Transgender trends and politics in the US

My name is Luka…

I’ve benefited a lot from this lecture series on neuroscience from Sapolsky of Stanford University. Here’s a short clip that sheds some light on transexualality. This is a short youtube extract from one of the lectures.

Dr Sapolsky.

I’ve enjoyed the entire lecture series. I didn’t do much bio chem or neuro science in school - okay, I did none…so this has been eye opening for me. You may find it equally enlightening.

Bottom line is, individuals who say they are in the wrong body are probably right. They all exhibit the same observable condition in their brain.

If it’s that well defined, maybe we could lower the risk of an inaccurate diagnosis with a brain scan.

There’s a couple good questions to ask here.

  1. Did the doctors disobey the rules? Then obviously they should be in big trouble.
  2. How perfect does a surgery need to be before it should be performed on any teens?
  3. Is there an ideal candidate (not Luka) to perform this surgery on, and can we reasonably select for them?

This article also illustrates why I don’t care much. It could be titled, “teenager regrets radical cosmetic surgery”, which is sad, but not the issue that decides my politics.

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Clearly didn’t see the link.

Yeah, “messed up kid with bad parental support makes bad decisions”. It’s sad, but it’s not a story to make policy around.

And every medical procedure has some bad outcomes. I think I’ve told the story of my friend, who had hodgkins disease, and they found an adrenal tumor and wanted to treat it aggressively. She was lucky to have a second opinion convince her not to – she just had it removed, with no other treatment. And 40 years later she’s had no recurrence and no symptoms. If she’d had the chemo and radiation treatment the first team recommended, she’d probably be dead already. Those are NOT benign to the rest of your body.


Lol yeah, “postmortem”. I forgot how we look at brains. Will try some of this guy’s lectures sometime. :slight_smile:

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Tried to figure out what the basis of a lawsuit would be.

It claims they were each “negligent in failing to question Luka’s self-diagnosis, instead ‘affirming’ her toward irreversible chemical and surgical solutions.”

Hein soon lost her appetite, started self-harming, and talked about committing suicide.

Meanwhile, as she started to go through puberty, Hein became extremely uncomfortable with her developing breasts and her period.

Hein started to identify as male, ordered a chest binder, transferred out of an all-girl school, and changed her name.

Because of what she read online, the suit claims, Hein thought that having her breasts removed might help her mental state and met with the doctors at the clinic — who, the suit says, made a “snap” diagnosis of gender identity disorder after just 55 minutes into her initial session in July 2017. This “fails to meet the standard of care for the proper evaluation of gender identity disorder,” the suit argues

If somebody came to me and said:

“I’m depressed, I’m hurting myself and developing an eating disorder. I feel like I should have been born a boy. I don’t like my period or my breasts, so I’ve been binding my breasts. I identify and dress as male, go by a male name and pronouns, and refuse to go to an all-girls school because I’m not a girl.”

I would go, “Oh okay, you’re trans.”

What other conclusion were they to arrive at?

There are gender differences that show up in scans of the brain, in that the size of brain part X has mean A for men, B for women. The sample mean for trans individuals tend to be those of their gender identity. But the standard deviations of both are large enough that the distributions heavily overlap and you can’t make identifications of individuals. Comparing all measurements of all regions combined, gender only explains something like 1-2% of the variation.

The “wrong body” description is disliked by many trans people, who feel that it has a bit of either a self-abuse or Jerry Springer connotation associated with it. There certainly are people who use it, but many people would rather say that they want to adjust their body to reflect their true self.

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In the clip he clearly states the size is a reliable indicator of gender. In context, it should be understood that he isn’t limiting it to trans only. Just that forensically, it is a reliable marker.

I wonder: at what point do you go from a doctor saying “yes, you’re trans” to performing a double mastectomy?

I thought I remember reading, at least in the news coverage of Vanderbilt closing down their care for trans teens due to law changes in Tennessee, that surgery at that age range was extremely rare.

I believe it is extremely rare, but I’ve heard of it done in cases where the child is suicidal over their dysphoria. By the article’s description - suicidal ideation, self-harm, eating disorder, panic attacks, and gender dysphoria - it makes sense this could be one of the rare cases.

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And let me be clear. Does it change anyone’s mind regarding granting appropriate healthcare and medication given that it is not some sort of cultural malady. That means military and prisoners, and even politicians. It’s real. It’s physical. So exactly why is this not just one of those ways of being human?

While I agree with you that being transgender is another way of being human, I don’t think being real and physical is enough to make that so.

Take body integrity disorder, in which the person might be convinced a limb doesn’t belong, and wants it amputated. It is hard for me to see how that amputation makes the person more fully themselves. I am more inclined to see that as some pathology, which must have some physical basis in the brain.

Or consider people who make radical transformations to their body. For example, they might tattoo the whites of their eyes, file their teeth to points, etc. I do not judge this as a moral failing, but if I had a love one who did this to themselves, I would worry it reflected some sort of pathology rather than them finding their true selves.

I do not think that these sorts of perspectives apply to transgender individuals for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is that “gender” and “sex” are not body parts. But my guess is that some of these critics of treating transgender individuals do see being transgender as a pathology similar to something like body integrity disorder.

I share some of the concerns of the OP, though none of his interest in trying to outlaw treatments.

If neuroscientists could reliably point to a trans indicator (even in dead people) it would totally help deal with my questions about the demographics of diagnosis changing so much. If we could tell from looking at the brain of living people, it would be even more interesting, because we could compare the older closeted generation to the younger generation.

Also, probably like the OP, I’m wary when a doctor says “there’s this imbalance thing in your brain, it’s real because this test says so” and then prescribes something that, decades later, will prove to be useless and also harmful.

How quickly this position has changed from the hateful and authoritarian “conservative.”

Almost like everyone not lying regarding their motivation already already knew this was where things were heading.

Even if they could, it’s not going to be binary. There are straight people and gay people… And some people are bi, and and might express that in different ways in different circumstances. And some of those gay people or gay-leaning bi people have a strong sex drive and it REALLY matters to them, and others have a low sex drive and can live somewhat comfortably just abstaining from sex altogether. And all are affected by the society around them, and the hopes and dreams of their parents and close friends.

Same with trans. It’s not binary, and it matters more to some people than to others, and how you express yourself and what choices you make depend on your social situation. Is it worth giving up your potential fertility to live the life of your preferred gender? No brain test will ever answer that question.