Prior studies have noted significant health disadvantages experienced by LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) populations in the US. While several studies have identified that fears or experiences of stigma and disclosure of sexual orientation and/or gender identity to health care providers are significant barriers to health care utilization for LGBT people, these studies have concentrated almost exclusively on urban samples. Little is known about the impact of stigma specifically for rural LGBT populations, who may have less access to quality, LGBT-sensitive care than LGBT people in urban centers.
Many previous magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) studies have documented sex differences in brain morphology, but the patterns of sexual brain differences in transgender women - male sex assigned at birth - with a diagnosis of gender dysphoria (TW) have been rarely investigated to date. We acquired T1-weighted MRI data for the following four (n = 80) groups: treatment-naïve TW (TNTW), TW treated with cross-sex hormones for at least one year (TTW), cisgender men, and cisgender women (cisgender individuals as controls). Differences in whole-brain and regional white matter volume and grey matter volume (GMV) were assessed using voxel-based morphometry. We found lower global brain volumes and regional GMVs in a large portion of the posterior-superior frontal cortex in the cisgender women group than in the TTW and cisgender men groups. Additionally, both transgender groups exhibited lower bilateral insular GMVs than the cisgender women group. Our results highlight differences in the insula in both transgender groups; such differences may be characteristic of TW. Furthermore, these alterations in the insula could be related to the neural network of body perception and reflect the distress that accompanies gender dysphoria.
The present review focuses on the brain structure of male-to-female (MtF) and female-to-male (FtM) homosexual transsexuals before and after cross-sex hormone treatment as shown by in vivo neuroimaging techniques. Cortical thickness and diffusion tensor imaging studies suggest that the brain of MtFs presents complex mixtures of masculine, feminine, and demasculinized regions, while FtMs show feminine, masculine, and defeminized regions. Consequently, the specific brain phenotypes proposed for MtFs and FtMs differ from those of both heterosexual males and females. These phenotypes have theoretical implications for brain intersexuality, asymmetry, and body perception in transsexuals as well as for Blanchard’s hypothesis on sexual orientation in homosexual MtFs. Falling within the aegis of the neurohormonal theory of sex differences, we hypothesize that cortical differences between homosexual MtFs and FtMs and male and female controls are due to differently timed cortical thinning in different regions for each group. Cross-sex hormone studies have reported marked effects of the treatment on MtF and FtM brains. Their results are used to discuss the early postmortem histological studies of the MtF brain.
Both transgenderism and homosexuality are facets of human biology, believed to derive from different sexual differentiation of the brain. The two phenomena are, however, fundamentally unalike, despite an increased prevalence of homosexuality among transgender populations. Transgenderism is associated with strong feelings of incongruence between one’s physical sex and experienced gender, not reported in homosexual persons. The present study searches to find neural correlates for the respective conditions, using fractional anisotropy (FA) as a measure of white matter connections that has consistently shown sex differences. We compared FA in 40 transgender men (female birth-assigned sex) and 27 transgender women (male birth-assigned sex), with both homosexual (29 male, 30 female) and heterosexual (40 male, 40 female) cisgender controls. Previously reported sex differences in FA were reproduced in cis-heterosexual groups, but were not found among the cis-homosexual groups. After controlling for sexual orientation, the transgender groups showed sex-typical FA-values. The only exception was the right inferior fronto-occipital tract, connecting parietal and frontal brain areas that mediate own body perception. Our findings suggest that the neuroanatomical signature of transgenderism is related to brain areas processing the perception of self and body ownership, whereas homosexuality seems to be associated with less cerebral sexual differentiation.
- Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
- Published over 5 years ago
Women are underrepresented in most high-level positions in organizations. Though a great deal of research has provided evidence that bias and discrimination give rise to and perpetuate this gender disparity, in the current research we explore another explanation: men and women view professional advancement differently, and their views affect their decisions to climb the corporate ladder (or not). In studies 1 and 2, when asked to list their core goals in life, women listed more life goals overall than men, and a smaller proportion of their goals related to achieving power at work. In studies 3 and 4, compared to men, women viewed high-level positions as less desirable yet equally attainable. In studies 5-7, when faced with the possibility of receiving a promotion at their current place of employment or obtaining a high-power position after graduating from college, women and men anticipated similar levels of positive outcomes (e.g., prestige and money), but women anticipated more negative outcomes (e.g., conflict and tradeoffs). In these studies, women associated high-level positions with conflict, which explained the relationship between gender and the desirability of professional advancement. Finally, in studies 8 and 9, men and women alike rated power as one of the main consequences of professional advancement. Our findings reveal that men and women have different perceptions of what the experience of holding a high-level position will be like, with meaningful implications for the perpetuation of the gender disparity that exists at the top of organizational hierarchies.
