#Study

New Study Says That Transgender People's Brain's Work Like Those Of Their Preferred Gender Identity

A new study says that the brain waves of transgender people matches their gender identity and not their biological sex.

Belgian neurologist Julie Bakker of the University of Liege is in headlines because of new information she’s released.

Bakker conducted a study in which her team used MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) tests to examine the brains of participants. The brain was exposed to a steroid. Then, the gray and white matter was measured by using a technique called tensor imaging.

As for the participants, transgender men and women in their childhood and in their teens were tested. So too were cis-gender men and women of the same age (who acted as the controls).

The results found that 160 participants with gender dysphoria, the medical term for experiencing discomfort or distress because one’s biological sex does not fit their gender identity aka being transgender, had similar brain structures and neurological patterns as people of their aligning gender identity.

On top of that, the study found that those differences were detectable during childhood.

Bakker presented these findings at this years meeting of the annual European Society of Endocrinology gathering, according to the Telegraph.

While some may fear that this scientific finding will get in the way of a person’s right to choose over their gender identity, Bakker and her colleagues say this could open doors for new medical possibilities for transgender people.

For instance, when children feel that they are transgender, they either go through psychotherapy or take hormones to have puberty delayed until they are older and everyone’s sure it isn’t a phase.

This research could help make gender dysphoria detectable.

As Bakker said after the presentation:

 “Although more research is needed, we now have evidence that sexual differentiation of the brain differs in young people with GD, as they show functional brain characteristics that are typical of their desired gender.”

“We will then be better equipped to support these young people, instead of just sending them to a psychiatrist and hoping that their distress will disappear spontaneously.”

h/t: Telegraph

New Study On Relationships Says Gay Couples Breakup Less Often Than Lesbian Couples

A new study looking into what affects the end of relationships found that male same-sex couples were the least likely to break up.

The study titled Longitudinal Predictors of Relationship Dissolution Among Same-sex and Heterosexual Couples, which was published in Couple and Family Psychology: Research and Practice, was written by Kimberly F. Balsam and Robert E. Wickham with Esther D. Rothblum co-authoring.

For the study, the researchers followed 515 couples in Vermont from 2002 to 2014 and kept records of how the relationships blossomed or deteriorated.

The results found that older age, longer relationship length, and better relationship quality were the factors that kept most relationships strong. In addition, higher education acted as a factor for some couples, most notably lesbian couples, though lesbians were more likely to breakup if they had a strong and social group of friends.

Not only did the study find that gay male couples typically stayed together more than other, but it also had other findings.

  • Female-female couples (29.3%) were twice as likely as male-male couples (14.5%) to terminate their relationship, compared to 18.6% of male-female couples.
  • For female-female couples,
    • Each added year of relationship length reduced the odds of a breakup by 13%;
    • Each year of age lowered the likelihood of a breakup by 4%;
    • Each year of increase in education reduced the odds by 16%;
    • Each unit of increase in relationship quality reduced the likelihood by 82%.
  • When looking at all couple types together,
    • Each year of relationship length reduced the odds of a breakup by 9%.
    • Each additional year of age lowered the likelihood of a breakup by 2%.
    • Each unit of increase in relationship quality reduced the risk by 61%.
    • There were no differences in dissolution rates between same-sex couples who had legalized their relationship and those who had not.
  • For all groups, lower income and whether or not couples had children did not affect the odds of a relationship ending.

This study is the first of its kind to compare same-sex and heterosexual couples over 12-years with a focus on breakups. In addition, it was done so over the time that gay marriage was legalized in the U.S.

As the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law reports:

“Other studies on heterosexual couples have found that women have higher standards for relationship quality than men,” said study author Esther Rothblum, a professor of women’s studies at San Diego State University and visiting scholar at the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law. “We suspect that similar dynamics may be at play with the lesbian couples in our study, leading to the higher dissolution rate. At the same time, we found that older couples were less likely to break up, and having children had no impact on the break-up rates.”

