In th past, I have used entries in this blog to keep my friends up to date on my medical problems, etc., Lately, I feel a need to address some questions that are frequently raised by fundamentalist christians and other hate mongers. The one I will be dealing with this time is the usual delusion of such people that the only important organ in the human body is the one found between the legs. This is not too surprising in a religion founded in the bronze age (and only slightly updated in the iron age) among a people notorious for their misogyny - if taken literally and not rethought in terms of current knowledge. Unfortunately, those who refuse to do the rethinking have vast resources and their absurdities get reproduced in the media - and the internet. So here is some more up to date thinking about the importance of the brain versus the genitals:
Norman Spack, MD
Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School
Clinical Director, Endocrine Division, Children's Hospital, Boston, MA
...Subtle differences between female and male brains have been reported for decades in research studies that identify gender-related size differences between specific brain nuclei by staining slices of post-mortem specimens.One recent study showed that the nuclei of transgendered male-to-females (MTFs) are the size of the nuclei of genetic females. An earlier study revealed that males dying of prostate cancer who had been treated for years with female hormones, and females dying of virilizing adrenal tumors, had nuclei consistent with their genetic sex. Their hormonal exposure did not affect the gender-specific nuclei of their brains.
Gender dysphoria is listed as a psychiatric condition in the psychiatric diagnostic coding manual DSM-IV. I believe that the psychiatric manifestations are a reaction to the situation, not the underlying condition. A transgendered individual who has not had hormonal therapy or surgery may require psychopharmacologic medications, but after a patient receives medical and/or surgical treatment, psychotropic medicines are often unnecessary.
Nearly all transgendered adults recall feelings of being in the wrong body early in childhood. Patient histories resonate with the common theme of dressing secretly in the clothes of the opposite gender during childhood. However, the age at which a transgendered individual fully acknowledges his or her gender identity varies from mid-childhood to middle age. Delayed acknowledgment can usually be traced to a fear of stigmatization and rejection by family, friends and employers....
27 October 08
Genetic link to gender identity
...In the largest ever genetic study of male to female transsexuals Australian researchers have found a significant genetic link between gender identity and a gene involved in testosterone action.
From an early age people develop an inner sense of being male or female – their gender identity. Transsexuals however, identify with a physical sex opposite to their perceived biological sex.
DNA samples were collected from 112 male to female transsexuals and researchers compared genetic differences with non transsexuals. The results are published in the high impact journal Biological Psychiatry.
The researchers discovered that male to female transsexuals were more likely to have a longer version of a gene which is known to modify the action of the sex hormone testosterone.
“We think that these genetic differences might reduce testosterone action and under masculinise the brain during foetal development.” said researcher Lauren Hare....
“There is a social stigma that transsexualism is simply a lifestyle choice, however our findings support a biological basis of how gender identity develops.” said study leader Associate Professor Vincent Harley, Head of Molecular Genetics at Prince Henry’s Institute..
In summary: trans people are born with the brain structures of the ‘gender’ that does not correspond to the ‘sex’ that they are assigned at birth - based on a visual inspection of what is between their legs.
I chose these two studies because they offered concise statements of their findings. Every one I have looked at since (many) merely reinforces the conclusions of these two.