health

Born this way? Researchers explore the science of gender identity

14 Comments
By Daniel Trotta

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transgender people are born that way

Just what the LGBT community wants to hear. That way they can blame their choices on their DNA.

-3 ( +5 / -8 )

People don't choose their sexuality. I certainly didn't choose mine.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Like everything to do with identity and feeling, this originates from within the mind. There is no alternative scientific explanation at the moment, as the article says. We see no evidence for there being any distinction between biological sex and gender (but there are obviously social 'gender roles'). There is no physical evidence to show that there are men trapped inside of a women's bodies or vice versa. This idea that biological sex and gender are completely separate flies in the face of science, in the same way we don't see any scientific evidence for the existence of a 'soul' despite the insistence of religious people. There are certainly genuine intersex people such as hermaphrodites, but this is not what we are talking about in 99.99..% of cases.

To put a finer point on it, yesterday I read an article about women who like to dress up as mermaids because it helps them escape the insecurities they have about their bodies and the stress of everyday life. I think this is fine and I support it. But don't start insisting that 'biological species' and 'genus' are somehow different concepts and that I am a bigot if I don't recognise these women as actual mermaids (if mermaids existed).

The big problem here is the unscientific social science ideology that drives much of the transgender movement (often by people who are not themselves trans). It is not without danger. It might sound benign, but it's no entirely different from the ideological pseudoscience peddled in Nazi Germany in the 1930s and 40s. Where people were ridiculed and ostracized if they refused to accept that Jews, Poles, Blacks, and Gypsies were actually biologically inferior to Germans on a physical level. We know this is not true according to our best understanding of science since all humans are nearly identical. Science can change over time with greater understanding, but until that happens these people are selling a purely a subjective alternative reality.

That said, we should do everything we can to accomodate people with whatever psychological struggles they face. It's the decent thing to do. If we can make their lives easier by changing the letters on their drivers licences or giving them bathroom privilleges, then let's do it if it's not too disruptive or costly. I really don't care what people do in their private lives until they start publicly denouncing science for ideological reasons. That creates a huge danger for society at large.

@Luddite

People don't choose their sexuality. I certainly didn't choose mine.

Your comment is actually very ambiguous. If you want to take a clear stand on the issue you have specify whether you buy into the idea that biological sex, gender, and gender roles are three completely separate phenomena, and that biological sex and gender are physically predetermined at birth, yet somehow independent of eachother (a claim which has no scientific basis at the moment). Because if you believe that sex and gender are the same thing and not a choice (the scientific consensus) then you can't believe that someone born as a biological man can ever be a woman.

-7 ( +0 / -7 )

The science is quite simple. Plastic packaging is known to contain a chemical that mimics oestrogen. This chemical has been leeching into the food chain for 40 years and the consequence is hormone imbalance in kids leading to gender confusion.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Well science usually points us in the right direction. What is the right direction? Living YOUR life the way it makes you happy as long as it doesn't hurt other people.

Being born a female for example and then wanting to be a man because you feel it, is what you should be is fine by me and millions of other people.

I don't think it is an illness or mental disorder to discover what you feel the happiest as. I do however disagree with "trans" going into opposite sex toilets/change-rooms etc. You need to respect EVERYONE in life. Simple solution is to make uni-sex change rooms/toilets everywhere. No need for this women and men toilet crap, it isn't the 1950s. Let's give all people privacy and comfort wherever we go.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Many family restaurants and shops here already got unisex toilets, nothing special or exciting about them. One person at a time = no prob.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Forgot. Just like at home, unless you got male and female toilets installed at home.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

How about having THREE public lavatories - MEN, WOMEN and ETCETERA?

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Nature is infinitely complicated. Look at the infinite variety of life forms and behavior. But we want it to be simple. It is not.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

It doesn't matter what you identify as.

Man: born with a penis.

Woman: Born with a vagina.

Mixed: The other seems to be a debate over whether the hermaphradite term vs intersex term is best.

Any of this nonsense about what you identify as because of whatever reason(s) you have, or any of the other jollical arguments are just mental health issues in disguise.

The only group of people who should have any decision making to do are the rare group who are born with a penis and vagina.

The rest, I hope you have a happy and fulfilling life and do as you wish under the law, but until you have been fully physically transformed from man to woman or woman to man, please feel legally bound to continue using the bathroom and other services of the sex that is currently easily identifiable inside your underwear.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Some comments here make me really sad. You have no idea what it means to live with a body that does not fit your mind.

I was BORN with my gender identity and only the terror of surgery and the firm belief in a next and better life keeps me from shaping my body to fit my mind. That, and the evaluations by psychiatrists, the humiliation of undergoing endless tests to prove what you have known since earliest childhood. No one I met in the internet ever questioned my gender - "course, that's a bloke, totally gay but a bloke nonetheless".

I've known from kindergarten that I didn't fit the stereotypes but what could I have done? Pretend I was anything I was not? I just hoped that, like my grandma used to say, was a late developer.

My heart goes out to the TG convict and I hope she does not read the comments posted on JT.

Gender identity is not about WANTING to be, it's about BEING.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Your heart goes out to a convict? That's classic, truly. These poor convicts just can't catch a break in life. They break laws, have a trial, convicted and then don't like the rules they must follow - boo hoo. I really wish all convicts around the world can have the happy, well-adjusted life they so deserve once behind bars. Yes, I really hope this convict doesn't waste their precious free internet time to cruise the comment section on JT. Maybe someone should start a GoFundMe campaign to pay for gift baskets with various necessities of life to help make their "stay" as comfortable as possible - down pillow and comforter set, cashmere bathrobe, lemon-scented relaxation oils/candles, membership to Cake-of-the-Month Club, etc.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

@RonriiUrufu

Thank you for at least addressing the actual issue. The fact that most of the comments here failed to discuss what was in the article or the contradicting claims of some in the trans community suggests that most people don't actually understand the controversy. I can't blame them since it's not an easy concept to wrap your head around.

Some comments here make me really sad. 

If you are talking about my comment, can you explain what about it makes you sad? To be honest, I don't think we disagree on much.

I was BORN with my gender identity and only the terror of surgery and the firm belief in a next and better life keeps me from shaping my body to fit my mind.

You say mind. Do you agree that gender identity manifests itself exclusively in the mind?

By the way, I think the idea that some coutries require you to undergo surgery before they offer you any accommodation is barbaric.

Gender identity is not about WANTING to be, it's about BEING.

What do you mean by BEING? If your 'gender identity' exists in the mind, in what sense can it BE anything. To be something that other people should have to recognise, it has to be capable of some objective analysis. The fact that science cannot go into your mind is why science cannot recognise you as the gender you are convinced that you are, at least not until they make some breakthrough discovery. Are we on the same page?

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

@gokai_wo_maneku

Nature is infinitely complicated. Look at the infinite variety of life forms and behavior. But we want it to be simple. It is not.

So now you are now taking a page out of the theological playbook. Science is so mysterious and infinite, so maybe one day we will also find physical evidence for the soul or god? Perhaps we will, but until then I'm not buying it.

We actaully have a word for all of the things that exist but science hasn't been able to prove yet: unscientific.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

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