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Transgender Fish! What’s Causing Them?

Written by Joe Scudder

Twenty percent of male river fish in Britain are transgender fish that show feminine traits. What about humans?

Do transgender fish give us a clue about one of the contributions to modern societies gender confusion? Apparently, a lot of male fish are turning into females to some degree. And the cause of this weird transformation is chemicals in the water—especially chemicals from contraceptives, but also others.

If these chemicals can produce transgender fish, isn’t it possible that they might also affect human beings in some way?

The Telegraph reports, “Fish becoming transgender from contraceptive pill chemicals being flushed down household drains.

A fifth of male fish are now transgender because of chemicals from the contraceptive pill being flushed down household drains, a study by has suggested. 

Male river fish are displaying feminised traits and even producing eggs, the study found. Some have reduced sperm quality and display less aggressive and competitive behaviour, which makes them less likely to breed successfully.

The chemicals causing these effects include ingredients in the contraceptive pill, by-products of cleaning agents, plastics and cosmetics, according to the findings.

Professor Charles Tyler, of the University of Exeter, is to present his findings in a key-note lecture at a symposium this week. He will explain that the offspring of such “transgender” or “intersex” fish can also be more sensitive to the effects of these chemicals in subsequent exposures.

Read the entire Telegraph article.

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by

About the author

Joe Scudder

Joe Scudder is the "nom de plume" (or "nom de guerre") of a fifty-ish-year-old writer and stroke survivor. He lives in St Louis with his wife and still-at-home children. He has been a freelance writer and occasional political activist since the early nineties. He describes his politics as Tolkienesque.

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