God & Hermaphrodites

greyboi's picture

I'm running a similar thread on the BeliefNet Men's Spirituality Board, but I thought I'd start one here too.


I've heard all this talk about whether homosexuality is a "sin", what the "roles" males and females are "supposed" to have, and how manhood and womanhood are strictly confined in terms of genitalia.

My question is, what do we do when the genitalia begins to blur? Is there biblical speak on hermaphroditism?

Human Hermaphrodites

I know that there are some people who voluntarily undergo physical sex-reassignment surgery, but there are thousands of people who are born every year with either opposite or ambiguous genitals. What does God say about them?

If a man (XY chromosomes) is born and develops a female body, is it technically homosexuality if she sleeps with a man (XY chromosomes) who has a male body? Genitalia is the deciding factor, isn't it?

Many young women have this condition, and they find out later in life that they don't have ovaries, but abdominal testes.

This is called pseudohermaphroditism, but there are true hermaphrodites (very rare) who have both male and female genitalia, and some (even more rare) who have both that function.

Where does the Bible stand on this? What makes a man and what makes a woman? Does god create gay people the way he creates intersexed people?

I got nothing but utter silence from the conservative Christian boards. Maybe we have a good scientific argument here.

Jesse Joseph's picture

science for the bedroom

There are times as well when a female will be born who has both X and Y but the Y was prevented from expressing any of its traits. I forget what this is called. The person who has this condition has few side-effects except for the fact that any genetic abnomality found on her X will be expressed as there is nothing to counter it with. Also half of her egg cells will not be fertilizable.

I'm not sure if god can be held responsable for this problem, its more a matter of statistics and chemistry.

The most convincing argument I've heard about the cause of Homosexuality is that pre-natal hormone levels are to blame. a study done by Freidrich vom Saal in 1983[1] seemed to indicate that high levels of estrodiol in the interuterine environment caused male mice to engage in more feminine behaviour. I buy into the hypothesis that during a critical period in embriological development an inproper amount of some hormone results in a subtle change to the INAH-3 [a nucleous in the anteror hypothalamus]and thereby cause homosexual behaviour in mature animals.

It was Simone LeVay [I think oasis did an article on him along long time ago] who in 1991[2] discovered that this part of the brain was different in homosexual men and hetrosexual men. INAH-3 is indistiguishable between gay men and straight women, but is much more densely organised in straight men. His study was just repeated using sheep instead of human brains with the same results.

However mr. LeVay in quick to point out that his findings do not indicate that INAH-3 causes the behaviour, it is possible that the behaviour could cause the differnce in INAH-3. [he also said that, because the brains taken from Gay men were usually AIDS victims, the difference could have been the result of HIV, but the Sheeps study disproves this possible scenario]

[1] vom Saal, F.S. et al. 1983. High fetal estrogen concentrations: Correlation with increased adult seual activity and decreaced agression in male mice. Science 220:1306-1309

[2] LeVay S. 1991. A difference in hypothalmic structure between hetrosexual and homosexual men. Science 253:1034-1037

Mister Levay, I'm led to belive, has also written a book called Queer Science: The use and Abuse of Research into Homosexuality but I have not read it.

Well that's some science for you.
--Love, Jesse

linds's picture

"born that way"?

I have real issues with the "born that way" homosexuality theory.

I can't form something cogent about it and about hermaphrodism at the moment (other than to say, "how interesting"), but I would point Greling especially and anyone else interested towards a new book: Love the Sin: Sexual Regulation and the Limits of Religious Tolerance, by Janet Jakobsen and Ann Pellegrini. I'm reading it now and to my great surprise it is very well thought out and relatively smooth reading.

That's all... back to Chaucer I go, honest this time...
~Linds, master procrastinator

marcelle42's picture

My issue with the "born that

My issue with the "born that way" theory is that it becomes an excuse... you can't persecute us because we are born this way. It almost begs the question, "So if you weren't born this way, it would be ok to persecute you?" I'm not saying that people aren't born gay... there's a lot of very interesting scientifical studies (which, since i get them from The Advocate, I will abstain from pretending I know anything about). But going on the opposite theory that we choose it, or that it is environmental, persecution of GLBT people is still wrong. If it's a choice, then it's as valid of a choice as anything else.

