LGBT activists previously argued gender dysphoria may be affirmed by discoveries about individuals’ genetics and brain development. Harvard University researchers, for example, explored this viewpoint in depth in a 2016 article titled “Between the (Gender) Lines: the Science of Transgender Identity.”
In studies published in 1995 and 2000, researchers looked at specific areas of the brain in both transgender adults and those who accept their sex. They found that male to female transgender people had specific brain areas more closely resembling that of gender-natural women, and the same for transgender men (females living as men).
The researchers also studied transgender people not taking hormones, and found similar results. They argued this indicates transgender people may be born with brains somewhat akin to those of the opposite sex, either due to genetics or hormone exposure as a fetus.
Further exploration into questions like this should greatly benefit medical personnel in helping effectively treat transgender patients. However, LGBT activists seem to have made a drastic ideological shift towards opposing efforts.
The University of California at Los Angeles’s Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior was preparing a National Institute of Health-backed study to better understand brain structures and responses among people living with gender dysphoria. The study was titled, “Gender identity and own body perception – implications for the neurobiology of gender dysphoria.” Its researchers were seeking transgender participants when LGBT activists demanded the study be shut down.
According to the physicians attempting to conduct the study, “We want to understand the neurobiology of gender dysphoria and the interactions between sex hormone therapy treatment, the brain, and the body phenotype.” However, the executive director of the local activist group Gender Justice LA objected, claiming the study “opens the door for advancing the highly disregarded and dangerous practice of conversion therapy.”
Gender Justice LA claims the study is designed to “trigger” gender dysphoria in those who have not begun treatment and therefore would be psychologically harmful to the participants. They asserted that because the study could be used “for the creation of therapeutics to treat gender dysphoria as one would treat anorexia” it could be used as a method of conversion therapy.
The California LGBTQ Health and Human Services Network circulated a letter to local LGBT communities urging transgender and gender-nonconforming people to stay away from the “dangerous” study.
“We object to the view that transgender people have an aberrant body image condition or that brain imaging of traumatic response could ultimately ‘help’ trans people,” the group wrote in the letter. “It is suggestive of a search for medical ‘cure,’ which can open the door for more gatekeeping and restrictive policies and practices in relation to access to gender-affirming care. At a time in which trans lives are under attack, we find this kind of research to be misguided and dangerous.”
Seemingly shocked by the backlash, the leading physician has paused the study until meetings with local LGBT groups can be conducted to better understand the objections and adapt the study to address their concerns. However, this is unlikely to be effective. The California LGBTQ Health and Human Services Network named the lead doctor, Jamie Feusner, M.D., in their press release.
They complained that Feusner primarily studies eating disorders and body dysmorphic disorder, which is offensive to LGBT ideology, which wholly rejects the idea gender dysphoria is problematic. The organization claimed this study is proof all similar studies must first go through research review boards by TGI (transgender, gender-nonconforming and intersex) organizations….
The above comes from a Feb. 15 story on The Federalist website.