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  • How would you describe yourself in a few words?

  • I'm a cis-man and I like fun shirts.

  • Our gender plays a big role in how we define ourselves and others,

  • but it's not something science fully understands.

  • And, funnily enough, we don't really know why I like fun shirts, either,

  • but no one questions that so let's just move on.

  • A lot of us may never really think twice about defining ourselves as a man or a woman,

  • but there are many who do think about it, a lot.

  • In reality a lot of biological, sociological, and psychological factors go into the definitions

  • ofmanorwoman,” or neither.

  • For example, when babies are born at a hospital, they're assigned a sex

  • based on primary sex characteristics, like genitalia.

  • Yeah. Someone literally looks at the baby and makes a decision.

  • They're mainly going by visual inspection.

  • And though hormones like testosterone play a big role in developing the primary sex organs

  • that you have at birth, sexual differentiation continues beyond birth,

  • with a lot of outwardly visible changes, and awkwardness, peaking at puberty.

  • And these processes rely on a whole host of hormones, and receptors, and other factors that

  • come from at least 70 different genes on different chromosomes.

  • So really, biological sex is not black or white because there are so many variables

  • going into it that are not necessarily correlated with one another.

  • Which is why there's good evidence to say there are more than 2 biological sexes.

  • For example, testosterone is important for developing the internal genitalia,

  • but it needs to be converted by an enzyme for the external genitalia to be made.

  • So someone could have testosterone, plus all the effects that leads to during development

  • through puberty, and bemalein a lot of ways internally.

  • But because they're missing one enzyme, things might look a little different on the outside.

  • The thing is, most people don't know their genetics or what's going on inside of their abdomen.

  • So how can anyone confidently proclaim, well, anything when it comes to gender?

  • When I say I'm a woman, I'm actually referring to my gender identity.

  • This might be related to or influenced by primary or secondary sex characteristics,

  • but knowing our gender identity comes from the brain.

  • The fascinating thing is we don't really know a ton about what influences this identity.

  • Like how I might say, "I'm a confident or anxious person."

  • But I don't really know what exactly in my brain makes me like that.

  • There are a few regions in the brain that are different between sexes,

  • including the interstitial nucleus of the anterior hypothalamus

  • and the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis, which is part of the limbic system.

  • In men, these areas are both larger and have more neurons in them.

  • And studies to date, albeit small ones, do show the sizes of these areas correlate

  • with the gender identities of transgender men and women.

  • Other studies have found differences in white matter microstructures between men and women.

  • Transgender men who have not yet received hormone treatments had patterns more similar

  • to those sharing their gender identity, not what they were assigned at birth.

  • In other words, the sex they were assigned at birth didn't accurately predict their white matter patterns.

  • While there are so many different areas of the brain that seem different between men and women,

  • some researchers argue that there are more similarities than differences

  • and there isn't really a typicalmaleorfemalebrain.

  • But given that, all of us have incomplete information on our true biological sex,

  • and that we don't fully understand the neuroscience behind gender

  • or any complex trait, like why you like this fun shirt

  • True. It doesn't make sense to burden some individuals with proving how they feel.

  • Because scientifically, none of us can explain why we feel like a man or a woman.

  • And as none of us can say that, by making a minority of people try to prove that with a burden of proof,

  • we're causing a lot of health problems.

  • For example, the suicide attempt rate among transgender people ranges from 32–50%

  • in a number of different countries, whereas the overall population average in the US is estimated

  • around 0.04 to 1.1%.

  • Both of these numbers are too high, but the stats for transgender people are particularly so,

  • especially when recent studies show these numbers decrease when transgender people are socially accepted.

  • While there are, of course, a lot more scientific questions to ask,

  • we could save hundreds of thousands of lives by removing social stigma.

  • We know that science will catch up eventually, but in the meantime we should all recognize that

  • this is more complicated than man, woman, trans or non-binary.

  • And as is the norm in science, the more we learn, the more nuanced it gets.

  • And that diversity in people and ideas is what makes this world so cool.

  • If you wanna learn more about what your DNA says about your sexuality, different than identity, click here.

  • Thank you for watching. I'm sure you'll have a comment on this video,

  • so make sure you leave it below, and share the video too.

How would you describe yourself in a few words?

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B1 US gender transgender gender identity identity genitalia testosterone

What We Know About Gender Identity According to Science

  • 93 3 posted on 2020/03/30
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