Of all questions impregnated with ambiguity, one of the most baffling ones has to be the one that goes along the lines of “why are you the way you are?” and more often than not, the answer lies somewhere in between habit, and habitat.
“It’s a boy”, said the doctor. But it would only be found out much later that the gender the child identifies with, varies from the one allotted to him at birth.
The knowledge we possess on this may be rather limited, but here’s what we do know. There are a lot of factors that contribute to the anatomy and orientation of a child. But 3 (three)main contributors would be genetics, the uterine environment, and brain structures.
After almost 2 decades of advanced research, scientists were convinced that genetics does contribute to a person identifying as transgender or transsexual. The conforming ways of society have led us to almost consider those words taboo, and I pray that the one reading this does not equate ignorance and bliss.
A possible explanation may also lie in the prenatal environment, and it is worth noting that everything is set in the womb. Anatomy (how you look) is determined in the first six weeks of development, but after that, there’s a big time lag- almost six months before the brain masculinizes or feminizes. And that’s what decides the orientation (how you feel) of the child.
The third factor is brain structures. It was argued in the past that being transgender was a psychological or emotional disorder caused due to environmental factors and personality conflicts, but it was later rejected when no study could demonstrate this on a large scale. In the year 2015, Dr. Sherer explained that environment and upbringing can influence gender expression but not gender identity. Yes, they’re different.
Even if it has been established that it is not a psychological condition in itself, it can still lead to one.
In simple words, it is the distress a person experiences on account of not being able to accept their designated gender (and no, it’s not equivalent to being sad. There are only some things ice cream can make better).The causes, needless to say, revolve around the stigmatisation of their very existence. Discontentment, isolation, anxiety, loneliness, and depression may just be a few of the reasons why at least 41% of people identified as transgender have attempted to end their lives.
If we look beyond the scepticism and more into science, it can more or less be concluded (much against the social prejudice) that being transgender is not a lifestyle choice. Maybe, if society was more accepting and less victimizing, well, I’ll leave it at that.
- Prevalence of suicide attempts in percentage:
- Gender expression vs gender identity: