On the Science of Changing Sex

Exploring The Science of Transgender

Posted in Editorial by Kay Brown on July 16, 2018

Through Knowledge, Justice…

27867072_1811649452220144_4426664495691531655_nThis blog is on the science of transsexuality and transgender sexuality, including aspects of sexual orientation.  The blog also explores socio-political themes where appropriate.  There are many myths and misunderstandings about transsexuality and transgender people.  Our scientific understanding of the transsexual phenomena has increased and dramatically improved over the past fifty years, yet much of what is available in popular literature is misinformation and disinformation.  Much of what the public, including transsexuals and transgender people themselves, believe about the etiology and epidemiology of transsexuality is based on wishful thinking on one hand and deliberate distortions on the other.  Worse, many cherry-pick among the scientific papers, choosing those that, in isolation, appear to support a given thesis.  Many people have read misinformation and disinformation regarding the science, denying, decrying, and even weaponizing the science, often in emotionally inflammatory language (including vicious attacks on the characters of scientists and educators), that makes its rounds in the echo chamber of the web and social media.  Indeed, there are fora that will instantly ban any who discuss this science in any truthful way.  This blog is an attempt to correct this situation.

Learning an unpleasant truth is better than believing a comforting lie – Don’t let the “tribe” tell you what to think – Trust only evidence, not vehemence

All information found in this blog is supported by peer reviewed science and referenced (cited) in essay posts covering a given topic found on this site.  Many topics are interwoven with other topics, as they are interlocking issues.  Please explore the entire site for a full explanation of each topic.

I recommend that one read the first several entries in the FAQ as an introduction and jumping off point via the links provided.  One can find a bibliography for this blog if you wish to quickly find papers of interest.  You may wish to review the Glossary if a word is unfamiliar.

Remember as you read this site;  Transsexuals and transgendered people are good people, worthy of our respect, and even of our admiration.  Nothing in this material is meant to imply otherwise.  If you are a transsexual or transgendered person:  You have value as a human being.  You have the right to be respected, valued, and even celebrated as the gender to which you identify and aspire regardless of etiology.

Comments Off on Exploring The Science of Transgender

Transkids Really Are Alright

Posted in Transgender Youth by Kay Brown on December 14, 2019

female_scientistWith pre-adolescent gender atypical and gender dysphoric children we have seen dramatic changes in attitudes during the past fifty years.  We have gone from extremely negative, indeed, punitive treatments to extinquish gender atypicality and demand gender typical behaviors, under the misguided belief that doing so will preclude youth from becoming transsexual and/or homosexual to accepting natural gendered behavior.  Recently, some parents and clinicians have become affirming, rather than denying, that the most gender dysphoric of these youth may benefit from early social transitions, knowing as we now do, that some of these youth will persist being gender dysphoric and will demand to social transition as teens or adults regardless of how they are treated as pre-adolescents.

This change has not gone unchallenged.  There is still a current of homophobic and transphobic feelings found in both the public and in some medical circles that cling to the old model of demanding that these youth should be “encouraged to accept their natal sex” / “encouraged to be more gender conforming”.  The question of how one goes about “encouraging” youth who are overwhelmingly both gender atypical and gender dysphoric without adding to their distress is almost never addressed.  If history is our guide, concern for that distress is largely absent, indeed, the goal of such “encouragement” is often to increase that distress in an effort to make the social cost of being gender atypical sufficiently high that the child’s natural expressions will be suppressed.  We have seen the resulting psychic damage such treatment, clinical or simply social (by family, neighbors, teachers, and bullying peers) has wrought on millions of LGBT people.

When making clinical decisions and recommendations, nothing is more important than scientific evidence.   So it is a happy day when researchers step up to examine transkids experiencing this new, kinder, gentler, and yes, affirming, approach to easing childhood gender dysphoria.  One such group is led by Professor Kristina Olson at the University of Washington Social Cognitive Development Lab and their TransYouth Project.

graphsIn their studies they are following a large number of transkids, now in the hundreds, many of whom have socially transitioned before puberty.  One recent study allowed them to compare transkids to age matched non-transkid controls.  The results did NOT surprise me personally, but may either surprise or dismay virulent transphobes and religious bigots, in that these kids are doing quite well.  Further, the findings show that as a population, one would be hard put to find any differences in psychological make-up, views, attitudes and self-concepts with non-transkids of the opposite natal sex as shown in the histograms shown here. (Note that “Transgender Girl”= MTF Transkids, etc.)  However, transkids and their siblings were more open minded about gender atypical people in general, as one would expect.

