Lead

Oct 20 16 11:54 AM

Tags : :

I found this article the other day on The New York Times and loved it.  For me it presents such a nice summary of what is known about gender dysphoria and transgender people:  How Changeable is Gender?

It really helps me, for example, to add confidence that my gender dysphoria is innate and inviolate.  It's not something I'm going to be cured of by resolving some past issues (of which there were many) or some other compulsion or disease.  If you have it, welcome to the club.  We're a small and wonderful group of people who simply have extra special characteristics that contribute to our uniqueness and value as individuals.  

Emma
Quote    Reply   

#1 [url]

Oct 20 16 12:45 PM

Thanks for this, Emma. There's a lot of good information in there and it feels like a really nice summary of where we are at with regard to understanding gender and gender identity.

From the article:
"Several studies have tracked the persistence of gender dysphoria in children as they grow. For example, Dr. Richard Green’s study of young boys with gender dysphoria in the 1980s found that only one of the 44 boys was gender dysphoric by adolescence or adulthood. And a 2008 study by Madeleine S. C. Wallein, at the VU University Medical Center in the Netherlands, reported that in a group of 77 young people, ages 5 to 12, who all had gender dysphoria at the start of the study, 70 percent of the boys and 36 percent of the girls were no longer gender dysphoric after an average of 10 years’ follow-up."

I'm not sure how they were running these studies, or how they determined what was GD vs. what was not. I do find it interesting that they mention that dysphoria can fluxuate and even seemingly disappear as the child ages. What they don't mention is that it can reappear later in life or simply appear in others (late onset) when it might not have been prevalent in their youth at all. Maybe that would ahve been too uch to tackle in this article, I don't know. Anyway, still plenty to study :)

Quote    Reply   

#2 [url]

Oct 20 16 3:00 PM

Yes, there is still lots to study, and I imagine that there are studies underway to track - as you said - those who as children reported GD and then desisted, and their rate of returning to GD later in life and when. Objectively determining these statistics is certainly fraught with difficulties for obvious reasons. If I was a parent of a child with GD who was approaching puberty giving them puberty blockers would be a very tough decision, especially if the child expresses something less than 100% certainty of their need. But even then it's tough to trust the decisions of an 11-12 year old.

I recently found a video on YouTube called "My Transgender Summer Camp" (or something like that). I couldn't help smiling while watching it and my therapist asked me that if I could have done that when I was in elementary school, would I? Absolutely. Certainly. No doubt. I think that would have been such a blast. It's tough having GD, being trans. But for children (and parents) these days there are some cracks in the ceiling.

Quote    Reply   

#3 [url]

Oct 20 16 6:23 PM

What if we don't have any innate gender identity? I'm not joking, and this is only a raw idea.

We don't have any innate gender identity, instead we have some initial state, probably blank state, and a couple of forces, that shifts your identity in some direction. If you have one dominant force, you will be cisgender ... or at 4 you will be sure, that you are trans. If you have second strong force which drives your self-image in opposite direction, you can be a crossdreamer, and so on. Some of that forces works conditionally, for example only in presence of testosterone, but most impotant is that they are not constant.

And our gender identity is only point of equilibruim, it's not something fixed. Well, now I have crude explanation, why gender is flexible.

Even if this hypothesis invalidates to some degree reality of gender identity, but well, underlying forces are real, and they are (at least most of them) not something that you can voluntary control. Your feminine force can be triggered by some trauma, but trauma is not important here, because you must have this rare feminine force in order to be triggered.

And why only trauma, or some other kind of issues must be the cause? I really don't get it. Why strong positive emotions cannot be catalyst?

Quote    Reply   

#4 [url]

Oct 20 16 7:18 PM

Nit having an innate gender identity was the original speculation which was famously discarded after an infants penis was accidentally damaged and it was decided to socialize and raise it as a girl. It ended tragically where the individual was extremely gender dysphoric, came out as a trans man, and (as I recall) committed suicide. Since then there have been additional experiences and experiments that confirm that assuming that there is no innate gender is wrong.

