Our Transgender Brains

photo of head bust print artwork
Photo by meo on Pexels.com

We are so bent on role assignments. Who exactly doles out these roles? Well, usually it is the doctor.  Dr. Stephen Rosenthal, a Pediatric Endocrinologist at Children’s UCSF Benioff in San Francisco, stated
“We are basically given one of two sex rearing assignments when we are born. Male or female.”

Parents don’t stop to think about the fact that they choose their child’s gender based on their infant’s genitalia. Parents don’t realize that there is a difference between the gender of a child versus the sex of a child.  They think of these as one and the same. Parents raise them as boys or girls as opposed to just raising children. Most of the time, parents are proud to know the sex rearing roles given to them, hence; boy vs girl, without knowing that this is what has taken place. They often are excited, have already known for months in advance, prepared the nursery and basically written a script for their child’s gender role. They feel fairly competent in knowing the differences between a boy and a girl and do not require any additional study or test taking, that is until their child turns out to be a trans child. The child whose brain is truly different. Not warped. Not sick. Not weird. Just different from the cisgender child. Parents now look for textbooks, help, and support. Parents who have raised trans kids can attest to this. At the end of the day, the child is a child and really not much different except in their identity and expression.

The parents of trans kids who choose the happy child over the sad child, win. There is nothing more heart wrenching than not feeling as if your child doesn’t belong within this shell and having to perform simply for those who cannot accept your child for who they are. What is worse, is not knowing if your child will ever be happy or safe. Parents who accept their trans kids seek out other parents of trans kids and the discussions are paramount to their family structure and practices.

The families of cisgender children certainly have their struggles, but never have to think about bathroom issues or dress code (with the exception of those with a disability) quite in the way families of transgender children do.

I am trans and queer. I have beautiful children and grandchildren and a partner who “gets me.”  But who are we really? We are not acting. We are these very kids who grew up having to conform to societal’s social constructs of having to be one of the two binary ideologies and when we no longer could? Well …, everyone has their own story. Their own experiences. Some not so good. But, when parents support their trans kids, it is the most beautiful expression of love a parent could ever impart to their child. They are not our possessions. They are gifts. There is nothing more fulfilling than to have a child who expresses themselves in the image of love. Why is it we want to shame them? It is so terribly painful. It is wrong to make someone feel less just because they are different. We get too hung up on what others think when we should really focus more on how our children feel about themselves.

What about our brains?

We have this magnificent organ we seem to know so little about. Most of us don’t give it much thought and we just assume that this organ is somehow pre-programmed based on our genitalia. We forget that this organ is a muscle, and among many other very interesting features, it operates as a message center delivering mail via its neurons. Now for starters, I took this information directly from article.mercola.com.

1. Just know this…, “It weighs approximately 3 lbs or so. It contains a hundred billion neurons: 1000 to 10,000 synopsis for each neuron.”

2. “Our brain is 75% water. Blood vessels cover 100,000 miles in our brain. It is the fattest organ in our bodies and contains at least 60 percent fat.” article.mercola.com

3. “Within the first year, our brains grow three times its size. This means that the developing brain never stops working.” Why? Because we continue to make neurons so long our brains are kept active. Our brains continue developing all the way into middle age. I could go on and on about our brains, but I am going to stop right here with this statement. There is a very strong connection between our brains and bodies when we are cisgender.  However, when we are not, there is a disconnect. Much research has been done in this field for many different reasons that I won’t go into for the sake of keeping this related to the issue.

There are children as young as two who insist that they are not the sex they were assigned at birth. Think about this for a moment. We are given roles based on our sex assignment. According to Rosenthal, “…, we are given sex rearing assignments, but how do you assign a role?” when talking about gender variant children and transgender children.

I think most parents raise their children within the binary social structure, while a few may have children who vacillate between the two and some parents might be okay with exceptions to these rules, but may worry when the exceptions become more of the norm. Joel Baum, Senior Director of Development and Family Services at Gender Spectrum stated: “We have too many rules and not enough roles.”

Why is it that we only offer two? We have so many more to offer.

If children turn out to be really great at something, most parents would be proud. So …, does gender dysphoria have anything to do with roles? Does gender dysphoria have more to do with fitting in and being accepted as one or the other and does this affect their role? Does gender dysphoria ascribe to other sets of explanations? How do these children know they are different?

4. “Psychobiologist, Antonio Guillamon in Madrid, Spain at the National Distance Education University and neuropsychologist Carme Junqué Plaja of the University of Barcelona—were able to show through MRI’s that the brain structures of the trans individuals were more aligned with respects to their experienced gender than from those of their natal gender. The results were published in 2013.”

Much research is needed and remains ongoing to try to solve the many questions parents have. Some even blame themselves or each other, groping for straws in trying to come to terms with their transgender children.

5. “Scientists explain it in simple terms. “Guillamon says. ‘It is simplistic to say that a female-to-male transgender person is a female trapped in a male body. It’s not because they have a male brain but a transsexual brain.’” There are other types of research conducted in the Netherlands with the use of MRI and hormones with pheromone properties and to review this information just select the listed site included in this write-up.

What about intersex children? There are so many variances of intersex. Some overt while others are not identified until much later in life. Sometimes when the couple is unable to get pregnant, for instance. How will we treat these individuals when they don’t quite look the part?

Why do we get so sideways with the transgender issue? We have more information now than we have ever had before. Should we not be thankful for this? We are more educated now on this subject than even a decade ago. Don’t we want our children to be happy? Does it really matter? These are our upcoming stars in life who will turn out to be politicians, doctors, attorneys, brick masons, performers, teachers: the list is infinite. They will make the world a better place. A place where everyone may have a seat at the table without having their gender policed.

©An Goldbauer

1. article.mercola.com.
2. article.mercola.com.
3. article.mercola.com.
4. http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/is-there-something-unique-about-the-transgender-brain/
5. http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/is-there-something-unique-about-the-transgender-brain/

#Dr.StephenRosenthal

#JoelBaum

#GenderSpectrum

#Children’s UCSF Benioff Hospital

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s