What is transgender? Well, there are two sorts who seem to be covered by the name, the drag kings and queens so good at portraying cartoon imitations of straight people, and transsexuals, the folks who report that from an early age they've felt themselves trapped in the wrong bodies. Despite the equipment they were born with that belies their assertions, they say they are really men or really women.Later, the article was amended with the following preface:
What does it mean to be really a man or a woman? Since it's not about genitalia, it must be about personality, and what, one asks, is a male or a female personality? Even straight people nowadays concede that some men are the warm, loving type that used to be thought exclusive to women, and some women are the strong, action-oriented sort that used to be thought exclusive to men. And lesbians and gay men have always known that people of the same gender can be very different from each other. Isn't it true that those we form mated relationships with are always complementary - even polar opposites - to ourselves?
Let me state it categorically. There is no such thing as a male or female personality. Personality is not a function of gender.
So where does that put the concept of transgender? In my view, down the tubes! And that leaves the further questions of how transsexuals got to think the way they do, and what to do to resolve their dilemmas. I hope I'll be forgiven for rejecting as just plain silly the idea that some cosmic accident just turned these people into changelings. What happened, more than likely, is that, from an early age, when they discovered that their personalities didn't jibe with what little boys and girls are supposed to want and do and feel, they just assumed they mustn't be real little boys and girls.
So, parents of such little boys and girls, do not take them to the psychiatrist and treat them like they're suffering from some sort of illness. Explain to them that, whatever the other kids say, real little girls do like to play with trucks and wear grimy jeans, and real little boys like to prance around in dresses and play with dolls. And make sure the teachers are on the same page.
As for adults struggling with what to do about their feelings, I'd tell them too to stay away from the psychiatrists - those prime reinforcers of sex-role stereotypes - and remind them that whatever they're feeling, or feel like doing, it's perfectly possible with the bodies they've got. If a man wants to wear a dress or have long hair; if a woman wants short hair and a three-piece suit; if people want romance and sex with their own gender; who says they can't violate these perfectly arbitrary taboos? A short historical and cross-cultural survey should establish that men and women have worn and done all sorts of stuff. I recall reading something by Jan Morris in which it seemed that he thought he needed a sex change because he wanted men to hold doors open for him and kiss him goodbye at train stations. For starters, I'd have told him that I've had these nice things happen to me and I've still got my pecker.
Perhaps it isn't needless to say that a No to the notion of transgender does not excuse discrimination against cross-dressers or post-op transsexuals in employment, housing and public accommodation; and I strongly support legislation that would forbid it. I would, however, get after the doctors - the psychiatrists who use a phony medical model to invent a disease that doesn't exist, and the surgeons who use such spurious diagnoses to mutilate the bodies of the deluded.
Editors' Note: All posts published on Bilerico Project do not reflect the opinions of nor any endorsement by the Editorial Team. Many Bilerico readers and contributors have found Ronald Gold's op-ed offensive or needlessly coarse. The idea behind Bilerico Project is to encourage dialogue among different facets of the LGBT community that might normally never interact this intimately. We encourage all readers to continue responding to Mr. Gold in the same spirit his post was written - with positive intent while bluntly stating your own opinion and experiences.Later still, the post was removed in its entirety, though the comments remain.
My first comment on the subject:
A number of issues.Mr Gold replied to the several hundred posts taking him to task as follows:
My first reaction was to thank Mr Gold for substituting his ideology for my narrative, so I don't have to form opinions of my own. He knows what I think, and tells me what that is. But to say that is too snarky. Not useful.
The second reaction, looking through the comments, was to be amazed at how few ad-hominem attacks there were. The level of politeness was high, and I hope that this continues.
The third reaction - just because someone's opinion is unpopular doesn't mean it's not true. Mr Gold's queer-theory ideology is an integral part of a substantial proportion of the GLB movement, so yes, Bilerico is justified in publishing it. It's one thing to have a "safe space", another to suppress competing views.
I think it's pretty safe to say that while his opinions may be widely-held in the circle he moves in, they're not shared widely here at Bilerico. And none of the people he's talking about share them. Though of course, by his thesis they're deluded so badly they mutilate themselves, so their opinions can be safely discounted.
The question though is not how popular his opinions are, but how true are they? If they're obviously unsound, we should be able to calmly and matter-of-factly refute them with evidence, not rhetoric.
I think the level of FAIL here is so great that it deserves a full article, rather than just a comment. Heck, it deserves a book.
