10 Aug Science, Gender, and Gender Dysphoria
by Diane Robertson
I was once asked that since there are many kinds of birth defects then wouldnâ€™t it be reasonable that a person could be born with the outward sexual organs of one gender and the brain of another thereby making them a true transgender? I can understand that questioning since may transgender people claim that they were born with the body of one gender and the brain of another. While gender dysphoria is a real issue for people, science already answered this question years ago with the discovery of DNA.
DNA is a powerful indicator of many characteristics of humans. A simple sample of DNA can tell the gender, race, and even ancestral heritage of any given individual. It does not matter which part of the body a sample of DNA is taken from. An individualâ€™s DNA sample could be taken from the brain, the genitals, the skin, the heart, the liver, or even the saliva and it will be the same.
DNA is the source code of every function of every part of the body, even though every part of the body has different functions.
One may ask why then is each cell so functionally different if they all contain the same information? That is more complicated and begins as cells divide in the earliest stages of human development. It has to do with stem cells and what scientists call genetic â€śexpressionâ€ť. Once cells divide after fertilization, they begin to produce different proteins that will determine the function of the cell. Skin cells will make different proteins than liver cells.
One may go further and suggest that a personâ€™s brain cells may then develop proteins of the opposite gender than what their DNA contains. That would not make sense from a cellular point of view either because each different protein is formed from RNA reading the DNA in the cell. Therefore, every function of an individualâ€™s body starts from their DNA.
Gender dysphoria is a real issue for many people. And while all people ought to be treated with respect and compassion, respect and compassion does not need to include a denial of basic science.