Sexual differentiation of the brain starts in the second half of pregnancy. Testosterone masculinises the fetal brain, whereas absence of the dominant effect of this hormone results in a female brain. A recent study found that 'a primary effect of gonadal steroids in the highly sexually dimorphic preoptic area POA is to reduce activity of DNA methyltransferase Dnmt enzymes, thereby decreasing DNA methylation and releasing masculinizing genes from epigenetic repression Gender identity is therefore largely programmed into our brains while we are still in the womb.
Important to recognise is the fact that the establishment of physical and psychological sex is separated during fetal development, the former occurring in the first trimester and the latter in the second trimester. This provides a window between the two during which environmental influences for example endocrine disruptors may affect the alignment between physical and psychological sex.
The interplay between nature genes and genetics and nurture the environment is at the heart of the debate around what is responsible for gender and sexual diversity. The increasing importance of the intrauterine environment on gene expression DNA is being recognised,  and is embodied in the rapidly emerging field of epigenetics.
Gender dysphoria and transgenderism. Gender dysphoria, previously known as gender identity disorder, occurs in relation to transsexualism and transgenderism and is a potentially life-threatening condition if unresolved. It is characterised by a dissociation between an individual's biological or physical sex and their gender identity or psychological sex. This leads to social isolation by choice or through ostracism , low self-esteem and impaired relationships with parents and other family members, and may lead to anxiety, depression, suicidal ideation and suicide attempts.
Gender dysphoria requires treatment. Views on sexual orientation are conditioned by the belief that heterosexuality is the normal default occurrence, also referred to as heteronormativity. The long-held views that sexual orientation in most people is a choice, can be directly transmitted from one individual to another and can be cured if it does not conform to the 'norm' are not substantiated by reliable evidence. Mechanisms governing sexual orientation .
The following is known about the molecular basis of homosexuality:. Pedigree and twin studies show that homosexuality is familial. Although there is no consistent evidence for a single major gene contributing to homosexuality, studies performed in the s identified a region in the X chromosome Xq28 that is associated with development of homosexuality in males. The identification of these loci does not imply that homosexuality is a disorder, nor does it imply that there may be 'mutations' in the 'causative' genes in these regions that remain to be identified. It simply points to chromosomal regions DNA that are associated with the determination of sexual orientation.
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The relatively low concordance in monozygotic twins and the importance of the non-shared environment point to homosexuality as being epigenetically determined. In the experimental setting, environmentally induced epigenetic modifications of genes in males that feminise their brains and behaviour can be transgenerationally inherited by their offspring.
LGBT social movements
Homosexual and bisexual behaviour has been observed in many non-human species, and includes sexual activity, courtship, affection, pair bonding, and parenting in same-sex pairs;  the motivations for, and implications of, these behaviours have yet to be fully understood. Conversion or reparative therapy has been advocated for sexual orientation that is not heteronormative. In his book entitled Pilgrim, Pieter Cilliers graphically describes his experiences with conversion therapy and the long-lasting negative consequences thereof.
The official White House statement reads as follows: 'Conversion therapy generally refers to any practices by mental health providers that seek to change an individual's sexual orientation or gender identity Often, this practice is used on minors, who lack the legal authority to make their own medical and mental health decisions The overwhelming scientific evidence demonstrates that conversion therapy, especially when it is practiced on young people, is neither medically nor ethically appropriate and can cause substantial harm. Within the USA, the view on this matter is bipartisan, with several states being either for or against the initiative.
Intersex is the lack of conformity at birth of the reproductive system to what is traditionally considered to be male or female. Children born with intersex may be subjected to 'normalisation' surgery. There are at least two consequences of a decision of this nature, one implicit and the other explicit. The former assumes that intersex is 'wrong', as this is not seen as a variation along a wide spectrum of sexual diversity. The latter denies affected individuals the right to make choices about their own bodies.
Since these procedures rarely increase the likelihood that fertility will be improved, and on the contrary may in fact cause infertility, there is little justification for considering the need to 'fix' an intersex child as a medical emergency. There are several potential short- and long-term consequences of 'normalisation' surgery,  including incontinence, scarring, loss of sexual pleasure, pain, lifelong feelings of being abnormal, and depression.