I'll condense things though and post a separate comment as a preface, if you like. Starting with this comment, not by a psychiatrist, but an MD and professor of urology. An expert in anatomy, biology, and endocrinology:We spoke for 2 1/2 hours on why cross gender identity was a normal inherited variation of humans. We showed how Transgender Brains think, smell, and hear like the opposite sex.
The fundamental issue is the boundary between the concepts of biological sex, gender role, and gender identity. Medical evidence shows that Gender Identity is part of biological sex based on physical measurements, while Queer theory insists that it must be part of Gender Role for philosophical reasons.
But to logically set out the reasoning to reach those conclusions, and to give the evidence, would, as I said, require a whole article. Not a short one, either.
I'll leave aside the morality of labelling some as "deluded" based on nothing more than a deeply-held philosophical belief system. A Faith-based set of beliefs of what *has* to be so, rather than what is. One thing we all have in common, Mr Gold included, is to be victims of that kind of thinking.
Woke up today here in Bangladesh to find not only that my post had run, but that I had a deluge of negative responses. Whoever said that I wanted to start off with a bang was right and, since my aim as a bilerico contributor is to take aim at some of the politically correct assumptions of our current movement, I was ready for a barrage of disagreement. I was distressed to find, however, that the bulk of the comments limited themselves to stating that I am bigoted, ignorant, abusive and too old.My reply:
One thing I regret about my post is that I failed to take on the question of gender dystopia head on. I concede I'm far from an expert on this, but I continue to believe that it is highly unlikely to have a biological basis (Is there any credible evidence for that view?; I'm willing to listen). So I posited an explanation based on societal pressure to conform to the gender stereotypes. (If there are other explanations, I missed them amidst the tirades.)The "conspiracy" I see is sex-role stereotyping, and the transgender concept, I suggested,is just that stood on its head. Yes indeed, people do tend to identify with one gender or the other. I attempted to inquire if that makes any sense. I'm in favor of gender-neutral restrooms.
My post was indeed an "attack on the very credibility of transgender diagnosis." and, for the record, I don't want to see ANYTHING in the DSM, which I view as a dead-wrong attempt to view human problems as pathology, and collect some insurance-company coin in the process. I don't apologize for using words like mutilation and deluded. That's what I think it is!
Next, somebody said, I'll be saying there's no such thing as homosexuality. As a matter of fact I think that's true (and no such thing as heterosexuality) and expect to say something along those lines in my next post, if I'm not hounded off the site.
Incidentally, I NEVER tried to keep drag people out of gay parades or any of the outrageous things a couple of commentators accused me of, and have no clue where they could have picked up such lies.
I wasn't trying to change the minds of 6 million people. I was attempting to open a dialogue with some of you who are willing. I hope to be allowed to try again.
Dear Mr GoldMr Gold then initiated a dialogue with me via e-mail:
Thank you for dispelling some of my own tentative misconceptions about you. Thanks also for starting to engage with your critics.
I think you still owe an apology for misgendering Jan Morris. That was nyeh kulturny rather than a product of lack of knowledge. I won't say "ignorance", as I think that has overtones that would be misleading, and indeed unjust to you.
As for the "mutilation" and "deluded" bit, since that seems to be a genuinely held belief of yours, with no good way of expressing it in less hurtful tones, I'm willing to give you a pass from my own perspective. I claim no right to judge your remarks in absolute terms.I concede I'm far from an expert on this, but I continue to believe that it is highly unlikely to have a biological basis (Is there any credible evidence for that view?; I'm willing to listen). So I posited an explanation based on societal pressure to conform to the gender stereotypes.
...ignoring (or not just being aware?) of the fact that many trans people can't be shoehorned into fitting this conjecture.
I can't really use my own narrative as a counter-example. I'm not trans, technically, but Intersexed. Born looking male, a partial female puberty at age 47, and transitioned then as the result. But I'd picked the name "Zoe" at age 10, as I knew I wasn't male then. No matter how much I wanted to be, because boys did all the cool stuff, they got to be astronauts and doctors, not beauticians and nurses.
