From The Daily Free Press: http://dailyfreepress.com/2015/02/18/bu-researchers-find-biological-basis-for-transgender-identity/
February 18, 2015
Researchers from the Boston University School of Medicine published a review concluding that there is a biological basis for transgender identity, according to a Friday press release.
The review, published in the journal Endocrine Practice on Feb. 9, contests the notion that transgender people choose what gender they prefer. Evidence that gender has a biological basis may improve health care, including surgery and hormone treatment, for transgender patients, the release stated.
Joshua Safer, the lead researcher and a professor at BUSM, said doctors are often overwhelmed when dealing with transgender patients. Medical practitioners often prefer to direct such patients toward psychological counseling, he said.
“It is still the case that the largest barrier for transgender [individuals] getting medical care is the lack of access to physicians who are knowledgeable and comfortable providing that care,” he said. “What’s concerning these providers is a sense that [treating them] is too complicated, and that they think this is a mental health concern.”
Gender identity disorders affect as many as 1 in 100 people, the release stated.
Jamie Weinand, a second-year BUSM student who also worked on the study, said the most difficult part of the study is the current nature of the field.
“There is not enough research being done currently on the health of gender identity minorities, including those who identify as transgender, and hopefully we can see this change in the future,” he wrote in an email.
Weinand said he is openly transgender, and it has been a special experience to help guide the research on transgender health.
“We need to reverse this trend of transgender people receiving inadequate and uniformed care,” he said. “As a trans-guy, it means a lot to learn more about transgender health and to bring this topic more in the open among medical providers.”
Safer said this conclusion could alter the way physicians work with transgender patients or patients that are born with a gender they do not align with.