While the term “gender identity” has exploded in popularity as a way for transgender individuals to express the feeling of “misalignment” with their bodies, a group of scientists says that there is no empirical evidence for its existence in biology.
According to an international group of over 100 clinicians and researchers, there is currently no biological evidence for “gender identity” and no laboratory test that can distinguish a trans-identified person from a non-trans-identified person. Despite this, the belief in “gender identity” is used as the basis for medically transitioning thousands of children and adolescents.
“The assumption of the core biological underpinning for ‘gender identity’ and ‘gender dysphoria’ remains an unproven theory: while biology likely plays a role in gender nonconformity, currently, there is no brain, blood, or other objective test that distinguishes a trans-identified from a non-trans identified person once confounding factors such as sexual orientation are controlled for,” (emphasis original) said the Society for Evidence-Based Gender Medicine (SEGM) in an article debunking false and unproven assumptions used to medically transition children.
The article addressed five myths outlined by SEGM-affiliated researcher J. Cohn in a recent publication that critically examines and refutes the assumptions made in an influential “pro-affirmation” paper by a prominent gender doctor. Cohn warned that when these myths and inaccuracies are perpetuated, they can be mistaken for “facts” that mislead both clinicians and patients alike.
One of the myths is that “gender identity,” which underlies gender dysphoria, is a biological trait, according to the article. There is evidence that roughly 60–90% of children who identify as transgender but do not socially or medically transition will no longer identify as transgender in adulthood, and many will grow up to be gay adults.
“A biologically ‘ingrained’ gender identity would appear to be in direct conflict with observations where gender dysphoria has resolved, either spontaneously, or with help of psychotherapy, at a variety of ages,” Cohn argued.
The “research” that has attempted to locate a biological basis for “gender identity” has been fraught with errors and made sweeping claims unsupported by evidence, Cohn claimed. The studies usually consist of two varieties: that disorders of sexual development (DSD), developmental anomalies that have nothing to do with gender dysphoria, somehow confound the binary nature of sex, and the brain studies of transgender individuals that have been lauded by the media but don’t hold up to empirical scrutiny.
“Brain studies that purport to distinguish objective differences in brains of trans-identified individuals are highly flawed: the differences disappear once confounding factors such as sexual orientation (or exposure to exogenous hormones) are controlled for,” said SEGM.
“Other studies rely on extremely small sample sizes, find nothing conclusive, or detect no signal,” they added.
While undertaking the hunt for the “transgender brain,” researchers seemed to forget all about the discoveries made about same-sex attracted brains. In the early nineties, neuroscientist Simon LeVay made the breakthrough discovery that the brains of homosexuals had structural differences that resembled that of straight members of the opposite sex.
In recent years, when researchers studied the brains of transgender individuals for insight into their condition, some concluded that the brain structure of transgender individuals more closely resembles their chosen “gender identity” rather than their natal sex. These studies failed to account for important confounding variables, such as sexuality, according to the SEGM article.
Samuel Stagg, a U.K.-based Ph.D. student of neuroimmunology, explained that because many trans-identifying individuals are homosexual, this new research on the “transgender brain” appears to merely rediscover findings on the same-sex attracted brain and reinterpret the results to fit their conclusions.
“The homosexual sub-group show brains skewed along the male-female dimension, however, this is predominantly due to their co-occurring homosexuality,” Stagg told the Daily Wire. “When we scan the brains of the heterosexual type, we find they are more typical for their natal sex.”
“This is because sexual orientation correlates with a brain that is sex-atypical (which makes sense given the animal data),” said Stagg.
Gender dysphoria had previously been considered a psychiatric condition until recent years, when activists pushed for a more “inclusive” definition that ceases to categorize it as a mental illness to “reduce stigma.” They have also pushed for little to no “gatekeeping” of medical transition treatments and lobbied to have therapy for minors that doesn’t affirm their chosen “gender identity” to be banned in 20 states.
The term “gender identity” was coined by psychologist John Money, best known for his failed “sex reassignment” experiment on the Reimer twins. Money was an advocate of the “blank slate” model of human nature, which de-emphasizes the importance of biology (nature) in favor of social influences (nurture), and his work has largely been discredited. The term “gender identity” gained popularity in college humanities departments and then made its way to mainstream culture.
Today, the concept is used in school lessons to teach young children that everyone has a “gender identity,” which is determined based on stereotypes of sex-based preferences and behavior. Children across the West are now taught that their “gender identity” can be “misaligned” with the body, and that the body can be altered through puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and gender-related surgeries to “correct” the “mismatch.”
Pediatric endocrinologist Dr. Quentin Van Meter has said that there is “zero point zero zero” evidence that the concepts of “gender fluidity” and “gender identity” have any scientific basis.
Manhattan Institute fellow Leor Sapir says the motivation for attempting to prove that “gender identity” is an “innate, immutable trait” is for political and legal reasons.
After 2015, when same-sex marriage was legalized nationwide, civil rights and gay rights organizations that may have otherwise had to shutter their doors pivoted to championing “trans rights,” according to Sapir. Sapir wrote his Ph.D. dissertation on the rapid proliferation of the “transgender rights movement” and its efforts to redefine biological sex as “gender identity,” or as it’s sometimes called “neurological sex” or “brain sex.”
“It’s not obvious why there would have to be an argument for ‘brain sex’ in order to give people the rights to identify as they please,” Sapir continued. “But in the American civil rights tradition, if you can convince a judge that being transgender is like being black, then you can tap into this entire body of judicial precedent and civil rights laws that immediately applies and gives you all the policies you want.”