MichFest Workshop Challenges Womyn-Born-Womyn Policy and Medical Practices: “Disordered or Just Different?”

From:  Science and Sexuality: The Biology of Sexual Identity, Sexual Orientation, and Intersexuality.

Posted by Veronica Drantz, PhD

July 18, 2010

MichFest Workshop Challenges Womyn-Born-Womyn Policy and Medical Practices: “Disordered or Just Different?”


I will present a workshop at the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival (MichFest) on Friday, August 6th, from 12:30 to 2:30 pm in the Media Tent. This presentation is the same talk entitled “Disordered or Just Different? Myth, Science and Sexuality” that has been well-received at two other venues recently (see previous posts). The title is shortened to “Myth, Science, and Sexuality” to meet the publishing specifications for the 2010 MichFest booklet.

As in last year’s workshop, I will summarize the last fifty years of research on core sexuality in mammals (genital development, sexual identity, sexual orientation) with emphasis on the organization-activation mechanism. Intersexuality in various forms will be explained and brain work regarding sexual identity and sexual orientation will be emphasized. This year’s workshop will culminate with a sharp focus on the damage that the gender binary notion and John Money’s legacy continue to cause. The audience will be updated on the anti-scientific and barbaric policies of the pediatric profession and the psychiatric profession regarding intersex babies and transsexual people respectively.

The damage can be traced to a goofy assumption that the gender binary is natural and to a failure to distinguish between sex and gender. People who clearly refute the gender binary are treated as freaks and threats rather than as the evidence that the gender binary is incorrect. Even though these human beings who are not “Adams” or “Eves” are looking at and talking to us, the culture does not see or hear them because to do so would challenge societal structure. The culture clings to the stupid Adam and Eve notion that has been the source of so much grief for people who are naturally and innately sexually different: gay and lesbian people, transsexual people, and intersex people.

Education of the public about the established scientific facts concerning core sexuality is the best way to end this unnecessary and destructive suffering of innately sexually-different people! The MichFest audience is especially important because it is primarily a lesbian audience. I feel an obligation to educate my lesbian sisters about what I know as a physiologist regarding core sexuality generally and the “womyn-born-womyn” policy of the MichFest organizers particularly.

As I did last year, I will make sure the audience understands that all the science is against the idea of the organizers’ womyn-born-womyn policy regarding who is welcome to attend MichFest. The feeling that causes sexual identity is the result of how the brain is organized during fetal development and is not the result of genital anatomy or learning and experience! What is learned is how to navigate in the culture as the sexual being you were born as. How much trouble you run into depends on the culture.

I attended MichFest during its first year and many years thereafter when I was a much younger lesbian and when there was little hard science concerning core sexuality. I didn’t give any workshops back then because the science on sexuality was in its infancy. But now is different. This will be the 35th year for MichFest!!! A remarkable accomplishment! Also remarkable are the scientific findings on core sexuality that have accumulated over the years since the MichFest organizers conceived of their womyn-born-womyn policy. Lesbians need to be scientifically informed about innate sexuality and should be at the forefront of celebrating all the natural sexual variations of women-identified people.

Posted by Veronica Drantz, PhD

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