Wednesday 5 April 2017

Hormone exposure before birth affects sexual orientation

Heya everybody,

I just came across a small new study published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior. The study by Reinisch, Mortensen and Sanders, called Prenatal Exposure to Progesterone Affects Sexual Orientation in Humans examines data from older studies and comes to some interesting conclusions.

The study got actually some media coverage in several languages. Here is one link to the Medical Daily and another one to Warren Throckmorton’s blog, where the press release is quoted in full.

Even though the study is small, the authors believe they can draw sound conclusions. This is another piece of evidence for the influence of sex hormones in shaping the human brain and, as a result, human identity. Interestingly, while the study is about sexual orientation, the first sentence of the authors in the abstract of the study is Prenatal sex hormone levels affect physical and behavioral sexual differentiation in animals and humans.

On a side note: Some time ago I encountered a particularly vile commenter on Warren Throckmorton’s blog, saying that transgender people enable the rape of minors, which shocked me quite a bit at the time. The offensive comments have been deleted, I should have taken a screenshot to document the vitriol and hate some people hold for others. However, even this type of bizzare, vicious madness is no match for terrorists, who think that their opinion is so superior to the opinion of fellow human beings that they have the right to kill them. Oh, and they not only think that, they act on it, too.

Take care – Peace and Light ✨

Tuesday 21 February 2017

Anybody with SRS scheduled in Thailand?

Heya everybody,

I was contacted by a start-up called Junomedical. They work on providing independent, high-quality medical services based on the needs of patients. One of their innovations is an algorithm to help evaluate the quality of hospitals and physicians. From what I know so far, they seem to use a patient-centred approach, meaning that the patient is the customer rather than a number in a huge, state- or insurance-run health care system.

But that’s not what I wanted to talk about … I’ll do a post about their services in relation to gender dysphoria later. This is just a quick post to ask whether anybody from the US is scheduled to have SRS … well, I let them do the talking:

The Junomedical team is looking for somebody from the US planning to get sex reassignment surgery in Thailand at the beginning of March and would be open to share this journey with others for a documentary television series.

We have been assured by the programme and the production company that they are very sensitive in their approach. The journalist has been recognized for her nonjudgmental approach, and she has explored everything from our universal quest for love and fulfillment, to important social issues like religious freedom and gender identity. The program transcends stereotypes, reveals surprising nuances and opens people’s minds.

Please just send a quick email to Shaz ( if you're interested and we'd be happy to share more details.

So, if you know anybody who might be able and willing to participate, let them know. The short time frame might be an issue, of course – feel free to share the request to increase visibilty.

Take care and have a good week!

Sunday 19 February 2017

A quick update: Impact of sexual orientation, autism

Heya everybody,

I’m happy I found some time to do some updates! Finally ☺

I have added about ten or so new studies, but still have to upload them. I’ll do that soon, hopefully. ☺

A few studies that I found particularly interesting, warrant mentioning here:

One is Impact of Sexual Orientation Identity on Medical Morbidities in Male-to-Female Transgender Patients by Gaither, Awad, et al. (in LGBT Health, 2017). They used a large group of 330 male-to-female transsexual patients to measure sexual orientation (attraction to men, to women or bisexuality) and tried to find a correlation to other medical issues, including psychopathological problems. Their conclusion is that The majority of medical morbidities are not associated with sexual orientation identity. I believe this to be another nail in the coffin of Michael J. Bailey’s autogynephilia hypothesis. Differences were found with regards to depression (female-attracted male-to-female transsexuals suffer more from it) and HIV (male-attracted patients have a higher occurrence rate. Oh, and another interesting result: The share of the three sexual orientation categories was pretty much equal at about one third each.

Two other studies researched the link between transssexualism and autism spectrum disorders. One study (Evaluation of Asperger Syndrome in Youth Presenting to a Gender Dysphoria Clinic by Shumer, Reisner, et al. in LGBT Health, 2016) found a 23 % prevalence of autism spectrum disorders in a sample of 39 gender-dysphoric youth. The other study (Gender Variance Among Youth with Autism Spectrum Disorders: A Retrospective Chart Review by Janssen, Huang and Duncan in Transgender Health, 2016) looked at the issue the other way around, by trying to find gender-dysphoric childrens and adolescents in a large sample of autism-spectrum-disorder diagnosed patients. They found a much higher prevalence of about 5 % for gender dysphoria (in both natal males and natal females) in autism-spectrum-diagnosed patients than the 0.7 % in the control group. I believe this supports the hypothesis by Simon Baron-Cohen that autism is linked to unusual levels of sex hormones during early brain development.

