`The Cutting Edge-November 2013
By Barbara F. Anderson, Ph.D., LCSW
The World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) is preparing for its bi-annual conference in Bangkok, Thailand in Feb. 2014. A featured speaker will be Antonio Guillamon, MD, PhD who will speak on “The Brain of Transsexual Persons.” A summary of his presentation follows: “The brain structures and mechanisms that support gender identity are unknown. One way to approach this topic would be to compare males and females with dysphoria to those who do not feel dysphoria. Two decades of research into brain differences in our laboratory, working with several species, including humans, has produced 2 main ideas. First, sex differences are seen in complex networks and differences in any given structure must be approached in this context. Second, sex differences in the brain can take 1 of 2 morphological patterns; in some structures males show larger measurements than females while in other structures the opposite is true.
“…post-mortem studies of hormonally treated m-t-f transsexuals have reported that 2 nuclei, which are located in the hypothalamus… are feminized. The idea that the brain[s] of transsexual persons might be feminized in m-t-f transsexuals or masculinized in f-t-m transsexuals has attracted media attention and become popular. It also seems to fit with the idea of being trapped in the wrong body. However, findings from post-mortem brain studies include the effects of the cross-sex hormone treatment and the suggestion of brain feminization in m-t-f transsexuals might be an over-simplification of how the brain actually is in transsexuals before they receive hormone treatment.” For more information on Dr. Guillamon’s talk, see WPATH’s website @ www.WPATH.org.
“Trans-Kin Update: Support for Family & Friends of transgender People” recently won the international Book Award in the Gay and Lesbian Non-Fiction category. According to Eleanor Hubbard (who may be the author/editor/publisher) “this guide has helped countless significant others, family members, friends and allies” to deal sensitively with TGs. For more info: www.Trans-Kin.com