Gender identity is complicated, but how it works in the brain is even more so.

SeekerPublished: July 10, 2018
Published: July 10, 2018

The definitions of “man”, “woman”, or neither depend on a multitude of biological, sociological, and psychological factors. When babies are born, they are assigned a sex based on the visual inspection of their primary sex characteristics like genitalia. The process of developing the primary sex organs rely on a whole host of hormones, receptors, and other factors that come from at least seventy different genes on different chromosomes. Therefore, there is strong evidence that there are more than two biological sexes since there are so many variables occurring that aren’t necessary correlated with each other.

For example, testosterone is crucial for developing internal genitalia but needs to be converted by an enzyme for the development of external genitalia. Therefore an individual could have testosterone along with its effects on development through puberty and be considered “male” internally, but if one enzyme is missing, the exterior appearance may not fit the traditional definition of “male”.

When individuals refer to their gender identity, this information isn’t based on biology but rather based on their brains. Unfortunately, scientists are still unsure what part of the brain influences the decision of gender identity. There are several regions in the brain that differ between the sexes, but some researchers argue that there are more similarities than differences and that there isn’t a typical “male” or “female” brain.

Scientifically, it is not yet possible to explain why individuals feel like a man, a woman, or neither. The understanding of the neuroscience behind gender and the information on true biological sex is incomplete. In the meantime, it’s important to recognize the complexity of the spectrum of gender as the more we learn about this topic, the more nuanced it becomes. This video, " Gender identity is complicated, but how it works in the brain is even more so. ", first appeared on seeker.com.

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