• Question: does transgenderism have an environmental basis

    Asked by mike wazowski to Vassilis, Tirso, Matthew, Jane, Dawn, Alexandra on 15 Mar 2019.
    • Photo: Dawn Rose

      Dawn Rose answered on 15 Mar 2019:


      Hmmm, well gender is a social construct (in comparison to the delineation between sex) and the environment can also be social, but I am not sure if that’s exactly what you mean?
      Is transgenderism a reaction to the environment?
      Well, having a binary concept of gender has meant that women have been seen inferior to men. In Switzerland, women only got to vote in the 1970’s!!! And also, the binary concept doesn’t allow for people to explore their own nature. Which should be their human right. So perhaps transgenderism has partially arisen from a socially constructed environment that tries to categorise people as one thing or another (for what reason?) whereas not everyone wants to be categorised in such a way. Or perhaps the changes in the social environment now enable more people to explore their gender in a non-binary way? However, with more tolerance, also often comes less tolerance because some people don’t like having what they consider ‘normal’ to be challenged.
      Hope my somewhat wondering thoughts hold some interest and help you consider your thoughts about this too?!

    • Photo: Vassilis Sideropoulos

      Vassilis Sideropoulos answered on 15 Mar 2019:


      Your question is not very clear, but I think I get what you might wanted to ask. Basically, there’s evidence that shows that transgenderism is more than a reaction to an environment (a reaction to society’s view of people, because you are coming from a dysfunctional family etc.). A study in 2010 showed how fetal exposure to a particular chemical appeared to have an effect on brain development that is linked to gender role behavior which means that there’s actually a genetic difference in people who identify as transgender when it comes to how they see themselves (https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/j.1365-2605.2009.01019.x). However, we know that gender is also a social construct and therefore we cannot put aside and not consider any possible environmental factors. What I would say is that transgenderism stems from both genetic and environmental factors. In my humble opinion, we need to be careful how we examine those things because sometimes they do more harm than good, I believe we need to become more educated in the gender studies and accept people for who they are without judging their gender or other characteristics of them.

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