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.

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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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Special considerations for breast augmentation in trans women

Note: This post contains illustrations of breast anatomy.

Zinnia JonesAmong trans women and transfeminine people, breast augmentation surgery is both frequently sought after and frequently received compared to the population of cis women. According to the 2015 U.S. Trans Survey, 8% of assigned-male respondents had received breast augmentation and a further 36% wished to undergo the procedure; in the Netherlands, 40% of trans women who received treatment at Amsterdam’s VU University gender clinic between 1972 and 2018 had undergone this surgery, and 85% reported that this was because they were unsatisfied with the degree of growth from hormone therapy alone. Conversely, only an estimated 1% of cis women in the United States have breast implants (Maher et al., 2020).

While the many different approaches to breast augmentation have long been a specialty centered on cis women’s bodies, these techniques are not necessarily as effective or appropriate for trans women’s bodies. A recent report by surgeons and physicians at the Johns Hopkins Center for Transgender Health (yes, that Johns Hopkins) reviews the particular considerations that must be taken into account when choosing surgical techniques for breast augmentation in trans women.

Continue reading

Posted in Outcomes of transition, Surgery, Transfeminine | Tagged , | 1 Comment

No, not all trans people “always knew” since childhood

Zinnia JonesThe infamous “rapid-onset gender dysphoria” study by Littman (2018) made use of a peculiar methodology to support its conclusions: querying only parents on when they became aware that their child was transgender, and treating the acquisition of this awareness ac synonymous with the moment their child “became” transgender. This approach mirrored the common folk notion among unaccepting parents that their child “never showed any signs” of being transgender, and therefore must be mistaken about their newly-voiced gender identity and almost surely must be cisgender after all. This unique approach doesn’t assess a trans person’s timeline of gender identity development, only a cis parent’s desire to believe that their child’s transness is false and fleeting so that they can count on the certainty of ultimately having an assumed-cisgender child once more.

For this reason, the “ROGD” study produced conclusions directly at odds with the existing literature on trans identity development and disclosure. When trans people themselves are surveyed, studies repeatedly find that they were aware of their trans identity for many years prior to their first disclosure to another person – information that is completely erased when cis people are surveyed on when a trans person came out to them. Various publications identify a gap of several years between initial self-awareness of a trans identity and initial disclosure of this identity to others. And a recent study further illuminates the differing experiences of trans youth throughout the process of clarifying their gender identity. Continue reading

Posted in Gender dysphoria, Sociological research, Trans youth, Transphobia and prejudice | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Trans men and transmasculine people on testosterone can grow prostate tissue

Zinnia JonesThe general public’s knowledge of the nature of the physical changes induced by medical transition can be surprisingly spotty: trans women’s breasts are often wrongly assumed to be implants; our long-healed neovaginas are cruelly mischaracterized as “open wounds”; HRT is thought to be something we take merely for the sake of it rather than serving a functional purpose. In reality, cross-sex hormone therapy activates the expression of certain genes possessed by everyone whether assigned male or assigned female, and causes development of the associated secondary sex characteristics. Trans women taking estrogen will grow breast tissue with the same anatomy as that of cis women. The neovagina can differentiate into layers of cells highly similar to normal vaginal tissue (Grosse et al., 2017). And a recent study has reported on a “novel and previously unrecognized” finding: the growth of prostate tissue within the vaginal tract of trans men and transmasculine people taking testosterone. Continue reading

Posted in Biology of transition, Endocrinology, Transmasculine | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Open questions: Trans men and transmasculine people can experience abdominal and pelvic pain after starting testosterone

Zinnia JonesCollaboration between the transgender community and health researchers plays an essential role in ensuring that our population’s knowledge and interests are acknowledged and represented in medicine. When researchers neglect to reach out and utilize the community’s collected experiences and shared knowledge, it’s easy for them to overlook significant issues that are widely recognized among trans people but make almost no appearance in medical literature. For instance, consider the phenomenon of chronic depersonalization disorder in trans people, which we’ve frequently described as intense and unremitting before starting HRT, and suddenly disappearing once we’re on HRT. Yet the specific symptoms of depersonalization among trans people have only barely been studied in medical publications. Conversely, trans people often find themselves without access to the language, to the term depersonalization, to describe these symptoms as what they are.

Better communication between the trans and medical communities can be mutually enriching, with medical professionals becoming aware of key issues among the trans population that they may have overlooked, and trans people being able to tap into the resources of medical researchers to investigate and more rigorously clarify various aspects of our health. And one such collaboration has recently shed light on a previously unstudied issue: the emergence of new abdomino-pelvic pain in trans men and transmasculine people after beginning treatment with testosterone. Continue reading

Posted in Endocrinology, Transgender medicine, Transmasculine | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

New study: Supprelin LA and less-expensive Vantas implant equally effective for blocking puberty in trans youth

Zinnia JonesPreviously, I’ve noted some rather concerning confusion among anti-trans activists on the subject of implanted puberty-blocking medications used in trans adolescents. Brie Jontry, a spokesperson for anti-trans hub 4thWaveNow, characterized the Vantas brand of once-yearly histrelin acetate implant as a “late-stage cancer drug” that was “never studied in young people”, and falsely claimed it was “contraindicated” for use in children. In reality, Vantas is merely “not indicated” for pediatric populations, and contains the same medication as the once-yearly Supprelin LA implant which is indicated for use in children with precocious puberty. Neither Vantas nor Supprelin LA are specifically FDA-approved for the indication of treating pediatric gender dysphoria, so the particular brand really makes no difference. Continue reading

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