I lucked out - eventually - and so got to be a Rocket Scientist (literally), but also finally was able to drop the "boy act", and have a body that didn't feel horribly wrong. The relief was indescribable, and had I known it would be like that, I would have sought a transsexual transition decades earlier. And been denied it, as my body wasn't feminine enough for the doctors of the day for me to be considered a good risk, and my preferred gender role was another strike against me. Some of your criticisms of the psychiatric profession in the past are close to the mark - but you confuse cause and effect. Effeminate men were not misdiagnosed as transsexual women because of their nonconformant gender behaviour as they are in Iran today; rather, transsexual women were refused treatment if their gender behaviour was nonconformant, or whose bodies were too "butch" until relatively recently.
As regards the evidence - you should look at the URLs in my previous comment to Father T. Maybe not the Catholic one, but certainly Dr Ecker's presentation.
A preview of some of the hundreds of papers on the subject:
Debate on the relative contributions of nature and nurture to an individual's gender patterns, sexual orientation and gender identity are reviewed as they appeared to this observer starting from the middle of the last century. Particular attention is given to the organization-activation theory in comparison to what might be called a theory of psychosexual neutrality at birth or rearing consistency theory. The organization-activation theory posits that the nervous system of a developing fetus responds to prenatal androgens so that, at a postnatal time, it will determine how sexual behavior is manifest. How organization-activation was or was not considered among different groups and under which circumstances it is considered is basically understood from the research and comments of different investigators and clinicians. The preponderance of evidence seems to indicate that the theory of organization-activation for the development of sexual behavior is certain for non-human mammals and almost certain for humans. This article also follows up on previous clinical critiques and recommendations and makes some new suggestions.
It's only "almost certain" as we can't do experiments on human foetusses to reliably and consistently induce transsexuality via hormonal manipulation, the way we can on animals.
That's from Clinical implications of the organizational and activational effects of hormones. M.Diamond, Horm Behav. 2009 May;55(5):621-32 BTW.
Specific Cerebral Activation due to Visual Erotic Stimuli in Male-to-Female Transsexuals Compared with Male and Female Controls: An fMRI Study by Gizewski et al J Sex Med 2009;6:440–448.
Neuroimaging Differences in Spatial Cognition between Men and Male-to-Female Transsexuals Before and During Hormone Therapy by Scoening et al J Sex Med. 2009 Sep 14.
Male-to-female transsexuals show sex-atypical hypothalamus activation when smelling odorous steroids by Berglund et al Cerebral Cortex 2008 18(8):1900-1908;
Male–to–female transsexuals have female neuron numbers in a limbic nucleus. Kruiver et al J Clin Endocrinol Metab (2000) 85:2034–2041
Sexual differentiation of the human brain: relevance for gender identity, transsexualism and sexual orientation. Swaab Gynecol Endocrinol (2004) 19:301–312.
A sex difference in the human brain and its relation to transsexuality. by Zhou et al Nature (1995) 378:68–70.
A sex difference in the hypothalamic uncinate nucleus: relationship to gender identity by Garcia-Falgueras et al Brain. 2008 Dec;131(Pt 12):3132-46.
As to why a cross-sexed brain (in certain areas) universally leads to a discordant gender identity, you're actually close to the mark again.
Girls "know" they're girls not from preference for gendered behaviour (though even that's a simplification), but by unconsciously (or rarely, consciously in late crystallisation of gender identity after age 4) observing that their emotional response, sense of smell, sense of hearing, body language, spatial cognition, instincts, language and thought patterns etc correspond closely to that of female peers, and differ markedly from that of males.
See Biased-Interaction Theory of Psychosexual Development: “How Does One Know if One is Male or Female?” M. Diamond, Sex Roles (2006) 55:589–600
The field is complex; there are many unknowns; we've studied "classic" transsexuals (who are relatively easy to differentiate from the general population) but not transgendered people generally. I've simplified things, and both sex and gender are bimodal distributions, multivariant continua with two clusters, rather than a binary. A tiny proportion of gender behaviours has a clear biological basis, though the majority has none whatsoever, and much that does has a tenuous basis at best.
But we've gone well beyond the question of "is there a biological basis to transsexuality", and are now investigating exactly what brain structures are involved, and in what ways.
All of the papers I've mentioned in this comment are available online: you'll find URLs via the links I've given in other comments.
Rod Gold was kind enough to initiate a discussion with me. I think this deserves its own post, but here is what he wrote. I'll give my replies in comments below.My reply:Thank you for your informative and respectful comment. It's a refreshing change. I'm struck by the fact that you yourself say that, despite all the references you offer, just a tiny portion of gender behaviors (I presume you mean genetic anomalies and biological androgynes) are biologically caused. This is my view exactly.
