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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The Matrix Resurrections analysis: More trans than ever, this bold and messy dysphoric nightmare will thrill and unnerve (part 2)

< Continued from Part 1.

Assigned roles and binaries fracture easily and often.

These conversations and moments of dysphoric self-recognition and trans self-actualization are repeatedly shown as tipping-point epiphanies that can happen at the speed of an egg cracking. Bugs, the absolute breakout captain of Resurrections, redpills a programmed Morpheus out of his assigned role as Agent Smith in under three minutes simply by sharing and comparing their experiences of the matrix, before directly asking him: “Who are you? What do you have to do?”

Neo’s boss, a sharply dressed young businessman who loves standing at the window of their skyscraper and reciting Smith’s lines, stumbles into a set and setting that resonate with something deep within him: Neo trying to escape from an office flooded by sprinklers, Morpheus gunning down police, the signature Desert Eagle laying at his feet. He steps into the vivid bright red light, and has an intensely physical and transformational experience of embodiment and emergence, slowly throwing his head back as if in imitation of Agents possessing bluepills, while resembling nothing more than the prom scene in “Carrie”. In seconds, he is right back in his element, screaming “Mister Anderson!” and opening fire at Neo.

Much like Neo’s experience with Smith in the first Matrix, Trinity being repeatedly, obnoxiously deadnamed is the last straw for her: she realizes she cannot live a fake life defined by someone else who’s holding her hostage, and she knows she has to rebel against this and live as herself no matter the cost. She announces herself as Trinity, and proceeds to pursue this life immediately and with beautifully rewarding violence. Continue reading

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The Matrix Resurrections analysis: More trans than ever, this bold and messy dysphoric nightmare will thrill and unnerve (part 1)

Spoilers/prerequisites: All of The Matrix Resurrections.

Up front, I really liked The Matrix Resurrections and I think you should watch it, but whether the movie was good or bad isn’t my focus here. Even if you don’t enjoy it, I still consider it to be a significant work and worthwhile to study and discuss as a text. These are notes and observations on my experiences as a trans woman watching the first new Matrix sequel by an out trans woman, and what I saw as possible meanings and interpretations of it.

This movie made me uncomfortable, and it succeeded in expressing something meaningful through that discomfort. Shortly before the release of Resurrections, I went over several points of comparison between the events and style of the original trilogy and the dissociative experience of depersonalization-derealization disorder. This disconcerting sense that the world or oneself feels essentially “unreal” often begins in early childhood or at puberty, is unusually common among trans people, and often goes away after transitioning. Neo’s experience in The Matrix has long been understood as a metaphor for transness. Part of that transness could be the all-encompassing faded green of a false-seeming reality with no depth, the flat backdrop to your meaningless and empty self simply going through the motions of life, constantly tormented by the inescapable and unbearable “splinter in your mind” feeling of “something wrong with the world”.

Resurrections does not seem to be primarily about feeling one’s way through an uncomfortable sense of unreality. If the trilogy was about having gender dysphoria and depersonalization-derealization, Resurrections is about even more severe expressions of dissociation such as extreme absorption and amnesia, including apparent episodes of actual loss of contact with reality, hallucinatory flashbacks, and having no memory of periods of time. Whereas depersonalization disorder is notably associated with experiencing emotional neglect from one’s parents or family, this extreme dissociation is the result of the prolonged severe trauma of physical, emotional, or sexual violence and abuse, typically during childhood. Continue reading

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The Matrix is about transgender depersonalization, a dissociative “feeling of unreality” that can be treated by transitioning

An unofficial transgender depersonalization companion guide to The Matrix.

Hi, I’m Zinnia. I’ll be your operator.

Warning: Exposure to information on transgender depersonalization may cause the realization that you are transgender.

MORPHEUS: Let me tell you why you’re here. You’re here because you know something. What you know you can’t explain, but you feel it. You’ve felt it your entire life. There’s something wrong with the world. You don’t know what it is, but it’s there. Like a splinter in your mind, driving you mad. It is this feeling that has brought you to me. Do you know what I’m talking about?

NEO: The Matrix?

MORPHEUS: Do you want to know what it is? The Matrix is everywhere. It is all around us. Even now, in this very room.

There are some people in our world who feel this way all the time. It’s called depersonalization, a pervasive feeling of detachment from yourself and your feelings and perceptions as you experience the world. As a chronic condition, it’s somewhat uncommon in the general population and notably more frequent among transgender people – and there’s evidence that transitioning itself can treat those of us who are affected, eliminating that sensation of disconnect.

The Matrix is a film about messiahs and prophecies, industrial music and leather clubs, groundbreaking special effects and action sequences that redefined the genre. It’s about rebelling against systemic control by overwhelming institutions, it’s about humanity’s future war against intelligent machines, and it’s about philosophy of the nature of mind and experience. Crucially, The Matrix is about seeing one’s world as fake and discovering what it’s like to be in the real world for the first time.

The Matrix is also about being transgender, a parallel to our experience that was already noticed by many in the community even before both directors had come out as trans women and confirmed this was its message. The phenomenon of depersonalization among trans people unifies these themes, and this intersection is depicted so extensively and specifically in The Matrix, there is reason to believe it was deliberately included by the directors based on their own experiences. I’ve loved The Matrix since I was a child and I’ve come to appreciate it even more as a trans woman who has experienced the dream world of depersonalization. After all, The Matrix was never about the matrix working just fine – it’s about those who can sense there is something terribly wrong. Continue reading

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What happened, proxalutamide? New antiandrogen for COVID-19 is entangled in clinical data irregularities and human rights violations

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

Zinnia JonesFrom the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been interest in a possible relationship between sex hormones and likelihood of infection or severity of disease. Cis men were observed to be more likely to become severely ill than cis women, while the androgen receptor was hypothesized to play a role in the disease due to its effects on ACE2 and TMPRSS2, which are used by the SARS-CoV-2 virus to achieve entry into cells. This suggested the possibility of modifying sex hormone levels using treatment with antiandrogens or feminizing sex hormones like estradiol and progesterone to treat COVID-19 disease. Continue reading

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The fall, and fall, and fall of “rapid-onset gender dysphoria”: New study does not find evidence of a distinct “ROGD” population of gender-diverse youth

Zinnia JonesIn proposing a new condition of “rapid-onset gender dysphoria” (ROGD), Littman (2018) describes an allegedly distinct new cohort of youth presenting to gender clinics for assessment and transition treatment. According to Littman’s telling, these youth, mostly assigned female, have begun to experience what they believe to be gender dysphoria relatively recently – a few weeks or months before seeking treatment. However, these apparent symptoms are instead a misidentification of other conditions experienced by these actually-cis youth, such as depression, eating disorders, autism, social difficulties, or nearly anything else, and this misidentification is likely the result of influence by peer groups or online resources.

Littman’s study, claiming to be about trans or gender-questioning youth, surveyed only anonymous parents from three specifically anti-trans websites, rather than youth themselves or parents and children confirmed to be engaged with gender clinics. From these unconvincing beginnings, the “ROGD” claim has only continued to fall apart: though mental and behavioral health conditions and social and emotional difficulties may be very common among youth in the general population, it is still very uncommon for youth overall to report symptoms of gender dysphoria. One of the supposedly influential online resources cited in the study as misleading cis youth into believing they’re trans was actually a post from this website about a dissociative condition experienced unusually frequently by trans people. Most pertinent to the central ROGD claim, trans people, including trans kids, are typically aware of their gender for many years before making this known to others, meaning that only surveying their parents on the timeline of their gender identity development will systematically bias the results. Continue reading

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