Is Being Transgender a Choice?

In our daily lives we are constantly making choices that can range from very simple selections all the way up to huge life changing decisions. For instance, deciding what to have for breakfast is not considered a huge choice whereas deciding to move or get a new job have much more life changing implications. Making choices is a natural part of our lives and even so we are by no means experts at it. There will be poor choices along the way that result hopefully in learning opportunities. Sometimes a poor choice can have very serious consequences. The opponents of the transgender community believe that we choose to be transgender. If that were true, it would be an ill-conceived choice to make. Being transgender is not a choice.

brainyWhy would a child choose to be transgender? Did they bump their head or are their parents forcing the choice on them? Why would a parent put their child on such a difficult life path? I really doubt that a parent would ever do that to a child they love. If bumping your head could be a cause of transgender children, we would be overrun with them. The opponents will then usually switch gears and claim that being transgender is a mental illness. If it were a mental illness then a therapy-based treatment should have some results. This does not happen which speaks to the issue being something deeper than a simple mental illness. If it were the result of a chemical imbalance, it could also be treated; there would be a drug to correct the behavior. No such drug exists because it is not a chemical imbalance.

When you study an abnormality and you are able to rule out the cause as being from a mental illness or a chemical imbalance in the brain, the next logical course of investigation is biological. Is there something in the brain that makes a transgender person perceive that their gender is something other than what they were assigned at birth? The answer is yes. Studies of transgender brains have shown brain structural differences. One of these differences is in the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BSTc). The BSTc in biological males is significantly bigger than it is in biological females. When you examine this structure in transgender people, the size corresponds with their gender and not the sex assigned at birth. For example, a male to female transgender woman will have a smaller BSTc just like a cis woman would have. There are also similar differences in grey matter distribution.

The biological causes of being transgender have some interesting implications and could lead to some very interesting places. There currently is a team of researchers trying to find a way to easily measure the differences in living people. If they can perfect a scan that would reveal transgender people when they are children then there could be a chance to educate parents about what to expect. This could lead to a much more normalized childhood for transgender people.

Being transgender is absolutely not a choice. We do not have the ability to choose our biology and to think otherwise is faulty thinking. Of course, the opponents of the transgender community will need to figure out a new way to hate us because the choice card is clearly off the table. Despite this, our haters still claim it is a choice because many people still don’t know enough about the science behind the transgender condition. It is easy to rally hatred when people are in the dark. It will not be so easy once people begin to understand the truth about us.

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