A new study lends credence to the belief that it is possible for people to be born transgender, as their brain activity appears to be similar to that of cisgender people of the same gender identity, as opposed to people of the same biological sex.
As explained in a report from Newsweek, a team of researchers led by University of Liege neuroendocrinology expert Julie Bakker worked with about 160 adolescents, using MRI scans to study their brain activity. These included a group of young people with gender dysphoria, as well as a control group of cisgender participants or those whose gender identity matches their birth sex. In order to come up with their findings, the researchers noted how the participants’ brains changed when exposed to androstadienone, a steroid whose effects resemble that of pheromones, according to a separate report from RT.
After assessing the reactions of the study participants, Bakker’s team discovered that the transgender subjects had brain activity resembling that of the cisgender adolescents in the control group who identified with the same gender. The results of the study were presented recently at the European Society of Endocrinology’s annual meeting.
In a statement quoted by LGBTQ Nation, Bakker said that her team’s study proves how sexual differentiation manifests differently in the brains of young people with gender dysphoria, as their “functional brain characteristics” match those of the gender they relate to.
“We will then be better equipped to support these young people, instead of just sending them to a psychiatrist and hoping that their distress will disappear spontaneously,” she added.