Okay there’s good news and there’s bad news
Good news: I’m less than a month away from finishing the coursework for my undergrad! then I’ll have a DEGREE
Bad news: I’m less than a month away from finishing the coursework for my undergrad! so I probably won’t be posting with much regularity until then.
Thanks for sticking with me this year, guys—it’s been hugely up and down, and I’ve spent about a quarter of it overseas which makes it kind of hard to keep up projects like sciencesoup. (I mean, I don’t think I’ve even told you guys about all the rad museums I went to yet.) My rare spare time lately has been spent writing fiction and experimenting with different forms of science writing, so hopefully I’ll have something to show for that soon!
Rest assured, I’m still around, still getting ideas for blog posts. In the meantime, if you’re keen, you can check out an article I wrote for Australian Science this week.
See you all on the flip side!
kaiyves asked: Do you take suggestions for future BSotW features?
Sure do! Shoot me some!
todiwan asked: "humans have long realised that it’s not necessarily binary and it doesn’t necessarily match up to biological sex" Uh, do you have a source for this? I have been bothered about people claiming this ever since I first started seeing it, but people claiming to be some (seemingly) ridiculous other gender don't harm anyone, so I never particularly minded it (aside from not believing that it is possible). I would be very thankful if you would give me a study that proves it. Thanks, and nice blog! -CS
[In reference to this post]
The way you’ve worded this question is pretty insensitive, but I understand the desire for evidence, so here we go.
First of all, it’s important to note that the relationship between sex and gender are largely explained by sociology and psychology at the moment (but still based on actual phenomena). ‘Hard science’ fields are still navigating their way through research. So, although there are some studies that I will share, mostly relating to gender identity in trans* people, I have to make it clear that none are definitive or absolutely conclusive yet.
- Study suggesting “the white matter microstructure pattern in untreated [Female to Male] transsexuals is closer to the pattern of subjects who share their gender identity (males) than those who share their biological sex (females)”—i.e., displaying evidence for an inherent difference in the brain structure of FtM transsexuals.
- Companion study suggesting “the white matter microstructure pattern in untreated MtF transsexuals falls halfway between the pattern of male and female controls. The nature of these differences suggests that some fasciculi do not complete the masculinization process in MtF transsexuals during brain development.”
- Study of twins suggesting that gender identity might not just be due to psychological/behavioural causes, but also biological ones (eg genetics, makeup of their brains, prenatal exposure to hormones, etc)
- A small study from over a decade ago, but with results that suggest that MtF transsexuals have a typically female structure in one part of the brain, and vice versa for FtM. According to the study’s authors, this “clearly support[s] the paradigm that in transsexuals sexual differentiation of the brain and genitals may go into opposite directions and point to a neurobiological basis of gender identity disorder.”
These studies currently just provide tentative evidence and display the need for further research, as a lot of science does. I’m sorry I can’t link to the full studies for some of these, but now you have the references you can search further if you wish.
I hope this gives you food for thought, and I hope that in the future you amend the language you use to discuss these issues.