the NHS gender dysphoria may be the result of congenital adrenal hyperplasia
(CAH) when a high level of male hormones is produced in a female foetus which
causes the genitals to become more male in appearance and in some cases, the
baby may be thought to be biologically male when she is born.
The biological explanation suggest that most
transgender people are born with a pre-disposition to being transgender that
was formed prenatally which directly drive’s development. According to Williams
(2016 – online) there are three major factors in development;
Chemical/Hormonal, Genetic and Environmental. Men and women have different
brains according to size and proportion, these differences are small yet
specific and identifiable. The brain of a transgender consistently matches the
brain structure of their adopted gender and not the birth sex. These changes
are understood to be caused due to chemical imbalances that causes the wrong
hormones to be expressed prenatally. Although there is a growing consistent
trend in these studies, the sample sizes are small due to the number of
transgender persons brain used for medical purposes. He also outlines that when the brain is
developing a cross of the wrong hormones leads to transgender issues. He
outlines a study conducted with animals which had shown that an animal was
given the wrong hormones during the brain development stage, the animal subsequently
exhibited mating behaviours of the opposite sex even when the genitals match
their genetic sex.
(2016 online) refers to Guillamon quotes: “Trans people have brains that are
different from males and females, a unique kind of brain. It is simplistic to
say that a female-to-male transgender person is a female trapped in a male body.
It’s not because they have a male brain but a transsexual brain.” Behaviour and
experience shape brain anatomy, so it may be impossible to say if these subtle
differences are inborn. At birth an examination of the brain in impractical and
inconclusive with current medical technology to distinguish the gender type.
Flanagan also report an opposing study of Cole et al (1997) of 435 individuals
experiencing gender dysphoria and reported that the range of psychiatric
conditions displayed was no greater than found in a ‘normal’ population. This
suggests that gender dysphoria is generally unrelated to trauma or pathological
Flanagan (2009) suggests psychologists believe that the DSM diagnosis of gender
dysphoria is a mental illness, may arise from childhood trauma or maladaptive
upbringing. They outline the case study of Coates et al (1991) of a boy
developing gender dysphoria which was a result of a defensive reaction to his mother’s
depression following an abortion. They suggest that the trauma which occurred at
the age of three (when a child is gender sensitive) may have led to a
cross-gender fantasy as a means of resolving anxiety. This case study explains
reasons in which an individual may develop gender dysphoria however, it ignores
the role of biology, cannot be generalised and may not be reliable.
transgender identities were considered abnormal and unacceptable therefore, although
they have always been present there is very little mention of this type of population
existing throughout different countries and cultures. People will risk so much
to represent a gender that they feel is theirs, yet very difficult to the
social, cultural and legal expectations of their birth sex. In India trans
women are recognised as “Hijra”, men raised as females in Samoa are called Fa’afafine.
There is significant stigma and discrimination around being transgender in
society and more so during the period of Michael Dillon as mentioned
previously, this may be the reason why many people suppress the feeling for so
long resulting in delayed treatment.
Transgender is an umbrella term for persons whose gender identity,
gender expression or behaviour does not conform to that typically associated
with their sex at birth. The transgender community is incredibly diverse. There
are three elements to gender: Biological sex, gender expression and gender
identity. People are accustomed to recognising two genders male and female.
Usually, by the age of three a child has formed a clear sense of their gender
identity, most of the time their gender conforms to their biological sex.
Society gradually programs the mind on how one should conform according to
their birth sex. Most transgender people know they are uncomfortable with their
gender from an early stage. Some people may come to realise later in life but
even then, many of them have experienced other gender nonconforming behaviours
from much earlier such as occasional cross dressing. A common experience among transgender people is that
they feel trapped in an incorrect body. According to the NHS (2016 online) A survey of 10,000 people undertaken in 2012 found that 1% of the
population surveyed was gender variant, to some extent. Although this is a rare
condition the number of people being diagnosed with gender dysphoria is
increasing due to growing awareness.