Transgender children who have socially transitioned, that is, who identify as the gender “opposite” their natal sex and are supported to live openly as that gender, are increasingly visible in society, yet we know nothing about their mental health. Previous work with children with gender identity disorder (GID; now termed gender dysphoria) has found remarkably high rates of anxiety and depression in these children. Here we examine, for the first time, mental health in a sample of socially transitioned transgender children.
Exploration of Gender Norms and Socialization Among Early Adolescents: The Use of Qualitative Methods for the Global Early Adolescent Study
- The Journal of adolescent health : official publication of the Society for Adolescent Medicine
- Published over 3 years ago
The Global Early Adolescent Study (GEAS) was launched in 2014 with the primary goal of understanding the factors in early adolescence that predispose young people to subsequent sexual risks, and conversely, those that promote healthy sexuality across different cultural contexts. The present article describes the methodology that was used for the first phase of GEAS, which consisted of conducting qualitative research to understand the gendered transitions into adolescence and the role that gender norms play within the key relationships of adolescents. Researchers from each of the sites that had completed data collection were also elicited for their feedback on the key strengths, challenges, and lessons learned from conducting research among 11- to 14-year-old adolescents. The purpose of this article is to present the description of each of the methods that were used in GEAS, as well as the researchers' perspectives of using the methods among early adolescents in their sites.
Although previous investigations of transsexual people have focused on regional brain alterations, evaluations on a network level, especially those structural in nature, are largely missing. Therefore, we investigated the structural connectome of 23 female-to-male (FtM) and 21 male-to-female (MtF) transgender patients before hormone therapy as compared with 25 female and 25 male healthy controls. Graph theoretical analysis of whole-brain probabilistic tractography networks (adjusted for differences in intracranial volume) showed decreased hemispheric connectivity ratios of subcortical/limbic areas for both transgender groups. Subsequent analysis revealed that this finding was driven by increased interhemispheric lobar connectivity weights (LCWs) in MtF transsexuals and decreased intrahemispheric LCWs in FtM patients. This was further reflected on a regional level, where the MtF group showed mostly increased local efficiencies and FtM patients decreased values. Importantly, these parameters separated each patient group from the remaining subjects for the majority of significant findings. This work complements previously established regional alterations with important findings of structural connectivity. Specifically, our data suggest that network parameters may reflect unique characteristics of transgender patients, whereas local physiological aspects have been shown to represent the transition from the biological sex to the actual gender identity.
Recent research suggests profound sex and sexual orientation differences in sexual response. These results, however, are based on measures of genital arousal, which have potential limitations such as volunteer bias and differential measures for the sexes. The present study introduces a measure less affected by these limitations. We assessed the pupil dilation of 325 men and women of various sexual orientations to male and female erotic stimuli. Results supported hypotheses. In general, self-reported sexual orientation corresponded with pupil dilation to men and women. Among men, substantial dilation to both sexes was most common in bisexual-identified men. In contrast, among women, substantial dilation to both sexes was most common in heterosexual-identified women. Possible reasons for these differences are discussed. Because the measure of pupil dilation is less invasive than previous measures of sexual response, it allows for studying diverse age and cultural populations, usually not included in sexuality research.
Increasing numbers of adolescents are seeking treatment at gender identity services in Western countries. An increasingly accepted treatment model that includes puberty suppression with gonadotropin-releasing hormone analogs starting during the early stages of puberty, cross-sex hormonal treatment starting at ~16 years of age and possibly surgical treatments in legal adulthood, is often indicated for adolescents with childhood gender dysphoria (GD) that intensifies during puberty. However, virtually nothing is known regarding adolescent-onset GD, its progression and factors that influence the completion of the developmental tasks of adolescence among young people with GD and/or transgender identity. Consolidation of identity development is a central developmental goal of adolescence, but we still do not know enough about how gender identity and gender variance actually evolve. Treatment-seeking adolescents with GD present with considerable psychiatric comorbidity. There is little research on how GD and/or transgender identity are associated with completion of developmental tasks of adolescence.