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    • September 28, 2017 8:43 PM BST
    • Your welcome.

       

      Alice

    • September 27, 2017 11:42 PM BST
    • Actually, I have learned from this thread, whilst for years I have believed that transexual brains  differed from natal birth brains, all the research and studies I have done,  from your research and theory, I now believe that the educational learning process is also bi directional, something that never occured to me.

      Obviously and naturally we assume the cross gender role and perform to the social norms of our  revised gender but I never thought  that male and females have different learning capabilities in education or were that diverse,,,,thank you.

    • September 27, 2017 10:03 PM BST
    • Hey, your not rid of me yet.  I love it here.  I just wish more people would post.

       

      Yes you were of great help.  

       

      Alice

    • September 27, 2017 9:58 PM BST
    • Excellent,  very worthwhile thing you have done. glad I was of some help. xxXxx

       

    • September 27, 2017 9:44 PM BST
    • OK, here is the essay.  I have not posted the appendices and some of the graphs didn't come out on the paste, but you get the idea.  Anyway, I have been having kittens over this, so hope its not too junk.

       

      Alice

      Executive Summary/Abstract

      This report has been carried out to explore the success of portfolio/exam style assessment and how gender would play a part in the outcomes.  If there is a difference between male and female success rates, depending upon assessment style, then transgender students should be affected by the selection of portfolio or examination, as much as a natal female.   A thorough exploration of portfolio/exam results and how this would affect a transgender student forms a large part of this study.

       

      National statistics reveal that there is a difference between male and female pass rates.  A questionnaire sent out to a male only prison was conducted which showed that there was only a slight preference for portfolio assessment and that overall there did not appear to be a preference.  An online survey posted on a transgender web page revealed a slight preference for portfolio work.

       

      Transgender people are subject to a variety of medical and psychological issues, including genetic, physical and hormonal anomalies.  They are also targeted by bullies and subject to a wide range of abuse.  Consequently transgender people have a high rate of self-harm and attempted suicide compared to the general population.

       

      Pass rates taken from HMP ******s’ education department for the past two years indicate that, although both male and transgender female students enjoy similar success rates with portfolios, a noticeable difference was observed between the examination results for male and transgender students.

       

      There are two main areas for concern that therefore need to be addressed:  Bullying and the poor performance in examinations.  It is recommended that the Stonewall Societies recommendations to tackle bullying should be employed and that a campaign should be undertaken to enhance the education staffs knowledge of transgender bullying.  Portfolios are also to be used where possible, but where an examination is required workbooks which replicate the evidence gathering styles used in portfolios should help to support learners who may prefer to have used a portfolio assessment method.

       

      Introduction

      The main purpose of the research is to explore student outcomes from different styles of assessment – examination vs portfolio.  Preparation for the two methods is quite different, yet the majority of vocational and post compulsorily qualifications seem to favour a portfolio style.  There are some exceptions, like accountancy for example, or degree level courses.  A theory that led to the GCSE format stated that boys are better at examinations, while girls are better at portfolio work.  The GCSE was implemented to address this perceived weakness.  It will also raises questions with regard to lesson delivery for male, female and transgender students and their general preferred learning and assessment style.  The difference between male and female assessment and learning has been know and recognised for some time. (Goebel, 2010), but what does this actually mean in the classroom?  Would notebooks and hand-outs be the best approach, as has been traditionally used in schools, or is a workbook or portfolio approach better for all concerned?  I am particularly interested in how this would affect transgender students and a considerable amount of my research will be dedicated to these learners, since more and more people are identifying themselves as transgender.  It follows that, if there is a difference between male/female vs portfolio/examinations, then this would have an impact on a transgender student’s success.

      Terms: 

       

      The term Transgender refers to a person who is transitioning between birth and desired gender, although the term is still used for those who have transitioned into the new sex.  For this reason, some of the electronic results, where M or F have been indicated may not reflect the birth sex of the person. 

       

      Cisgender indicates a person who is happy with their birth sex and there is no difference between brain and body. 

       

      A natal female is a term used to describe a woman or girl who was born female. 

       

       

      Literature Review

      It is necessary to explore aspects related to transgenderism and the delivery model best suited to this client group.  Before looking at any other data related to this condition, an explanation may be necessary to describe why a transgender learner might behave emotionally and, more critically, approach study and examination in a similar manner to a natal female.

       

      Three essays prove particularly insightful.    The first is the “Definition and Synopsis of the Etiology of Gender Variance” (Gender Identity Research and Education Society, 2009).  This gives a broad outline of the medical explanations for gender variance and sites many of the accepted explanations and theories with regard to the condition.  An in depth explanation of genetic issues faced by transgender and intersex people is outlined in the essay “Heronomativity” (Shye, 2017).  This shows that, as well as being a condition that affects the brain, there may be quite pronounced physical symptoms as well.  Ms Shye also wrote an essay detailing her own background.  This further underscores the physical nature of transgenderism, as she details her own diagnosed condition – “Reifenstein’s Syndrome” (Shye, 2017).  This would seem to indicate that there is some weight to the existence of male/female differences in transgender people and that logically a transgender female should approach education as a natal female would.

