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Social Justice Transgender and gender identity discussion

✿Dai₷y✿

Bluelighter
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Jul 26, 2019
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Your dads face

Introduces the 'MOMMIES' act, refers to women as 'birth people'

WTF?


Lol. When you have about 20 people staring at your bleeding, stretched out vulva and shit yourself pushing, youll realise all hope of dignity is gone.


I laugh at morons like this until their bullshit starts catching on. Glad to be too old to care what kids call their mothers these days.
 

aemetha

Bluelighter
Joined
May 7, 2017
Messages
211
I think the homosexual part is bullshit, but I stand by the part about transmen having male brains and transwomen having female brain (in some cases, not all), but I'd be interested in hearing about studies you have read that have different conclusions?
This is an over-simplification. While it is true that there are some structural similarities between trans brains and that of the identified-with gender, that's not the same as saying they have a male or female brain. There is also the issue of causality, the brain being a highly plastic organ. Do those similarities exist because they are driven that way biologically, or do they exist because when one adopts the mannerisms, behaviours and self-identification of a particular gender the brain develops in that manner?

I may sound stupid, but Borderline Personality Disorder (again, in some cases not all) can sometimes be visible on an MRI (mine literally has been), why not other things like that?*
Probably not a good example given how contentious the diagnosis of BPD can be. For example, when men and women present with exactly the same symptoms men are more likely to be diagnosed with APD while women are diagnosed with BPD. Again you also have the issue of causality which is unclear. Is the brain structure the result of nature or nurture? There are a lot of psychosocial factors implicated in the etiology of BPD which suggests a significant nurture component to it.
 

ChemicallyEnhanced

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Are you saying gender is biological (based on brain structure) and not socially constructed?

No, gender is a social construct. Sex is biological, though and biologically, cismen and ciswomen have very slight structural differences in the brain. Since some trans people have the physical brain of how they identify, it is possible that the theory of "born in the wrong body" is literally true for some trans-identifying people (literally a male brain in a female body or vice versa). The study I read did say this was the case less than 50% of the time (and because of comments made on here by yourself @G_Chem and others I am becoming less and less sure about this study being true/correct and I may very well be wrong, but this is according to that study) so it says majority of trans-identifying people have the physical brain that matches their physical body but are still transgender because - like you said - it is about gender and not sex.
 

ChemicallyEnhanced

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Messages
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This is an over-simplification. While it is true that there are some structural similarities between trans brains and that of the identified-with gender, that's not the same as saying they have a male or female brain. There is also the issue of causality, the brain being a highly plastic organ. Do those similarities exist because they are driven that way biologically, or do they exist because when one adopts the mannerisms, behaviours and self-identification of a particular gender the brain develops in that manner?


Probably not a good example given how contentious the diagnosis of BPD can be. For example, when men and women present with exactly the same symptoms men are more likely to be diagnosed with APD while women are diagnosed with BPD. Again you also have the issue of causality which is unclear. Is the brain structure the result of nature or nurture? There are a lot of psychosocial factors implicated in the etiology of BPD which suggests a significant nurture component to it.

Yeah. I read and posted about that study a year ago, have become less sure of it over that time and since talking on here I pretty much have dismissed it. I'll always admit when I'm wrong, and I think I was wrong about this. I think there is some merit to the study, but it is also probably inaccurate and oversimplified, so I was wrong to push it as fact. but, hey, you learn and you grow. This is why we should educate ourselves continually, because theories - and that's all these are - change.

I'm male and have been diagnosed with (severe!) BPD. I think doctors are getting better at that type of bias.

I appreciate your reply, btw, I found what you said very interesting and insightful. You seem very well informed.
 

SKL

Bluelight Crew
Joined
Sep 15, 2007
Messages
14,793
*one year later updates*

I think the homosexual part is bullshit, but I stand by the part about transmen having male brains and transwomen having female brain (in some cases, not all), but I'd be interested in hearing about studies you have read that have different conclusions?
I originally intended to respond in considerably less depth and with considerably more flippancy here, but I've instead decided to treat these questions in a little more depth and with a little more charity because I understand why you might have this perspective. I hope you and others read the following (particularly as you actually asked for studies) although it will probably be long. I understand that people don't want to trudge through pages and pages of long posts, but I've actually talked a lot about stuff that people have addressed recently. As far as this question goes, however, I'm going to go into greater depth, and with better citations, than I have before. So here goes. I've also included citations in a more formal way, I hope you also check them out if only to make sure I'm not bullshitting you. The argument I will be making, in brief, is that observed brain differences which seem to be "gendered" in trans-identified persons are actually attributable to sexual orientation and general gender non-conformity and that entirely different brain structures may relate to gender dysphoria and/or trans-identification.

I can understand why this brain-sex theory is a tempting position to adopt on both assertions you make (homosexual brain differences are bullshit and transgender ones real) and I think in both cases it is traceable to misconceptions about "brain sex" to begin with. First of all, the whole concept is not without controversy (Rippon 2019, link is to a review). The term itself, what is more, is a bit of a misnomer. The purported neurological correlates of sex are both structural and, more compellingly, functional (probably the best-studied difference has to do with what is called "mental rotation tasks.") Nobody is saying that these differences are the sources of masculinity and femininity. As far as homosexuals go, and I'll speak here more often about gay men than lesbians because they are significantly better studied, nobody is saying that "feminine" brain differences in gay men means that all androphilic (male-attracted) males are effeminate, which is so demonstrably untrue as to be laughable. Anyone who knows any even remotely significant number of gay men (or lesbians) knows that, contrary to stereotypes, gender presentations are diverse. I am sure there have been multiple studies about this, although I don't have one on hand to cite, but it is obvious both that homosexuals have a diversity of gender presentation and that gender non-conformity (GNC) is much more frequently observed in homosexuals than heterosexuals.


Now onto sex-related brain differences. It has been repeatedly found that men are better at these tasks (Griksiene et al. 2019), which involve spatial perception. Evidence "suggests distinct strategies being implemented depending on the difficulty of the rotation. Men performed the task more accurately than women." It is the thesis of Dr. Rippon that these differences are not inborn but rather due to what is called in this context "gendered socialization," or rather, having grown up and been raised as male or female. The differences have actually been at least sometimes found to be influenced by hormones, which brings Dr. Rippon's thesis at least partially into question and presents an interesting question as it comes to MtF transsexuals (by which I mean natal males undergoing cross-sex hormonal treatment*) as the study I just cited states "performance accuracy in [natal] women tended to be negatively related to estradiol while the response time tended to increase with increasing progesterone. There were no associations with testosterone." This has been replicated although the association with testosterone is disputed, c.f. Hausmann et al. (2000) More on this and it's implications later.

(*I use terms in very specific ways in this and all my posts. As a lot of people probably have not been bearing with me since the beginning, I'll try to define them as we go.)

When I say the term "brain sex" is a "misnomer," I do so because it is not as if these sexed differences in brain are direct correlates with what we usually consider gendered differences in the behavior and cognition (no doubt some joker is out there is thinking that the "mental rotation of 3D objects" has to do with parallel parking, but I'm only saying that as a bit of comic relief. In general, when I talk about "gendered behavior" I'm talking in broader and larger strokes than that.) As for the question at hand, this speaks to what I would imagine is one of your stronger objections to the findings of more "feminine" brains in gay men. Some evidence also exists for more "masculine" brains in lesbians but the evidence is significantly weaker and, as is all too often the case, men are much more frequently studied than women. Good evidence also exists that gender nonconformity in homosexuals (i.e. effeminate gay men and masculine lesbians) is associated with more significant cross-sex brain differences than sexual orientation alone.