“Our study is important not only for its findings but also because of its methodology. By following the same demographically-matched couples over a 12-year period, we identified both similarities and differences in relationship dissolution according to sexual orientation and gender,” said study author Kimberly Balsam, a clinical psychologist and psychology professor at Palo Alto University. “This kind of research is crucial in combating stereotypes about same-sex couples and can inform policy and program development to support healthy relationships for all couples. Intimate relationships are dynamic, and longitudinal designs allow us to capture these changes over time in a more nuanced way.”

Study Says Open Relationships Might Be Going Away Thanks To Gay Marriage

new study focusing on gay men’s thoughts around monogamy says that younger gay men are moving away from non-monogamous relationships.

The study (or rather, survey) was run by researchers and couple Lanz Lowen and Blake Spears. The two asked 832 gay men between the ages of 18 and 39-years old a series of questions involving monogamy.

They did this because they personally wanted to know where gay men’s heads were concerning the topic.

“We had been in a non-monogamous relationship for 36 years and were curious about the experience of others,” they shared through The Couple’s Study.

“There wasn’t any road map and we assumed long-term couples might offer valuable perspectives and hard-earned lessons.”

The two were soon surprised to find that the younger generation is verging off from the lifestyle they had chosen.

"Probably the most striking finding of this study is that younger gay men seem to be more inclined toward monogamy than their elders," the pair wrote in their reflection from the study’s results.

The results found that 86% of respondents that were in a relationship were monogamous and the remaining 14% were not. As for those who were single, 90% said that they were looking for a monogamous relationship.

Dissecting that last group even more, 44% of single men between the ages of 26 and 40 said they were open to the possibility of a non-monogamous relationship. Meanwhile, only 29% of single men who were 25 or younger were open to the idea.

In the breakdown section of the results, some participants shared their thoughts on why the results came out the way they did.

On respondent replied:

“My impression is that younger people are oriented more toward monogamy. The reason is the fact that gay culture is becoming assimilated into the mainstream, and monogamy is part of the assimilation. The idea of finding and settling down with your soul mate is desirable, and the fact that with gay marriage, that’s more attainable now.”

Another answered with an opposite impression:

"I don’t feel supported by the gay community in having a monogamous relationship. In fact, the norm seems to be open relationships, and we feel judged, and even pressured, to open things up, when people find out we’re monogamous."

What do you think? Do you think gay relationships are becoming more monogamous or are they opening up more?

New Study Says Parents Are Slacking On Having "The Talk" With Gay Teens

A new study says parents are slacking on having “the talk” with their gay children.

A research team led by the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, or more commonly known as Penn Nursing, conducted a study to look into sex discussions between parents and gay/bisexual/queer males.

The team tried to explore how parents talk to their sons who identify as gay, bisexual, or queer. They interviewed GBQ men between the ages of 15 and 20 in order to understand the boys’ perceptions on how sex talk with their parents happened, how they think the parents handled it, and how effective the talks were in the boys’ sex lives.

The study found that for this demographic, sex talk with parents rarely happens. If it does, its usually based on straight sex unless the boy came out at an early age. If the boy has, the talk is usually based on stereotypes and stigmas associating GBQ men with a higher risk of STDs.

Ironically, because of this lack of or poorly treated sex talk, GBQ ended up exhibiting riskier sex habits.

Ultimately, the study emphasizes the parent’s, and health care provider’s, responsibility and role in the upbringing of a youth’s sexual expression.

"The growing information on how sex communication occurs between parents and LGBTQ children can ultimately help families and health care providers address this population's health outcomes through inclusive sex communication," says the study's senior author Dalmacio Flores, PhD, ACRN, Postdoctoral Fellow in Penn Nursing's Department of Family and Community Health. "Supporting parents' capacity to address the needs of their LGBTQ children through inclusive sex communication has the potential to minimize risk behaviors before these youths leave the confines of the home."

The study is set to be published in a future issue of the Journal of Adolescent Research. That said, you can read the study online here before it comes out in physical copy.