       

      An alternative explanation to those outlined by Ms Shye have been discussed in the e-mail from Claire Birkenshaw (See Appendix E), a post-operative transgender and female head mistress of a secondary school, who transitioned while in office.   She does not believe that male and female brains work differently and has provided two sources to support her claim (See Appendix E).  The first is a newspaper article in the Guardian (Sample, 20125) , while the other is a TED talk by Daphna Joel (Joel, 2012) detailing how the brain can change characteristics to become more male or female during stress.  These offer interesting insights, but the existing medical research indicates that Ms Shyes’ (who also challenges Ms Birkenshaws view on the Gender Societies forum in a post “Male/Female Brain”) model is correct and that there are two distinct brain types and that hormones, not only play a large part in the brains development, but also may have an impact upon thought processes after HRT treatment has begun.  Interpreting the research done by Ms Joel, despite her claim that the brain is gender neutral, it is apparent that the starting point, without stress, is either male or female.  In addition to this, a certain amount of re-wiring has been observed by doctors treating teenage transgender patients with hormones, so that the brain functions in a more male or female manner, depending upon the hormone employed.  Given the weight of research to support the gender specific brain, it seems to indicate that a male to female transgender students’ study and examination characteristics would be the same as a natal female students.

       

      Transgender students are subject to bullying (Stonewall, 2017) (Stonewall, 2014) (Society, T.B., 2017).  It therefore follows that this aspect of their lives should be examined in a little more detail in order to understand the psychological impact this would have on a learner and, logically, if this may contaminate the data in some way, due to the additional stress placed on the learner.  Exams are stressful and it may be that this addition stress may contribute to a higher failure rate.

       

      There has been little research carried out on bullying of post compulsorily students, however “Stonewall” has compiled a variety of data concerning secondary school phobic bullying, which may be relevant to the prison situation.  Due to the closed environment, prison populations can be very emotional and situations that an adult would normally be able to walk away from, may have to be faced and endured on a daily basis by a prisoner.  As such, bullying and stress may be more potent in such a claustrophobic setting.  As such, the rate of bullying in schools may be closer to those in prison than, for example, a regional college.  The conversation between A. Smith and Dr Lawrence M. Tunis, detailed in (Appendix D), supports the view that bullying and non-acceptance play a major role.  In addition to this, it is stated that hormones and knowledge from an early age that they are transgender, or at least different, may have had an impact upon their school life/early years development.  Even in later life, once transition has started, the major life changes will have a bearing upon their emotional state and therefore their learning.

       

      One of Stonewalls reports – “The Teachers Report” (The Stonewall Society, 2014) details some quite disturbing statistics.  Page 18 and 19 show that teachers have noticed that 86% of pupils in their school are bullied, or harassed in relation to the victim being, or is suspected of being LGBT.  13% report that this is a regular occurrence.  35% suffer direct verbal abuse, while 32% are the victims of gossip.  In addition to this, 6% suffer physical abuse, 4% damage to property or theft, while a worrying 1% are threatened with weapons.  A high proportion of incidents are boys who are suspected of being LGBT, or even just behave in a girlish manner.  Although lower in number, girls who play sports or do particularly well at school are also accused of being lesbian.  Unfortunately, as the report indicates on page 24/25, there is little training or support for teachers to enable them to tackle such behavior.  In fact as many as 80% of secondary school teaching staff have received no training in this field.  This figure is reflected in post compulsorily education, with an even higher number of untrained staff.

       

      “The School Report” (The Stonewall Society, 2017) is a similar publication by Stonewall.  However, instead of canvasing teachers with regard to incidents, this report questions students.  The number of incidents experienced by pupils appears to be higher than those observed by teachers.  Verbal abuse has risen to 42%, while gossip is shown as 37% (P14).  Worryingly death threats show as 4%, while actual sexual assault is reported at 3%, which is 2% higher than noticed in the teachers report.  A worrying 28% of bullying actually occurs in the classroom.  However, 85% of LGBT students who have learned about LGBT issues report that they feel safe in school (P24).

       

      This, of course has a direct impact on the wellbeing and mental health of students.  It is reported that 84% of transgender pupils have self-harmed (P30).  More worryingly 92% of transgender pupils have considered taking their own lives.  According to the same report (P31) 45% of transgender pupils have actually attempted suicide.  This is on par with other studies that I have come across.  In America it has been reported that 49% of all transgender people have attempted suicide.

       

      Given the above information it is apparent that bullying and gender related mental health issues needs to be addressed in order to level the academic playing field as much as possible.

       

      Methodology

      As well as using journals and books, data was collected from a male prison environment, looking at examination and portfolio success rates, as well as canvasing inmates with regard to their own experiences.  The prison in question has a high population of transgender clients.  A great deal of research has been done with regard to transgenderism and the fact that their brains may work the same as natal females.   Transgender females should therefore, perform better with a portfolio style of assessment; these students should represent a data spike in favour of a female portfolio model of delivery.  In order to compare this data it was necessary to gain national examination data by subject, looking for evidence of this male female divide.  Although standard motivational theories may apply, consideration was made for the emotional state of transgender learners, especially receiving HRT therapy.  Economic considerations may also have skewed the data (The Poverty Site, 2010.) such as parents income, access to higher education, geographic location.

       

      A simple male/female data analysis may not be enough to identify all of the issues faced by transgender students and their performance during assessment.  So further study was undertaken to account for the effects of bullying, HRT and general anxieties.   It was also necessary to make contacts outside of the prison, specifically dealing with gender, in order to determine if any additional considerations should be made.  The Stonewall Society also held a conference regarding LGBT in Education, which was attended in order to gain more information regarding this student group and to make further contacts within the sector.

       

      Finally a comparison was made between six lessons covering the same subject.  One half utilized hand outs and notebooks in order to prepare a student for an examination, while the other used a portfolio style of evidence building in order to prepare for the same examination.  These lessons also incorporated the recommendations and practices that are currently considered beneficial for a transgender student. 

       

      The results of this research, it was felt, would then indicate if males truly favour examination style of assessment and if changes need to be made to lesson delivery in order to accommodate female or transgender students to ensure the best outcome overall.