Let's have a look at what is I think is the most recent study, Folkierska-Żukowska et al. (2019), which finds:
We observed a sex difference between heterosexual men and women in the premotor cortex/supplementary motor cortex and left medial superior frontal gyrus. We also observed a sex difference as well as a cross-sex shift in gay men who recalled being gender nonconforming as children in the right superior frontal gyrus, right angular gyrus, right amygdala/parahippocampal gyrus, and bilaterally in the middle temporal gyrus and precuneus. Thus, cross-sex shifts may be associated with underlying developmental factors which are associated with sexual orientation (such as gender nonconformity). The results also suggest that gay men should not be studied as a homogenous group.
Rahman et al. (2017) find:
In general, heterosexual men scored better than women and gay men on some spatial learning and probe trial measures and used more visual scan strategies. However, some differences disappeared after controlling for age and estimated IQ (e.g., in visual scanning heterosexual men differed from women but not gay men). Heterosexual women did not differ from lesbian/bisexual women. For both sexes, visual scanning predicted probe trial performance. [Reports of childhood gender nonconformity were] associated with lower performance among men and greater performance among women on specific spatial learning or probe trial measures. These results provide mixed evidence for the cross-sex shift hypothesis of sexual orientation-related differences in spatial cognition.
I could go on for quite some time citing similar studies, but it is fair to say both that the science is convincing that there are some cross-sex differences in gay men as a whole and some groups of gay men in particular, but that the evidence is not as strong as perhaps previously thought (brain differences in homosexuals have been observed for decades, and given varying sorts of social and political interpretations. The differences were at one time widely welcomed among gay activists as they were interpreted to suggest that homosexuality was a natural variation rather than a sin or pathology.) But nonetheless evidence for them is strong and, here we start to get to the crux of the matter, the differences are more strongly observed in gender non-conforming (GNC) homosexuals (unfortunately, GNC heterosexuals, a much rarer and less-studied group, are not included as a control.)

This brings us to studies of the trans-identified brain. There have been a number of this subject, as well, and they have also been given varying interpretations. The interpretation that it sounds like you are running with is that cross-sex differences in the trans-identified male is evidence that they are in some sense ontologically female ("trans women are women.") To break this down, this is a claim that there is a "gender identity" which need not correspond with natal sex which is (a) inherent, (b) essential, and (c) stable. I have criticized this view at some length here and it is I think rather beyond the scope of the current discussion but I think worth mentioning at this point. Suffice to say, this view is, in and of itself, nonfalsifiable and is ideological if not outright theological (to wit, "natal male with a female soul") in character. It is absolutely your right to believe this but using it as a lens through which to study the science is problematic. I will not discuss this view, pro or con, in any sort of metaphysical way, but will rather discuss the very specific question of whether or not homosexuals and trans-identified individuals (of any orientation) have brains which resemble those of the opposite sex.

On to the subject at hand. The problems with this interpretation are numerous. First of all, especially up until recently, almost all of these studies were done on trans-identified males (TiMs, i.e. natal male but female-identifying) of what Blanchard would call the "homosexual-transsexual" type, i.e. androphilic and effeminate persons born as men, which is the very group, absent the trans-identification, for which the strongest evidence for cross-sex brain differences exists as set out above. As for gynephilic TiMs at worst they have been excluded from studies and most studies didn't control for sexual orientation. Also, non-androphilic TiMs were typically not given access to transition clinics ("gatekeeping") until relatively recently so studies drawing on this population inherently excluded them. There has also been an apparent rise in this population as well as a corresponding one in androphilic TiFs, so earlier studies didn't even have good access to this population if they tried (they typically didn't). What's worse, many of the individuals studied were taking hormones (e.g. Carillo et al., 2000) and/or had undergone surgery. Incidentally, the intersex genetic males with complete androgen insensitivity syndrome (CAIS) who externally present as and are typically socialized, as female although their chromosomes and internal sex organs are male, perform as females do (Hemmen et al., 2014). As mentioned above, there are suggestions that in natal females, hormonal levels are related to the measures of "brain sex" which are more frequently studied. This alone should put these studies into question. When we look at gynephilic (female-attracted) trans-identified males, the purported differences disappear. See Sevic and Arver (2011) which n.b. dealt with structural differences rather than the functional differences I've been mostly discussing above (although for the purposes of our discussion the differences on both front have basically the same results and implications.)

Burke, Manzouri and Savic (2017) builds on this. I'll quote the abstract in full:
Both transgenderism and homosexuality are facets of human biology, believed to derive from different sexual differentiation of the brain. The two phenomena are, however, fundamentally unalike, despite an increased prevalence of homosexuality among transgender populations. Transgenderism is associated with strong feelings of incongruence between one’s physical sex and experienced gender, not reported in homosexual persons. The present study searches to find neural correlates for the respective conditions, using fractional anisotropy (FA) as a measure of white matter connections that has consistently shown sex differences. We compared FA in 40 transgender men (female birth-assigned sex) and 27 transgender women (male birth-assigned sex), with both homosexual (29 male, 30 female) and heterosexual (40 male, 40 female) cisgender controls. Previously reported sex differences in FA were reproduced in cis-heterosexual groups, but were not found among the cis-homosexual groups. After controlling for sexual orientation, the transgender groups showed sex-typical FA-values. The only exception was the right inferior fronto-occipital tract, connecting parietal and frontal brain areas that mediate own body perception. Our findings suggest that the neuroanatomical signature of transgenderism is related to brain areas processing the perception of self and body ownership, whereas homosexuality seems to be associated with less cerebral sexual differentiation.

In other words, the cross-sex brain differences noted in trans-identified people are correlates of the gender they are attracted to (i.e. with respect to their natal sex, they are correlates of the same brain differences noted in homosexuals.) Trans-identified persons attracted to the opposite of their birth sex do not demonstrate these differences. It is tempting to bring up Blanchard here as he too divided trans-identified persons primarily based on their sexual orientation. However, this is a bit too cute, as there's no evidence at least here of a neuroanatomical correlate of autogynephilia but rather one a correlate of gender dysphoria in trans-identified persons regardless of natal sex or sexual orientation. However, this is not a part of the brain which is "gendered" in persons who are not trans-identified, regardless of sexual orientation. This has been repeatedly shown elsewhere.

It is not in line with the science to put forth a hypothesis of an essential gender identity and to locate it in the brain. The strongest claim that you can make is that effeminate gay men (and to a lesser extent masculine lesbians) have a response to very specific neurological studies that appears cross-sex,more so than non-GNC ones, even other homosexual, but these still have some degree of cross-sex brain differences. Unfortunately GNC heterosexuals argen't studied, and unfortunately degree of GNC, Blanchard typology, and certain other differences between trans-identified persons hasn't been studied either but there is no evidence whatsoever for cross-sex brain differences in gynephilic TiMs or androphilic TiFs and furthermore there is no evidence that these are different from non-trans-identified homosexual and especially persons with the same sexual orientation who are both GNC and homosexual.

TL;DR - There are significant differences in the brains of trans-identified persons but they are not related to differences in "brain sex." Cross-sex differences in trans-identified persons are attributable to their sexual orientation, not their trans-identification.

I will address later on some of your other points e.g. on sports, hormone blockers, the social construction of gender, and reactionary politics (or lack thereof) as well as some other stuff said by you and others since, but I hope this response was interesting and will get read. Cheers.
 
