Measuring gender

Biology and Philosophy 14 (4):505-519 (1999)
Over the past several years, various operational definitions of gender have been used in studies of gender conformity in homosexual males. The goal of these studies is to demonstrate that childhood gender nonconformity (CGN) is either the proximate cause of adult homosexuality or an intermediate step in a biologically mediated process. The hypothesis of a causal connection between the development of gender and sexual orientation is embedded within the context of a biological (evolutionary) understanding of human behavior. Thus, testing the hypothesis of a causal connection between CGN and sexuality requires a concept of gender that is compatible with the basic principles of biological causation and our current understanding of evolutionary processes. I will argue that the concepts of gender used in the attempt to demonstrate a causal connection between CGN and sexual orientation are inappropriate because they provide no uniform, consistent method for identifying and measuring the biologically significant components of gender. I will also argue that the concept of gender that does emerge from these studies suggests an hypothesis about the connection between sexuality and gender that is not consistent with the cross-gendered theory of the etiology of homosexuality.
Keywords Philosophy   Philosophy of Biology   Evolutionary Biology
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DOI 10.1023/A:1006673307945
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