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What if Benjamin and Vitale are both right?

As we saw from cases where non-dysphoric male newborns were reassigned as females, brain gender identity is primarily determined at birth. Many years later these individuals identified more as males than as females and took on typically male interests even if they had not been socialized as such.

This is an important finding for gender dysphorics.

Harry Benjamin believed that the source of his patient’s condition originated at birth. He grouped them into levels of gender disorientation and recommended for his most extreme cases the option of hormone therapy and surgery. The distress they felt came from years of self questioning and rejection by their families and is the same one that Anne Vitale has termed “gender expression deprivation anxiety”.

Today's "Trans Kids" have never felt such a prolonged anxiety since many parents clue in to their condition early on. We have improved our level of education and understanding as a society. But caution should be applied here because a developing child can change as they age. Take the case of the 11 year old boy who on the Oprah show announced with absolute certainty that he wanted a sex change. Now 9 years later that individual is a well adjusted gay man.

We need to be careful.

But if our brains have somehow been feminized at conception, then our inclinations in childhood and beyond are to be expected. We, like non dysphorics are doing what our minds tell us and is why expressing a full or partial female identity becomes so critical since it could be fused to our nature. When that inclination is suppressed we develop an anxiety which can be debilitating and eventually commands us to present for treatment after many years of suffering; a suffering that can be managed if we learn how.

When I look at the work of Benjamin and Vitale they seem entirely complementary and the only remaining piece of the puzzle is the proof that research may one day provide.


Harry Benjamin near the end of his life

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