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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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

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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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Update on cases of lymphoma linked to textured breast implants in transgender women (BIA-ALCL)

Zinnia JonesI’ve previously covered emerging findings on breast implant-associated anaplastic large-cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL), a type of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma caused by the textured surfaces of some implants used in breast augmentation surgeries. Textured surfaces have been used in some breast implants to promote better adherence of the surface to the fibrous capsule of scar tissue surrounding it, as implants with smooth surfaces may be more mobile within the breast by comparison. Teardrop-shaped or “gummy bear” silicone implants in particular make use of this textured surface to help the asymmetrically-shaped implant stay in place without shifting or rotating. It is the textured surface itself that appears to promote the development of this type of cancer, whereas breast implants with smooth surfaces are not associated with the condition (Turner, 2019). While many cases of BIA-ALCL can be identified and cured at an early stage, others can be aggressive, causing metastatic cancer and death. Continue reading

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Lower doses of cyproterone acetate may be similarly effective for blocking testosterone, with a lower risk of adverse effects

Previously:

Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional and this is not medical advice.

Zinnia JonesCyproterone acetate (CPA) is an oral antiandrogen widely used outside the United States (Angus et al., 2019) as a part of feminizing HRT in combination with estrogen. In recent years, increasing evidence has emerged that long-term or high-dose use of CPA, such as in transition treatment for transfeminine people, is associated with a substantially elevated risk of developing meningiomas (Gil et al., 2011). These typically benign brain tumors can cause symptoms such as vision loss, headaches, muscle weakness, and seizures, and can require treatment with radiation or surgery.

The mechanism of CPA’s role in promoting the growth of these tumors is well-understood. CPA is an antiandrogen that occupies androgen receptors as an antagonist to block the binding of androgens like testosterone and prevent them from producing physically masculinizing effects, while also functioning as an antigonadotropin to direct the body to stop producing and releasing androgens. However, CPA is not only an antiandrogen – it’s also a progestogen, binding to progesterone receptors as an agonist and producing a very strong progestogenic effect. Additionally, the antiandrogenic and progestogenic effects of CPA are imbalanced, and so the doses needed to suppress testosterone in transfeminine people also produce a significant excess of progestogenic activity (Hammerstein, 1990). Continue reading

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Once-yearly implanted puberty blockers may last for two years or more

Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional and this is not medical advice.

Zinnia JonesGnRH agonists are a class of medications that reversibly block the progression of natal puberty both in cis youth with precocious (early) puberty and in trans adolescents, allowing trans youth time for decision-making about whether to proceed with more permanent medical transition or discontinue blockers and resume their natal puberty. These drugs work at the pituitary gland to halt the release of LH and FSH which stimulate the production and release of sex hormones, meaning that trans girls on GnRH agonists will temporarily stop producing testosterone and trans boys will stop producing estrogen. If trans youth wish to go on to transition, they can continue taking blockers while receiving cross-sex hormones for the induction of their desired puberty. Continue reading

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