Another important finding is that this similarity does NOT change with time post-social-transition, neither increasing nor decreasing with age.  This should put to rest those concerns (if indeed they were genuine concerns and not merely ‘concern trolling’) that social transition either causes persistence or makes it more difficult for desistors to detransition.  The data shows that for pre-adolescent gender dysphoric youth, social transitions occur only in the persisting population, either because desisters abandon the social transition experiment (“Real Life Test”) or simply never even try.

If I have any complaint about this work, it is that the authors of these papers use the term ‘gender typical’ for non-trans-controls but ‘gender non-conforming’ instead of ‘gender atypical’, as though they could be conforming if they just chose to, instead of being naturally gender atypical (and actually quite typical when being compared to the opposite natal sex).  That is say, they didn’t describe the controls as “gender conforming” because that would silly.  Old habits and biased thinking die hard.

Further Reading:

Child’s Play; Essay on Transkids Self-Concept

Because Boys Must Be Boys; Essay on why “Gender Non-Conforming” label is problematic

Further External Reading:

TransYouth Project

References:

Gülgöz, S., Glazier, J. J., Enright, E. A., Alonso, D. J., Durwood, L. J., Fast, A. A., Lowe, R., Ji, C., Heer, J., Martin, C. M., & Olson, K. R. (2019). Similarity in Transgender and Cisgender Children’s Gender Development. PNAS. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1909367116  Link to pdf

Olson, K.R., & Gülgöz, S. (2018). Early Findings from the TransYouth Project: Gender Development in Transgender Children. Child Development Perspectives, 12(2), 93-97.  Link to pdf

 

Comments Off on Transkids Really Are Alright

Critique of Gliske’s Gender Dysphoria Conjecture

Posted in Editorial by Kay Brown on December 3, 2019

phrenologyWhen a radically new conjecture is put forward regarding the etiology of a phenomena that purports to be a new explanitory theory it must explain all of the previous observations, evidence, and data in a better, more compact way to be accepted as a theory, displacing or augmenting a previous one.  Stephen V. Gliske claims to have a new explication of the mechanism leading to a unitary theory of gender dysphoria, displacing our current two type taxonomy with its two separate and distinct etiologies, namely extreme gender atypicality vs. Erotic Target Identity Inversion caused by an Erotic Target Location Error.

However, as one digs into Gliske’s recent paper published in eNeuro, one very quickly notes several serious defects.  First, he relies on neuro-anatomical studies that have been shown to be purely effects of hormonal treatments.  He attempts to recruit xenomelia as a point of argument for his thesis but fails to note that such evidence supports the two type as that phenomena is also highly correlated with apotemnophilia and thus another example of an Erotic Target Location Error.  He cites a study which showed reduced activation of part of the brain to sensory touch of transmen’s breasts as evidence that this is a cause of gender dysphoria, rather than an effect of gender dysphoria (attentional suppression of emotionally distasteful experience).  Finally, he fails to explain or even directly acknowledge the overwhelming evidence for the role of autogynephilia in the development of gender dysphoria in one of the two types including the studies that concluded that the two types have different brain structural shifts.

inah3Gliske leans very heavily on post-mortem studies of MTF transsexual brains by Swaab’s group in the Netherlands.  For a while so did many other researchers and especially the transgender population.  Sadly for Gliske’s argument, this effect on areas of the BNST (BSTc & INAH3) was shown to be purely an artifact of these patients being treated for gender dysphoria using female hormones for years.  These changes are activational effects of hormones.  Perhaps Gliske can be forgiven for not knowing this, given that even Swaab’s group continues to publish papers referencing this earlier work as though it hadn’t been shown to be meaningless as evidence for any etiological arguments.

Gliske proposes a mechanism of gender dysphoria that arises out of a disturbance of sensory networks in the brain.  This idea is not new.  It was proposed by Ramachandran some years ago but with a different twist.  The earlier work suggested it as supporting the sexually dimorphorphic brain hypothesis.  That earlier work was shown to be statistically weak and inconclusive.  Later work using fMRI scans of transmen while their breasts were touched were interpreted as evidence of an intrinsic neurological difference in the sensory networks involving the breast of transmen.  However, as I have argued in the past, this ignores the ability of the attentional networks of the brain to both highlight and suppress sensory experience awareness at multiple levels.

