Is it possible to be ‘born in the wrong body?’
The idea that children are born with an innate ‘gender identity’ which develops pre-natally and is impervious to environmental influence is not supported by any credible science.
Body and brain are interconnected; scientists have found no separate innate ‘gender’ area of the brain which is fixed at birth. Children’s brains are very plastic; they develop through interaction with people and the environment and they are constantly absorbing information and influences which shape them.
Research in neuroscience consistently confirms that although sex-based differences exist in regions of the brain, there is no 100% ‘male’ or ‘female’ brain and that all children are born with the potential to develop their own unique characteristics of behaviour, interests, talents and personality, regardless of their biological sex.
On this page we have collated recent studies and research in neuroscience as well as current research which studies specific differences in transsexuals.
The Modern Master of Sex
The Daily Dose (2016)
“Some researchers have proposed that certain brain regions differ in men and women, and that transgenderism results when one or more of these regions aren’t consistent with the individual’s biological sex. One of Vilain’s projects involves scanning the brains of male-to-female transsexuals for evidence of these “male” and “female” brain regions. He hasn’t found anything compelling so far — and neither have other researchers. Although he can’t rule out the possibility yet, Vilain remains skeptical.”
Sex Dimorphism of the brain in male-to-female transsexuals
“The present data do not support the notion that brains of MtF-TR are feminized.”
Association study of ERβ, AR, and CYP19A1 genes and MtF transsexualism
This research study investigated the possible influence of genetic factors on the etiology of MtF transsexualism.
Results: No specific chromosome aberration was associated with MtF transsexualism, and prevalence of aneuploidy (2.04%) was slightly higher than in the general population. Molecular analyses showed no significant difference in allelic or genotypic distribution of the genes examined between MtFs and controls. Moreover, molecular findings presented no evidence of an association between the sex hormone-related genes (ERβ, AR, and CYP19A1) and MtF transsexualism.
Hormone and Genetic Study in Male to Female Transsexual Patients
The hypothesis that transgenders have a physical marker in their genes was disproved by this research study:
Conclusion: This gender disorder does not seem to be associated with any molecular mutations of some of the main genes involved in sexual differentiation.
On the Expression of H-Y Antigen in Transsexuals
This study from 1986 disproved all other studies that suggested that the H-Y antigen (a main sex-determining gene) caused transsexualism.
Conclusion: We found no evidence of abnormal H-Y phenotype.
No Difference In Hormone Levels In Transgendered Youth
Science 2.0 (July 2015)
“Baseline characteristics of these individuals were published on July 21 in the Journal of Adolescent Health and include a significant finding: transgendered individuals have sex hormone levels consistent with the gender they were born with.”
Sex, Gender and Brain. A Problem of Conceptualisation.
Daphna Joel, Vienna 2012
Well worth watching for a comprehensive understanding of sexual dimorphism.
Sex Beyond The Genitalia: The Human Brain Mosaic
Rockefeller University New York (June 2015)
“Here we show that, although there are sex/gender differences in brain and behavior, humans and human brains are comprised of unique “mosaics” of features, some more common in females compared with males, some more common in males compared with females, and some common in both females and males. Our results demonstrate that regardless of the cause of observed sex/gender differences in brain and behavior (nature or nurture), human brains cannot be categorized into two distinct classes: male brain/female brain.”
Human Brains Are Neither ‘Male’ Nor ‘Female’
De-brief (December 2015)
“Rather than being a byproduct of design, researchers suggest that masculinization and feminization of the brain are two different processes that occur independently in different regions of the brain. Further, this process is affected not only by gender, but by environmental and genetic factors as well.
Specifically, we should shift from thinking of brains as falling into two classes, one typical of males and the other typical of females, to appreciating the variability of the human brain mosaic.”
It’s Time To Celebrate the Fact That There Are Many Ways To Be Male and Female
The Guardian (Dec 2015)
“This makes the notion of female and male natures as unintelligible as that of female and male brains. Which of the many mosaics that males display should be considered the male nature? Is it a profile of pure masculinity that appears to barely exist in reality?”
The Male and Female Brain Are More Similar Than Once Assumed
Psychology Today (Nov 2015)
“…a new meta-analysis of 76 published papers, involving over 6,000 healthy individuals, has debunked the widely-held assumption that hippocampus size varies by gender.”
Scans Prove There’s No Such Thing As a ‘Male’ or ‘Female’ Brain
New Scientist (Nov 2015)
“The idea that people have either a “female” or “male” brain is an old one, says Daphna Joel at Tel Aviv University in Israel. “The theory goes that once a fetus develops testicles, they secrete testosterone which masculinises the brain,” she says. “If that were true, there would be two types of brain.””
The Idea of a ‘Male Brain’ and ‘Female Brain’ is Likely a Myth
Slate (Nov 2015)
“Men and women are equal—and so are the architectures of our brains.”
Male/female brain differences? Big data says not so much
Science Daily (Oct 2015)
“Sex differences in the brain are irresistible to those looking to explain stereotypical differences between men and women,” said Dr. Eliot. “They often make a big splash, in spite of being based on small samples. But as we explore multiple data sets and are able to coalesce very large samples of males and females, we find these differences often disappear or are trivial.”
Why it’s Time For Brain Science to Ditch the Venus and Mars Cliche
Guardian (Dec 2013)
“It is biological determinism at its silly, trivial worst. Yes, men and women probably do have differently wired brains, but there is little convincing evidence to suggest these variations are caused by anything other than cultural factors.”
Getting in a Tangle Over Men’s and Women’s Brain-Wiring
Wired (Dec 2013)
“It’s possible that my male brain is wired more like an average female brain than yours, even if you’re a woman.”
New Insights Into Gendered Brain-Wiring or a Perfect Study in Neurosexism?
The Conversation (Dec 2013)
“To give a sense of the huge overlap in behaviour between males and females, of the twenty-six possible comparisons, eleven sex differences were either non-existent, or so small that if you were to select a boy and girl at random and compare their scores on a task, the “right” sex would be superior less than 53% of the time.”
Debunking the ‘Gender Brain’ Myth
ABC Science (Aug 2013)
“Fine says everyone is a mix of masculine and feminine qualities and there’s no fixed way in which the qualities line up. So being good at maths doesn’t make it more likely that you’ll be more aggressive, for example,” she says. That’s not to say that biological sex doesn’t make a difference in terms of the brain, brain development, or brain responsiveness, but it does undermine the idea of the male brain and the female brain.”