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Thread by @stavvers: "While some may find this validating, a few caveats: 1. That "male brain/female brain" think is kind of bollocks, plz read C. Fine's "Delusio […]"

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While some may find this validating, a few caveats:
1. That "male brain/female brain" think is kind of bollocks, plz read C. Fine's "Delusions of Gender" for how the science is A Lot More Complicated Than That.
2. MRI studies are never the whole picture of anything human.
3. Very worrying quotes about how brain scans could be used to *diagnose* trans people which is NOPE NOPE NOPE AND ALSO NOPE.
3a. Using MRI data to diagnose trans people rather than idk just fuckin asking them is fucking DANGEROUS politically. It'll deny some trans people vital medical care because their brains don't look right, and I shudder to think what anti-trans ppl would do w a "test" like this.
3b. Participants were children and young people who have *already* been diagnosed with gender dysphoria, so basically this can't really function as a diagnostic tool anyway, since it's simply looked at people already diagnosed.
4. I cannot emphasise enough how the "this little physical quirk shows they're different" line leads to eugenics, so SERIOUSLY be cautious about this.
5. I also can't really emphasise enough how much your response to "MRI study reveals" headlines should always be 🤔🤔🤔 unless the sentence ends with "brain tumour" or other structural issue causing physical illness, because associations with behaviour and personality are shonky
(that's not to say I wholly dismiss the entire brain structure approach, just that its conclusions are pretty much always "further research needed" and it really doesn't tend to offer many viable and useful solutions)
(and indeed a lot of what's picked up in MRI studies aren't problems at all and don't need solutions)
6. Lemme talk a bit more about MRI as a diagnostic tool. I have epilepsy. I have seizures. I have abnormal electric activity measured on an EEG. I respond well to anticonvulsants. I have a pretty normal MRI. Were MRI alone used to diagnose me, I'd not be diagnosed.
Thankfully, no doctor uses MRI alone to diagnose epilepsy, it's just used as a way of checking nothing's structurally wrong that might be causing seizures (like a tumour or damage) and to check seizures haven't caused any damage.
And if MRI is a crap tool for diagnosing a literal neurological issue, it's going to be a complete chocolate teapot in helping trans children access healthcare.
7. Alternate conclusion to draw from this research: transgender children receiving help go on to develop brain structure and activity associated with their true gender.

Neuroplasticity is a thing, and all participants were already receiving care for gender dysphoria.
8. Here's a valid use of MRI research in transgender children, which would actually be useful. Bigots say, based on no evidence, that puberty blockers destroy brains. Use MRI to see (a) if that happens and (b) research ways of mitigating if there is any damage.
(obviously I am very sceptical as to whether there is any damage whatsoever caused by puberty blockers)
9. Also, MRI is not exactly a non-invasive easy test, particularly for a child. It's fucking horrible being trapped in a noisy tube and told to keep still, and certainly it'd be significantly more human to just ask trans children!
10. Further to this, and from a purely practical perspective, research MRI machines, analysis, and time allocated to scanning are often COMPLETELY inaccessible to an NHS hospital.
11. I do think there's a huge public lack of understanding about what MRIs do and can't do and what MRI research can show us, and I can't really blame then for living in a world where there's that episode of House where they diagnose a patient as a psychopath using live fMRI.
lmao that episode probably aired over a decade ago and I'm still fucking furious at it for being so fucking wrong on so many fucking levels and like I know it's *House* which was always quite bad but my god, that episode nearly killed me lol
12. It's actually pretty tragic that money's there to do research MRIs on trans children but it isn't there for fucking well ensuring their access to healthcare. There are only 7 GICs for adults in England and only ONE for under 17s.
13. Haven't mentioned the potential for horrible things like eugenics and gatekeeping with studies like this for a while, have I? Yeah, that.
14. "Real gender is some sort of measurable physical difference" is some pretty fucking cissexist ideology, and frankly we all need to chuck that in the bin.
15. I think I've retweeted to this effect but maybe haven't outright said it here: gender isn't a binary, nonbinary people exist and wtf does this male/female brain drivel have to say about them, eh?
16. btw most of this thread also applies to "gay gene" research or any of the other "born this way" avenues of research, although there's different sets of caveats for each research methodology. But they're all pretty shaky and not good questions to ask to begin with.
wandering off a bit, but one of my fave "born this way" things is that in-utero testosterone thing that found gay men have "feminine" ring fingers shorter than first finger, while lesbians have "masculine" finger proportion.

bc I have one "masculine" and one "feminine" hand.
as if you can figure out sexuality from finger length lmao
17. Here's a really good critique of a different trans person MRI study from someone who knows their shit that I'll fling in here because it's relevant
tweet length conclusion to this thread: MRI findings have question marks over them; they've no use for diagnosing transgender kids; this sort of research is a short hop to gatekeeping and a still-short hop to eugenics; stop with biological essentialism plz
and a link for if you prefer not reading twitter megathreads anotherangrywoman.com/2018/05/23/cav…
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