This site is created with a three-fold mission:

  • To help anyone LGBTQI to better understand and be comfortable being themselves.
  • To help anyone not LGBTQI to better understand and be accepting of those who are.
  • To help lawmakers to understand the importance of enacting laws specifically protective and supportive of everyone, regardless of where they may be on the biological spectra of male-female anatomical and brain development, sexual orientation, and gender identity.

As humans, our gender identity, sexual orientation, and other aspects of our sexuality are components of a mosaic. They’re like pieces of a multi-dimensional puzzle, with each component developing on a continuum.

Physically, our degrees of maleness and femaleness are made up of internal sex organs, external sexual anatomy, and certain areas of our brains that differentiate to varying degrees of male patterning and female patterning.

At about six weeks into embryonic development, the SRY gene on the Y chromosome initiates production of male hormones, which kickstart development of male patterning, first in sexual anatomy and later in female-male-differentiating brain structures.

Brain structures that differentiate toward female or male patterning almost never develop to either the female or male extreme. Rather, they lean toward femaleness or maleness to varying degrees, potentially including an ambiguous in-between.

Healthy functioning of hormone receptors in each of the affected structures plays an important role in ensuring sufficient association to initiate male patterning.

Since these body and brain structures form in the fetus at different times and independently of one another, they can develop in different directions. These various components may be congruent with one another, or they may diverge from one another in terms of representing maleness or femaleness.

Fluctuating concentrations of male hormones can cause different sex-related brain structures to develop with male patterning to differing degrees. Brain structures affecting gender identity and sexual orientation develop at different times, so may be either congruent or incongruent with one another.

Not a Choice, PJ Paulson

In combination, the independent sliding-scales of female-male development provide a great deal of flexibility in determining how female we feel, or how much maleness we express. Much more fluidity is involved than many of us realize.

Let’s explore this mosaic together, moving away from the misconstrued notion of a binary sexuality resulting from a black-or-white choice. There is no binary flip of the coin. There is no choice. It’s more complicated than that. Let’s understand this colorful, multi-pathed route to who we truly are.

How this website (and the book) came about

In 1992, I read a bestselling book called Brain Sex by Anne Moir and David Jessel, a link to which is provided among the links at the bottom of this site’s home page. The book is about the female- and male-differentiated brain structures and their associated differences in physical development and behavior between men and women. Since these all develop on a continuum, it encompasses the LGBTQI population.

When the (now former) US president, in 2019, began removing rights of LGBTQI individuals to serve in the military and to receive healthcare, he claimed that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 didn’t cover them because civil rights protections based on “sex” meant “biological sex.” Yet, maleness-femaleness, gender identity, and sexual orientation are biological for everyone. I had known this for nearly three decades, but evidently not everyone did. Gender identity and sexual orientation are set in the physical development of certain structures within the brain. They are not a choice.

When I began my university education, it was as a biology major, with the intent of enjoying a lifelong career in genetics research. I wound up as a software engineer. The summer of 2019, I put my love of genetics and research to work, and pored over 30 years of books, reports, and scientific publications to expand on what I had read years before. The result was a book written in layman’s terms intended to educate the general public and lawmakers. That book is Not a Choice: What you weren’t taught about the biology of sex and gender.

As I sought to gain support for the book, it was read by the Head of the Laboratory for Neuropsychiatric Disorders at the Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience, who is also a professor of Neurobiology at the University of Amsterdam and Qiu Shi Professor of Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, People’s Republic of China, Dr. Dick Swaab. He read Not a Choice and provided me with his team’s 2019 research paper and his book Our Creative Brains, newly translated to English. From this work, his comments on my book, and additional digging through technical articles to answer questions in my own mind resulting from reading his work, I added significant new information, and updated Not a Choice in February 2020.

The visual-based training originally intended to accompany the book took a turn, instead, to simple, direct answers to questions such as, “Why am I gay?” and “Why do I feel like the right sex in the wrong body?” This is what is provided here on the website and in the Why LGBTQI? booklet; the two are nearly identical. The book, Not a Choice, first briefly explores research-documented developmental and behavioral differences between women and men, then takes a sequential approach through the factors affecting sexual development and male-female brain differentiation in the fetus: genetics; exposure to fetal hormones, drugs, and environmental chemicals. The same basic information from the second portion of the book is also provided on the website, though the book includes additional detail, broader scope, and several legislation-related appendices; their implementations use different approaches.

The information contained on this site, in the free booklet (available via the newsletter signup form), and in Not a Choice is important for all of us to know and to understand at least on a basic level. A large amount of complex technical research findings has been distilled to an everyday read in fairly plain English. The list of references has been provided in order to demonstrate its solid foundation.

Our mission is to improve self-acceptance and acceptance of others in a large proportion of the world’s population. I welcome you as part of that effort.

PJ Paulson, February 4, 2021


PJ Paulson practices social distancing among cats, two dogs, and interesting neighbors on the high plains of Colorado, with horses and white-faced cattle backdropped against sage-green hills, purple snow-capped mountains, and salmon sunsets.