As for all the research you refer to, forgive me if I tell you I haven't the stomach to plod through it. I can only tell you that the studies I plowed through years ago, like those of John Money and Simon Levey, that attempted to find genetic/biological causes for sexual preferences and behaviors seemed to me totally flawed in their methods, and the conclusions drawn from the research unjustified by the research itself.
What do you mean you are intersexed? From most of the stuff I've read "intersex" seems to be entirely about women with enlarged clitorises who have sometimes been misidentified as males, and sometimes forced to undergo clitorectomies. At any rate I'm happy that you're happy now. As for those who've undergone the sort of surgery I've referred to as mutilation, I'm glad that some of them are happy too (though I worry about those who aren't).
I'd be pleased to continue our discussion.
(I sent this as an email reply, but would like it to appear on the site. Would it be possible for you to help out an old ditz, and try to do that for me?)
Now it's been said that Trans people don't owe others explanations. That there is a reasonable expectation that people should do their own darned research.
I also think that sometimes... you shouldn't be precious about standing on principle. Sometimes you should go out of your way, beyond the call of duty. Life's too short to make a habit of it, but sometimes you have to be unreasonably kind.
From what I gather, the GLBT movement owes Mr Gold for past services rendered. So I'll try to explain, Trans 101 etc one more time. It might help lurkers too.
Ronald Gold wrote:And a follow-up:Thank you for your informative and respectful comment. It's a refreshing change. I'm struck by the fact that you yourself say that, despite all the references you offer, just a tiny portion of gender behaviors (I presume you mean genetic anomalies and biological androgynes) are biologically caused. This is my view exactly.
Not quite - I'm actually closer to your position in some ways, further away in others. What we typically think of as "gendered behaviours" include women being more empathic, men less skilled with languages, "pink is for girls, blue is for boys", women being in arts, men in engineering etc.
Most such "gendered behaviours" are purely social constructs. They vary with geographical location, and over time. There is no "gene" or "neural complex" that dictates that girls prefer pink, and in fact, in the 19th century, pink was viewed as a "masculine" colour.
And yet, certain gendered behaviours appear invariant throughout the world, the same in Patagonia, Papua and Pittsburgh, Samoa, Sumatra, Swaziland and Southwark. Observations of young children, even ones brought up in the most politically correct "gender neutral" surroundings, show boys tending to gravitate towards trucks, girls towards dolls. Give a girl nothing but trucks and cars to play with, and she'll tend to take one to bed, saying "goodnight truckie" and make up stories about the big trucks and their children, the cars.
Interestingly.. children who show gender-atypical behaviour at an early age are not usually transsexual. 2/3 of the time, they're gay or lesbian instead. And most gays, and lesbians show no sign of cross-gendered behaviour when young.
Intersexed girls with certain conditions (but not others), and those who are twins of boys (so have hormonal anomalies in the womb) tend to have a more typically masculine behaviour pattern. While *almost all* of the sexist mysogynistic essentialist nonsense so anathema to feminists like myself is rubbish, not all is. Not quite. Some gendered behaviour is due to hard-wired tendencies, and the brain is far more sexually differentiated than we ever dreamed even 15 years ago. Men and women differ in the senses of smell and hearing, for example, and this has effects on more complex behaviour patterns.As for all the research you refer to, forgive me if I tell you I haven't the stomach to plod through it.
I don't blame you. The over-simplified sound byte is that women have "female" brains, men have "male" brains. Which is about as accurate as saying that women are short, men are tall. Or that men are larger than women.I can only tell you that the studies I plowed through years ago, like those of John Money and Simon Levey, that attempted to find genetic/biological causes for sexual preferences and behaviors seemed to me totally flawed in their methods, and the conclusions drawn from the research unjustified by the research itself.
John Money... are you familar with the David Reimer tragedy, otherwise known as the "John/Joan" case? John Money's theory was that everyone was psychosexually neutral at birth, that our sense of being male or female was totally the result of environment. Those assigned male were expected to have certain masculine gendered behaviour, so were forced into that by social pressure, and that is what made them "male". His great proof of this was when one of two twin boys had his genitalia severly mutilated in a botched circumcision. So this baby was castrated, and brought up as female, as he no longer had a manhood. And all was well, Joan (no longer John) was a happy, well-adjusted girl.
Except Money faked all the data, and this child never accepted the assignment, even though no-one revealed "her": past until teenagerhood. And they only did that because "she" insisted that "she" was male, dammit!