In my personal situation (YMMV) I was an only child, my mother was clinically depressed (committing suicide when I was 24), and my father was absent at work. I didn't have a close relationship with my mother. I also didn't have positive female role models. And yet, I always envied girls and females.

I don't know if my abuse triggered a desire for the better side of the mountain (female), or if I always wanted to be female. I think it's the latter because it fits what evidence I know about. That, and it correlates with increasing acceptance in science that gender is innate.

Quote    Reply   

#5 [url]

Oct 20 16 7:25 PM

We don't have any innate gender identity, instead we have some initial state, probably blank state, and a couple of forces, that shifts your identity in some direction. If you have one dominant force, you will be cisgender ... or at 4 you will be sure, that you are trans. If you have second strong force which drives your self-image in opposite direction, you can be a crossdreamer, and so on. Some of that forces works conditionally, for example only in presence of testosterone, but most impotant is that they are not constant.

And our gender identity is only point of equilibruim, it's not something fixed. Well, now I have crude explanation, why gender is flexible.

Agreed, I had considered this: the flexibility of the identity and the different ages of gender realization or cross-over.

And why only trauma, or some other kind of issues must be the cause? I really don't get it. Why strong positive emotions cannot be catalyst?

Agreed again.  Positive experiences can be the catalyst for feeling the "other gender" within.  

Quote    Reply   

#6 [url]

Oct 21 16 2:21 PM

Since copy and paste doesn't work, I still don't get how to quote text from another website on this forum...

Anyway, about brain differences, there is a factor that might have been overlooked: brain plasticity. If we go around thinking we are women a lot, maybe the "transgender brain" is the product of our imagination rather than something we were born with.

 

Quote    Reply   

#8 [url]

Oct 21 16 3:00 PM

lal2828 wrote:
Born with or imagined, I find things good either way.  image

I tend to agree. And may I add, that would go for MTF's and FTM's alike in regard to the gooey stuff upstairs.

It's probably pretty much for the same reason I've never been particularly interested in taking sides in the "autogynephila debate". I don't say I positively am a woman. I do, however, know what I want to be, and quite frankly, I don't care whether my reasons are considered "legitimate" or not.

Quote    Reply   

#9 [url]

Oct 21 16 3:57 PM

Monique wrote:
Anyway, about brain differences, there is a factor that might have been overlooked: brain plasticity. If we go around thinking we are women a lot, maybe the "transgender brain" is the product of our imagination rather than something we were born with.
 

Yes, brain plasticity can play significant role, but why this process actually works only in small minority of people? If you ask a random guy, "how often you have thoughts about you being a woman?", most probable answer would be: never. And it is not far from truth. Even if some guy asks himself, what kind of life I would have if I was born female, this is definitely not a question that can lead to big changes.

Quote    Reply   

#10 [url]

Oct 22 16 4:32 AM

Barbara Haskell wrote:

Monique wrote:
Anyway, about brain differences, there is a factor that might have been overlooked: brain plasticity. If we go around thinking we are women a lot, maybe the "transgender brain" is the product of our imagination rather than something we were born with.

 

Yes, brain plasticity can play significant role, but why this process actually works only in small minority of people? If you ask a random guy, "how often you have thoughts about you being a woman?", most probable answer would be: never. And it is not far from truth. Even if some guy asks himself, what kind of life I would have if I was born female, this is definitely not a question that can lead to big changes.
 

The last sentence: I'm not so sure about that. We know consciousness affects the material level of reality in creating new neural connections when we learn things etc. So why wouldn't consciousness, indeed, in the form of something as potent as desire, affect brain structure as a whole over time?

Quote    Reply   

#11 [url]

Oct 22 16 5:59 AM

Monique wrote:
The last sentence: I'm not so sure about that. We know consciousness affects the material level of reality in creating new neural connections when we learn things etc. So why wouldn't consciousness, indeed, in the form of something as potent as desire, affect brain structure as a whole over time?

