WASHINGTON — A pair of new studies suggests that the brains of transgender people are more like those of people from the gender group they identify with than people belonging to the gender group they were assigned at birth, ThinkProgress reports.
The findings — which held true even for children who have not yet begun puberty — further validate the legitimacy of transgender identities according to some, although many trans people and their allies expressed concern that such studies can do more harm than good.
Dr. Julie Bakker from the University of Liège in Belgium presented the research this week at the annual meeting of the European Society of Endocrinology.
Brain scans of children and adolescents studied— some of whom had been diagnosed with gender dysphoria — showed that the brains of transgender and cisgender boys responded similarly to various stimuli. The same was true for the brains of transgender and cisgender girls, ThinkProgress reports.
Bakker suggested that brain scans could someday be used as a tool to help identify young people who might have gender dysphoria. “The earlier one can start with the treatment, including puberty inhibition … followed by cross-sex hormones, the better the outcome,” she told the online magazine Inverse.
Trans activists and allies, however, have concerns. While the results could help chip away the arguments anti-trans conservatives make, there’s a danger, some say, that it could backfire. Some cite how relatively little sound data did to change views on lesbians and gays; people were much more likely to come around after knowing a gay person, ThinkProgress reports.