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Research shows gender dysphoria caused by trauma, which should be treated rather than entrenched through transitioning

(39 Posts)
stumbledin Tue 03-Dec-19 14:11:22

I've sort of simplified the research that has just been published, but it seems to be saying what has been obvious to just about everybody.

ie that disphoria is a response to "trauma" (ie not just an actual incident but the difficulties many adolescents experience). So it is completely wrong to confirm that disphoria by confirming it through medical treatment. Rather than the source of the trauma needs to be found and resolved.

And there is no such thing as the brain having a sex.

Have seen a number of news paper reports which all say slightly different things. Here is one

And I think this is the actual research article

The worry is of course that even though it is the conclusion of a researcher (ie not just "terfs" being reactionary) so many people have invested in the myths about gender that I suspect it will be ignored.

Its not just the big pharma companies who are making millions, but all those governments, schools, companies and charities, who wont want to admit that they have been taken in.

How do we reverse the tide?

Even articles exposing how cultish the campaign has been, working under the radar, trying to capture young people, haven't really make that much impact. Maybe in 20 or 30 years there will be a Panorama exposé - but think of the damage in the mean time.

Ereshkigal Tue 03-Dec-19 23:42:25

I've read this before but it was talking about very specific structure, not the whole brain. It was also quite limited sample size and didn't eliminate cross sex hormones as a cause.

And also where this effect is seen they didn't control for sexual orientation.

Ereshkigal Tue 03-Dec-19 23:43:19

Sorry missed your post, Kantastic

Ereshkigal Tue 03-Dec-19 23:45:29

Female-attracted transwomen do not, nor do they have brains "like women."

As far as I remember they had subtle differences in brain structure from both the control men and women in an area related to body self perception. Which is perhaps unsurprising.

nocoolnamesleft Wed 04-Dec-19 00:08:53

The full text makes a heavy read, but an interesting one, thanks. It does seem to draw together some very relevant points, doesn't it. More research needed, but a valuable direction to look into.

JanesKettle Wed 04-Dec-19 00:53:22

Sigh. It would be great to trial DBT. Works in other traumatised populations.

Didn't someone come here and tell us how terribly unethical it would be to offer DBT to teens, instead of the WPATH approved actions of giving cross sex hormones and progressing them on to bilateral mastectomy ?

(outing, probably, but my child's psychiatrist suggested DBT in relation to dysphoria. Can't afford it atm, because my mental health was worse than child's, so I'm paying for my psychotherapy, but outside of the gender clinic/Stonewall bubble, reputable practitioners are already recognising a role for trauma - just that hardly any adolescents see those reputable practitioners, even those practitioners have to practice social affirmation alongside their sensible therapeutic practice, and hardly anyone can afford a year's worth a DBT for their teen, even if they can find DBT practitioners who will take teens).

I really hope there is a massive change in how teens with GD are treated, and soon.

JanesKettle Wed 04-Dec-19 00:54:30

Re brain difference, weren't the TW differences most similar to differences in the brains of homosexual men ? And aren't most of the brain studies confounded, anyway, by TW taking cross sex hormones ?

caringcarer Wed 04-Dec-19 01:04:59

Place marking for later

Ereshkigal Wed 04-Dec-19 09:28:27

Re brain difference, weren't the TW differences most similar to differences in the brains of homosexual men ?

I'm not sure they've done that exact comparison. The study I know that controlled for sexual orientation compared homosexual MTFs with control women and men and heterosexual MTFs with control women and men. The homosexual MTFs had some brain structure similarities to women, the heterosexual ones did not have these similarities to women. They had different brain structure anomalies from both women and men in the area of the brain relating to body self perception.

stumbledin Wed 04-Dec-19 13:42:19

"I know detransitioned people who later discovered they had autism-spectrum disorders, detransitioned people who came to recognise that they were experiencing traumatic dissociation, even detransitioned people who had such severe dissociation that they had multiple “alters” (ie, multiple identities) while being treated with hormones and surgeries."

This is a quote from an article in the Economist - see

Yet again real people's real experiences are being disregard whilst self appointed specialist (mis)direct treatment / solutions.

NeurotrashWarrior Wed 04-Dec-19 20:39:29

My phrase was very clunky re "womens" brains, apologies. Referring to the research; I personally don't believe there can be measurable differences as it's too steeped in stereotypes and I'm with Rippon in how a "gendered world creates a gendered brain"

I would be very interested to see the same area of research the refer to applied to transmen and women and men.

Trauma / neglect is shown to have significant physical effects on the brain structure of you children so this does seem very plausible.

NeurotrashWarrior Wed 04-Dec-19 20:40:36

*They refer to

NeurotrashWarrior Wed 04-Dec-19 20:51:41

In particular, the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BNST) was found to have a smaller average size in male-to-female (MtF) transgender individuals, with a size more similar to that of an average cisgender female than cisgender male. For context, see the accompanying commentary (Breedlove, 1995). More succinctly, Breedlove was described in a New York Times article as expressing that the "function of the bed nucleus in human behavior, sexual or otherwise, remained ‘a complete black box’” (Angier, 1995). Interpretation of the BNST results at that time thus focused on the size difference rather than the function. As MtF transgender individuals had a size more similar to their desired gender than assigned gender, these data supported the theory that distress in gender dysphoria was due to an anatomical incongruence between brain and body sex.

If you read this carefully it's ridiculous that this was the interpretation as so many other factors have been ignored - plus it's and "average size" that's "similar" in size to the "average" woman than the "average man". There's more that's not said here than is said, including a missing element of how transmen compared.

Also, what does the "average" woman measurement mean? Average in Brain structure and size or average in likes and dislikes according to stereotypes?

OldCrone Wed 04-Dec-19 22:04:07

Just over 20 years ago, a publication reported the first observed neurobiological difference between cisgender and transgender individuals (Zhou et al., 1995).

It always pays to look at the source material. Here's the paper referred to: Zhou et al., 1995

Look at figure 3, which is the part of the brain being compared. There is an overlap in the size of the region of the brain between all the different cohorts. There were only 6 brains from transsexuals in the study, the results for 4 of them are within the range of the other subjects, both male and female, although they are at the lower end of the range for the other males. The other two are outliers where this region of the brain is smaller than in all the other brains studied.

Since the women's brains are smaller than the men's, you might expect any given region of the brain to also be proportionally smaller. I don't think any correction has been done for this (but I admit to a quick skim reading of the paper, so I may have missed it).

So it's not so much that they have a size 'similar to females', but that the size of this particular region of the brain in the transsexuals in this study is at the lower end of the male range. But with only 6 transsexuals and 42 brains studied in total, the results are inconclusive.

NeurotrashWarrior Thu 05-Dec-19 08:38:20

Thanks oldcrone. Really not enough data for me at all to be useful.

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