'Anti-lesbian' treatment

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Youth Coordinator
Joined in 2008
August 16, 2010, 10:52

‘Anti-lesbian’ treatment

August 16, 2010

A HORMONAL treatment to prevent ambiguous genitalia can now be offered to women who may be carrying a foetus with the rare disorder.

It is not without health risks but, to its critics, they are of small consequence compared with this notable side effect: the treatment also might reduce the likelihood that a female with the condition, known as congenital adrenal hyperplasia, will be homosexual. Further, it seems to increase the chances that she will have what are considered more feminine behavioural traits.

That such a treatment would ever be considered, even to prevent genital abnormalities, has outraged gay and lesbian groups, troubled some doctors and fuelled bioethicists’ debate about the nature of human sexuality.

The treatment is a step towards ”engineering in the womb for sexual orientation,” said Alice Dreger, a professor of clinical medical humanities and bioethics at Northwestern University in the United States.

It ”theoretically can influence postnatal behaviour, not just genital differentiation,” said Ken Zucker, the psychologist-in-chief of the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto, who studies gender identity.

Professor Dreger and critics say far too little is known about the safety of the hormone, the steroid dexamethasone, when used prenatally. They’re even more concerned that some doctors might tell parents that a reduced chance of homosexuality is one of the therapy’s benefits.

”Most clinicians speak about this treatment as ambiguous-genitalia prevention,” Dreger said. ”Others suggest that you should prevent homosexuality if you can. But being gay or lesbian is not a disease and should not be treated as such.”

Los Angeles Times

Joined in 2007
August 16, 2010, 14:01

What the…?

This is completely outrageous. For myself, I don’t think I would want to take that medication anyway. I don’t like the idea of interfering with foetal development in any way and was very careful when I was pregnant, about what I ate and what medications I used. I can’t believe it’s even been approved for use.

Sad. Very sad.

Ann Maree
Joined in 2008
August 21, 2010, 09:12

Hi all

I remain fairly neutral about this article. The reason for that is that I believe the media often sensationalise and get things wrong. And I think that’s what’s happened here. Re medical topics, I know that they often report inaccurately so I don’t pay too much attention.

The title is provokative but it sounds as if the treatment is not really about being anti lesbian and more about helping a very complex congenital condition. As to it’s effectiveness and what those with the condition believe about it’s use, that isn’t mentioned and I don’t know enough about the subject to comment.

I seem to recall that some years ago, a friend of mine was offered dexamethasone as a potential treatment for psoriasis. She was cautioned however not be trying to get pregnant for some time afterwards. She eventually declined this treatment option because she really wanted to get pregnant ASAP.

Generally most pregnant women or those wanting to get pregnant are advised to avoid medications where possible and I think most do. That seems to be commonly known and adhered to.


Ann Maree

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