There's always the fun theoretical question, "If you could choose to become straight, would you?" And my answer is always no. And I don't believe that's wrong. And that's my issue with the "born that way" theory. end rant.

Oh... sorry this has nothing to do with intersexed people... way off topic.


JB's picture

so you admit it

"But going on the opposite theory that we choose it"
So you finally admit that you infact chose to be "Bi"? and not choose to be str8? wtf? yer alredy half str8...


marcelle42's picture

What the hell? I was speakin

What the hell? I was speaking theoretically... and why are you hounding me on this topic? I don't appreciate being attacked like this, and I would like you to please stop. I thought I made myself abundantly clear the last time. I have tried to be respectful of our differing opinions on this topic, and I would like the same courtesy in return.


JB's picture

who is attacking?

when you make a post stateing something and someon responds you get yer panties all in a fucking knott marcelle. like i said i questione dyou on what you posted, and if you don't have enough balls to back up what you say, then maybe you whouldn't be posting?

Jesse Joseph's picture

a tangent leading to Dr. Laura's infamous condemnation.

I totaly agree with you. Whether someone "chooses" to be gay, or if someone is determined to be gay should not really matter as far as society is concerned. If its a choice-fine, if not-also fine. I just find the reasons why we are determined to have any sexual orientation to be scientificaly fascinating, just like how we are determined to do any other type of behaviour.

As far as morality is concerned I think its just a matter of taste. I don't like Brussle Sprouts but I don't consider someone who eats them immoral. Such is the same with Sexual orientation in my book.

On another topic. Hated Radio Personality "Dr." Laura Schlesinger said that Homosexuals are Biological Errors. As a biologist I have to agree. Homosexuality is an evolutinary dead end, as far as reproductive success [which is the name of the game] goes it is quite bad. But She seems to think that "Biological Error" and "moraly degenerate" are the same thing. An even worse "Biological Error" would be for a baby boy to be born who is incapable of ever producing any viable sperm. But does that mean that that baby is MORALY wrong? I think most people [except maybe HITLER] would say no.

JB's picture

It totally Matters

It totally matters if someone chooses to be gay. its not beig honest with tru feelings, and also as i have stated before proves that some people only do it because they think its trendy. its like crying wolf. its fucking retarded for someone to "choose" to be gay. why would someone choose a life to be ridiculed, possibly beaten, refused spousal benefits (for u yanks) who would choose this? a seriosu fucking headcase... is who.

Jesse Joseph's picture

You make some points, however....

Not quite sure about that. Bisexuality is an enviable condition for many. It permits much more flexablity in romantic partners. I must admit that at times I have thought "what a pity I am not hetrosexual, for it I was I would ask that witty intelligent woman out on a date" and I know several hetrosexuals who hold similar opinions. It is confining to be straight and it is confining to be gay because there are good people on either side of the gender line. If I was straight and I met a wonderfull man, especially if all the women I knew were vicious harpies, I would certainly wish that I could enjoy romantic attraction to a male.

On the other hand, like you say, there are numberous people who I have run across [most of them are females] who engage in homosexual activity with the intention of attracting attention to themselves [I'm not talking about kissing or holding hands in public, I'm talking about kissing in front of horny men for the benifit of the men.] This is more then a bit disterbing. As Oscar Wilde put it "parodoxical as it may sound it is none the less true--that art affects life more then life affects art." There tons to shown on tv that offer glimses of "hot lezbo action" Women kiss each other with great frequency on shows like Howard Stern and Jerry Springer, and we all know of the infamous "girls gone wild" comercials. I mean no disrespect to legitamte bisexuals, who I hold in the highest esteem, but I fear that many bisexuals behave the way they do for attention. And they want be we like the sluts they see on Television.
This makes me frown at them.

But The point that I was trying to make about "it shouldn't matter" is that if we did choose to be of either sexual preference, there is no reason to dislike a person based on that choice. Now if the reason for that choice was, say, to be popular with the boys at school, then perhaps we can dislike them.

greyboi's picture


If I was straight and I met a wonderfull woman, especially if all the men I knew were vicious harpies, I would certainly wish that I could enjoy romantic attraction to a female.