Now we know why - sexually-differentiated neurology exists at birth, and while no-one is born knowing they're male or female, the biasses, the hard-wired tendencies mean that as soon as they're exposed to other adults and children, it becomes obvious to them which group they belong to. Sometimes sooner, sometimes later, depending upon how strongly they conform to either "typically male" or "typically female" stereotypes in their lymbic system (part of the brain).What do you mean you are intersexed? From most of the stuff I've read "intersex" seems to be entirely about women with enlarged clitorises who have sometimes been misidentified as males, and sometimes forced to undergo clitorectomies.
Oh Gosh. There are over a hundred relatively common Intersex conditions, and almost as many definitions of the word "Intersex". The most useful one is "having a body neither stereotypically male nor stereotypically female". While 1 in 60 people are technically Intersexed, most are asymtomatic, and never know. About 1 in 1000 have symptoms so obvious they're readily apparent. And Mother Nature provides a wide variety of conditions - 1 in 500 people who look apparently male don't have the usual 46xy chromosomes, but 47xxy. Perhaps 1 in 100,000 people who look apparently female are also 47xxy. Then there are some men and women who are mosaics, a mix of 46xy/47xxy, or 46xy/46xx, or 47xxy/46xx, or 45x/46xy or.... you get the idea. There's people with non-genetic intersex conditions, such as persistent mullerian duct syndrome, who have partial male and partial female reproductive systems. There's Swyer syndrome females, who have the 46xy chromosomes usually only found in men, and Turner Syndrome females, Kennedy Syndrome males, De La Chapelle syndrome males etc etc.
Those with 5ARD or 17BHDD syndromes look female(mostly, partly, or completely) at birth, but masculinise to look (mostly, partly, or completely) male later in life. The change varies a lot from a very masculine girl getting slightly more masculinised, to a complete "natural sex change". 17BHDD and 5ARD are each about 1 in 100,000 in the general population, so there's several thousand men in the USA who were born looking like little girls.
My own syndrome is one of the rare ones. One in 10 million perhaps. I was born looking (mostly) male, but changed to looking (mostly) female later.
You can imagine what a fertile ground we are for research on gender. We're "Nature's experiments". It would be evil, Mengele-esque to treat foetusses, babies and adult humans with hormones and surgery without consent to change their bodies, and see what happens to their minds, but Nature does that to some of us.At any rate I'm happy that you're happy now. As for those who've undergone the sort of surgery I've referred to as mutilation, I'm glad that some of them are happy too (though I worry about those who aren't).
Transsexual regret - the minimum amount is 0.2%, but where care and diagnosis is poor, 5%. Often due to botched surgery that can leave the patient with a permanent colostomy, unable to walk, or (distressingly) by design, completely insensate. As one UK surgeon so infamously said "why would a nice girl like you want to have a clitoris?".
I'd be pleased to continue our discussion.
Me too - this reply is terribly condensed, over-simplified to the verge of being misleading, and there's so much more to say.
All the best -
Ronald Gold wrote:To which Mr Gold replied:...before I write anything about what I've learned from this experience, I'd ;like to ask you a couple of questions: What, in your view, does the research you've referred me to establish? Does it suggest that there's actually such a thing as a man trapped in a woman's body, or vice versa? Does it indicate that people have such feelings about themselves due to hormones or whatever?
Does it suggest that there's actually such a thing as a man trapped in a woman's body?
The simplistic answer is yes.
The more accurate answer - yes-ish. The brain is a really complex thing, more like a set of organs than a single one. And the concept of "male" and "female" is fuzzy, it's not a strict binary. Someone can be stereotypically female in most respects, yet some respects can be more neutral, or even closer to a typical male than a female norm. That's in both a psychological and anatomical sense.
The research shows *conclusively* that transsexual women - those with female gender identities but masculinised bodies - have stereotypically female-pattern brains in some areas. Not in others. In some areas, they're closer to the male stereotype, and in a few, they correspond to neither male nor female norms. Many other parts haven't been examined.
The areas where they are stereotypically feminine are mainly areas to do with the "hindbrain", the area that governs instinct, emotional response, hard-wired body language, sense of smell and a few other things. The higher brain areas may be equally feminised, but may not. And in a few areas, the left frontal gyrus IIRC, they are "hyper-male", likely to have Aspergers syndrome. Analogous patterns are found in experimental animals treated with cross-gendered hormones in foetu.
