Metro Weekly

Brains of transgender individuals match their gender identity, not their assigned sex at birth

This study could help identify gender dysmorphia through the use of MRIs

Trans Pride Flag, Photo: Foreign and Commonwealth Office / Flickr

A new study has found that transgender people’s brains more closely resemble their gender identity than their assigned sex at birth.

The study, conducted by Belgian University, found that transgender people who were diagnosed with gender dysphoria before adulthood had brain scans that matched their gender identity, not their assigned sex. The university performed MRIs on 160 transgender individuals and compared their brain activity patterns to scans of cisgender men and women.

According to Big Think, lead researcher Julie Bakker said that this new information could help doctors better identify gender dysmorphia.

“Although more research is needed, we now have evidence that sexual differentiation of the brain differs in young people with GD, as they show functional brain characteristics that are typical of their desired gender,” she said.

The results were presented to the European Society of Endocrinology and match with findings from previous studies. Scientists said that the results of Belgian University’s study will help doctors better detect gender dysmorphia in youth, as analysis has discovered these neurological difference can be found at a young age.

A similar study from the University of California, San Diego found that trans men all had lessened activity in the supramarginal gyrus part of their brain when compared to cisgender women. This area of the brain keeps us aware of our body parts.

While gender dysmorphia, which is estimated to affect one percent of the population, could one day be determined by brain scans, these studies need to go through scientific scrutiny and peer review before that process can be put into practice.