       

      The first hurdle faced is that the main student population for the study are prisoners.  By definition anything that happens in prison is legally against the persons will, so establishing consent may prove problematic, although a consent form has been devised which will be used for all data collection (See Appendix E).  In addition to this, as well as dealing with confidential company data showing exam pass rates, I have also focused particular interest on transgender students, as well as transgender people on specific forums and in person.  I therefore dealt with sensitive personal information which will need to be handled in a sensitive manner.

       

      Findings

      During this period six customer service courses were run.  These are four weeks in duration and enjoy three hours of contact time per day.  This means that the total time in class, minus one day for administration, is forty eight.

       

      Three of these courses were run using the notebook method and three were run via workbook.  The results found that of the 23 people who sat courses via the workbook method, one hundred percent passed.  Of the 21 people who sat and exam while relying on hand outs and notebooks, three people failed.  This represents an 85.7% pass rate.  Although this rate could be explained in a variety of ways, including the academic capabilities of the learners, it is suggestive of the need for further study.

       

      Overall it would appear that girls seem to perform better at boys in both GCSE and A level results.  There are some notable acceptations, where boys are able to hold their own or achieve better results within the sciences.  However, it should be noted that there still appears to be a gender biased with regard to certain subjects.  This is not a one off and similar trends can be found in a variety of sources, (AQA, 2017) – (Joint Council for Qualifications, 2017) – (Jamieson, F. W. a. I., 2000) This belief is also evident in popular culture and newspapers (UK - The Huffington Post, 2013) (Mail, 2010) (Mendick, H., 2013).  This underachievement of boys is not simply a UK or Western problem, as shown in an African report on the subject (Pardiwalla2, G. G. a. M., November 2010) and indicated in other sources (Earlham Sociology Pages, 2016. Gender and Education. [Online]).

       

      Given that males are supposed to be better at examinations than females, it would logically follow that they prefer this style of assessment.  In order to determine this a questionnaire was designed (See Appendix A) and distributed throughout the prison, with ninety five responses, of these, three of the people who completed the document identified themselves as transgender.

       

      The results of the questionnaire can be found in Appendix B.  The questionnaire was designed in such a way to allow quantitative data to be displayed in bar chart format for each question, showing simple frequency and percentages for the grouped data.  However, in addition to this a points scoring system has been used, whereby low points were awarded to answers that favoured examinations and higher points were awarded to a preference for portfolio assessment.  This, being a male prison, it would not be unreasonable to assume that there would be a strong bias towards examinations and a low score would be reasonable, perhaps with a data spike from the transgender prisoners.  The lower score, favouring examination and higher scores are given in Table 1 shown below:

      Table 1

       

      Minimum Score

      1597

      Maximum Score

      8935

      Mid-point

      5266

      Actual Score

      5682

       

       

      Strangely, rather than a low score, the results show a slight (7.3%) preference for portfolio work, with a negligible difference from the midpoint of only 416.  This may be surprising, but given many of the prisoners did not achieve great results from school, it may be that their failure to succeed in an examinations format favoured by school would not achieve the results of a portfolio model, given the students learning style.  So it may be that the learner had a pre-disposition towards portfolios in the first place.  The graph below shows this in a little more detail:

       

      Graph1

       

      Continuous assessment would appear to be preferable to an examination.  This may be because it appears less pressurised working over a longer timeframe than trying to achieve your best result during a single occasion.  The ability to alter your work as more information becomes available is also attractive, as shown below:

      Graph 2

       

      So the results of the questionnaire would seem to suggest that people are either indifferent to, or prefer a portfolio style and yet the idea that females perform better with a portfolio model, while males seem to achieve better results in examinations.  This is such a widely held belief that AQA, the examining board, were considering the introduction of gender specific testing, so that subjects such as maths and English would be assessed differently depending upon gender (Mail, 2010) (Various, 2010. Mumsnet. [Online]).  Although it may offer greater chances for learners to pass, one possible danger is the devaluation of the assessment for one gender.  If, for example, boys taking a GCSE in maths were offered the option of portfolio or examination, the danger is that “Girls” portfolio GCSEs would be devalued in favour of “Boys” examination based GCSEs.  In order to avoid this it may be desirable to create qualifications that, while not as effective as gender specific testing, would allow a viable method of assessment for both genders.

       

      Social aspects of classroom appear to be marginally important, as indicated below:

       

      Graph 3

       

      The online results, seem to suggest a preference for portfolio style work (See Appendix F), where at least 50% seem to favour this style, while the remainder appear indifferent.

       

      Table  2 shows the pass results for the education department at HMP ****, a Cat C prison for 2015 to 2017.  This prison will house between ten and fifteen of the eighty transgender prisoners held within in the UK system at any one time.    At the time of writing the prison held eleven transgender prisoners, although the records of fifteen prisoners were accessed for this time.  The General population figures are for those attending education over this period.  It is interesting to note that, while the success rates seem similar there appears to be a difference in retention.  However, even with the lower retention rate, those transgender learners who remain on the course were able to gain a significantly higher achievement rate than general male population.  This would seem to indicate that, although more likely to drop out, if retained on course a better rate of achievement may be expected.  Also, there would appear to be a more positive outcome for transgender students when being assessed by portfolio.

       

      The portfolio and exam rates are interesting, in that they show that portfolio success is over 90%, while the exam pass rates are just over 8%.  However, while the portfolio pass rate for transgender learners is still close to those of the general population, only 3% difference, the exam pass rate is over 11% lower.  This may indicate that females do not do as well as males in examinations.  But this could also be due to social and psychological stress associated with transition.  In either case it would indicate that portfolio style assessment offers a greater chance of a successful outcome.

