My XY Chromosome

Someone interacting with me is acknowledging that I call myself a girl with “outie” plumbing but her point is that no matter what I say, my DNA says I’m male.

How I responded to her might be useful to some trans girls so I cleaned up my email and made this article. I’m not claiming to be the expert, just explaining how I understand things.

* * *

I AM a girl with “outie” plumbing. It’s not just semantics. To elaborate:

My brain is what’s most fundamental as to who and what I am. For example it’s the main organ with which you’ve been interacting all this time. Focusing on you as an example: you have an amazing physique and you’re very pretty but it’s still your brain that makes you who you are. 

My brain structure is female based on the available body of evidence, the counselor input and the tests I’ve had done.  So we won’t really know 100% until I’m dead and someone does an autopsy but the best available conclusion is that I’m a genetic mutation born as a mix of parts: male sex organs and female brain.

As I understand things, the only two groups of organs that have sexed development in the fetus are the sex organs and the brain.  Everything else like liver, pinkie, nose etc. is gender neutral at birth. 

But then during puberty the sex organs typically make either testosterone or estrogen and that shapes the body from there on. By that time and beyond, my DNA was and is XY but the role of the sex chromosome in DNA is like the launching pad for a rocket.

Its job was to make the sex organs and the brain develop in the fetus as male. In my case, half of that worked and half didn’t so I was born a strange mixture. My DNA tried to make me male and it succeeded only in the less-fundamental aspect: my sex organ. It failed to make my brain structure develop as male. 

So my DNA it had its chance to make a difference as to my brain and now it’s too late to have any further effect because I’ve already developed my brain as structurally female, and I can’t undevelop or redevelop that. 

I have 23 chromosomes.  The sex chromosome (which is type “XY” for me) will never play a role again unless I were to impregnate someone. In all other cases, it’s in retirement doing nothing at all. It’s the other 22 chromosomes that are guiding my cellular development every day, as influenced by the prevailing hormones in effect.

To phrase it differently, if I have my DNA sequenced then it’ll always show as “XY” under the microscope but that’s not something anyone can see in daily life. unless looking through a microscope — and then even so, all they can see is something that’s the launching pad for influencing (or not) sex organs and brain structure in fetal development. Without detouring the development of these two organs into a male structure, they develop naturally as female in the fetus.

What you CAN see looking at me is the unpleasant-for-me shaping effects of what testosterone did during puberty for me, and the pleasant-for-me shaping effects of what estrogen is currently doing for me.

* * *

Now that I have pondered this all, as to the phrase “my DNA says I’m male” … actually, my DNA says I’m a trans girl. It’s my DNA that caused the fetus (that would later become me) to develop male sex organs and a female brain structure. So in the same way as it’s an oversimplification to consider every body part of a person to have a consistent sex, it’s an oversimplification to consider DNA to be just male or just female.


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