Yes, we can train out brain to some extent. But we need to repeat something over and over to achieve significant results, and we would'n do this training without motivation. So, why some people have motivation, and some people don't have it?
Brain plasticity is not limitless, and there are hard limits. If you are gay, no amount of "therapy" can change this fact. Propbably, when we learn something, we can count on new connections. But not in case, when we are trying to owerwrite old knowledge by something different.

Quote    Reply   

#12 [url]

Oct 22 16 10:33 AM

Barbara Haskell wrote:

Monique wrote:
The last sentence: I'm not so sure about that. We know consciousness affects the material level of reality in creating new neural connections when we learn things etc. So why wouldn't consciousness, indeed, in the form of something as potent as desire, affect brain structure as a whole over time?

Yes, we can train out brain to some extent. But we need to repeat something over and over to achieve significant results, and we would'n do this training without motivation. So, why some people have motivation, and some people don't have it?
Brain plasticity is not limitless, and there are hard limits. If you are gay, no amount of "therapy" can change this fact. Propbably, when we learn something, we can count on new connections. But not in case, when we are trying to owerwrite old knowledge by something different.

Okay, so what you are saying is while there is potential for some brain plasticity, it's not extensive enough to change the size and proportion of entire brain regions?

Last Edited By: Monique Oct 22 16 10:51 AM. Edited 3 times.

Quote    Reply   

#13 [url]

Oct 22 16 12:54 PM

My mistake, it is more about mind rather that brain.
Such effect can be seen in neural networks. You can train NN from a blank state to recognize almost everything, if NN have enough capacity to actually learn. But it is extremely hard and impractical to retrain already trained neural network. Actual topology of neural network doesn't matter here.

Assuming that our mind is actually a huge NN, we can ask a question, is self-image, or gender identity is something inborn, hardwired or is it initially in blank state and trained during our life? Or this part of NN is only partially trained?
Is it the same for all humans, or there are significant differences?
And can we consciously shift our self-image in desired direction?

I suspect, that we can't give good answer to last question without answering to all questions above, because answers is counterintuitive.
I must admit, I have wrote here a lot of incorrect things. My model with "forces" is far too simple to be realistic, and all ideas about "inborn" have no real meaning.

UPD: "gender core" is correct, not "self-image".
UPD: looks like there is no simple and satisfactory model.

Last Edited By: Barbara Haskell Oct 22 16 2:59 PM. Edited 2 times.

Quote    Reply   

#14 [url]

Oct 22 16 3:07 PM

All of those are really good questions. Thankfully for me, since I gave up on materialism, I think what is going on could be a lot easier to describe, at least superficially. Could be if your soul is predominantly female and thus you're unhappy with having to live life as a male, say possibly due to having spent a lot of lifetimes as a woman already (or small eternities in the astral) and being used to that, it will sooner or later, more or less, show up in your brain structure.
The brain, according to this idea, would after all be nothing more than the interface between your soul and the physical world, and it would be molded, if nothing else than by the input feelings given to it from your soul for processing.

Quote    Reply   

#15 [url]

Oct 22 16 8:15 PM

 say possibly due to having spent a lot of lifetimes as a woman already (or small eternities in the astral) and being used to that, it will sooner or later, more or less, show up in your brain structure.Th

This is why, dear Monique, I'm beginning to find reincarnation more and more plausible.  Eastern people have always integrated reincarnation into their religions.  It is also why androgyne figures appear the most in Eastern religions.  

Quote    Reply   

#16 [url]

Oct 22 16 11:22 PM

lal2828 wrote:

 say possibly due to having spent a lot of lifetimes as a woman already (or small eternities in the astral) and being used to that, it will sooner or later, more or less, show up in your brain structure.Th

This is why, dear Monique, I'm beginning to find reincarnation more and more plausible.  Eastern people have always integrated reincarnation into their religions.  It is also why androgyne figures appear the most in Eastern religions.  