Have a good Sunday evening! Peace and Light ✨

Saturday 14 January 2017

Brain differences in transsexuals

Heya again,

two posts in a row (to make up for the long hiatus?) 😏

This study is perfect to complement my last post, which was also about brain differences in transsexuals.

A new study by Guillamon, Junque and Gómez-Gil is called A Review of the Status of Brain Structure Research in Transsexualism (Archives of sexual behavior, 2016). They find:

Cortical thickness and diffusion tensor imaging studies suggest that the brain of MtFs presents complex mixtures of masculine, feminine, and demasculinized regions, while FtMs show feminine, masculine, and defeminized regions. Consequently, the specific brain phenotypes proposed for MtFs and FtMs differ from those of both heterosexual males and females.

Reviewed were studies about the brain structure of male-to-female (MtF) and female-to-male (FtM) homosexual transsexuals before and after cross-sex hormone treatment.

I’d say that’s another study providing evidence for the view that brain structures of transsexuals differ from those of cisgender people.

Peace and Light ✨

A YouTube video claims there is no evidence of a biological basis for transgenderism

Heya everybody,

happy new year, health and happiness to everybody ✨

Reader Alice, a young transgirl, was so kind to send me a link to a YouTube video by someone named Nicolas Kilsdon-Gervais, who claims to have extraordinary knowledge of what he’s talking about.

His point is that there is no biological evidence for transgenderism (as the headline says, sorry for the repetition). He starts by citing a number of studies about brain differences between cisgender and transsexual brains. All the relevant studies he cites, except for one, have been included on my website some time ago (phew - I did a decent job then 😏).

The studies he starts with are: Hoekzema, Schagen, et al. (Psychoneuroendocrinology, 2015) and Savic and Arver (Cerebral cortex, 2011).

These two studies are included in the references section 1.c: brains of transsexuals differ from their birth gender of my website. Both studies do find differences between transssexual brains and brains of a cisgender control group of the respective natal gender. Here are Hoekzema and Schagen:

However, region of interest analyses indicated less GM [gray matter] volume in the right cerebellum and more volume in the medial frontal cortex in female-to-males in comparison to girls without GD [gender dysphoria], while male-to-females had less volume in the bilateral cerebellum and hypothalamus than natal boys. Deviations from the natal sex within sexually dimorphic structures were also observed in the untreated subsamples. […] However, there are subtle deviations from the natal sex in sexually dimorphic structures, which can represent signs of a partial sex-atypical differentiation of the brain.

Savic and Arver state:

MtF-TR displayed also singular features and differed from both control groups by having reduced thalamus and putamen volumes and elevated GM [gray matter] volumes in the right insular and inferior frontal cortex and an area covering the right angular gyrus.

Nicolas Kilsdon-Gervais is correct when he states that neither study finds that transsexual brains are similar or identical to cisgender brains of their target gender. Both studies explicitly say so. But what Nicolas Kilsdon-Gervais doesn’t consider properly is that some differences between transsexual brains and cisgender brains of their natal gender have been found.

This is what to to expect if the theory of an innate biological gender identity is true: Imagine, for example, a female brain put in a male body. The male body does flood the brain with male sex hormones. The result will be brain structures that are different to both male and female cisgender brains.

The next study he’s citing is Kreukels and Guillamon (International review of psychiatry, 2016) (that’s the study I have to yet include on my website). What do they say?

Findings from neuroimaging studies focusing on brain structure suggest that the brain phenotypes of trans women (MtF) and trans men (FtM) differ in various ways from control men and women with feminine, masculine, demasculinized and defeminized features.

So, it’s the same things again – the authors see differences between transsexual brains and brains of cisgender people. I think this contradicts the point Kilsdon-Gervais is trying to make.

I can’t analyse the full video at this time, but I think this sums up the part about brain differences. My conclusion is that Kilsdon-Gervais is wrong, and probably quite biased against transpeople.

Peace and Light ✨