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✿Dai₷y✿

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Cant top that post even if I had a research team and 3 monkeys, very good read SKL, well done.

I would expect brains to have differences as its basically diversity, differences will abound snd will probably be argued about one way or another.


There's a lot of resistance to gender dystopia being a "mental illness".


Is body dystopia a mental illness?

I thought mental illnesses were a unstigmatised as well so there's no real problem with having one, surely being mismatched one way or another is not really "normal" and would need to be assessed mentally?

Doesnt bother me one way or another yet it seems to bother others who aren't trans either. Is mental illness something to be embarrassed about or is being trans not anything at all that affects mental health?
 
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SKL

Bluelight Crew
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Cant top that post even if I had a research team and 3 monkeys, very good read SKL, well done.

I would expect brains to have differences as its basically diversity, differences will abound snd will probably be argued about one way or another.


There's a lot of resistance to gender dystopia being a "mental illness".


Is body dystopia a mental illness?

I thought mental illnesses were a unstigmatised as well so there's no real problem with having one, surely being mismatched one way or another is not really "normal" and would need to be assessed mentally?

Doesnt bother me one way or another yet it seems to bother others who aren't trans either. Is mental illness something to be embarrassed about or is being trans not anything at all that affects mental health?
I discussed the "mental illness" question a bit earlier and in brief my view is that it all depends on your definition of "mental illness" and thus it's not a very interesting or relevant question. The reason, I think, that calling GD or trans-identification a "mental illness" causes such offense is that the popular conception of the same is that a person has in one way or another lost touch with reality, and thus putting this label on trans-identity implies that such identity is false. This implication greatly upsets many people who identify as transgender, something I've discussed above as well, drawing on some psychological and gender-critical feminist theories, and is not something which I'll get into here. Nonetheless my view is that it doesn't matter whether we call it mental illness or not, but trans-identity intersects with the medical profession and with society in general which necessitate that we must try to understand it as a phenomenon. Persons who are effected by this phenomenon deserve compassion both at a societal and clinical level and if affording them compassion involves not speaking of their identity as a mental illness then I am fine with that. I am not fine however with shutting down all discussion on the topic.
 
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ChemicallyEnhanced

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I originally intended to respond in considerably less depth and with considerably more flippancy here, but I've instead decided to treat these questions in a little more depth and with a little more charity because I understand why you might have this perspective. I hope you and others read the following (particularly as you actually asked for studies) although it will probably be long. I understand that people don't want to trudge through pages and pages of long posts, but I've actually talked a lot about stuff that people have addressed recently. As far as this question goes, however, I'm going to go into greater depth, and with better citations, than I have before. So here goes. I've also included citations in a more formal way, I hope you also check them out if only to make sure I'm not bullshitting you. The argument I will be making, in brief, is that observed brain differences which seem to be "gendered" in trans-identified persons are actually attributable to sexual orientation and general gender non-conformity and that entirely different brain structures may relate to gender dysphoria and/or trans-identification.

I can understand why this brain-sex theory is a tempting position to adopt on both assertions you make (homosexual brain differences are bullshit and transgender ones real) and I think in both cases it is traceable to misconceptions about "brain sex" to begin with. First of all, the whole concept is not without controversy (Rippon 2019, link is to a review). The term itself, what is more, is a bit of a misnomer. The purported neurological correlates of sex are both structural and, more compellingly, functional (probably the best-studied difference has to do with what is called "mental rotation tasks.") Nobody is saying that these differences are the sources of masculinity and femininity. As far as homosexuals go, and I'll speak here more often about gay men than lesbians because they are significantly better studied, nobody is saying that "feminine" brain differences in gay men means that all androphilic (male-attracted) males are effeminate, which is so demonstrably untrue as to be laughable. Anyone who knows any even remotely significant number of gay men (or lesbians) knows that, contrary to stereotypes, gender presentations are diverse. I am sure there have been multiple studies about this, although I don't have one on hand to cite, but it is obvious both that homosexuals have a diversity of gender presentation and that gender non-conformity (GNC) is much more frequently observed in homosexuals than heterosexuals.


Now onto sex-related brain differences. It has been repeatedly found that men are better at these tasks (Griksiene et al. 2019), which involve spatial perception. Evidence "suggests distinct strategies being implemented depending on the difficulty of the rotation. Men performed the task more accurately than women." It is the thesis of Dr. Rippon that these differences are not inborn but rather due to what is called in this context "gendered socialization," or rather, having grown up and been raised as male or female. The differences have actually been at least sometimes found to be influenced by hormones, which brings Dr. Rippon's thesis at least partially into question and presents an interesting question as it comes to MtF transsexuals (by which I mean natal males undergoing cross-sex hormonal treatment*) as the study I just cited states "performance accuracy in [natal] women tended to be negatively related to estradiol while the response time tended to increase with increasing progesterone. There were no associations with testosterone." This has been replicated although the association with testosterone is disputed, c.f. Hausmann et al. (2000) More on this and it's implications later.

(*I use terms in very specific ways in this and all my posts. As a lot of people probably have not been bearing with me since the beginning, I'll try to define them as we go.)

When I say the term "brain sex" is a "misnomer," I do so because it is not as if these sexed differences in brain are direct correlates with what we usually consider gendered differences in the behavior and cognition (no doubt some joker is out there is thinking that the "mental rotation of 3D objects" has to do with parallel parking, but I'm only saying that as a bit of comic relief. In general, when I talk about "gendered behavior" I'm talking in broader and larger strokes than that.) As for the question at hand, this speaks to what I would imagine is one of your stronger objections to the findings of more "feminine" brains in gay men. Some evidence also exists for more "masculine" brains in lesbians but the evidence is significantly weaker and, as is all too often the case, men are much more frequently studied than women. Good evidence also exists that gender nonconformity in homosexuals (i.e. effeminate gay men and masculine lesbians) is associated with more significant cross-sex brain differences than sexual orientation alone.

Let's have a look at what is I think is the most recent study, Folkierska-Żukowska et al. (2019), which finds:

Rahman et al. (2017) find:

I could go on for quite some time citing similar studies, but it is fair to say both that the science is convincing that there are some cross-sex differences in gay men as a whole and some groups of gay men in particular, but that the evidence is not as strong as perhaps previously thought (brain differences in homosexuals have been observed for decades, and given varying sorts of social and political interpretations. The differences were at one time widely welcomed among gay activists as they were interpreted to suggest that homosexuality was a natural variation rather than a sin or pathology.) But nonetheless evidence for them is strong and, here we start to get to the crux of the matter, the differences are more strongly observed in gender non-conforming (GNC) homosexuals (unfortunately, GNC heterosexuals, a much rarer and less-studied group, are not included as a control.)

This brings us to studies of the trans-identified brain. There have been a number of this subject, as well, and they have also been given varying interpretations. The interpretation that it sounds like you are running with is that cross-sex differences in the trans-identified male is evidence that they are in some sense ontologically female ("trans women are women.") To break this down, this is a claim that there is a "gender identity" which need not correspond with natal sex which is (a) inherent, (b) essential, and (c) stable. I have criticized this view at some length here and it is I think rather beyond the scope of the current discussion but I think worth mentioning at this point. Suffice to say, this view is, in and of itself, nonfalsifiable and is ideological if not outright theological (to wit, "natal male with a female soul") in character. It is absolutely your right to believe this but using it as a lens through which to study the science is problematic. I will not discuss this view, pro or con, in any sort of metaphysical way, but will rather discuss the very specific question of whether or not homosexuals and trans-identified individuals (of any orientation) have brains which resemble those of the opposite sex.