Jesse Joseph's picture

Right on.

You bet, it all depends on geographical location.

Jesse Joseph's picture


that is a possibility.

If a Homosexuality gene does exist it probably has multiple effects that are useful in some other way. However they had better be some Damn good effects, because exclusive Homosexuality is, from Mother Natures point of view, just as good as death. I've read over some arguments for the "good uncle" hypothesis, it is fairly creative, but I don

greyboi's picture

"But if they leave no offspri

"But if they leave no offspring, how can the next generation hope to be blessed with these helpful homos?"

In Biology, we learn that there is something called a recessive gene. It's the reason why people continue to have blues and blond hair, even though from the surface it appears to be able to fade into non-existence.

You see, it is possible for two brown-eyed people to give birth to a blue-eyed child. The reverse is not possible. Two brown-haired people can give birth to a blond or red-haired child. Likwise, two straight people can give birth to a gay child. The recessive genes (look that up, will ya) just continue to be passed down from generation to generation.

Consider this: Don't most gay people have straight parents?

Just a thought.

Jesse Joseph's picture


You bet recesive traits exist. But the examples you mentioned: eye color and hair color, do not usually effect the reproductive success of those who posess these traits. If someone has a homosexuality gene, and there is nothing to force them to copulate with the oposite sex [such as social pressure,] then the gene will diminish in the population untill it all but disapears. Providing, of cource, that the gene doesn't perform some sort of helpfull function as well.

And you are right about the hetrosexual parents part as well. This is one of the reasons I sincearly doubt that Homosexuality is encoded in genes.

greyboi's picture

"But the examples you mention

"But the examples you mentioned: eye color and hair color, do not usually effect the reproductive success of those who posess these traits."

But let's not forget who it is who is producing these gay babies: straight people.

If there is indeed a gay recessive gene, heterozygous heterosexual parents can pass it on to heterozygous heterosexual children, who have heterozygous heterosexual and homozygous homosexual kids.

Studies have shown that if there is a identical twin brother who is gay, his twin will have an 80% likelihood of being gay as well. If you have a fraternal gay brother, you have a 40% more likelihood that you'll turn out to be gay.

Some may say that this is due to environment, but there was a test case, where a homosexual twin (male) grew up separate from his identical twin brother, and when they tracked him down and found him, they saw that he was gay also.

I'm not one for touting genetics as an explanation for everything, but I don't leave it out as a possibility.

Still, genes may just be a factor, part of the whole picture. There are many genes that we have that didn't show, because they weren't stimulated by our environment (i.e., if you never ever taste certain foods, you won't develop an aquired taste for them, because your tounge won't develop the proper receptors).

Jesse Joseph's picture

More stuff

You are absolutely correct about how the gene would be transferred if it is homozygous recessive. However if we expect homosexuals not to reproduce, then the trait would not be as common as it is today [most reputable studies on this matter say that around 2% of the population at is exclusively homosexual.] Exclusive Homosexuality, from the genes point of view, is just as bad as not being born at all. [keep in mind that genes have nothing to do with morality.]

I may suspect this however. It is possible that, if the homosexuality is genetic, it may be in the genes of the mother rather then in the genes of the offspring were we find the answer.
If, as I suggested early, that hormonal levels in the uterine environment are to blame, it is possible that certain women may have a disposition to exude hormones in levels that may lead to homosexuality. Clearly having high levels of certain hormones can be very beneficial to the womans reproductive success, if she pops out a homosexual once in a while, but has many other heterosexual kids, the good effects could make up for the ill. As far as identical twins are concerned, they would be in the same prenatal environment,
so it would only make sense for their sexualities to be similar.

[again, I use the words "good" and "ill" from the genes perspective, and there is no moral judgment being passed]

Also twin studies, from what I gather, are often flawed because they are often case studies. Not to say that there is nothing to them, but they must be taken with a grain of salt.

unicornz's picture


thats freaky. my mom is bi and while she was trying to get pregnant, she must of tried 50 different kinds of hormonal therapies, and weird testosterone things (sorry im not as well informed as you are). anyways, i popped out gay! and my brothers ddint get any treatments and they popped out straight, weird aye! it might be a concidence though.

blindlove's picture

re: biological error

if it is imoral to be a homo because "they are biological errors" what about heteros who are born steril? Also today the world is over populated, right? so wouldn't it be a good thing to have a few people here and there that arn't having kids?

