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    Transgender Brains More Like Their Desired Gender From Early Age



    Summary: A new study reports transgender people have brain activity and structure during adolescence that more closely resembles typical activation patterns of their desired gender.

    Source: European Society of Endocrinology.

    In a recent study, Dr. Julie Bakker from the University of Liège, along her colleagues from the Center of Expertise on Gender Dysphoria at the VU University Medical Center, reported that the brain activity and structure in transgender adolescents appears to be similar to the typical activation patterns of their desired gender. The study results indicate that differences in brain function may occur early in development and that brain imaging may be a convenient tool for earlier identification of transgenderism in young people.

    Transgenderism is the experience, or identification with, a gender different to the natal biological sex, where as gender dysphoria (GD) is the anxiousness experienced by transgender people, and may be present from a very young age. Although GD occurrence is rare, gender identity is an important part of psychological health, and if unaddressed, it can lead to serious psychological issues.

    Current approaches for addressing GD in younger people include psychotherapy, or delaying puberty with hormones, so that decisions on transgender therapy can be made at a matured age.

    The study included both adolescent girls and boys having gender dysphoria and used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans to examine brain activation patterns in response to a pheromone known to produce gender-specific activity. The pattern of brain activation in both transgender adolescent girls and boys appeared to be similar to that of non-transgender boys and girls of their desired gender. Furthermore, gender dysphoria in adolescent girls displayed a male-typical brain activation pattern during a visual memory exercise.

    The research revealed that both adolescent trans girls and boys display signs of hypothalamic response, reassuring the idea that trans brains are more similar to the brains of their desired gender identity than the gender associated with their original sex.

    Published: European Society of Endocrinology.

    Contact: Dr. Julie Bakker, University of Liege, Belgium.

    Details: Image source IStock


    Hi, I’m Aarti, My Psychoanalytical approach towards my clients is to empower them to better their lives through improving their relationship with themselves. I believe shame and guilt is a common barrier to change. I aim to guide my clients through re authoring their narratives where shame, guilt, and other problems have less power and take up less space.

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