You too? I'm so thrilled! image

At least I'm pretty sure consciousness survives bodily death, and I used to be a hardline materialist until just a few years ago (well, since my early 20's at least). The trigger in my case was the realization that after all, the physical materialist paradigm was unable to explain what the hell is consciousness.

Yes, do you mean to imply that the prevalence of androgyne figures would reflect the notion where through the lifetimes we go back and forth in gender anyway, and probably that if we so wished, we could be non-gendered in "the life between lives" as well?

It does follow from a belief in reincarnation (and in fact just the reality of the soul as distinct from the body) that gender is not fundamental, doesn't it.

"We live only to discover beauty. All else is a form of waiting."

- Khalil Gibran


If I cannot be a feminine traditional woman, what's the point of being a woman?

- Me

Last Edited By: Monique Oct 22 16 11:29 PM. Edited 2 times.

Quote    Reply   

#17 [url]

Oct 23 16 5:10 AM

I'm very surprised, but from pure materialistic point of view we can find indirect evidence of this.

From assigning intersexed people to one of another gender we know, that most of them accepts their assigned gender. Existence of dark crossdreamers, genderfluid people also suggests the same. in most cases socialization have upper hand over gender core. But definitely not in all cases.
This is counterintuitive, at least for me, but what else can we propose?

Next question, how masculine/feminine is average spirit? Only logical answer will be, there is normal distribution, where most spirits are androgynous and few spirits are more or less clealy feminine or masculine. Most models of what defines gender of spirit would clearly lead to Central Limit Theorem, which suggests normal distribution. This is also something counterintuitive for me.

If most spirits are androgynous, we can easily understand why socialization wins. But if stronly gendered spirit inhabit mismatched body, no amount of social conditioning could deal with this.

In my opinion, right answer to question, is gender something fundamental wil be: it is spectrum. For some people gender is clearly fundamental, for some is absolutely not, with all possible variations inbetween.
 

Quote    Reply   

#18 [url]

Dec 14 16 8:20 AM

If you understand a bit about neural networks already, and want a deeper, probably more accurate, model, go watch Computing Like The Brain, by Jeff Hawkins.

The part of the brain he describes is just the Neocortex, not the cerebellum or brainstem, or amygdala, the older mammalian and reptilian components which will be the centre of fight/flight, basic survival (food/comfort), and reproductive drives.
image
It's the neocortex that starts out as a mostly blank slate, (In his words, 'It has structure, but it doesn't have content'), which learns to find associations between patterns of sensory experiences, and to predict outcomes of repeated patterns, and connect sensory experiences with motor actions and the feedback from the emotional system, and so on.

So if you are born with a penis and you wear a dress or put on some makeup as a small 'boy', and you just find it fun and exciting, but your parents find you and catch you and they don't find it so fun or exciting, so they give you a very firm emotional stimulus in the opposite direction, well soon, like pavlovs dog, the idea of putting on a dress will somehow fill you with dread, and then the idea of putting on a dress will just not occur to you at all, and you have a 'complex' about ever being caught acting too much like a girl again.
image

Really the big problem seems to be all the women going around thinking they are men, rather than the men going around thinking they are women, but anyway...

So if you are transgender it's because of your cerebellum, brainstem and amygdala, but if you have a major problem with it and end up splitting your brain in half, and one part goes to work and the other part goes to your private fantasy space, well, that's because of your neocortex and the strict binary of socially acceptable behaviour defined by the environment that you were brought up in.

Yes, most spirits are quite androgynous.
image
​People like me are a bit of an anomaly.

Last Edited By: Xora Dec 14 16 8:42 AM. Edited 2 times.

Quote    Reply   

#20 [url]

Apr 12 17 9:57 AM

I hope that I've got it right that that reviewers had his tongue vey firmly in his cheek in that discussion of cuteness! If so its a very clever reversal of the usual trope that a woman' worth is measured entirely in terms of her cuteness! I'll confess,

I didn't work that until 30 seconds of the clip!

Quote    Reply   
Add Reply

Quick Reply

bbcode help