Jesse Joseph's picture


You are absolutly right, Evolution and Morality have nothing in common. In fact I would say that many things that are evolutionarily sound, are very immoral. Rape, Infantacide, out-right murder, bullying, and a sleugh of other activites are, in the right circumstance, are a "good Idea" from the genes perspective. But precious few people would claim that these are moral acts.

greyboi's picture

That's called...

Dr. Laura claims to be a social psychologist, but in Sociology, we know for sure that she isn't consistent.

She can't say that all things serve a purpose (functionalist theory) and still insist that gay people don't have one. (Dysfunctionalism means that we don't exist) In her theory, that "everything being moral as a purpose" in life, prostituition is rendered moral, because it does indeed serve a purpose: provides human comfort, adds money to the economy, and keeps couples from fighting about not getting enough sex.

Sociological theories are used to explain the make-up of society, not how it should be run.

unicornz's picture

so true

i know, i watched her show once with my dad and holy shit we were throwing stuff at the t.v.! she is using her opinions and putting the "scientific" label on it just because she has some degree. A degree doesn't make your opinions valid. urgh i reallly dislike her. especially with the "do the right thing" motto. yes ppl like her should not be allowed on t.v.


JB's picture



maclay's picture


That's a fascinating theory. The study doesn't seem to apply to homosexual women, though. The idea of prenatal hormone levels is interesting to me since I have a twin brother (obviously fraternal) who is quite straight. If it is hormones, it might be different hormones affect different sexes? Very interesting... I will definitely have to check those studies out....

Jesse Joseph's picture

Now THATS what I'm talking about : )

That's a possibility.

I was thinking more on this line: If women have certain hormones that make them more sexualy inclined, to put it another way, horny, they'll have more kids. A few of 'em might pop out gay, but so what? as long as you get more straight ones then gay ones it should work out.

Actually if something like this WAS the case, the "gay uncle" hypothesis I decried earlyer could come into play. If this super sexy woman has say 4 straight kids and 1 gay ones, taken as a group they will have better fitness then a regular woman who has just 4 straight kids. This assumes that the non-reproducing gay kid help its siblings out.


since gay kid doesn't have time for child rearing, he can put more effort into securing political position, becomeing the Alpha male or whatever. Once in that position he can allocate special reproductive, ahem, "privilages" to his brothers.

morbid intentions 666's picture

personally i dont care

y do u evn care? God doesnt exist!!!! screw that! dont spend ur time on such things! but it's a goood arguement!:) ppl(some)will like u 4 who u r & who cares if it's homo r not as long as it's true love.rite?
r mayb m just a romantic r loquius......

shemhamforash(hail satan)stay heretical &[sic.]4evr!question authority&confromities. morbid intentions,Connie

JB's picture

what the hell?

what the hell did you just say? I couldn't make it out. It was all gibberish. I care if greeling is a homo. if he wasn't a homo i wouldn't care!

morbid intentions 666's picture

i dunno what i just said*scratches head*

i meant that y bother w/ arguring about "God" & Hermaphrodites. We should just respect each other & 4get whatevr "God" thinks or does.i'm not tryin 2 diss greling by the way....(srry greling if this is off topic of what u r trying 2 ask & offending any1?)

shemhamforash(hail satan)stay heretical &[sic.]4evr!question authority&confromities. morbid intentions,Connie

JB's picture

none code?

can you speak in real english and not internet code?

Leisa's picture



linds's picture


there needs to be space for religious freedom and discussion here, just as there would be anywhere else. If we want to talk about divinity (however each one of us defines that) we are free to do so. I believe that Greling is a Christian of some sort (do correct me if I'm wrong, hon), just because you are not, doesn't mean that you should question the very validity of the topic.

Greling, I have read your argument again, and think that you may well have a supportable point/theory. I can't find any holes (and believe me, I looked). The only argument against it that I can find is rooted in emotion and prejudice. I want to see how it applies to larger questions of "born that way" and of "sin".... hmm...

