child development

Research Shows That Transgender Kids’ Brains Resemble Their Gender Identity, Not Their Biological Sex

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Every once in a while, a new study comes along that sort of blows your mind. This is one of those studies, and the findings are incredibly groundbreaking. Research shows that the brain activity of transgender kids resembles their gender identity, and not their biological sex. This will come as no surprise to people in the trans community, who’ve been trying to get people to understand this forever. But, it will hopefully go a long toward expanding the public’s perception and acceptance of people with gender dysphoria.

The research involved MRI scans of 160 people ranging in age from children to adolescents. The study included transgender individuals who had been diagnosed with gender dysphoria. Males and females without gender dysphoria were used as the control group.

The research team at the University of Liege in Belgium used MRI scans. These scans also measured the microstructures of the brain using a technique called diffusion tensor imaging. The scans of the participants with gender dysphoria were compared to those of comparable age who identified as their biological sex. Researchers found that the brain activity of transgender boys most closely resembled the brain activity of cisgender boys. Likewise, trans girl’s brains most closely resembled cisgender girl’s brains.

In other words, being trans is not a choice. There are identifiable neurological differences in the brain of trans individuals, and these are detectable in childhood.

Professor Julie Bakker led the research team. Bakker says, “Although more research is needed, we now have evidence that sexual differentiation of the brain differs in young people with GD, as they show functional brain characteristics that are typical of their desired gender.”

She continues, “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.”

Yes, this is just one study. And more research needs to be done. But results like this are sure to be affirming to families of trans kids. It’s not an illness. They’re not “choosing” to be different. They just want their outsides to match their insides.

(Image: iStock/studio-laska)