The Massive Effects of Hormones During Puberty

I was born with a female brain, and yet male plumbing. So, I’m a transsexual girl. Until puberty, things were fairly nice. I was very slender, very lithe, my face had a nice shape, and I had a nice voice. When I spoke on the phone, people called me “miss” or “ma’am.” Things were generally in good shape – literally.

During puberty, things went very much awry. If there’s an “undo” button for that, then I’d be hitting it, right now. In a way, that’s what I’m doing, by taking feminizing hormones. However, there’s much that happened during puberty that isn’t going to be undone quickly, and much of it isn’t going to be undone even if I take feminizing hormones for the next thousand years.

I was recently reminded of how dramatic the effects of hormones are, during puberty. According to an article sent to me by someone very helpful:

In the small town of Salinas, in the Caribbean island of the Dominican Republic, a large portion of the children are classified as girls based on their genitals at birth. As these children grow up, a sizable portion of them rebel against wearing dresses and playing with girls’ toys — and they do so even before puberty.

When puberty hits, the reason becomes apparent. To quote the article: “… these children are born with a genetic mutation that delays the development of external male sex organs. When X and Y chromosomes combine during conception and pregnancy, males usually produce the enzyme that converts testosterone into DHT, an androgen that produces the penis and testes. In these children, that enzyme doesn’t get produced until puberty. It’s a little more complex than that… but that is the basic overview.”

And so, during puberty, the children, who (as it turns out) had been boys all along (based on what most fundamentally matters: brain structure) develop male private parts, and suddenly it becomes apparent as to why they didn’t want to live as girls: they were not girls in the first place, and they knew it better than any outsider did.

As my wise friend and counselor Tory Clark explained my transsexual nature to me: “you know who you are,” at a time when yes, I knew I was female but it seemed to good to be true while also being terrifying in terms of its practical implications. I wanted to be more sure than was reasonably necessary. I insisted on more expensive and complex brain testing yet … which ended up confirming what she’d said.

This article provides a wonderfully validating and vindicating sequence of events for these boys, as to one’s awareness of one’s own gender.

The super-high concentration of this phenomenon in that location greatly underscores the issues in concrete terms that even a lay person can grasp: being transsexual is a genetically-based condition. It exists in the fetus and so from the moment the transsexual child is born, the condition exists. By implication, a boy is a boy and knows it, whether or not a few inches of flesh exist so as to satisfy the cultural stereotype. Ditto for the converse, as to a girl being a girl.

Here is a link to this fascinating article.

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