pointed out that sexual behaviors in humans have multiple purposes, not only mating. The best hypotheses for the biological component of sexuality and gender I've seen involve natural variation in hormones at different stages of development. Those have some evidence under tests, I think, but they don't usually claim to explain all of it.

There are also many supposed evolutionary reasons for our variations in sexuality and gender, though one of them is that "evolution is messy". Selection may work differently for those who are XX vs XY and who reproduce. But for example, a tendency toward "more testosterone at life** stage Z than usual" in an XY parent can be passed down to an XX child, and behavioral tendencies can also be passed by meme or by gene to children not of the same karyotype; and then the selection on the same trait works differently for parent and child. And that has to incorporate how selection works on people according to the way they negotiate gender with their societies (some of which, it bears repeating at the risk of a total derail, have codified roles for more than 2 genders, and some of which like ours try to enforce binary gender but give flexible roles). It's complicated.

But too often people's thoughts on the subject divide us into Normals and Queers: the former have passed examination already and the latter are curious zoo creatures. Tell me why I exist, again? Tell me why you think your nature-interacting-with-nurture is independent of mine?

*most recently, the post that inspired this. Not attacking that if you've seen it, there was a lot of useful thought in that about various behaviors, and I know its author has reason to think in a way counter to usual social bias. But pointing out issues that can come up with a larger discourse. I do feel prompted to share words on a subject I've put a lot of reading/thought into but am usually not happy to talk about.

**I mean that life begins at conception. Independent life (i.e. not symbiotic with other humans) usually begins at birth. Personhood is full of questionmarks.


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April 2017


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