On to the subject at hand. The problems with this interpretation are numerous. First of all, especially up until recently, almost all of these studies were done on trans-identified (i.e. natal female-identifying) males (TiMs) of what Blanchard would call the "homosexual-transsexual" type, i.e. androphilic and effeminate persons born as men, which is the very group, absent the trans-identification, for which the strongest evidence for cross-sex brain differences exists as set out above. As for gynephilic TiMs at worst they have been excluded from studies and most studies didn't control for sexual orientation. Also, non-androphilic TiMs were typically not given access to transition clinics ("gatekeeping") until relatively recently so studies drawing on this population inherently excluded them. There has also been an apparent rise in this population as well as a corresponding one in androphilic TiFs, so earlier studies didn't even have good access to this population if they tried (they typically didn't). What's worse, many of the individuals studied were taking hormones (e.g. Carillo et al., 2000) and/or had undergone surgery. Incidentally, the intersex genetic males with complete androgen insensitivity syndrome (CAIS) who externally present as and are typically socialized, as female although their chromosomes and internal sex organs are male, perform as females do (Hemmen et al., 2014). As mentioned above, there are suggestions that in natal females, hormonal levels are related to the measures of "brain sex" which are more frequently studied. This alone should put these studies into question. When we look at gynephilic (female-attracted) trans-identified males, the purported differences disappear. See Sevic and Arver (2011) which n.b. dealt with structural differences rather than the functional differences I've been mostly discussing above (although for the purposes of our discussion the differences on both front have basically the same results and implications.)

Burke, Manzouri and Savic (2017) builds on this. I'll quote the abstract in full:


In other words, the cross-sex brain differences noted in trans-identified people are correlates of the gender they are attracted to (i.e. with respect to their natal sex, they are correlates of the same brain differences noted in homosexuals.) Trans-identified persons attracted to the opposite of their birth sex do not demonstrate these differences. It is tempting to bring up Blanchard here as he too divided trans-identified persons primarily based on their sexual orientation. However, this is a bit too cute, as there's no evidence at least here of a neuroanatomical correlate of autogynephilia but rather one a correlate of gender dysphoria in trans-identified persons regardless of natal sex or sexual orientation. However, this is not a part of the brain which is "gendered" in persons who are not trans-identified, regardless of sexual orientation. This has been repeatedly shown elsewhere.

It is not in line with the science to put forth a hypothesis of an essential gender identity and to locate it in the brain. The strongest claim that you can make is that effeminate gay men (and to a lesser extent masculine lesbians) have a response to very specific neurological studies that appears cross-sex,more so than non-GNC ones, even other homosexual, but these still have some degree of cross-sex brain differences. Unfortunately GNC heterosexuals argen't studied, and unfortunately degree of GNC, Blanchard typology, and certain other differences between trans-identified persons hasn't been studied either but there is no evidence whatsoever for cross-sex brain differences in gynephilic TiMs or androphilic TiFs and furthermore there is no evidence that these are different from non-trans-identified homosexual and especially persons with the same sexual orientation who are both GNC and homosexual.

TL;DR - There are significant differences in the brains of trans-identified persons but they are not related to differences in "brain sex." Cross-sex differences in trans-identified persons are attributable to their sexual orientation, not their trans-identification.

I will address later on some of your other points e.g. on sports, hormone blockers, the social construction of gender, and reactionary politics (or lack thereof) as well as some other stuff said by you and others since, but I hope this response was interesting and will get read. Cheers.

I have commented since that post on how I completely disagree with what I had stated here and disregard that study now. So basically yeah, I agree with everything you just said.
I love how informed and in-depth you went btw!
 
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ChemicallyEnhanced

Bluelighter
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UK
I originally intended to respond in considerably less depth and with considerably more flippancy here, but I've instead decided to treat these questions in a little more depth and with a little more charity because I understand why you might have this perspective. I hope you and others read the following (particularly as you actually asked for studies) although it will probably be long. I understand that people don't want to trudge through pages and pages of long posts, but I've actually talked a lot about stuff that people have addressed recently. As far as this question goes, however, I'm going to go into greater depth, and with better citations, than I have before. So here goes. I've also included citations in a more formal way, I hope you also check them out if only to make sure I'm not bullshitting you. The argument I will be making, in brief, is that observed brain differences which seem to be "gendered" in trans-identified persons are actually attributable to sexual orientation and general gender non-conformity and that entirely different brain structures may relate to gender dysphoria and/or trans-identification.

I can understand why this brain-sex theory is a tempting position to adopt on both assertions you make (homosexual brain differences are bullshit and transgender ones real) and I think in both cases it is traceable to misconceptions about "brain sex" to begin with. First of all, the whole concept is not without controversy (Rippon 2019, link is to a review). The term itself, what is more, is a bit of a misnomer. The purported neurological correlates of sex are both structural and, more compellingly, functional (probably the best-studied difference has to do with what is called "mental rotation tasks.") Nobody is saying that these differences are the sources of masculinity and femininity. As far as homosexuals go, and I'll speak here more often about gay men than lesbians because they are significantly better studied, nobody is saying that "feminine" brain differences in gay men means that all androphilic (male-attracted) males are effeminate, which is so demonstrably untrue as to be laughable. Anyone who knows any even remotely significant number of gay men (or lesbians) knows that, contrary to stereotypes, gender presentations are diverse. I am sure there have been multiple studies about this, although I don't have one on hand to cite, but it is obvious both that homosexuals have a diversity of gender presentation and that gender non-conformity (GNC) is much more frequently observed in homosexuals than heterosexuals.


Now onto sex-related brain differences. It has been repeatedly found that men are better at these tasks (Griksiene et al. 2019), which involve spatial perception. Evidence "suggests distinct strategies being implemented depending on the difficulty of the rotation. Men performed the task more accurately than women." It is the thesis of Dr. Rippon that these differences are not inborn but rather due to what is called in this context "gendered socialization," or rather, having grown up and been raised as male or female. The differences have actually been at least sometimes found to be influenced by hormones, which brings Dr. Rippon's thesis at least partially into question and presents an interesting question as it comes to MtF transsexuals (by which I mean natal males undergoing cross-sex hormonal treatment*) as the study I just cited states "performance accuracy in [natal] women tended to be negatively related to estradiol while the response time tended to increase with increasing progesterone. There were no associations with testosterone." This has been replicated although the association with testosterone is disputed, c.f. Hausmann et al. (2000) More on this and it's implications later.

(*I use terms in very specific ways in this and all my posts. As a lot of people probably have not been bearing with me since the beginning, I'll try to define them as we go.)

When I say the term "brain sex" is a "misnomer," I do so because it is not as if these sexed differences in brain are direct correlates with what we usually consider gendered differences in the behavior and cognition (no doubt some joker is out there is thinking that the "mental rotation of 3D objects" has to do with parallel parking, but I'm only saying that as a bit of comic relief. In general, when I talk about "gendered behavior" I'm talking in broader and larger strokes than that.) As for the question at hand, this speaks to what I would imagine is one of your stronger objections to the findings of more "feminine" brains in gay men. Some evidence also exists for more "masculine" brains in lesbians but the evidence is significantly weaker and, as is all too often the case, men are much more frequently studied than women. Good evidence also exists that gender nonconformity in homosexuals (i.e. effeminate gay men and masculine lesbians) is associated with more significant cross-sex brain differences than sexual orientation alone.