{My reader can test this ability for themselves.  While reading the above, were you keenly aware of the exact position of your left foot?  Are you now aware of it?  Now imagine you hate your left foot and concentrate on your right hand.}

Ramachandran and Case also attempted to cite the example of xenomelia and observes that this may be similar to transgender, but ascribes it to somatic mapping issues while failing to note that we have another name for xenomelia, “apotemnophilia”, the erotic desire to be an amputee and how that desire arises out of an Erotic Target Location Error (ETLE) for the primary erotic target of amputees.  The authors thus sweep the well documented erotic motivations of both amputation “wannabees” and of autogynephilic transwomen under the rug in order to further their thesis of transgender as a brain mapping issue alone.  Gliske commits the same academic sin.

Gliske doesn’t completely ignore the two type taxonomy, but makes a sweeping statement that he does not back up with compelling evidence, that the two types are better characterized by age of onset than sexual orientation, failing to note that once false self reporting for both characteristics are taken into account, the two are in fact merely labels for the same taxons that focus on one or the other of the two very highly correlated items.  However, as has been shown repeatedly, sorting for the two taxons on sexual history to determine likely sexual orientation leads to significantly higher statistical signals.

Finally, Gliske ignores that the very studies he cites as evidence for his thesis more properly supports the two type taxonomy, as Guillamon, et al., concluded in a meta-review of the papers.

“The review of the available data seems to support two existing hypotheses: (1) a brain-restricted intersexuality in homosexual MtFs and FtMs and (2) Blanchard’s insight on the existence of two brain phenotypes that differentiate “homosexual” and “nonhomosexual” MtFs”

Gliske ends his paper with a classic Bad Science Journalism(tm) move by suggesting that his work will lead to better therapies for treating gender dysphoria without the slightest evidence or hint of how that might be.

Gliske calls this a “new theory”, but in fact, it is poorly warmed over previous conjecture with very little evidence to support it, certainly not enough to displace the Two Type Taxonomy and Erotic Target Identity Inversion.

Further Reading:

Essay on Swaab’s research on BSTc & INAH3

Essay on Ramachandran’s paper on phantom pain after SRS

Essay on Case & Ramachandran’s paper on Transmen’s responses to breast touch

Essay on Apotemnophilia arising from an Erotic Target Location Error

Essay on Age of Onset vs. Sexual Orientation

Further External Reading:

https://community.sfn.org/index.php?%2Ftopic%2F4375-editorial-ethics-issues-of-eneuro%2F&tab=comments&fbclid=IwAR0WSHgJPGtnsywVbkagfFbs9lyv0q27_bkLB4ddKUqY5uUTCLnKfmmJQZk#comment-12809

Essay on Bad Science Journalism(tm)

References:

Stephen V. Gliske, “A new theory of gender dysphoria incorporating the distress, social behavioral, and body-ownership networks” eNeuro 2 December 2019, ENEURO.0183-19.2019; DOI: https://doi.org/10.1523/ENEURO.0183-19.2019

Comments Off on Critique of Gliske’s Gender Dysphoria Conjecture

Kincade Fire in Sonoma County

Posted in Editorial by Kay Brown on October 26, 2019

For my friends and readers, Jeff and I are OK.  Our house is NOT in any of the evacuation zones at this time, though they are near by.

(Addendum 10-5-19:  The fire is out.  We are fine.  Though I grieve for friends who lost their home on Chalk Hill.)

Comments Off on Kincade Fire in Sonoma County

Dubunking Transsexual & Transgender Myths

Posted in Editorial by Kay Brown on October 20, 2019

phrenologyThere are a number of misconceptions, misinformation, disinformation, and even outright lies swirling around social media regarding transsexual and transgender people, our caregivers, and the consequences of our medical care.  This post is an ongoing effort to dispell and debunk them with actual scientific evidence.  I will update this post as I research issues.  (Please be patient)

MYTH:  Hormone Replacement Therapy & Puberty Blockers Cause Sterility

This is a complex matter, in that while currently taking such medications, one is indeed rendered infertile.  But then, so are women who are taking contraceptive medications.  However, if one stops taking them, fertility returns (provided that no surgical removal of reproductive organs has occured).