      Table 2

      Exam Results for HMP Littlehey – August 2015 – July 2017

      General Population

      Starts

      Completions

      Pass

      4872

      4737

      4317

      Success

      Retention

      Achievement

      88.61%

      97.23%

      91.13%

      Exam Pass Rate

      82.05%

      Portfolio Pass Rate

      90.88%

                 

       

      Transgender Students

      Starts

      Completions

      Pass

      48

      42

      41

      Success

      Retention

      Achievement

      85.41%

      87.5%

      97.62%

      Exam Pass Rate

      71.42%

      Portfolio Pass Rate

      87.5%

                 

       

       

      Discussion

      The pass rates published by the various examining boards would seem to indicate that females are more successful than males in GCSE’s (Statistica, 2015), but that a portfolio style of assessment is preferable.  Resources that encourage a portfolio style of delivery, perhaps using workbooks, may prove beneficial for male students as well, since it would dictate the pace and style of learning in a way that replicates a female study style.  One theory that seems to carry weight is that boys tend to be better at Maths and Science than Girls.  However, the data would seem to indicate there is a nominal difference of only 1.5% variance.  So although there might be a difference, it does not appear to be enough to warrant significant action.  Another consideration is that LGBT students suffer from bullying and psychological issues (Mermaids UK, 2017) (Stonewall, 2017), feeling isolated and victimised by their peers.  However, success rates amongst transgender learners indicate that, while good, some change in delivery style, including addressing phobic behaviour may produce even better outcomes in the future. 

       

      Recommendations

      The following actions are therefore recommended:

       

      1. Where possible, portfolios should be chosen when faced with mixed groups.
      2. For examination style qualifications, a workbook should be utilised, allowing the learners to replicate the effort achieved though home study (For prisons where, due to movement, classroom time with the learner may be up to three hours). Also, use of workbooks allow the learners to revise their notes using a user friendly format.
      3. Group tasks and projects should be employed in order to promote inclusion for minorities.
      4. LGBT friendly resources should be used to promote inclusion and to help ensure that all students become aware of LGBT issues.
      5. All staff should receive training on LGBT issues, with particular attention to bullying (Stonewall, 2017. Initial teacher training).
      6. Managers should be seen to champion LGBT issues and adopt a zero tolerance approach to phobic behaviour.
      7. A pro-active approach should be taken to make people aware of LGBT issues that includes posters and special events to celebrate diversity (Not, as some have called it, a “Gay Day”). This should be a continuous and ongoing part of the daily college life.
      8. The establishment of LGBT social groups designed to promote awareness amongst the general population, as well as offering help and advice to new members. Cisgender students should be encouraged to attend in order to promote an inclusive and friendly image within the establishment.

       

    • September 13, 2017 12:55 AM BST
    • I found this speech to be perhaps the most beautiful response from a mother responding to her daughter questioning her gender because the kids at school tell her she looks like a boy. P!nk has always been a hero, now it's just official.

      "We take in the gravel to make a pearl!"

      https://youtu.be/W_gA5vkJJc4

    • September 11, 2017 12:10 PM BST
    • Hi Cris, Just to clarify,in my case I can identify that the stresses at work I had where characterised by me not adopting the expected responses and norm of behaviour for a male.As far as I see it this induced state of stress is a characteristic of gender Dysphoria.Any how today,those things are in the past

    • September 10, 2017 8:54 PM BST
    • lol.  Good to know that I am not the only one with mother issues.

       

      Alice

    • September 10, 2017 8:08 PM BST
    • Further thoughts on  my last post.

      Stress and escapism, some people tend to drink alcohol in excess. take drugs. they  could even dress up as Santa for a day, santas like cross dressers revert back to type when reality sets in and would never entertain the thought of living permantly in the role the choose to escape the reality and pressure they suffer.

      This is totaly different from transgender people, with gender dysphoria, there are so many divisions within our comunity, whilst not judging people we do have to distinguish between those that have an inherant need to be of the opposite gender and those that are more selective in when they choose to escape and then return to their own reality.

      Typical example is the well know ladyboy or shemale, they choose that name to reflect their chosen proffesion,  instead of becoming rent boys, male prostitutes, its only a minority of these that actually are gender dysphoric and the only way they can gain finance to further their aims to transition, so again one must not judge them, all too often, we hear other trans people berating them and saying how they let the side down, give us all a bad name personaly I have never needed to do it for the money, but I have done some outrageous and sleazy things to find recognition for who I was, needed to be and to piss off, shame the people who rejected me as a child.

       

      PS. if anyone who knows me personally should meet up with my mother, please what ever you do, do not tell her I am going to be a famous trans barrister, she thinks I'm a rent boy, she would be so dissapointed

    • September 10, 2017 4:11 PM BST
    • Donna I would assume that subconciously or otherwise, feelings of being in the wrong body perse would actually cause more stress in the first place,   Reports would show that even some, casual crossdressers, use it as a form of escapism, especially those suffering PTSD, even hardended soldiers, needing periods of relief from memories of the horrors of things they have seen, suffered or done.     But for people suffering a Gender identity disorder, it's my considered opinion the stress is caused by their existing condition, their unhappiness of their position. being unable to cope, not what some people would suggest, the stress causes them to be transgendered.

    • July 14, 2017 11:02 PM BST
    • I did'nt soley rely on the TFM  related report, further investigation lead me to other sources, I actually had my own brain scanned at the gene clinic in Cambridge the report  in my case, was, whilst there were minor abnormalities, it could  be noted in their opinion that it made no significant difference, to my own gender disorder, even though I had previously been diagnosed with reifensteins syndrome.

       

      The thread I started. refered to above goes into more detail and shows significant differences in the brain scans of trans people compared with those of 'normal' natal males and females. veering to the opposite of birth gender.