Let's have a look at what is I think is the most recent study, Folkierska-Żukowska et al. (2019), which finds:

Rahman et al. (2017) find:

I could go on for quite some time citing similar studies, but it is fair to say both that the science is convincing that there are some cross-sex differences in gay men as a whole and some groups of gay men in particular, but that the evidence is not as strong as perhaps previously thought (brain differences in homosexuals have been observed for decades, and given varying sorts of social and political interpretations. The differences were at one time widely welcomed among gay activists as they were interpreted to suggest that homosexuality was a natural variation rather than a sin or pathology.) But nonetheless evidence for them is strong and, here we start to get to the crux of the matter, the differences are more strongly observed in gender non-conforming (GNC) homosexuals (unfortunately, GNC heterosexuals, a much rarer and less-studied group, are not included as a control.)

This brings us to studies of the trans-identified brain. There have been a number of this subject, as well, and they have also been given varying interpretations. The interpretation that it sounds like you are running with is that cross-sex differences in the trans-identified male is evidence that they are in some sense ontologically female ("trans women are women.") To break this down, this is a claim that there is a "gender identity" which need not correspond with natal sex which is (a) inherent, (b) essential, and (c) stable. I have criticized this view at some length here and it is I think rather beyond the scope of the current discussion but I think worth mentioning at this point. Suffice to say, this view is, in and of itself, nonfalsifiable and is ideological if not outright theological (to wit, "natal male with a female soul") in character. It is absolutely your right to believe this but using it as a lens through which to study the science is problematic. I will not discuss this view, pro or con, in any sort of metaphysical way, but will rather discuss the very specific question of whether or not homosexuals and trans-identified individuals (of any orientation) have brains which resemble those of the opposite sex.

On to the subject at hand. The problems with this interpretation are numerous. First of all, especially up until recently, almost all of these studies were done on trans-identified males (TiMs, i.e. natal male but female-identifying) of what Blanchard would call the "homosexual-transsexual" type, i.e. androphilic and effeminate persons born as men, which is the very group, absent the trans-identification, for which the strongest evidence for cross-sex brain differences exists as set out above. As for gynephilic TiMs at worst they have been excluded from studies and most studies didn't control for sexual orientation. Also, non-androphilic TiMs were typically not given access to transition clinics ("gatekeeping") until relatively recently so studies drawing on this population inherently excluded them. There has also been an apparent rise in this population as well as a corresponding one in androphilic TiFs, so earlier studies didn't even have good access to this population if they tried (they typically didn't). What's worse, many of the individuals studied were taking hormones (e.g. Carillo et al., 2000) and/or had undergone surgery. Incidentally, the intersex genetic males with complete androgen insensitivity syndrome (CAIS) who externally present as and are typically socialized, as female although their chromosomes and internal sex organs are male, perform as females do (Hemmen et al., 2014). As mentioned above, there are suggestions that in natal females, hormonal levels are related to the measures of "brain sex" which are more frequently studied. This alone should put these studies into question. When we look at gynephilic (female-attracted) trans-identified males, the purported differences disappear. See Sevic and Arver (2011) which n.b. dealt with structural differences rather than the functional differences I've been mostly discussing above (although for the purposes of our discussion the differences on both front have basically the same results and implications.)

Burke, Manzouri and Savic (2017) builds on this. I'll quote the abstract in full:


In other words, the cross-sex brain differences noted in trans-identified people are correlates of the gender they are attracted to (i.e. with respect to their natal sex, they are correlates of the same brain differences noted in homosexuals.) Trans-identified persons attracted to the opposite of their birth sex do not demonstrate these differences. It is tempting to bring up Blanchard here as he too divided trans-identified persons primarily based on their sexual orientation. However, this is a bit too cute, as there's no evidence at least here of a neuroanatomical correlate of autogynephilia but rather one a correlate of gender dysphoria in trans-identified persons regardless of natal sex or sexual orientation. However, this is not a part of the brain which is "gendered" in persons who are not trans-identified, regardless of sexual orientation. This has been repeatedly shown elsewhere.

It is not in line with the science to put forth a hypothesis of an essential gender identity and to locate it in the brain. The strongest claim that you can make is that effeminate gay men (and to a lesser extent masculine lesbians) have a response to very specific neurological studies that appears cross-sex,more so than non-GNC ones, even other homosexual, but these still have some degree of cross-sex brain differences. Unfortunately GNC heterosexuals argen't studied, and unfortunately degree of GNC, Blanchard typology, and certain other differences between trans-identified persons hasn't been studied either but there is no evidence whatsoever for cross-sex brain differences in gynephilic TiMs or androphilic TiFs and furthermore there is no evidence that these are different from non-trans-identified homosexual and especially persons with the same sexual orientation who are both GNC and homosexual.

TL;DR - There are significant differences in the brains of trans-identified persons but they are not related to differences in "brain sex." Cross-sex differences in trans-identified persons are attributable to their sexual orientation, not their trans-identification.

I will address later on some of your other points e.g. on sports, hormone blockers, the social construction of gender, and reactionary politics (or lack thereof) as well as some other stuff said by you and others since, but I hope this response was interesting and will get read. Cheers.

Like I said a few posts ago, I'll always admit when I'm wrong and I certainly was in this instance.
I haven't followed any of your links let, but I definitely will do so later this evening when I have the time to do so more thoroughly.

Do you work in a related field or anything? I'm curious as to how you have so much knowledge and have retained so much information in this area?
 

aemetha

Bluelighter
Joined
May 7, 2017
Messages
211
@SKL, apologies for not addressing your response earlier. I think an important comparison was raised earlier which highlights where the distinction lies, medically.
Is body dystopia a mental illness?
Yes, it is. Oftentimes insurance will pay for cosmetic procedures in such cases too, as well as in the case of eating disorders. There is some evidence that procedures such as breast augmentation can improve the self-image of individuals in this category and relieve distress and impairment.

This really ties into the medicalization of mental illness. Medicine is essentially concerned with preserving life and uses that as the only significant measure of how well it is working. It is a reductionist view which asserts the binary proposition of a person either being ill or well. As @SKL rightly points out, this gets complicated in cases like GD and BD. You have to be declared ill in order to receive treatment from the medical institution. It actually skews the statistics in an unrecoverable manner because we cannot know how many people are experiencing real distress or impairment and how many are misrepresented, either by themselves or their physicians, in order to receive treatment. Our health systems are largely reactive - we wait until someone is actually ill before we treat them. With mental illnesses, most of which are progressive, a more prophylactic approach to living well and offering treatments before the gatekeeper criteria of "clinically significant impairment or distress" might well result in less demand for urgent acute treatments. That would require a wholesale restructuring of our health systems though.

I thought mental illnesses were a unstigmatised as well so there's no real problem with having one, surely being mismatched one way or another is not really "normal" and would need to be assessed mentally?
This is an aspirational goal of mental health advocates. The truth is that this is not the case. One only need look to the gun debates that take place regularly in the US where mental health is so often used as a scapegoat when the violence is most often committed by individuals who have not, and could not properly, be diagnosed with a mental illness. The mentally ill face massive stigma and it's entirely understandable why trans-identifying individuals would not want to be labelled as mentally ill. As far as being mismatched being normal or not, that's not really a medical issue, that's a societal one. What is normal is determined by society, so if society determines that it's not sufficiently abnormal and is not significantly impairing or distressing (as appears to be the judgement in the current version of the DSM) then it doesn't require assessment.
 