The drug DES was given to pregnant women throughout the 40s, 50s, 60s and into the early 70s to prevent miscarriages. 1 in 5 46xy(usually male)-gened people exposed to this drug, a female hormone, in the first trimester end up transsexual women rather than being men. That's a similar proportion to those affected by Thalidomide, which leads to phocomelia, "flipper limbs" in those with a genetic pre-disposition to it. DES increased the rate of transsexuality by a factor of 500.
Similar experimental results have been found in transsexual men. Their lymbic systems are highly masculinised. They smell, hear, feel, as other men do. Their hard-wired instincts are male. Their internal body map, the thing that tells you that you should have 2 legs and not say 7, is set up for external genitalia. The discomfort that is hard-wired in because of their somatic form at birth is the same as if you, a "standard factory model" man, had been castrated and had had breast augmentation surgery. It feels terribly, horribly *wrong*. Many amputees have the same problem - it's not just the inconvenience of missing a limb, it's the violation of the body map that insists that you must have 2 arms and 2 legs.
As regards hormones - the difference in neurology is visible at the cellular level. Women have 8 times the chance that men do of being subject to clinical depression, mostly due to the stereotypically female distribution of neurotransmitter receptors in their neural cell membranes.And partly due to sexism, the "glass ceiling" and other persecutions women suffer in western society. If this inequality did not exist, it might only be 6 times. We're not sure.
Having the wrong hormonal mix for the neuroanatomy - too much or too little, or of the wrong proportions - causes dysfunction. This can range from post-partum psychosis (the levels and instability in hormones immediately after giving birth are extreme), through to (relatively) mild symptoms at menstruation, andropause and menopause. Symptoms are visible in men treated with anti-androgens for prostate cancer, and women with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) who have excess testosterone.
What this means is that hormones can be used as both a diagnostic tool and a therapeutic one. Someone who has female neuroanatomy who takes estrogen will get an immediate increase in neurological function. The concurrent impotence can result in euphoria (if the body map is affected). In some cases, where the patient is asexual pre-treatment, and the hard-wired sexual reflexes strongly female, estrogen can actually give a libido, and the usual impotence doesn't happen, though the genitalia will atrophy.
Someone with a male neuro-anatomy will essentially suffer the symptoms of transsexuality if given estrogen in a high enough dose. Suicide is a real danger, as with Alan Turing. Gay men are men, not wannabe-women! Lesser doses - not enough to lead to permanent physical change - are a good diagnostic tool, and used as such by some clinicians. It is possible for a gay boy in his teens to be misled into thinking he's a girl, based on the gender-role stuff you espoused - but a few weeks on estrogen, and he'll be in extreme discomfort, and won't like being impotent at all, either.
In some cases where body-map is not greatly affected, hormone treatment may be the only therapy required to ameliorate the dysfunctionality sufficiently. Because it's all about biology, which is fuzzy and messy, there are significant differences in degree of severity.
Hormones only dictate what gender you are during gestation. Long before the time of birth, the pattern is set. Again, the study of Intersexed people is most illuminating. Only 10% of 46xx people with masculinising Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia identify as male, regardless of how well endowed they may be. All the rest merely show "tomboyish" behaviour when young. Conversely, it appears that 100% of 46xy people with Complete Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome identify as female, and in fact *cannot* be transsexual. Their cells are immune to the testosterone their (internal) testes produce, so their neurology is very strongly feminised indeed - as are the rest of their bodies, internal testes or no. Those with the rarer Partial Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome (in various grades) may be TS though.
So the data indicates that people have such feelings - of being male or female - entirely due to neuro-anatomy. Hormones play no part outside the womb. One cannot make a man into a woman by any amount of surgery or hormonal manipulation. One *can* however give a woman with a masculinised body a normal endocrine (Hormone) level, and a relatively normal, feminised body too. That's handy if she wants a sex life, regardless of whether she's straight, or lesbian, as many are.
Sorry about the length. If only you knew how much I'm simplifying and leaving out....
A correction - I over-simplified a bit too much.... hormones *do* cause neurological changes - just not in the areas under discussion regarding gender identity. Call it icing in the cake, but the cake has to exist first.
Thank you so much for taking the time to send this extensive answer to my question. I am saving it for further thought and perusal --I'll take my time now thaat I'm no longer welcome on bilerico and don't feel pressured to write something about what I've learned. I'm certain to have further questions for you and hope to continue our correspondence.I'll update this post as necessary.
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