Gender Dysphoria Is Not Biological
A new analysis of gender dysphoria finds causation in brain networks, not genetics or brain biology.
In a day when growing numbers of people are questioning the gender of the body they were born in, and demanding laws to protect their chosen gender identity, it is vital to look at the science behind gender dysphoria. Can a person really be born in the wrong body? Is gender simply a matter of choice? Some transgender folks claim they are a man (or woman) born in the body of a woman (or man). If that were true, there should be some biological evidence: genetic, or detectable brain morphology.*
*Note: we are not discussing rare intersex individuals who actually have biological defects in their chromosomes or were born with ambiguous genitalia. “Transexual” individuals suffer emotional confusion about their gender with no biological basis.
One theory about transgenderism claims it is caused by brain structure: a boy developing a girl-type brain, or vice versa. That theory has been shot down by a study from the Society for Neuroscience, reported by Science Daily:
A new theory of gender dysphoria argues the symptoms of the condition are due to changes in network activity, rather than incorrect brain sex, according to work recently published in eNeuro.
Gender dysphoria is a state of extreme distress caused by the feeling that a person’s true gender does not match the gender assigned at birth. The leading theory of the mechanism behind gender dysphoria attributes the condition to people possessing brains regions with the size and shape of the opposite sex, instead of their biological sex. However, recent brain imaging studies don’t support that theory.
Stephen Gliske, publishing his theory in eNeuro, believes brain size and shape does not cause gender dysphoria. It’s in the brain networking, which is pliable:
He proposes gender dysphoria is caused by altered activity in three networks — the distress, social behavior, and body-ownership networks — affecting distress and one’s sense of their own gender. Previous studies support the premise that activity changes in these networks are associated with anatomical changes and feelings of gender dysphoria.
The new theory may disturb those looking to excuse and maintain their dysphoria. But it offers good news for people suffering from unnecessary distress who believe falsely that their brain makes them confused about their gender. “If supported by further research,” the press release says with a bit of hedging, “this theory could offer ways to treat the distress of gender dysphoria patients without relying on invasive and irreversible gender reassignment surgery.”
In the paper, Gliske presents his “updated theory of gender dysphoria” with hope that it “may lead to therapies which directly address the underlying biology rather than just the subjective symptoms.” Gliske doesn’t state the following implications, but it seems the least invasive way to correct gender dysphoria is to help individuals to love and accept the gender that matches their biological reality. A healthy society should correct dysphoria with phoria, the ability for both eyes to focus together. Gender dysphoria puts the body and mind out of sync. Does a healthy culture wish to keep people cross-eyed? Like giving drug addicts free needles and drugs, acceptance only prolongs the harm. The loving thing is to help turn dysphoria into eudaimonia, a harmonious integration of mind and body.
Standing up for Truth
In their Dec 6 radio broadcast Washington Watch, Family Research Council discussed a recently-discovered document that revealed a strategy by LGBT activists to push the culture toward full acceptance of their lifestyle. Host Sarah Perry interviewed Doug Mainwaring, whose article on LifeSiteNews unveiled a document that shows how they intentionally bypass legislation and the news media to surreptitiously nudge people through NGOs. The rapid success LGBT activists are achieving through these stealth methods makes it seem as if their views are on the “right side of history,” making their critics afraid to speak out.
The title alone is alarming: “Only Adults? Good Practices in Legal Gender Recognition for Youth.” Although the slick 64-page document deals with specific practices and tactics that have proved successful for expanding transgender policies and power in a general way, it primarily focuses on how to hand power to children to declare whatever gender they choose while squashing parental authority and concern.
Over the years, progressives who seek to fundamentally change society have diligently developed strategies that win. They don’t promote ideas that win on their own merit; in fact, they have had amazing success promoting ideas that most people would normally reject. As this newly published document demonstrates, LGBT activists rely on stealth, behind-the-scenes efforts that do an end run around public discourse and legislative processes, resulting in new laws, new regulations, and the untenable demands of the “woke” culture that are increasingly overtaking government at every level.
In some cases, LGBT activists have turned to violence (WND, WND) using intimidation to make those with traditional views afraid to speak their minds. So thoroughly has the LGBT lobby brainwashed the culture about the normality of these “dysphoria” (anxiety) conditions, many normal people are afraid to state what used to be patently obvious: each of the letters in the LGBT acronym represent abnormal states of mind and behavior. That doesn’t imply that the dysphoric should be persecuted any more than drug addicts or sex addicts should be, but the proper solution cannot be to deny the truth. Academic institutions are succumbing to the pressure, not wanting to be perceived as falling behind (Phys.org).
Even some Christians are compromising the clear teaching of Scripture, afraid to be judged as “homophobes” – a label often a precursor to loss of a job, funding, or even the ability to voice an opinion. A few retain the boldness to avoid being dragged along with the culture; see Erik Rush on WND, and notice how scary it sounds these days to state the obvious. Mike Brown on WND deals with strategies for pastors and businesses when faced by threats to compromise with the culture’s growing intolerance of traditional morality and biological facts.
An important recent book by Nancy Pearcey, Love Thy Body: Answering Hard Questions About Life and Sexuality, analyzes the morass of sexual and political problems that sprang from “social contract” theory – the ideas of Rousseau and other Enlightenment philosophers who, by declaring independence from God as Creator, renounced the biological bases of sex, gender and marriage that people had lived by for millennia. Pearcey explains why a neo-Gnostic “two-story” philosophy that separated the body below from the self above has opened a Pandora’s box of personal and political disasters that are currently destroying marriage itself, and sending masses of people into confusion and distress in opposition to their created biological nature.
The consequences of rejection of God’s order as taught in Genesis, Pearcey shows, include loss of freedom for all families. For instance, if biologically unrelated men or women can be granted parenting rights in a same-sex union, then government becomes the arbiter of who gets those rights, and who can be deprived of parenting rights. This puts all children at risk, and gives more power to civil government. In Genesis, those rights are God-given, based in our biological nature and the plan of God for marriage and family. The exceptions where biological parents are unable to fulfill their roles do not undermine the rule. Government can help in those situations, but marriage and parenting rights preceded government. They are human rights, part of the “unalienable rights” from our Creator.
Well-written, honest and sensitive, without being judgmental, Pearcey’s eye-opening and well-documented book explores divorce, the hook-up culture, the collapse of marriage, homosexuality, transgenderism and gender dysphoria. Readers may become distressed at reading about these catastrophic consequences of rejecting God’s Word that are happening now with increasing intensity. But it’s the only way to understand what is going on, how society got to this messy condition, and what the solution must be. Marriage makes perfect sense biologically and morally when seen as a covenant, not a social contract, that involves not just the self but the community of relatives and children that result from a heterosexual union, creating relationships for the good of society. Throughout the book, Pearcey gives a positive message that God created sex and gender for our good. She shows why our greatest happiness will come from being what we were created to be.