SKL

Bluelight Crew
Joined
Sep 15, 2007
Messages
14,793
Do you work in a related field or anything? I'm curious as to how you have so much knowledge and have retained so much information in this area?
I'm not sure how related I would say that my field is. I am not an academic although I certainly know how to read theory and research papers. My clinical work is largely with severely ill psychiatric inpatients but I have also had stints working with a similar population on an outpatient business. I have no particular experience with trans-identified patients, certainly not in dealing with the related medical interventions (nor would I, I have to say the least some reservations on how this is currently done), nor do I think I've worked with a notable (i.e. particularly disproportionate) number of patients with other LGBTQ identities.

My knowledge about transgender issues comes from academic research but I've also taken it upon myself to research the issues in relevant online communities used by both trans-identifying persons and those with more critical opinions. My particular interest in transgender issues comes from the fact that I've worked extensively with certain populations of vulnerable young women, particularly those with trauma histories and personality disorders, and this population is very close to my heart (ironically I have also done some work with sexual offenders which would mean I've worked with both abusers and their victims, probably leading to my interest in psychosexual matters).

These young natal females are a group in which (FtM) trans-identification has very recently gone off the charts. I have more or less not been around to witness this spike personally as currently and for a number of years I have been not working, voluntarily and for addiction-related reasons. I will be working again in the near future and no doubt encountering significantly larger numbers of trans-identifying people of both natal sexes and both orientations, so I thought it prudent to educate myself on all aspects of the issue, particularly the phenomenon of trans-identification and related medical intervention in specific populations of young natal females, where both were previously exceedingly rare and now increasingly common, i.e. so-called "rapid onset gender dysphoria (ROGD)". This is also something I've expanded upon at some length several pages ago.

More and meatier replies later. I produce the best content when actually in dialogue with others :) I don't mean to toot my own horn but I do believe I have a lot of good and unbiased information and perspective to share.
 
Last edited:

ChemicallyEnhanced

Bluelighter
Joined
Apr 29, 2018
Messages
6,046
Location
UK
I originally intended to respond in considerably less depth and with considerably more flippancy here, but I've instead decided to treat these questions in a little more depth and with a little more charity because I understand why you might have this perspective. I hope you and others read the following (particularly as you actually asked for studies) although it will probably be long. I understand that people don't want to trudge through pages and pages of long posts, but I've actually talked a lot about stuff that people have addressed recently. As far as this question goes, however, I'm going to go into greater depth, and with better citations, than I have before. So here goes. I've also included citations in a more formal way, I hope you also check them out if only to make sure I'm not bullshitting you. The argument I will be making, in brief, is that observed brain differences which seem to be "gendered" in trans-identified persons are actually attributable to sexual orientation and general gender non-conformity and that entirely different brain structures may relate to gender dysphoria and/or trans-identification.

I can understand why this brain-sex theory is a tempting position to adopt on both assertions you make (homosexual brain differences are bullshit and transgender ones real) and I think in both cases it is traceable to misconceptions about "brain sex" to begin with. First of all, the whole concept is not without controversy (Rippon 2019, link is to a review). The term itself, what is more, is a bit of a misnomer. The purported neurological correlates of sex are both structural and, more compellingly, functional (probably the best-studied difference has to do with what is called "mental rotation tasks.") Nobody is saying that these differences are the sources of masculinity and femininity. As far as homosexuals go, and I'll speak here more often about gay men than lesbians because they are significantly better studied, nobody is saying that "feminine" brain differences in gay men means that all androphilic (male-attracted) males are effeminate, which is so demonstrably untrue as to be laughable. Anyone who knows any even remotely significant number of gay men (or lesbians) knows that, contrary to stereotypes, gender presentations are diverse. I am sure there have been multiple studies about this, although I don't have one on hand to cite, but it is obvious both that homosexuals have a diversity of gender presentation and that gender non-conformity (GNC) is much more frequently observed in homosexuals than heterosexuals.


Now onto sex-related brain differences. It has been repeatedly found that men are better at these tasks (Griksiene et al. 2019), which involve spatial perception. Evidence "suggests distinct strategies being implemented depending on the difficulty of the rotation. Men performed the task more accurately than women." It is the thesis of Dr. Rippon that these differences are not inborn but rather due to what is called in this context "gendered socialization," or rather, having grown up and been raised as male or female. The differences have actually been at least sometimes found to be influenced by hormones, which brings Dr. Rippon's thesis at least partially into question and presents an interesting question as it comes to MtF transsexuals (by which I mean natal males undergoing cross-sex hormonal treatment*) as the study I just cited states "performance accuracy in [natal] women tended to be negatively related to estradiol while the response time tended to increase with increasing progesterone. There were no associations with testosterone." This has been replicated although the association with testosterone is disputed, c.f. Hausmann et al. (2000) More on this and it's implications later.

(*I use terms in very specific ways in this and all my posts. As a lot of people probably have not been bearing with me since the beginning, I'll try to define them as we go.)

When I say the term "brain sex" is a "misnomer," I do so because it is not as if these sexed differences in brain are direct correlates with what we usually consider gendered differences in the behavior and cognition (no doubt some joker is out there is thinking that the "mental rotation of 3D objects" has to do with parallel parking, but I'm only saying that as a bit of comic relief. In general, when I talk about "gendered behavior" I'm talking in broader and larger strokes than that.) As for the question at hand, this speaks to what I would imagine is one of your stronger objections to the findings of more "feminine" brains in gay men. Some evidence also exists for more "masculine" brains in lesbians but the evidence is significantly weaker and, as is all too often the case, men are much more frequently studied than women. Good evidence also exists that gender nonconformity in homosexuals (i.e. effeminate gay men and masculine lesbians) is associated with more significant cross-sex brain differences than sexual orientation alone.

Let's have a look at what is I think is the most recent study, Folkierska-Żukowska et al. (2019), which finds:

Rahman et al. (2017) find:

I could go on for quite some time citing similar studies, but it is fair to say both that the science is convincing that there are some cross-sex differences in gay men as a whole and some groups of gay men in particular, but that the evidence is not as strong as perhaps previously thought (brain differences in homosexuals have been observed for decades, and given varying sorts of social and political interpretations. The differences were at one time widely welcomed among gay activists as they were interpreted to suggest that homosexuality was a natural variation rather than a sin or pathology.) But nonetheless evidence for them is strong and, here we start to get to the crux of the matter, the differences are more strongly observed in gender non-conforming (GNC) homosexuals (unfortunately, GNC heterosexuals, a much rarer and less-studied group, are not included as a control.)

This brings us to studies of the trans-identified brain. There have been a number of this subject, as well, and they have also been given varying interpretations. The interpretation that it sounds like you are running with is that cross-sex differences in the trans-identified male is evidence that they are in some sense ontologically female ("trans women are women.") To break this down, this is a claim that there is a "gender identity" which need not correspond with natal sex which is (a) inherent, (b) essential, and (c) stable. I have criticized this view at some length here and it is I think rather beyond the scope of the current discussion but I think worth mentioning at this point. Suffice to say, this view is, in and of itself, nonfalsifiable and is ideological if not outright theological (to wit, "natal male with a female soul") in character. It is absolutely your right to believe this but using it as a lens through which to study the science is problematic. I will not discuss this view, pro or con, in any sort of metaphysical way, but will rather discuss the very specific question of whether or not homosexuals and trans-identified individuals (of any orientation) have brains which resemble those of the opposite sex.