    • July 14, 2017 12:29 PM BST
    • Thinking of the Past,I can identify in myself a lot of pain when I was confronted with induced stress in male dominated work environments.This would have a lasting effect on me as it seemed I could not escape my reaction.I am glad to say that in the present,having had HRT ,and GRS the set up for want of a better word is more coherent,my reaction to stress and the feeling of what I can do is connected.

    • July 14, 2017 12:05 PM BST
    • Thanks for sharing.Cris mentioned scientific research with TFM, which to my knowledge refers to Testicular Feminised Mice,.This is a Laboratory construct in which Scientists wishing to make test in a gender neutral subject,will use a species of mice with the TFM trait.The idea of using a gender neutral construct in Science now seems flawed,but I am old enough to understand why in previous decades it was considered valid enough.The TED talk was an interesting start point,which reflects a more open approach,removing the need for rigid constructs in Science.From a personal point of view I can relate to the idea that understanding our personal individual environment of Stress ,Gender Dysphoria, and Brain development can make sense of our behaviour.

    • July 12, 2017 9:55 PM BST
    • Yeah, thats what I thought.  The Ted talk on this one was interesting, but as I said, I didn't agree with her conclusions.  But it is interesting research anyway.

       

      Alice

    • July 12, 2017 9:54 PM BST
    • The scientific literature has already come to a consensus on the existence of cognitive sex differences, especially with regard to spatial ability. Both neural/hormonal and social factors contribute to those differences. See Diane Halpern's "Sex Differences in Cognitive Abilities".

      Stereotypes, including gender stereotypes, are mostly accurate. So saying that some view or conclusion is a gender stereotype is not a real criticism. See Lee Jussim's "Social Perception and Social Reality: Why Accuracy Dominates Bias and Self-Fulfilling Prophecy".

      Finally, let's assume the real reason why women have bigger corpus callosums is that they have smaller brains. Does the relation between sex and corpus callosum size cease to exist? No. Women on average will still have larger corpus callosums and all the (presumed) behavioural/cognitive characteristics associated with it.

       

      If you look at the sexual dimorphism from an evolutionary perspective, this makes perfect sense. In early human societies, men went out to hunt while women stayed in the village (with very few exceptions).

      The traits that made men more successful were those that allowed them to be better hunters and warriors: so coordinated action, perception of environmental opportunities and dangers. For the women in the village, their success is more dependent on "politics" and relationships. Instead of organizing hunts, the successful woman is one who is well liked by people and use strong communication skills and wits to solve problems (and not braun since they will lose to the stronger males).

      Thus over time, as the traits that marks a successful man and woman differs, it makes sense that there should be sexual dimorphism in brain structures.

       

      Which in turn is a probable and logical cause for some brain structure difference in male to female transexuals.

    • July 12, 2017 9:51 PM BST
    • Sexual Hormones and the Brain: An Essential Alliance for Sexual Identity and Sexual Orientation Garcia-Falgueras A, Swaab DF Endocr Dev. 2010;17:22-35

       

      The fetal brain develops during the intrauterine period in the male direction through a direct action of testosterone on the developing nerve cells, or in the female direction through the absence of this hormone surge. In this way, our gender identity (the conviction of belonging to the male or female gender) and sexual orientation are programmed or organized into our brain structures when we are still in the womb. However, since sexual differentiation of the genitals takes place in the first two months of pregnancy and sexual differentiation of the brain starts in the second half of pregnancy, these two processes can be influenced independently, which may result in extreme cases in trans-sexuality. This also means that in the event of ambiguous sex at birth, the degree of masculinization of the genitals may not reflect the degree of masculinization of the brain. in fact in the examination of male to female transexuals the brain composition would suggest varying degrees  uf under masculisation vegring on the near total feminisation. There is no indication that social environment after birth has an effect on gender identity or sexual orientation

       

    • July 12, 2017 9:49 PM BST
    • 1. Introduction The role of the androgen receptor in CNS masculinization or the absence of same in male feminisation 

      The medial posterior region of the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BSTMP) and the locus coeruleus (LC) show opposite patterns of sexual dimorphism. The BSTMP in males is greater in volume and number of neurons than in females (male N female) while in the LC, the opposite is true (female N male). To investigate the possible role of the androgen receptor (AR) in the masculinization of these two structures, males with the testicular feminization mutation (Tfm) were compared to their control littermate males. No differences were seen in the number of neurons of the BSTMP between Tfm and their control littermate males, while in the LC, Tfm males have a greater number of neurons than their control littermate males. These results show that the AR is involved in the control of neuron number in the LC but not in the BSTMP. Results based on the LC suggest that when females have a larger brain area than males, masculinization in males may be achieved through the AR, with androgens perhaps decreasing cell survival. 

      Sex differences in the mammalian brain have two main characteristics: they often occur in neural circuits related 
      to reproductive physiology and behavior and they are seen in two opposite morphological patterns In one 
      pattern, males have greater volumes and/or number of neurons than females (male N female), while in the other, the opposite is true (female N male) Existing evidence suggest that gonadal androgens are involved in the development of sex differences in structures that are larger in males than in females,

       

      Cristine:- So is it safe to say the percentage difference between the number of neurons BSTMP M to F and F to male affect the degree of GID and could possible result in dual gender identity when more or less balanced? with no predominate influence.

      http://gendersociety.com/forums/topic/9870/cns-brain-male-feminisation   This thread contains more information and pictures of a transexuals brain compared with that of a male brain. 

