On the Science of Changing Sex

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/

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