On to the subject at hand. The problems with this interpretation are numerous. First of all, especially up until recently, almost all of these studies were done on trans-identified males (TiMs, i.e. natal male but female-identifying) of what Blanchard would call the "homosexual-transsexual" type, i.e. androphilic and effeminate persons born as men, which is the very group, absent the trans-identification, for which the strongest evidence for cross-sex brain differences exists as set out above. As for gynephilic TiMs at worst they have been excluded from studies and most studies didn't control for sexual orientation. Also, non-androphilic TiMs were typically not given access to transition clinics ("gatekeeping") until relatively recently so studies drawing on this population inherently excluded them. There has also been an apparent rise in this population as well as a corresponding one in androphilic TiFs, so earlier studies didn't even have good access to this population if they tried (they typically didn't). What's worse, many of the individuals studied were taking hormones (e.g. Carillo et al., 2000) and/or had undergone surgery. Incidentally, the intersex genetic males with complete androgen insensitivity syndrome (CAIS) who externally present as and are typically socialized, as female although their chromosomes and internal sex organs are male, perform as females do (Hemmen et al., 2014). As mentioned above, there are suggestions that in natal females, hormonal levels are related to the measures of "brain sex" which are more frequently studied. This alone should put these studies into question. When we look at gynephilic (female-attracted) trans-identified males, the purported differences disappear. See Sevic and Arver (2011) which n.b. dealt with structural differences rather than the functional differences I've been mostly discussing above (although for the purposes of our discussion the differences on both front have basically the same results and implications.)

Burke, Manzouri and Savic (2017) builds on this. I'll quote the abstract in full:


In other words, the cross-sex brain differences noted in trans-identified people are correlates of the gender they are attracted to (i.e. with respect to their natal sex, they are correlates of the same brain differences noted in homosexuals.) Trans-identified persons attracted to the opposite of their birth sex do not demonstrate these differences. It is tempting to bring up Blanchard here as he too divided trans-identified persons primarily based on their sexual orientation. However, this is a bit too cute, as there's no evidence at least here of a neuroanatomical correlate of autogynephilia but rather one a correlate of gender dysphoria in trans-identified persons regardless of natal sex or sexual orientation. However, this is not a part of the brain which is "gendered" in persons who are not trans-identified, regardless of sexual orientation. This has been repeatedly shown elsewhere.

It is not in line with the science to put forth a hypothesis of an essential gender identity and to locate it in the brain. The strongest claim that you can make is that effeminate gay men (and to a lesser extent masculine lesbians) have a response to very specific neurological studies that appears cross-sex,more so than non-GNC ones, even other homosexual, but these still have some degree of cross-sex brain differences. Unfortunately GNC heterosexuals argen't studied, and unfortunately degree of GNC, Blanchard typology, and certain other differences between trans-identified persons hasn't been studied either but there is no evidence whatsoever for cross-sex brain differences in gynephilic TiMs or androphilic TiFs and furthermore there is no evidence that these are different from non-trans-identified homosexual and especially persons with the same sexual orientation who are both GNC and homosexual.

TL;DR - There are significant differences in the brains of trans-identified persons but they are not related to differences in "brain sex." Cross-sex differences in trans-identified persons are attributable to their sexual orientation, not their trans-identification.

I will address later on some of your other points e.g. on sports, hormone blockers, the social construction of gender, and reactionary politics (or lack thereof) as well as some other stuff said by you and others since, but I hope this response was interesting and will get read. Cheers.

A few comments I wanna make:

1) I was not being ignorant about sexuality and gender-identity; for example, I STRONGLY agree with you that to suggest all gay men are feminine or all gay women are masculine is laughable. I even have personal experience of this as my childhood best friend (from ages 5-18....sadly he moved to Australia at 18 for a gap year and decided to stay there indefinitely) is gay and there was none "stereotype" or "feminine" about him at all. First time it I knew he was gay was when we were 14 and he kissed me.
It also goes the other way sometimes: not all straight men are masculine, and not all straight women are feminine.

2) Wow, the information about the rotation differences in males and females being caused by how they are raised (as either "male" or "female") is fascination. It just shows that a lot more than we know about these differences is actually related to socially constructed gender ideas rather than actual biological sex.

3) I don't believe in notions such as having a "soul", rather that a persons gender is a part of who they are; more of the mind than of the body. While I DO believe that transwomen are women and transmen are men, I also think it would be remiss not to make the obvious distinction that while transwomen are women, they are not biologically the same as ciswomen. Even after gender-reaffirming surgery (such as breast augmentation and penile-inversion vaginoplasty) and HRT, there are differences between ciswomen and transwomen. My (trans) friend Samantha has a YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/user/samproductions516 ) and she has videos where she talks more in depth about these topics and from a very informed perspective (as a transwoman herself). A lot of her video's are lighter in nature ("Reacting to trans character in Big Mouth, for an example) there are certainly some that provide very interesting information/theory on what we have discussed on here.

4) Interestingly, men and woman (biologically speaking) actually have the same amount of all of the same tissues when it comes to our primary genitalia. So this is just rearranged during bottom surgery so even the basic differences of biological sex are a lot less pronounced than has traditionally been thought (obviously thus does not apply to things like testicless, vas deferens, ovaries, fallopian tubes etc).
 

ChemicallyEnhanced

Bluelighter
Joined
Apr 29, 2018
Messages
6,046
Location
UK
I'm not sure how related I would say that my field is. I am not an academic although I certainly know how to read theory and research papers. My clinical work is largely with severely ill psychiatric inpatients but I have also had stints working with a similar population on an outpatient business. I have no particular experience with trans-identified patients, certainly not in dealing with the related medical interventions (nor would I, I have to say the least some reservations on how this is currently done), nor do I think I've worked with a notable (i.e. particularly disproportionate) number of patients with other LGBTQ identities.

My knowledge about transgender issues comes from academic research but I've also taken it upon myself to research the issues in relevant online communities used by both trans-identifying persons and those with more critical opinions. My particular interest in transgender issues comes from the fact that I've worked extensively with certain populations of vulnerable young women, particularly those with trauma histories and personality disorders, and this population is very close to my heart (ironically I have also done some work with sexual offenders which would mean I've worked with both abusers and their victims, probably leading to my interest in psychosexual matters).

These young natal females are a group in which (FtM) trans-identification has very recently gone off the charts. I have more or less not been around to witness this spike personally as currently and for a number of years I have been not working, voluntarily and for addiction-related reasons. I will be working again in the near future and no doubt encountering significantly larger numbers of trans-identifying people of both natal sexes and both orientations, so I thought it prudent to educate myself on all aspects of the issue, particularly the phenomenon of trans-identification and related medical intervention in specific populations of young natal females, where both were previously exceedingly rare and now increasingly common, i.e. so-called "rapid onset gender dysphoria (ROGD)". This is also something I've expanded upon at some length several pages ago.

More and meatier replies later. I produce the best content when actually in dialogue with others :) I don't mean to toot my own horn but I do believe I have a lot of good and unbiased information and perspective to share.

I think the boom in people identifying as transgender is a lot more to do with 1) the world (while it has a LONG way to go) is becoming more accepting, leading to more people feeling comfortable "coming out" as trans and 2) It is a lot more public knowledge know, and young people are understanding what it is to be transgender at much younger ages than in the past.
 

Perforated

Moderator: SLR, DC
Staff member
Joined
Sep 28, 2019
Messages
8,553
@SKL, apologies for not addressing your response earlier. I think an important comparison was raised earlier which highlights where the distinction lies, medically.

Yes, it is. Oftentimes insurance will pay for cosmetic procedures in such cases too, as well as in the case of eating disorders. There is some evidence that procedures such as breast augmentation can improve the self-image of individuals in this category and relieve distress and impairment.

