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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Book review: “Being Jazz” by Jazz Jennings

by Heather McNamara

Being Jazz

By Jazz Jennings (and also probably a ghost writer)

Overall: 3/5

Trans narrative: 5/5

Heather McNamaraBeing Jazz is a memoir by Jazz Jennings who’s been a transgender activist almost as long as she’s been alive. She has her own reality show called I Am Jazz on TLC, a few GLAAD awards, and a long public speaking resume. This book is about the struggles and triumphs of her childhood as a transgender girl with a supportive family. She offers stories about the way she came out to her parents pretty much as soon as she was able to talk, her coming out slash fifth birthday party which sounds pretty awesome, and her struggles for acceptance in soccer leagues and schools that didn’t know how to categorize a transgender child before Obama’s guidance came out. Continue reading

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A new plastic surgery technique for hip widening

While feminizing hormone therapy can produce extensive visible changes for trans women, one aspect of the body that remains largely unchanged is the skeletal structure. Trans women who were not treated with puberty blockers in adolescence generally lack options when it comes to fixed skeletal features, such as broader shoulders, a wide ribcage, and narrow hips.

HRT can promote fat redistribution to create a more feminine body shape overall, but when this is not sufficient to produce the desired body shape, some trans women have turned to more dangerous options such as the injection of loose silicone. This carries a number of serious risks, including migration of silicone, inflammation, the development of abscesses, infection, ulceration, sepsis, organ failure, and silicone embolism leading to limb loss or death. Unlicensed silicone injection has been linked to numerous deaths of trans women, and surgery can be required to remove silicone that has migrated or hardened. Continue reading

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“Rapid onset gender dysphoria”: What a hoax diagnosis looks like

Zinnia Jones

The concept of “rapid onset gender dysphoria” was proposed in July of 2016 by a trio of blogs with a history of overtly transphobic perspectives that are at odds with the current evidence on transness: 4thwavenow.com, transgendertrend.com, and youthtranscriticalprofessionals.org. This “diagnosis” is intended to describe an alleged phenomenon of trans men who abruptly begin to experience gender dysphoria in adolescence, having supposedly been influenced by learning about transgender topics on social media. It is invariably described as a “social contagion”. The site “Parents of ROGD Kids” provides a representative example of how this diagnosis is depicted by its advocates:

We are a group of parents whose children have suddenly—seemingly out of the blue—decided they identify strongly with the opposite sex and are at various stages in transitioning.  This is a new phenomenon that has only recently been identified.  Researchers are calling it Rapid-Onset Gender Dysphoria (ROGD), and it is epidemic among our most vulnerable youth.

Our children are young, naïve and impressionable, many of them are experiencing emotional or social difficulties.  They are strongly influenced by their peers and by the media, who are promoting the transgender lifestyle as popular, desirable and the solution to all of their problems.  And they are being misled by authority figures, such as teachers, doctors and counselors, who rush to “affirm” their chosen gender without ever questioning why.

One of the most obvious questions about this supposed phenomenon is how, over more than 50 years of research into just about every aspect of gender dysphoria, the existence of a wholly distinct form of dysphoria could have been completely overlooked. And if, as many advocates of this diagnosis claim, this is a newly emergent phenomenon that has only appeared over the past several years, what clinical features have been identified to distinguish this from the traditional form of dysphoria? Continue reading

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Trip report: Lamotrigine, a drug to treat depersonalization – Part 2: The experience

Previously: Part 1: Preamble

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, and this is not medical advice. Do not take any medication without appropriate medical supervision.

 

Don’t try this at home

I’ve already been on an SSRI, Lexapro, for the past year, which has been spectacularly successful in insulating me both from my depression and from the stresses that come with living in the United States right now. But unlike the compounds tried by Morris, lamotrigine is not a medication that can be taken once with immediate effect. The dosage must be titrated up over a period of weeks, with close monitoring of any side effects, which can be potentially fatal. It carries a black box warning about Stevens-Johnson syndrome, a life-threatening skin reaction that you should not Google unless you have a strong stomach. There’s also a long list of possible drug interactions. Lamotrigine is absolutely not something you should take without medical supervision, and I only tried this after consulting with a practicing psychiatrist.

That said, I was able to take it without experiencing serious side effects, and my experience with lamotrigine turned out to be a very interesting exploration of the many dimensions of depersonalization that had haunted my life for decades. I wanted to understand depersonalization better, both as a general phenomenon and as something that affected me so deeply, and lamotrigine did give me that. Continue reading

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Trip report: Lamotrigine, a drug to treat depersonalization – Part 1: Preamble

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, and this is not medical advice. Do not take any medication without appropriate medical supervision.

 

Anti-high

One of the most fascinating articles I’ve ever read is “New Frontiers of Sobriety” by Hamilton Morris of VICE. Morris describes several medications which have an effect roughly opposite to various recreational drugs: rimonabant, a cannabinoid receptor blocker that also works against the action of the body’s endogenous cannabinoids; risperidone, an atypical antipsychotic that counteracts many of the effects of LSD; and naltrexone, an opioid antagonist used to manage opioid dependence by blocking the action of drugs like heroin and fentanyl – as well as natural endorphins.

Morris then takes large doses of these compounds in isolation, finding each to be a broadly uncomfortable experience. Rimonabant is a potent appetite suppressant with unpleasant physical and psychiatric side effects, risperidone is heavily sedating, and naltrexone produces sensations he describes as “Wow, am I on edge!” None of them sound even remotely enjoyable to use whether medically indicated or not. Continue reading

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