Our understanding of several other types of body dysphorias has been affected by this neurological view of mismatch aversion. The feeling that a person’s gender identity differs from their body gender is called gender dysphoria. The person is born with a mind, a soul, whose gender fails to match that of the body in which it finds itself.
It is important to understand that this isn’t a simple situation. Sex and gender are both manifestations of the body and soul. At the end of the day, that is what souls are, and I am referring to a person’s conscious experience, the sentient mind. Some physical and mental manifestations of sex and gender are more common than others. The experience of being a person of a certain gender while also having a different sort of gender is based on biological reality.
Sexual identity, sexual orientation, and sexual body image are all interrelated during fetal development. They can become uncoupled, leading to deviations that shift the individual toward one or the other end of the spectrum of normal distribution. There is a person namedRamachandran.
It is not possible to fully imagine what it would be like to be a trans person, just as it is not possible to fully imagine what it would be like to be any other gender. Imagine how you might feel if you were going through something like that, and see if you can empathise with people who are living their lives the best way they see to do so. It is not correct to say that a person who is trans-male was born biologically female or that a person who is trans-female was born biologically male. Our brains and genitalia are part of our biology. They were born female.
On the other hand, we would do well to consider the terror of a gender-mismatched child with a boy’s body map, but a little girl’s body, facing the possibility of developing breasts and a uterus capable of bearing children. A child with a girl’s body map but a little boy’s, anticipating the development of an enlarged penis and testicles, a deep voice, and a beard. Imagine being told at a young age that your body was going to grow into the adult form of the opposite gender, and knowing that it would happen over time.
We have a hard time figuring out how to approach the reality of trans people in a society that is used to dealing with other people’s sexual identities. On the other hand, our laws hold that children under the age of 12 cannot consent to sexual activity and therefore can’t understand what is going on. It is a form of child abuse to begin any sort of gender transition in young kids who feel like they are a different sex than their genitalia would indicate. If it is just a phase, what should we do? Is it rebellion? What if they don’t understand the consequences of the process, that it’s not the same thing as playing dress-up?
By understanding that gender mismatch is biologically real, we can start treating people who gender-identify in different ways from ourselves with respect and dignity. We can insist that others are seeking attention or need counseling to get them right, if we stop degrading them. We can no longer assume that our own body-mind alignment is correct. Neurological configurations should not be labeled as a “sickness” or “perversion”.
As long as outdated notions persist of gender mismatch as a social or psychological problem, rather than an innate issue of biology and neurology, we are passively dooming these kids to what is now at least a partially avoidable fate. We are doomed to use inappropriate instruments to assess the situation and determine the best course of action in each individual case. This doesn’t mean that we start giving hormones to boys who say they don’t like being a girl or to boys who say they want to join the Cub Scouts. When children start indicating that they identify as a different gender than the one on their birth certificate, they are assured that they are not crazy, and we begin exploring the possibility that gender mismatch might be the issue.
It is said that the truth will set you free. God knows that we can all use more freedom from bigotry.
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