Explanations of Gender Dysphoria

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Explanations of Gender Dysphoria

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Psychosocial explanations

Mental illness - 

> Some psychologists have proposed that gender dysphoria is related to mental illness, which in turn is linked to some childhood trauma or maladaptive upbringing.

> COATES ET AL. produced a case history of a boy who developed GID & proposed that it was a defensive reaction to his mother's depression following an abortion. Trauma occurred when he was 3, a time in development when a child is particularly sensitive to gender.

Mother-son relationships -

> STOLLER proposed that GID results from distorted parental attitudes. (clinical interviews with people diagnosed with GID they displayed overly close mother-son relationships - likely to lead to greater female identity & confused gender identity).

Biological explanations

Mismatch between hormones and genetic sex -

> Prenatal hormone levels may be affected by genetic conditions & this may lead to a mismatch between hormones & genetic sex.

> AIS (Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome) & CAH (Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia) may result in an intersex condition when external genitalia doesn't match genetic sex & someone may be assigned wrong at birth.

Transsexual gene - 

> A recent study looked at the DNA of 112 MtF transsexuals & found they were more likely to have a longer version of the androgen receptor gene than in a 'normal' sample - the effect of this reduces testosterone which may affect gender development.

The brain-sex theory of transsexualism -

> The brain-sex theory of transsexualism is based on the fact that male & female brains are different & perhaps transsexuals' brains don't match their genetic sex.

> 1 region of the brain that's been studied is the BSTc (bed nucleus of the stria terminalis), which is located in the thalamus.

> On average, the BSTc is twice as large in heterosexual men as in heterosexual women & contains twice the number of neurons.

> The explanation may be that the size  of the BSTc correlates with preferred sex rather than biological sex.

> ZHOU ET AL. found that the number of neurons in the BSTc of MtF transsexuals was similar to that of females & the number of neurons in a FtM transsexual was found to be in the male range.

Environmental effects -

> Not all biological causes are internal - 1 external possibility may be that environmental…

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