    • July 12, 2017 9:21 PM BST
    • The idea of the male/female brain is one of the cornerstones of many transgender articles and is backed up by a lot of science.  However, I have come accross these two articles that offer another slant.  I am not convinced that they reach the right conclusions, but have a look and see what you think.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rYpDU040yzc&feature=youtu.be

       

      https://www.theguardian.com/science/2015/nov/30/brain-sex-men-from-mars-women-venus-not-so-says-new-study

       

      Enjoy

       

      Alice

       

    • September 9, 2017 11:37 PM BST
    • No, there is an air pip in the tank.  They swim up to it and take a lung full.  They then go for a swim and come back for more air.  Some tanks hide the tube behind plants and things.  I think some tanks have fish and other sea life in them.  So yeah, you probably end up smelling like you have taken a dip in the ocean, but no gills needed.

       

      Alice

    • September 6, 2017 10:33 PM BST
    • Does one need gills? and the thought of smelling like a sardine ewe!

    • September 4, 2017 10:29 PM BST
    • I heard on the radio this morning that Mermaid is now a profession.  Well, you can get a job as a mermaid.  I think they swim about in tanks or do parties or something.  I would give it a go if my bumb didn't look big in it.

       

      Alice

    • August 28, 2017 11:23 PM BST
    • LBQTI and err M..?

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/uk-england-cornwall-41016195/how-mermaiding-is-helping-laura-manage-her-anxiety

      Bless.

      x

    • September 8, 2017 8:16 PM BST
    • We have a few people who are members here who have been an inspiration to others.    Not famous but who just get on with their lives.   For one Katie Glover who started this web site, produces frock magazine, someone who made all this possible and Lucy Diamond a talented musician, others who prompted me to do something different, put my limited talents to try and improve life for others.

    • September 8, 2017 3:24 PM BST
    • Thanks for all of these inspiring snapshots. I am a MtF CD, but these stories are wonderful.

    • August 19, 2017 8:35 AM BST
    • Oh My.

      Joined: September 27, 2003. To Many years ago.

      I do know when I did I was under the impression it was for the duration. It was called Trannyweb then. I can fondly remember my old friends  who I met here. We was truly as thick as thieves. Alias time marches on and the bonds we had were severed . Sarah, Nena, Clair, Julie to name but a few. I miss them dearly and hope they have good lives and are wiser for there experiences. I would still like to reconnect but i doubt I ever will. I don't know if it would be the same. We have all grown up and have our own lives and i would assume the values we had have very much changed

      I Know mine have.

       

      Would I forget them? Heavens No!

       

      I can remember what it was like then. For me personally. Married In a relationship where fussing and fighting and her violent obsessions were the norm. No one cared in my life if I lived or died. That was my feeling. Trannyweb was one of my Saviors. My line into the part of my brain that was happy and safe. I wasted my youth and my then future. On the lies I told myself. The Trannyweb i knew was my secret place. The place where  I knew the demons in my life were not allowed. No bitterness's or judgements,  My place to make a stand for what i believed was inside me. I was trapped inside my own pain. But Trannyweb was my escape. I felt like some kind of stranger in my own life. The site i knew helped me find the answer.

       

       

      Cutting my very long story short. I had a new dawn for myself. My Chance to live again.

      No longer living with the harlot i called a wife.

      I left my Home and my past. I escaped from the world of sadness.  I Wanted to reach my Utopia. The place i could truly call home.

      I now have Have a most wonderful new partner She took my hand and showed me love. Healed my eternal pain. Her voice gave me hope. to which I ended the desperate war within with going full time few years ago. Been on Hormones now for 8 months. Its fantastic even if i left it till late being now 50+.

      I have my own little business which will never make me a millionaire but it pays for me to have some independence. However I  am trying to line up a meeting with a corporate so who knows.

      I guess the reason i only visit on occasion now is because of as i said values change. Plus on a different note because i started again i now live stealth. Very few know my past in fact only 3 know of the world i had. Not including my Children who know and support me. I couldn't ask for more.

      Im considered a woman by society and that's how i see myself.

      Ive become the girl of my dreams. Just an older version.

      The Sun shines on me again and the flowers i spy are pretty.  I Now believe in life and love. Part of that was because of Trannyweb. It gave me the hope to believe there was something more. I will always hold the site in the back of my mind as a enduring friend.

    • August 7, 2017 8:59 AM BST
    • Hello Maryanne,

      I'm sorry I've just seen your message on this thread today, don't know how I missed that, must have been away.

      Very sad to hear about Gloria, I met her when she and Robin visited Manchester, in fact several TW girls met up that weekend and had a great time, like many of us regularly did in those days. It was wonderful to meet 2 of our members from across the pond, and Gloria was indeed larger than life, and great fun to talk with.

      To this day, Gloria and Robin hold the record for the longest distance traveled to get to a TW/TGS get-together!

      Such a shame. None of us are getting any younger...

      xx

    • August 7, 2017 12:18 AM BST
    • Golly gee Sandy - as Little Auful Annie used to say.
      I got to quit procastinatin. Officially I've been a member since 2001 but with old Tranny web  we were rolling along before that. I remember it well. Katie's pot o' gold was running out and I scrapped the membership fee together some how and became a lifer.
      I  was teaching at the time (now retired) and I got my pick-me-ups from reading the jokes format/ I also vividly remember the
      Procrastination meeting which never was held.
      Hugs xxxooo
      Gracie
       

    • July 19, 2017 2:38 PM BST
    • I'm sorry I didn't see this until now.  In fact I didn't know until MA phoned me to tell me the news about Gloria.  I'm very sorry to hear of her passing.  She was a real character, a prolific poster and here all the time for years and years.  I met her in the flesh once when she came over to visit the UK from Baltimore in the US, with our other old friend, Robin Webb.  But mostly I knew her well as the larger than life character she put across on our old Trannyweb site.  May she rest in peace.