Little regard is given to the fact that the individual's gender identity or psychological sex might not correlate with the gender they are to be assigned during surgery, and there is often a lack of adequate informed consent. The 'Report of the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment' presented at the 22nd session of Human Rights Council of the United Nations General Assembly in notes that 'Children who are born with atypical sex characteristics are often subject to irreversible sex assignment, involuntary sterilisation, involuntary genital normalising surgery, performed without their informed consent, or that of their parents, "in an attempt to fix their sex" In line with the changes in the paradigm of managing children with intersex, Malta has recently become the first country to pass a law that will ban normalisation surgery on intersex infants.
This is seen as a landmark event in the move away from the use of corrective surgery to 'normalise' intersex children, opening the way to self-determination of gender identity. Given the complexity of the development of male and female physical and psychological sex and sexual orientation, it is not surprising that there is a great deal of variation along the spectrum of possible manifestations of these three elements.
Global trends are seen with regard to attitudes towards LGBTI people, of increased liberalism in some regions and increased conservatism in others.
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The latter impacts negatively on the health and socioeconomic status of both these individuals and the community at large. The factors that drive these attitudes are complex. While it is recognised that science alone cannot shift prejudice, the discrimination and suffering experienced by LGBTI people will be reduced by embracing diversity.
Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, Kellerman, S. Austin, TX: Impetus Books, Brain feminization requires active repression of masculinization via DNA methylation. Nat Neurosci ; Films for Action. Academy of Science of South Africa. Pretoria: ASSAf, The Conversation. In March , the European parliament voted in a historic vote by to members of parliament to stop conversion therapies in member states of the European Union.
On 16 June , Civil Liberties Minister Helena Dalli announced that the government planned to introduce a bill to ban sexual orientation or gender identity conversion therapy on minors. The public consultation of the bill was launched the same day and lasted until 15 January It then moved to a third reading and later signed by the President before going into effect. On 3 January certain regulations were introduced to ban conversion therapy on minors. The regulations are yet to be voted on. In , several LGBT organizations and a number of members of Parliament called on the government to ban gay conversion therapy.
It had collected 35, signatures of its , signature target required to take the debate into parliament. In July the UK Government announced that it was "consulting on the best way to implement a ban" as part of a raft of measures to be implemented to improve the lives of gay and transgender people following a previous Government survey.
In August , the California State Legislature approved legislation prohibiting mental health providers from engaging in sexual orientation change efforts with minors, which Governor Jerry Brown signed into law on September 29, Brown , the Ninth Circuit issued an emergency injunction barring enforcement. In June , the New Jersey Legislature passed legislation signed into law by Governor Chris Christie in August , which makes it illegal to engage in sexual orientation change efforts with minors.
On June 7, , approximately 8, delegates to the Republican Party of Texas State Convention in Fort Worth, Texas , voted to add language to their platform in support of "reparative therapy":  .
We recognize the legitimacy and efficacy of counseling, which offers reparative therapy and treatment for those patients seeking healing and wholeness from their homosexual lifestyle. No laws or executive orders shall be imposed to limit or restrict access to this type of therapy. On June 25, a New Jersey jury found the Jewish conversion therapy organization, JONAH , guilty of consumer fraud for promising to be able to change its clients' sexual urges and determined its commercial practices to be unconscionable.
As of July , the states of Rhode Island ,   Nevada ,  Connecticut ,  New Mexico ,  Vermont ,    California , New Jersey , New York by regulation instead , Illinois  and Oregon ,     as well as the District of Columbia have enacted bans on sexual orientation change efforts with minors. On June 8, , Miami Beach voted to ban conversion therapy. On August 1, Seattle voted unanimously by all nine commissioners to ban conversion therapy on minors.
The third city in the United States to do so.
On December 14, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania passed a bill by a vote of , that bans conversion therapy on minors from January 1, On December 24, Lake Worth, Florida bans conversion therapy on minors, by a vote of on December 24, and went into effect on 1 January On April 7, , New Mexico became the seventh U. On May 10, , Connecticut became the eighth U. On May 17, , Nevada became the ninth U. The law goes into effect on 1 January On July 22, , Rhode Island became the tenth U.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For the therapy, see conversion therapy. Relevant discussion may be found on the talk page. Ideas in this article should be expressed in an original manner. August Learn how and when to remove this template message. This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. March This section may lend undue weight to certain ideas, incidents, or controversies.
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Please help improve it by rewriting it in a balanced fashion that contextualizes different points of view. March Learn how and when to remove this template message. See also: Aversion therapy. Main article: Conversion therapy.
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Main article: Ex-gay movement. See also: Relationship counseling. See also: Religion and homosexuality.