Not long ago I blogged about Caitlin Jenner and her difficult choices. Today I watched a rebroadcast of a Charlie Rose interview on PBS. It was originally broadcast June 18, 2015. Part of the Brain Series, it was titled Gender Identity.

Until fertilized, the human female egg has the potential to be male or female. When fertilized, it becomes either male or female, depending on the x and y chromosomes in the sperm. No one would claim that human choice had a role to play in this natural process. Nor would they state a moral choice was involved. However a diminishing number of people believe there is free human choice, and moral choice, when a person claims a sexual identity which does not match their physical identity. These beliefs are based on religious, perhaps even political ideas. Science is discovering another view.

The June 18th broadcast about Gender Identity points to studies, in mice, that suggest the brain, like the embryo, has two different ways of reacting: one male, the other female. Physically female mice have been observed acting out male roles and vice versa. The theory is a male brain path is activated by the high incidence of testosterone. This is how it occurs in human embryos.

After conception, human male embryos are bombarded with high levels of testosterone while in the womb. A smaller outpouring happens again just after birth. The theory is that this is what activates either the male or the female path in the brain. If it takes place in a female, or fails to occur in a male, it could result in male bodies acting according to female psychological needs or the reverse. This evidence may provide the answers to the gender identity issues in the news today.

One of the most interesting panelists, all of whom are professors at major universities, started life physically as a woman but has opted for masculinity. He believes it is important for all people to realize that these differences are not mental disorders, nor a simple choice.I recommend everyone check out this panel discussion. You may find it at www.pbs.org or at www.charlierose.com. Search by date, look for the Brain Series programs, or search on transgender. 

There are many forms of healing. A person may be healed through understanding. People who are LGBT have suffered because of society’s assumptions about physicality, morality and choice. It is time for our society to heal by clarifying and understanding, these misconceptions.

Advertisements