References:

https://www.endocrine.org/news-room/2019/endo-2019—ovary-function-is-preserved-in-transgender-men-at-one-year-of-testosterone-therapy

https://www.medpagetoday.com/endocrinology/growthdisorders/41733

MYTH:  Men Who Date & Marry Transwomen Are Closeted Gay (Perhaps Bisexual), Never Straight

This would seem at first glance to a true and common-sensical, based on superficialities.  Many hold this to be self-evident.  It it repeated as true in popular entertainment and by lay people on social media.

But reality is far different.  Actual research into the matter has shown that there are two populations of men that date & marry transwomen, both heterosexual.  One group is what are called in the transcommunity “chasers”, men who avidly seek out transwomen, especially young pre-op transwomen.  The other group is simply straight men who meet and fall in love with a given transwoman, in spite of being transsexual.

GAM“Chasers”, scientifically labelled “gynandromorphophiles” (GAMP) would seem to fit the description of “bi” in that they seek out people who both have intact male genitalia and an overall female form, called “gynandromorphs” (GAM).  However, true bisexual people would also be attracted to the male body form, that is masculine body and personality.  However, research measuring actual sexual arousal to images of nude masculine men, feminine women and young feminine pre-op transwomen do NOT show this pattern.  Instead, these men are preferentially attracted to women and pre-op transwomen, with far less arousal to men.  The opposite pattern is found in gay men.

Note carefully:  Gay men do NOT find transwomen to be very sexually arousing.

The second group that may date a given transwoman is very unlikely to seek out other transwomen should their relationship end.  They are, as Dr. Green in his 1974 book on transsexuals, “Gender Identity Conflict in Children and Adults” wrote,

“The men who fall in love with and perhaps marry women who are themselves former males, by and large, have known their partners only as women.  Their prior sexual experiences have been only with females.  They consider themselves heterosexual and their relationships heterosexual.  To varying degrees they are consciously and unconsciously aware of the biologic status of their partners, but it would be simplistic and would furthermore blur generally accepted definitions to call these men homosexual.  Rather they are men who respond to the considerable femininity of male-to-female transsexuals, ignoring the dissonant cues of masculinity.”

Reference:

K. J. Hsu, A. M. Rosenthal, D. I. Miller and J. M. Bailey, “Who are gynandromorphophilic men? Characterizing men with sexual interest in transgender women”
http://d-miller.github.io/assets/HsuEtAl2015.pdf

Comments Off on Dubunking Transsexual & Transgender Myths

The Sneaky Plan to Stifle Trans Science

Posted in Editorial by Kay Brown on September 11, 2019

Kay BrownIn the ongoing effort by autogynephilic transwomen to silence those who research and present evidence of the two type taxonomy, a new phase has been entered.  They are now publishing and pushing “ethics” position papers that work on the laudable tendency of people to not “offend” people.  But when science and education are deemed “offensive” to a group that does not want certain well established facts to be known, that’s not being inoffensive to them.  Its granting them the power to censor.

Even more destructive, granting one self-described “marginalized” group the power to censor the science, in this case at a least, also can further marginalize another.  Specifically, we know that there are TWO etiological paths for male bodied people that leads to intractable gender dysphoria.  One can NOT understand those two paths if the very nature of one of those path is deemed “offensive” and censored.  Further, the needs, indeed the very existence, of the unique etiology of the other group, requires that these paths both be fully researched and described.

The most recent development is publication and dissemination of a document listing words and concepts that are to be censored as “offensive”

Thus, it is shameful and hurtful, that this effort to stifle science, science education, and open discussion is being attempted.  It would be even more shameful if it succeeds.

Further Reading:

How to Ruin Sex Research

Reference:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1iHodSA16oP0itTjZPkB5tslBjMHOiMdy9lt9zmTPKPs/mobilebasic

Comments Off on The Sneaky Plan to Stifle Trans Science

Transgender Sexual Predators

Posted in Editorial by Kay Brown on July 27, 2019

Kay BrownRecent news about a non-op transgender male bodied individual demanding women, who perform very intimate grooming services for female clients, provide it for him, and then making official complaints about them for “discrimination” if they don’t, has caused a serious kerfluffle for the trans communities.  So, let me state in this editorial, with no equivocation, I do NOT support this person nor his actions.  (Yes, you read that right; I will not offer the courtesy of using feminine pronouns for a male sexual predator and bully attempting to use the cover of being a transwoman.)

