Jude started a thread in the Gay/Transgendered section and I am bringing it here to the general forum. I hope that's OK and isn't a form of hijacking, but his points are really important not just for the gay members but for everyone. And I have experienced a particular resonance with this issue as recently as this past week (another reason I wanted to post separately - to avoid hijacking).

The question is simple: What makes a man? There are many answers of course, at many levels. My answer is the XY sex chromosome. I am not being flip. I just got word from my doctor that he wants to have me karyotyped for XXY. He was wondering if my testosterone levels were low, tested them, and while he found them to be normal, he also found an unexpected but strong female hormonal signature (elevated FSH/LH levels). He said it was not a trivial elevation - that my levels were twice over normal, and is thinking about ruling out a condition called Klinefelter's syndrome.

From what I understand, KF syndrome can present anywhere from no symptoms to very overt ones. In general, KF boys MAY be heavier, have breast enlargement and underdevelopment of the male reproductive organs. They may also show broader hips, weaker bone structure, delayed or truncated male development, look younger than their age, and be generally less muscularly coordinated than their peers (read: picked last for basketball). There may be many XXY males who showed such subtle symptoms they were never diagnosed.

In my case, I was slender rather than heavy, definitely did not have broad hips (I was actually nicknamed "Snake Hips" in the military), and my breasts were normal and flat. But I always looked younger than my age and never developed much body hair or male "bulk" despite all the athletics I participated in. I've said before here that as a 12-year-old boy I was co-victimized with a bunch of 7-8-year-old girls and in part blamed my physical countenance at the time. I wanted so badly to be the Brawny Paper Towel guy - to the point of painting charcoal beards on my face when I was going through the early stages of my abuse. The closest I ever got to the Brawny guy was having his paper towels in my kitchen. Frankly, I like Viva better, but that's another topic.

The implications of this - IF in fact it is KF - seem huge. Could one be genetically predisposed to abuse? Is that a topic that has ever been addressed here? Could I have been sending out hormonal signals back then? I'm not really freaking about this, but damn - it seems any time I think I find insights and perspective, I suddenly learn just how deep this rabbit hole goes.