~Linds, blessedly free of morbid intentions.

morbid intentions 666's picture


if any of u ppl r jedeo-christain faith ignore me..i lik 2 express my own lil' beliefs & test ur faith(make u think).MILLION X'S SRRY if i pissed any1 off w/ my b.s.(i cant help it)
morbid intentions 2 those who disdain u 4 who u r......

shemhamforash(hail satan(dark,carnal side of human nature))stay heretical &[sic.]4evr!question authority&confromities. morbid intentions,Connie

Anonymous's picture

no one can understand all thi

no one can understand all this shorthand. Take the time to present your point in a meaningful READABLE manner.


"Secrecy is the art of hiding unbeknownst information from people." ~ Ilpalazzo

adbak's picture

If you don't believe in (a) G

If you don't believe in (a) God, then why does your name allude to Satan? Doesn't he believe in (a) God? Don't get me wrong, i'm not making fun of you, for i'm an atheist as well (assuming you are). But, rather, you should try to avoid double standards.

morbid intentions 666's picture

satan because.......

it says satan becausethis was supposed 2 GO AFTER IT:(dark,carnal side of human nature) but i used these tags so it didnt show:(
as if any1 cares 4 LaVey:( M not really anything but lov wicca& satanism(modern). THE SATAN I SPEAK OF HAS ABOSULOTELY NOTHING 2 DO W/ THE JUEDEO-CHRISTAIN God. IT IS LaVey's LIL' RELIGION....not that any1 cares....

shemhamforash(hail satan(dark,carnal side of human nature))stay heretical &[sic.]4evr!question authority&confromities. morbid intentions,Connie

tasteyourtears34's picture

haha i care. well, how is t

i care.
well, how is the satan not the same as the christain [satan].
and i was raised jewish, we did not believe in satan/devil.
and LaVey just started something for rebellious teenagers that are only doing this to annoy their parents. or at least thats how i understand it.
i found this off of my favorite religion site...
what do you belive?
im wiccan


i know you hear me...i can taste it in your tears

28:06:42:12...the tangent universe awaits...

agaypresidentin2085's picture

If you don'r believe in...

If you ask me, they should be believe in good spelling. Sheesh.

marcelle42's picture

I don't know of any biblical

I don't know of any biblical answer to this one... I do have something of a philosophical one, though.

We seem more and more to understand sexuality as a continuum, people being at any point along it. As a number of trans friends come out to me, I am becoming more and more familiar with the idea of gender (social construction) as a continuum as well. I don't see much as black and white. So I think it is entirely concievable that sex operates on a continuum as well.


Jesse Joseph's picture


The continuum notion that you present is not contradictory to the neurological explaination that I offered below. INAH-3 is only a small part of a HUGE Human brain that is [lets face it] primaraly interested in sex. It help may determine were one lies on that continuum but it does not by itself necisaraly force someone to one side or another.

Luke's picture

I was reading eastern philosophy...

The main problem is trying to confine such a HUGE subject as sexuality into an oversimplistice duelistic system. In reality, there is an infinite spectrum, and a bipolar way of looking at things in terms of "good" and "bad" as well as "male," "female," "homosexual," "heterosexual," or any of these is almost insane! Why MUST people confine and lable things in such rigid constraints? I agree that lables and language are necesary, but why must there always be two, exclusive opposites as the ONLY choices? No worries:)

Jesse Joseph's picture

Good Job Greling

by the way, this is quite a productive topic you started us out on Mr. Jackson. I find that of late there have been too many statements and not enough discussions. [that is to say there are many comments posted with 0 responces to them] Also I think we have alot of good and diverse opinions here, and for the most part [if we forget morbid intentions for a moment] I think we've been quite civil. However, I wish we'd get to some religious matters, as that is what your initial post was about. Regardless, my hat is off to you.