For a pre-op / non-op male bodied person to demand, using the force of law, to be allowed to, in effect, expose himself to non-consenting women is the action of a sexual predator, period.  This behavior is identical to a public ‘flasher’.  It is one of the four “Courtship Disorders” that include paraphilic rape, frotterism (rubbing one’s penis against non-consenting people in public), and voyeurism (Peeping Tom).  This behavior is a paraphilia that seeks, requires, non-consenting participants and is by definition a sexual offense.

The various transcommunities should, nay, must denounce this behavior and any and all individuals who attempt it.  Further, we should recognize that this is an abuse of non-discriminational laws.  We should support changes in law to end such abuse.

Further Reading:

Dangerous Thoughts

Comments Off on Transgender Sexual Predators

How Many Trans Folk Are There, Really?

Posted in Transsexual Field Studies by Kay Brown on July 19, 2019

female_scientistIf we are to meaningfully discuss the impact of trans people in society and public policy recommendations we need to know how many transfolk there are.  For this we need to define who we mean and who we don’t.  This is a topic I’ve explored before, but it is worth going into greater detail.  I’ve remarked before that we need to have very clear definitions and about the problems that occur when we don’t.

The media and the press often talk as though “transgender” = “transsexual”.  That is to say, that there is an assumption that those who identify as transgender are all socially transitioning from one social sex to the other, prescribed cross-sex hormones, and either have or would strongly consider, if affordable, surgical interventions.  Nothing could be further from the truth, as the vast, in fact, a super-majority, of such self  identified transgender people have not, nor do they wish to, permanently socially transition, nor are they gender dysphoric.

We also need to know how many people fall into each category, as it directly effects policy and politics, from school bathroom use to potential medical transition services demand in the military.

In a 2016 paper exploring this very issue, spelling it out in the title, “Prevalence of Transgender Depends on the “Case” Definition”, paraphrasing their results,

“27 studies provided necessary data for a meta-analysis to evaluate the epidemiology of transgender and examine how various definitions of transgender affect prevalence estimates and to compare findings across studies that used different methodologies, in different countries, and over different periods.  Overall estimates per 100,000 population were 9.2 for surgical or hormonal gender affirmation therapy and 6.8 for transgender-related diagnoses. Of studies assessing self-reported transgender identity, the estimate was 871; however, this result was influenced by a single outlier study. After removal of that study, the estimate changed to 355.”

transmapThese numbers tally very well with those from another study using US Census and Social Security data in which name and sex were changed in various US states.  In that study no state had more than ~10 per hundred thousand.  Note that this study was not included in the meta-analysis conduced by Collins, et al.

These numbers also tally with the several order of magnitude larger estimates of those who self identify as “transgender”.

One of the most enlightening results of the Collins study was that though there was a slight increase in the number of gender dysphoric cases in a given clinic over time, there was no increase in prevalence over all.  That is to say, there is no “epidemic” of gender dysphoria.

Given that we can’t demand that people who self identify as transgender stop doing so, I recommend that we as a community and in science studies differentiate gender dysphoric individuals by resurrecting and reclaiming the old fashioned, but very useful term, “transsexual”.  Only those who permanently social transition with some medical interventions should be so designated.  Those who wish to conduct sociological studies of non-gender-dysphoric people who self identify as “transgender” should so specify in their publications.  Given the large disparities in the numbers, without an operational definition of “transgender” or “transsexual”, a given study is almost assured to be about non-gender-dysphoric people.

Further Reading:

The New Math:  Using US Census and Social Security data to estimate the number of transsexuals in the United States.

Getting Lost In The Crowd:  The problem of conflating self identity as “transgender” with prevalence of gender dysphoria.

Reference:

Lindsay Collin, Sari L. Reisner Vin Tangpricha, and Michael Goodman, “Prevalence of Transgender Depends on the “Case” Definition: A Systematic Review” (2016) Journal of Sexual Medicine
http://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsxm.2016.02.001

Comments Off on How Many Trans Folk Are There, Really?

Who Would Date Transgender People?

Posted in Transsexual Field Studies by Kay Brown on July 1, 2019

female_scientistA very recent paper by Dr. Karen Blair and R. A. Hoskin received a bit of publicity in both pro and anti- trans publications.  BOTH mischaracterized the paper and its findings.