      Katie  :(

    • July 21, 2017 1:07 AM BST
    • Hi Alice, thanks for the comment, that's a really good way of putting it "eye of the storm" thanks for that. And yes that is me but had my hair and face done proffecaily by a freind of mine, I don't looks that good every day haha. Aspecialy not with 5 0'clock shadow every other day haha

    • July 20, 2017 10:24 PM BST
    • Hi Jessica,

       

      Welcome.

       

      The thing about our parents is that we want to please them and make them happy.  Thats natural.  Also, home is about routine and what you know.  It is safe.  So you are in a safe place, with people who love you and it is a place where you have lived as a male for some time.  It is a safe routine.  This is very attractive given the uncertainty you face in the future.  As Donna says, enjoy it.  Think of it as a calm eye of the storm.  Life isn't easy, nore is trying to be yourself.  If that is you in the photo, then I would say you look very pretty and natural.  I can see the girl more than I can imagine you as a boy.  But no matter what I say, or your parents or anybody else.  Be true to yourself.

       

      Thats all I have.

       

      Alice.

    • July 20, 2017 9:42 AM BST
    • Hi Jessica,
      You are no more confused than most of the people around you,Trans or otherwise.You are making sense to me , because you can describe and sense your situation.Overall you seem to be expressing an apprehension for your future, which is quite normal, given the often abrupt transition from Uni life to ......building an engagement with a much wider life including work.Maybe it's just a time to take big deep breaths and enjoy the Summer,look around you at all the other people who have their own confusions and compromises.their own Dysphorias.Just give yourself Time.It actually can take quite a while for a Transgendered persons Personality and identity to develop.You will be alright

    • July 19, 2017 3:09 PM BST
    • Hello everyone,

      I'm new to the site so don't really know what I'm doing but here gose.

      Need to start this off with abit about myself.

      So for the last 3 and a half years I've been liveing on campus at my university, while there I started liveing as a girl full time, and felt really happy, made some amazing Freinds, and had the best time of my life, "even if I was shitting bricks every time I stepped outside as myself"

      I'm not going to go into too much deitlas about this part as its a long story and complecated, but when I go "home" to mum and dad I protend to be a guy agin. I have told them I'm trans but they think it's a phase. ATM it easier to just keep acting for them, it's something I'm working on overcomei h but will take time and a plan.


      Now my coure at uni dosent require me to be on campus, and all my loans are payed up my class and I, have all gone back to our homes.

      The thing that really has me confused ATM is my Gender disphoria, it would hit me a fair bit at uni and I would fall in and out of depression now and then due to it.

      But since I've mived back home my disphoria has gone away, not 100% but I'd say around 90%, I'm not "happy" but I'm ok, hard to explain. This is the longest I've been with out a wave of disphoria hitting me, and it kind has me freaked out. I've never questioned wether or not I was trans before but now the idea is slowly creeping in, and I'm just confused about everything.

      Mybe it's just to do with life right now, before I moved home, I was content, I had rutines and knew what was going to happen later down the line, I could be myself 100% and had freedom.

      Now I'm back home things are very Unknown, I'm haveing trubble finding jobs, I don't know what I want to do in life or what I can do, I won't be able to live on my own with out a job and it will be years before I can afford that even if I had a one.

      Mybe it's because of this major shift in my life that's has brought this confusion on, like my mind can only handle so much at a time and has but my trans stuff on hold for now "or mybe that's complete rubbish" I don't know

      Sorry if this is just mad rambling of a confused girl, but I don't have anywhere eles to vent really, I'm just looking for advice or info, I'm I going mad? Is this kind thing normal etc


      Sorry if I'm not makeing scenes here it's hard to get my thoughts clear.

      Feel free to ask me whatever I'm very open :)
      Thanks you.

    • July 18, 2017 10:27 PM BST
    • Donna said:

      "I believe there is a deeper better humanity, that can save us from the ills of hand me down misconceptions..."

      Beautifully put. I believe that too.

      xx

    • July 18, 2017 9:37 PM BST
    • God I hope your right Donna.  I lack faith in humanity, well faith generally, but I wish for your view of humanity rather than mine.

       

      Alice

    • July 18, 2017 11:03 AM BST
    • Expressing yourself as Transgendered ,especially late in life can mean being reassuring AND boring.I sometimes think this is my case, Reassuring in the sense that I am not going to make big waves for the people closest to me.I reassure them that I will be there for them and am not going to desert them.Boring in that I present my transitioning as normal behaviour and not a thing to get panic stricken or all "prophet of doom about what others will think and say".I believe there is a deeper better humanity,that can save us from the ills of hand me down misconceptions and approach life uniquely in the moment to get that empathy of how to to do good.

    • July 17, 2017 10:49 PM BST
    • Michelle, as Crissie mentioned, many people live between the "gender binary" appearing at times as male and/or female.  In fact, gender is NOT binary, only sex organs are, and they are two completely different things.  To be "gender fluid" is totally cool and in many societies, both now and in the past, being a "two spirit" was reverred!!!!  

      So I'd suggest that one ought not allow society to "label" you based on archaic and insane religious,scientific (lately this seems to be the same) "norms" and live your life and express yourself how YOU see fit.  To do otherwise shortchanges an individual of their very essence and tends to step on their soul negatively!

       

      It's your life girl...go for it as we only get one shot at it...might as well do it right!!! (smile)

       

      Traci xoxo

    • July 17, 2017 11:39 AM BST
    • http://gendersociety.com/forums/topic/9870/cns-brain-male-feminisation

       

      http://gendersociety.com/forums/topic/7790/synopsis-of-the-etiology-of-gender

       

      click the links to take you to original threads

    • July 16, 2017 11:02 PM BST
    • For some of us, functional in dual genders doesn't necessarily mean 'happily' functional. It may mean that for one reason or another, we can't let go of one. BTW, could you point out the original thread? I missed it somehow. Thank you.

