Saturday, 21 February 2015

Medical treatment for transsexualism found to be beneficial in the long term and more

Heya everybody,

Even though I’m still struggling with my cold, I managed to add thirteen new studies today, some of them highly relevant! Here is a summary of the most important points:

  • Ulrike Ruppin and Friedemann Pfäfflin (the doyen of gender dysphoria research in Germany) have published a new study in the “Archives of Sexual Behavior”, 2015. Called “Long-Term Follow-Up of Adults with Gender Identity Disorder”, it is one of the follow-up studies with the longest period covered. 71 participants were assessed an average of 13.8 years (10 to 24 years) after gender change. Because of the significance of this study, I quote from the abstract at length (emphasis mine): “Participants reported high degrees of well-being and a good social integration. Very few participants were unemployed, most of them had a steady relationship, and they were also satisfied with their relationships with family and friends. Their overall evaluation of the treatment process for sex reassignment and its effectiveness in reducing gender dysphoria was positive. Regarding the results of the standardized questionnaires, participants showed significantly fewer psychological problems and interpersonal difficulties as well as a strongly increased life satisfaction at follow-up than at the time of the initial consultation.”
    These findings are naturally very important when it comes to assessing the current medical treatment for transsexuals, but it also helps counter one of the current arguments used by transphobes (or more politely, people sceptical of the current scientific consensus). Since the overwhelming evidence points to gender role transition, hormone treatment and surgery having beneficial effects on the quality of life of transsexual individuals, people with an anti-transgender agenda have criticised the relatively short periods covered by high-quality follow-up studies, and hypothesised that any benefits of conventional treatment might be short-term only. Ruppin’s and Pfäfflin’s study certainly provides evidence to the contrary.

  • Turan, Poyraz, et al. find (in the “Journal of affective disorders”, 2015) that female-to-male transsexuals differ significantly in temperament from female cisgender controls. This probably adds more evidence to transsexualism having a biological basis.

  • Deutsch, Bhakri and Kubicek publish a study in “Obstetrics & Gynecology”, 2015, which finds that hormone therapy for transsexual women lowers blood pressure, and hormone therapy for transsexual men increases weight (I’m glad I’m a transsexual woman! 😏).

  • In the “Journal of psychosomatic research”, 2015, Colizzi, Costa, et al. find that hormone therapy is linked to a small increase in metabolic syndrome. This study somewhat contradicts the 2015 study by Deutsch, Bhakri and Kubicek, finding similar weight gain and also blood pressure increase in male-to-female and female-to-male transsexuals (naturally the results can only be compared if adjusted for age, psychological situation, etc.)

  • Jennifer M. Birnkrant researches the “Psychological functioning in families of gender variant youth” in her master thesis (Case Western Reserve University, 2015) and seems to find the families are doing okay.

  • Only just now (nine years later!) I came across an Internet survey about the “Attitudes Towards Transsexual and Intersexed People” by Rachel Heath (Technical Report, University of Newcastle, Australia, 2006). She finds that 61 % of her 413 respondents considered transsexualism to have a biological cause (initially I thought, yay – I can stop the work on this website; but then I realised the 61 % are of course heavily affected by sample bias: the study includes only people who know and care enough about transsexuality to take part in an online survey). Interestingly, “a social origin for transsexualism was supported by religious people who were regular churchgoers” which clearly shows that these people stick to prejudice rather than facts – after all, none of the revealed religions says anything about gender dysphoria in their holy books.

  • Wang I. Wong (I love that name) and prolific researcher Melissa Hines have published a new study on toy and colour preferences by gender (Archives of Sexual Behavior, 2015). It seems that toy preferences by gender are innate (as has been shown before), but colour preferences are more social, possibly influenced by the different colouring of gendered toys.

  • More from the innate gender differences front: Sharova, Shendyapina, et al. find (in “Human Physiology”, 2015) that magnetic resonance imaging showed differences in brain responses of healthy, cisgender male and female subjects.

So, that’s all for now… I still have a ton of exciting stuff to write about, but probably I won’t be able to do that today. Peace and Light ✨