But before I go into the paper, I have to make some strong editorial and political statements:

All acts of sexuality and romance should be joyously consensual.  No one may coerce, by force or by emotional blackmail, anyone to participate in any sexual or romantic activity.  To be even more specific; No, you may NOT berate people who won’t date or have sex with transfolk into doing so.  No, you may NOT call such people “transphobic” just for not being attracted to you or other transfolk.

On the flip side; No, you may NOT call transfolk respectfully seeking to date non-transfolk “rapists” or “rapey”.  No, you may NOT use examples of transfolk lashing out in frustration (no matter how unkindly) as exemplars of all transfolk’s behavior or attitudes.

The first thing to understand about this new paper is that it is a byproduct of another study and was not conducted to test any hypothesis.  The manner of obtaining its subjects was more typical of a convenience sample and may have some bias to it.  Specifically, there were many young people who were in college.  So, this study is an “exploratory” study and was never intended to find out “why” people feel they way they do about transpeople, only whether they would “hypothetically” be interested in dating transpeople.

In reporting responses, Blair et al., use the sexual orientation of the subjects compared to the post social transition identification as either “congruent” or “incongruent”.  That is to say, if a straight man said that he would date a transwoman, that is “congruent” with his sexual orientation.

Response categories by sexual and gender identity.
.                                                       Exclusionary N (%) Congruent N (%) Incongruent N (%)
Bi/queer/non-binary                   56 (48.3)                    40 (34.5)                20 (17.2)
Lesbian women                           79 (71.2)                    10 (9)                      22 (19.8)
Gay men                                        108 (88.5)                  10 (8.2)                   4 (3.3)
Heterosexual women                 388 (98.2)                  6 (1.5)                     1 (0.3)
Heterosexual men                       206 (96.7)                  3 (1.4)                    4 (1.9)

Given some of the friction found between some gynephilic transwomen and a certain element of the lesbian community, the data from the study is perhaps surprising.  Ten percent of the lesbians indicated that they would consider dating transwomen.  Doing a bit of math, given that lesbians comprise a bit over ~1% of women and 9% are willing to date transwomen = 0.1% of women, while post social transition gynephilic transwomen are only 0.04% of socially identified women, there are more than enough willing lesbians as there are lesbian identified transwomen; a happy coincidence.

Interestingly, happy circumstances occur for every one else as well.  There are more people in each congruent and incongruent category to allow every transperson of every sexual orientation to find a willing partner.  It may be a more arduous task for transfolk to find willing partners, but there is no shortage.  Far from transfolk being shut out of the dating (and marriage) market, we are very much welcome in it.

Further Reading:

Going to the Chapel

Reference:

Blair, K.L. & Hoskin, R.A. (2018). Transgender exclusion from the world of dating: Patterns of acceptance and rejection of hypothetical trans dating partners as a function of sexual and gender identity. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships.
https://www.drkarenblair.com/s/blair2018.pdf

Comments Off on Who Would Date Transgender People?

The Transsexual Brain Sex Gallop

Posted in Science Criticism by Kay Brown on June 13, 2019

phrenologyA year ago I wrote an essay in response to an article that clearly cherry picked its citations to argue that recent brain sex research shouldn’t be used in evaluations of transsexual etiology.  I pointed out that it represented a change in strategy by autogynephilic transwomen from attempting to use brain sex research to bolster the claim that all transwomen had feminized brains to a strategy of attempting to claim that brains aren’t sexually dimorphic so that no one would notice that the latest brain scan studies on transfolk support the two type taxonomy of transwomen.

Well, it looks like I was right – as another article by Simon(e) D Sun [sic], this time in Scientific American Blogs, attempts to tell the very same misleading story, even right in the subtitle, “Actual Research Shows that Sex is Anything But Binary”.

It reads as a Gish Gallop running headlong away from the two type taxonomy while setting up some amazing strawmen and logical disconnects that the author hopes the reader doesn’t spot,

Let’s just take the most famous example of sexual dimorphism in the brain: the sexually dimorphic nucleus of the preoptic area (sdnPOA). This tiny brain area with a disproportionately sized name is slightly larger in males than in females. But it’s unclear if that size difference indicates distinctly wired sdnPOAs in males versus females, or if—as with the bipotential primordium—the same wiring is functionally weighted toward opposite ends of a spectrum. Throw in the observation that the sdnPOA in gay men is closer to that of straight females than straight males, and the idea of “the male brain” falls apart.

