Tumblr question: Have you seen studies that show that trans brains are different from other people’s brains and are more similar to the gender that they identify as? I’ve seen some (only in regard to male/female genders) and am curious of your opinion on them.
I have seen some of those studies. There are also studies showing just the opposite (that there is no such thing as a male/female brain). There have ALWAYS been women (and men) who embody characteristics traditionally considered to belong to the opposite sex, and in my view we should celebrate those outliers rather than pathologizing them. But let’s assume there is some validity to the studies you mention. For me, the existential question is this: Which is the more compassionate, less risky, and more inclusive response: (1.) to DEconstruct gender (as we Second Wave feminists started to do) and encourage people to express themselves in (more conventionally understood) “masculine” or “feminine” ways as they choose, while accepting the bodies they actually are, or (2.) to leap to the conclusion that the one and only solution to the problem of “feeling” like the opposite sex is to attack it with a surgeon’s scalpel and steroids, which can cause serious health problems that must be monitored and managed? Just because the medical profession CAN create a facsimile of a male from a female body, should it? For me, the choice is clear (except in a few rare cases, primarily intersex people).
I fully understand WHY a person feels they need to change their body to match their mind, but the very idea that there is such a thing as a male or female brain is really just that—an idea. If a female dog behaves more like a male dog, does the female dog think about acquiring a penis? We can’t know, and of course, we aren’t dogs, but we ARE animals, exquisite products of evolution. I resonate with the poet Mary Oliver’s advice: “You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves.”