Welcome to Gender Analysis

Gender Analysis is a web series launched in 2014 exploring transgender science and life experiences in depth, and revealing the many insights to be found at their intersection. We take a closer look at fields such as sociology, public health, psychiatry, cognitive science, and more, weaving these diverse perspectives into a deeper understanding of gender-related phenomena. Gender Analysis goes beyond the 101s to educate both trans and cis viewers on some of the most fascinating dimensions of our lives – and the pressing issues we face in society.

Support Gender Analysis on Patreon

New episodes of Gender Analysis are published several times a month and are backed by our generous supporters on Patreon. Want to learn more? Check out our instant index for a quick introduction to the wide range of topics we cover:

Curious about…?

Gender dysphoria Self-discovery
How hormones work Bathroom bills
Finding a doctor Treatments for trans youth
Passing Sexuality
Transness and autism Paul McHugh
Regret and detransition Sex chromosomes
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Identifying with a gender vs. reaffirming gender stereotypes

Zinnia JonesPreviously: Transition as gender freedom

One common criticism leveled at trans people is an objection to the particular way in which trans women embody their womanhood in appearance and mannerisms. We’re frequently generalized as being “stereotypically” feminine or enacting an exaggerated caricature of femininity, often verging into accusations that we’re responsible for “reinforcing” stereotypes or that our idea of ourselves as women is itself based solely on these stereotypes. At times, these accusations turn to focus on young transgender children and their parents, who are alleged to believe wrongly that their children are trans based merely on gender-typed dress or play behavior, such as wearing dresses or playing with trucks. Continue reading

Posted in Feminism, Perception and cognitive science, Sociological research, Transphobia and prejudice | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

Fractals, not pyramids: Why “8th grade biology” isn’t enough

Zinnia JonesPreviously: Chromosomes: Cis expectations vs. trans reality, How sex hormones work, and their use by trans people

In the years I’ve spent covering gender topics on YouTube, I’ve occasionally encountered one particularly strange objection to the core principle of transness, that a person’s gender can differ from their assigned sex. This typically takes the form of an overt appeal to simplicity in support of a model of human sex and gender that precludes trans identities entirely, usually phrased as “There are only two genders, male and female”, or “There are only two sexes, XX and XY”, or “If you have XY chromosomes, you’re a man – it’s 8th grade biology!”

Such comments seemingly contend that trans people’s genders run contrary to some absolute, incontrovertible, foundational truth about biological sex and gender identity. But calling on the simplicity of a middle school science class (sometimes also “elementary school science”, or “high school biology”) to refute trans people’s identities is a deliberate choice to ignore the genuine complexity of transness. And not only is such a claim wrong about how the process of education works, it is exactly wrong: education functions in the diametrically opposite way.

Continue reading

Posted in Biology of transition, Philosophy and language, Rhetoric | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Transphobic rejection: an ineffective and dangerous “treatment”

Zinnia JonesWhen discussing transgender healthcare needs, I’ve previously covered the known health benefits of gender-affirming approaches such as social transition, puberty blockers, hormone therapy, and surgeries. The evidence for the efficacy of transition treatments is overwhelming, with clear improvements in dysphoric symptoms, body uneasiness, stress levels, depression, anxiety, overall mental health, quality of life, and social functioning. For these reasons, major medical organizations, including the American Psychological Association, American Psychiatric Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Association of Family Physicians, Endocrine Society, American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and World Professional Association for Transgender Health, recognize the importance and necessity of affirming care for trans people.

However, this strong expert consensus is evidently unpersuasive to a number of people who engage with my work. I still frequently receive comments declaring that trans-supportive care is an inappropriate approach, and that trans people should not be accepted in society or facilitated in living as their genders. Often, commenters state that trans people should simply attempt to live as their assigned sex, or should obtain some unspecified therapy to assist them in rejecting their known gender identity. Continue reading

Posted in Ethics, Family, Gender dysphoria, Outcomes of transition, Trans youth, Transgender medicine, Transphobia and prejudice | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

“We don’t let kids get tattoos”: Trans youth treatment, ethics, and decision-making

Previously: Transgender youth fact check, Debunking hypothetical arguments about youth transition

Zinnia JonesIn the public conversation over the use of puberty blockers for adolescents with gender dysphoria, those who object to this treatment often express concerns about the ability of these youth to make such a significant medical decision. Such objections often call into question adolescents’ maturity and their capacity to understand potentially permanent consequences:

If a child is too young to drive a car, get a tattoo, vote, buy a drink at a bar, then they are too young to decide to make life altering decisions like transitioning. (YouTube user legacy1X, Apr 25, 2017)

Others emphasize specific impacts to these youth such as fertility loss, holding that this is unacceptable under any circumstances:

There is no good argument that allowing children to permanently modify their bodies and sterilize themselves is ethical. NONE. (YouTube user Blaire White, Dec 19, 2016)

While parallels to tattooing and other “life-altering decisions” might intuitively resonate for many, these superficial comparisons do not hold up on closer analysis, and do not reflect the expert consensus on the appropriate use of puberty blockers for trans youth. Potential ethical considerations and the importance of informed consent are recognized by professionals involved in the treatment of these adolescents, and these concerns have been addressed at length.

 

Continue reading

Posted in Biology of transition, Ethics, Outcomes of transition, Trans youth, Transgender medicine | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

Does the public need more time to learn about transgender people?

By 1933, so much knowledge about transgender people had already been accumulated at the library of Germany’s Institute for Sexual Science, the Nazi party chose to burn it all in front of a crowd of thousands. This happened 12 years before the advent of nuclear weapons.

The burning of the library of the Institut für Sexualwissenschaft on May 10, 1933.

In 1952, nine years before a human being first traveled into space, Christine Jorgensen made headlines as one of the first trans women to come out and educate the public about her transition. In 1966, trans women led the riots at Compton’s Cafeteria in response to being targeted by police violence, and did the same in 1969 at Stonewall shortly before humans first landed on the moon. That year, the 1st International Symposium on Gender Identity was sponsored by the Erickson Educational Foundation, an organization founded by trans man Reed Erickson to support transgender research and awareness initiatives throughout the 60’s and 70’s.

In 1977, Renée Richards, a trans woman and professional tennis player, was allowed to compete with other women in the U.S. Open. This was one year before computers were first installed in the White House.

Renée Richards.

The Harry Benjamin International Gender Dysphoria Association, now known as WPATH, was founded in 1979. In 1981, Karen Ulane sued her former employer, Eastern Airlines, after they fired her for being a trans woman. In the early 90’s, puberty blockers were first used to treat transgender adolescents in the Netherlands, allowing them to transition earlier and without experiencing the effects of the wrong puberty. This development predates the Nintendo 64. America’s first gender identity clinic offering puberty blockers was opened at Boston Children’s Hospital in 2007. Also in that year, the first iPhone was released.

Trans people have been around for longer than your grandparents, yet it seems like we’re still waiting for much of the population to get their act together. I’ve been explaining trans issues nonstop since I came out five years ago. Contrary to Time magazine’s 2014 proclamation of a “transgender tipping point” of public understanding and acceptance, I now receive more comments than ever from people who seem to think I expect too much from my audience. “Being trans is still very new to a lot of people,” I’m told. “You need to be patient and give them time to learn.” Continue reading

Posted in Awareness building, History, Rhetoric, Transphobia and prejudice | Tagged , , | 16 Comments