Say What?  Ummmm….  So Sun turns a classic example of a sexually dimorphic brain feature that has been feminized in a class of people whose very sexuality has been feminized, who are known to have more female typical gendered behaviors as children… and somehow that gets flipped to demonstrate that the “Idea of the male brain falls apart”.  Ummmm… No!  Just No.  This demonstrates just the opposite, that there is a very strong correlation with a female typical feature and female typical behaviors in both male and female bodied people.  That argues for a sexually dimorphic brain with behavioral correlates.

Then, Sun cites studies of transsexual MRI brain scans but completely fails to mention that they are from two separate etiological types and as such do NOT support the thesis of a non-binary, non-sexually dimorphic brain.  Sun is counting on the reader not knowing this key fact.

It is disappointing to see articles this poor.  Sun, stop using phony science articles to justify ignoring the two type taxonomy.

Further Reading:

(Cherry) Picking The Transgender Brain

Review of Brain Scan Research

Further External Reading:

https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/voices/stop-using-phony-science-to-justify-transphobia/

Comments Off on The Transsexual Brain Sex Gallop

“ROGD” As An Epiphenomena of Parental Grieving

Posted in Editorial by Kay Brown on June 12, 2019

TransSupportDiscovering that one’s child is gender dysphoric, for what ever reason, evokes parental distress.  How can it not?  The spector of one’s child going through pain is bad enough.  But to “lose” the child that one thought one had, as though they were dying, and yet that child isn’t dying but may metamorphize into another, a stranger, a changeling?  Even for parents who believe that they are liberal, tolerant, accepting of LGBT people, that “loss” is still real.

These parents grieve for the child that they thought they had.  The grief is real.  It hurts.  Even as they love their gender dysphoric child, they still grieve.

Which brings us to how grief is experienced and expressed.  Although often questioned, the Kübler-Ross model is still generally useful if we disregard the notion that one goes through it in a linear progression.  Instead, the “stages” can be experienced in a wicked jumble.  They are denial, anger, bargaining, sadness, and (hopefully), acceptance.

Parents of gender dysphoric children will exhibit all of these emotions and expressions.  But now, with the internet to allow parents to very quickly find each other, these personal expressions can take on social expressions.

Unlike the actual death of a child, a child who is gender dysphoric and wanting to socially transition is still standing there, day in, day out, so the grieving stage of denial has no easy check, their child could be mistaken, it could all be just a phase, a fad, a social contagion.  It could be this false malady that other parents are all talking about, Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria… and it should be treatable!  It will all be OK.  My child won’t grow up to be one of those people.

EOFR3sFXkAEA8WW-2But the child still stands there and still insists that they feel this awful disconnect between their body, their social expectations, their sexuality, and what they dare to dream for their future selves.  The parents feel frustrated, and the next stage of grieving comes to play, anger.  Anger at the child, but that isn’t the real problem they say to themselves, it must be someone else’s fault.  It must be all of that stuff on the internet.  It must be all of that Transgender Ideology that has gotten into their innocent heads, causing Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria.  Those People are to blame.  And when those people won’t take responsibility for hurting their child, well, it’s time they were castigated for it on the internet!

But sometimes, the parents need to bargain.  Oh… couldn’t we find a therapist to fix my child.  Shouldn’t there be some sort of therapy allowed for my child?  Why is conversion therapy no longer legal?  Surely I’m allowed to determine what is best for my child?

Then the sadness strikes and they look to the internet to find advice on how to cope with a transgender child, how to deal with a transgender child.  Fruitlessly searching for those magic words that will make the pain go away.

And maybe, just maybe, they will finally reach acceptance and learn to celebrate the child that they have, rather than continue to grieve the loss the of the child they thought they had.

Parents in online fora grasping at the concept of ROGD as they worked their way through their grieving for their gender dysphoric child.  It is not their child’s etiology.  But as reason for castigating transfolk and an imaged harmful “transgender ideology” it serves the purposes of a number of transphobic constituencies to take advantage of grieving parents.

Further Reading:

Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria and Parental Denialism

Shameful History of Reparitive Therapy of Gender Atypical Youth

Essay on Parental Internet Search Strings

Advice to Parents of Transkids

Further External Reading:

What I Didn’t Understand About The Stages Of Grief — Until I Was In Them
by Caila Smith

Tagged with:

Comments Off on “ROGD” As An Epiphenomena of Parental Grieving