maclay's picture

God, the Bible, and (inter)sexuality

I'm not a Biblical scholar, but as far as I know there is no mention of hermaphroditism in the Bible. It seems unlikely that there would be; if you think about it the case of true hermaphroditism is fairly rare, and pseudohermaphroditism would most likely not have been recognized as such. In any case hermaphroditsm is often associated with other health and mental problems that in Biblical times probably shortened the person's life considerably. So, there's most likely nothing in the Bible.
What makes a man and what makes a woman? I think it's a combination of the body and the mind or soul. In a "normal" person, the body is male or female, and mentally the person has an awareness of being male or female (respectively), including being attracted to the opposite sex. Sometimes the system fouls up though; if it's a physical biological error you get hermaphrodites, if it's mental you get transsexuals, and if it's a smaller mental error, homosexuals. As humans I think the defining factor is the mind though, that's what really makes us who we are, and if you feel that you're female, you are, whether or not your body is male, female, or parts of each.
What does God say about ambigous genitals? I don't know, but being Christian I'm guessing it has something to do with love and acceptance. I think it doesn't matter if a hermaphrodite chooses to live as a male or female (or neither!) as long as they are following what they feel; God created them that way, or at least allowed them to be created that way, and as long as they're true to themselves, they'll fit into God's plan somehow. Now, does God create gay people the way He creates intersexed people? If you're meaning to say, does God create gay people... well, I think so. I certainly didn't choose this anyways. And I think it's a damn cop-out to say that gay people are some product of original sin. God doesn't punish people like that. Therefore, God created us, and I'm sure we fit into His plan somehow. That's my opinion, anyhow. It's certainly a thought-provoking issue.

Upon rereading, I just wanted to make it clear that when I said "mental error," I was still meaning something biologically undesirable. An oddity of nature... I like to think of it in terms of unique and valuable. Kind of like a Luke Skywalker action figure packaged on a Han Solo card. That's the kind of error you want to hold onto, because it's rare- it's worth something. :)

Well, I guess this was a little long-winded for my first foray out of lurkdom... I'm a sucker for any discussion involving religion or biology.

jeff's picture

Wrong targets...

I don't think God says anything about any of these people, gays or hermaphrodites.

The issue is religious people who, although they claim to speak for God, really use God as a filter to convey their own thoughts most of the time.


baby's picture

Hey !!!!! GOD made Hermaphrodites

Read GENESIS 1;26-27

tasteyourtears34's picture

haha good argument. but...

haha good argument.

but... can true hempaphrodites fuck themselves?

i know you hear me...i can taste it in your tears

28:06:42:12...the tangent universe awaits...

oldfoxbob's picture


and they can inpregnate themselves.
you are loved.

tasteyourtears34's picture

yikes. if two cousins have a

if two cousins have a baby, the kids retarded.
what if you impregnate yourself?!
that kids gonna come out very messed up

i know you hear me...i can taste it in your tears

28:06:42:12...the tangent universe awaits...

oldfoxbob's picture

ok ok ok now cool it kids...

Everyone seems to have gotten off topic. Seems to me
that the question here is on Hermaphrodites, and God
not if you are bi or not. Ok What does the bible say
on this....Hummm nothing actually. As a minister I
can not recall anything specifically related to this
issue. There fore only homosexuality and hetrosexuality
are the issues in the "good book"! Now What would I say
to my congregation if asked this question. Well I think
I would answer it this way.... God created Man and in his
image both male and female.(gen 1;27) God does not make mistakes therefore
Gay and str8 people are all correct. Same applies to the
I did some research with Dr James Geer of LSU (Now retired)
and asked him on this subject. He said there is so little research
in the sex field on this subject & that some needs to be done.
I suggest then some one start the research on it.
Oh by the way Dr Geer is one of our countrys reknowned sexologist
Lectured at Oxford, LSU, U of NY, etc. In who's who in the USA
and many other awards and distinctions. I had dinner with him once
at his home along with Masters and Johnson. I even met A Kinsey thru
So I think this kind of answers you question as to what God has
to say on the issue.
You are loved.

dreamers imagine someday's picture

I think God has a purpose in

I think God has a purpose in creating hermaphrodites and LGBT people. He knows everything about before we are born, he knows.

I use to be Someday's Dreamer but something happened to my account. Kaorin is not a fangirl of Sakaki, the last episode of Azumanga Daioh is all you need as proof.

baby's picture

OK I will show you GOD made Hermaphrodites

So GOD created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them.

it's not a mystery if you really want too know.