This really ties into the medicalization of mental illness. Medicine is essentially concerned with preserving life and uses that as the only significant measure of how well it is working. It is a reductionist view which asserts the binary proposition of a person either being ill or well. As @SKL rightly points out, this gets complicated in cases like GD and BD. You have to be declared ill in order to receive treatment from the medical institution. It actually skews the statistics in an unrecoverable manner because we cannot know how many people are experiencing real distress or impairment and how many are misrepresented, either by themselves or their physicians, in order to receive treatment. Our health systems are largely reactive - we wait until someone is actually ill before we treat them. With mental illnesses, most of which are progressive, a more prophylactic approach to living well and offering treatments before the gatekeeper criteria of "clinically significant impairment or distress" might well result in less demand for urgent acute treatments. That would require a wholesale restructuring of our health systems though.


This is an aspirational goal of mental health advocates. The truth is that this is not the case. One only need look to the gun debates that take place regularly in the US where mental health is so often used as a scapegoat when the violence is most often committed by individuals who have not, and could not properly, be diagnosed with a mental illness. The mentally ill face massive stigma and it's entirely understandable why trans-identifying individuals would not want to be labelled as mentally ill. As far as being mismatched being normal or not, that's not really a medical issue, that's a societal one. What is normal is determined by society, so if society determines that it's not sufficiently abnormal and is not significantly impairing or distressing (as appears to be the judgement in the current version of the DSM) then it doesn't require assessment.

Mental health has also historically been an almost coercive practice designed to treat manifest behavioural deviancies. That is, people were treated when their behaviour was deemed to be too far from the societal norm. Because the relationship between biology and behaviour was so poorly understood it tended to be carceral and people were locked up and essentially given quack treatments or rudimentary medications. Of course, in every age there were exceptions to this and some more enlightened practices amongst isolated practitioners.

Although seriously aberrant behaviour may still get you locked up if you are a physical danger to yourself or others, mental health has changed enormously in that it is increasingly based on individual subjectivity with a concurrent increase in the emphasis on self-reported feelings. However, given the diversity of human feeling and the fact that dissatisfaction (with things in general) is probably an evolutionary trait, the idea of a psychiatric or psychological pathology has expanded enormously. To the extent that any individual can feel completely satisfied with themselves and their circumstances almost anybody has become a candidate for mental help.

ALso @SKL, in your long argument and explanation of the science above you seemed to indicate that some male homosexuals enact or feel gender-noncomformity when young. The research included such homosexuals as a distinct category. Now, there is a lot of argument from homosexuals and lesbians that gender ideology that advances early medicalised intervention to affirm the expressed identity erase the L & G categories. If childhood or youthful gender non-conformity is a known phase many homosexuals go through, then that potentially makes homosexuals a high-risk group in terms being incorrectly medicalised before their full sexual and gender identities emerge. However, trans activists have made suggesting that gender non-conformity is in fact possibly a phase tantamount to pushing that child towards suicide. Naturally, given the increasing pervasiveness of the affirmation strategy within education systems homosexuals are very worried about their own erasure as a category.
 
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Burnt Offerings

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ALso @SKL, in your long argument and explanation of the science above you seemed to indicate that some male homosexuals enact or feel gender-noncomformity when young. The research included such homosexuals as a distinct category. Now, there is a lot of argument from homosexuals and lesbians that gender ideology that advances early medicalised intervention to affirm the expressed identity erase the L & G categories. If childhood or youthful gender non-conformity is a known phase many homosexuals go through, then that potentially makes homosexuals a high-risk group in terms being incorrectly medicalised before their full sexual and gender identities emerge. However, trans activists have made suggesting that gender non-conformity is in fact possibly a phase tantamount to pushing that child towards suicide. Naturally, given the increasing pervasiveness of the affirmation strategy within education systems homosexuals are very worried about their own erasure as a category.

I thought that L & G refers to sexual orientation, while trans refers to someone's gender identity?
 

Perforated

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I thought that L & G refers to sexual orientation, while trans refers to someone's gender identity?
It does. But it can become confusing if you use preferred pronouns. For example you might say "she is a lesbian" but be referring to somebody with a penis and testicles who identifies as a woman and sexually prefers women. That's why @SKL 's nomenclature of 'natal' male or female and FtM and MtF transexual helps keep everyone on the same page in detailed discussions.

There is also apparently a trend to take say butch natal females who like women and affirm them as FtM transexuals. Thus making them heterosexual, rather than lesbians they might have been prior to trans ideology taking root. The converse also applies to effeminate natal males who get 'affirmed' as MtF transexuals whao are then seen as straight rather than gay if they like males.
 

PriestTheyCalledHim

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It does. But it can become confusing if you use preferred pronouns. For example you might say "she is a lesbian" but be referring to somebody with a penis and testicles who identifies as a woman and sexually prefers women. That's why @SKL 's nomenclature of 'natal' male or female and FtM and MtF transexual helps keep everyone on the same page in detailed discussions.

There is also apparently a trend to take say butch natal females who like women and affirm them as FtM transexuals. Thus making them heterosexual, rather than lesbians they might have been prior to trans ideology taking root. The converse also applies to effeminate natal males who get 'affirmed' as MtF transexuals whao are then seen as straight rather than gay if they like males.
That is very true.

I have a friend that is gay and lipstick or hyper-effeminate and sometimes dresses up in drag for fun or before going to CD/TV bars in the City or for LBG events for drag queens, his sister is a butch lesbian and not femme/lipstick. If they were from Gen Z they would probably be labeled as being 'trans', put into trans conversion therapy, and pressured to take hormones and have a sex change surgery, despite the fact that neither of them are transgender/transsexual/non-binary 'gender queer', etc. At all.

I have two bisexual but very androgynous friends who are from Gen X like me, they too would be put into trans conversion therapy, told to take hormones, get surgery, etc. when neither of them are trans at all.

I am hyper-masculine and bisexual, but I am not camp/femme/hyper-effeminate. I am fine with being friends with men and women who are into drag, or who are femme/effeminate men or butch women, as well as trans people, but platonic friendship is as far as it goes.

Re: deadnaming and misgendering.

Unless you are under 35 or in your 20s and spend too much time on twatter and social media they are not the major issues people make them out to be.

The first two trans people I met, both MTF would freely and openly talk about their previous lives as men or identifying as male/a man, their previous male names, etc.

They both told me how when someone transitions that people calling them their former name and misgendering are going to happen, and that it takes time for other people to adjust to calling the trans person by the pronouns and new name he/she/they want to be called.

They both told me how transitioning via taking hormones, having surgery on the genitals, etc. are not going to magically make a trans person's life 1,000% better, and make all of the trans person's problems all go away.

Both of these transwomen had decades of therapy and lived as men or the gender/sex they were born before ever deciding as adults well over the age of 21 to transition. The one transwoman was a baby boomer while the other is Gen X so maybe that is why they feel this way?

I know this is not happening with children/teens or young adults who are trans. There are De-trans groups where people who formerly identified as trans or who even had full or partial SRS try to reverse the SRS and stop taking hormones, etc. I am not sure how successful they are at this?

I have no issue with adults who are over age 21 who are trans or who discover they are trans taking hormones or having surgery, etc. But I draw the line at children and teens being given hormones and having completely irreversible SRS.

I have spoken to friends who are medical doctors and mental health professionals, they all said how with teens/children who say they are trans that they are super careful, do not always see them as patients or keep seeing them and when sex/gender issues come up they refer them to another doctor or mental health professional, and unofficially told me that not all teens and kids that say they are trans wind up being actually trans.
 
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