    • July 16, 2017 6:41 PM BST
    • Michelle. you don't have to understand the technical terms, even I don't understand everything, its good enough there are logical reasons given, and explanations even if it does appear complicated.

       

      You commented on the original thread, I understand that you have a dual gender problem, you appear to function hapily in either gender, for some of us the need to be one gender far outweighs our need to alternate or remain the gender we were born, dual gender is not being a transvestite or a fetish, the needs fluctuate, perhaps through a person brain being balanced between two genders, it does'nt devalue a persons right to be who they are one day or the next.

    • July 12, 2017 1:21 AM BST
    • some of our Not as well educated and dont indwer stand what is written

      Yes im ONe of them

      i read but give up on them for the longnne sand the jamble of with out paragraph breaks

      The coputer does this to safe space but make i hard to read with losing ones place

    • July 11, 2017 9:36 PM BST
    • Cris,

      You have always been such good fun here, being able to mix surreal, comedy, sarcasmn and then knowledge and useful information into different threads each day. Yes I do not always comment on all of your threads or have read all of your threads but that is because some of them I do not have the slightest inclinkling of the subject at hand.

      Keep going Cris, you care where most do not

    • July 10, 2017 11:43 AM BST
    • Ah! Saw the picture! While nowhere near blind I am fantastically shortsighted so I always magnify stuff on screen to between 110 and 130%. It makes things definitely more comfortable for me, especially when I am writing long stuff in Microsoft Word! Else I eventually find myself with my nose on the screen and a stiff back.

      It's great you found a way to work this magic in a handy way; sometimes even if computers have the right tools they can be too clunky for effective use ... My old netbook was a clever little chap, but not very handy in that regard. My current laptop allows you to zoom in and out with one move on the touch pad, which is great, but, go figure, it only works for some programs, not all. And sometimes it works arsy-versy and the move for zoom-in makes you zoom out which tends to cause explosive "language" events, ahem. :)

       

    • July 10, 2017 10:20 AM BST
    • Katia V said:How fascinating, I was wondering about this very topic weeks ago when we first talked. I didn't know how you could manage, and was a bit shy to ask! :) Although computers and the internet have their dangers they are also such fantastic tools, I can't get the chauvinism that often is shown towards technology (although I live like a luddite for many things, I am not a gadget maniac). I am not into comics, but I love to write and play around with digital pictures. I'd be lost without my laptop. :)
      Thanks Katia.
      The computers in the 80s and even the 90s were useless for me as I couldn't read what was on the screen unless the monitor is almost the size as the one I have now.  At school I hated using the somputers as I had to use one or another visual aid to help me read what was on the screen and even then I still had problems as the letters and numbers were still difficult to read and was giving me headaches just loking at the screen.
      At the Royal National College for the Blind in Hereford in Britain, I discovered software which made it easier to read, not only on the swcreen but different colours.  Some people have different conditions and had to use different colours for foreground and background, for an example blue on green.  White on black was sxomething I was use to and had problems reading.  On my first time on the interent in the 2000s there was a way to change the size of the screen which actually helped but was a bit of a pain to size down to watch videos or see pictures.  But it was better than the 80s and 90s though.
      Now with this compute rand my preivous computer, I find it easier as today computers have a section for people with hearing or visually impairements as I have said.  I will take a picture of what the magnifer size is so you have some idea of what I am talking about.  When I first discovered this site, I also discovered the magaizine, Frock and used the magnifying application and I actually could read it.  Had to get use to zooming in and out to turn the pages or to have a look at the pictures but that was alright and very easy to do.  That's how come I know I can read comics and online publications like Frock.
       

    • July 10, 2017 5:57 AM BST
    • Yes, computers are very capable in certain areas and can outperform humans. But at present, they are used as a tool by humans in a similar manner as a hammer is used to drive nails. After all, a hammer easily outperforms a human in this particular task. The same is true of using a vessel such as a cup to hold water; it works a lot better than cupping your hands together. However, a computer is different in that its functionality intrudes into the thinking arena, or at least what I call pseudo-thinking. Will it surpass human intelligence? Perhaps--after all, human brains are required to fit within our skulls, wherea computers can be made much larger. However, there is one essential quality of the human pyche that may be hard to synthesize with a machine: motivation.

    • July 9, 2017 9:09 PM BST
    • Yes, I agree with you Tracy, the development of computers is itself developing so fast, it is hard to predict what may happen in the next few years.

      Kubrick, lol, I suppose it's a flaw of my intellect that I find him so tiring? a couple of years ago some friends offered to introduce me to his wife (she has a holiday home in our village), and I politely declined.... can you imagine the awkward conversations, ".....sorry madam, but your husbansd's work regularly puts me to sleep, he might as well have been called Stanley Valium for all he ever did for me...." I don't know, I am not very suited to society I guess, lol.

      No I understand how visionary and unique his work is (or at least some of it), but it's just not my brand of visionary.

      Well, what can I say.  :)

       

       

    • July 9, 2017 7:18 PM BST
    • Matt, I agree with you 100%.  But if you follow developments in the field, you're seeing that people are working to develop that "intuativeness" necessary to rival humans.  It just takes immense processing and storage power and speed.  New technologies in the chip field are giving those developers hope that they are much, musch closer than ever before to achieving this.

      Traci xoxo

    • July 9, 2017 6:59 PM BST
    • AAh but the main issue with AI is it cannot make the intuiative leaps that a person can at the moment it would still go through a,b,c,d etc. but a person if they saw the pattern could be a,c,e,h etc.. You only have to look at the issues with driverless cars to also see that AI still has a ways to go & even today with coding a computer wants everything in a specific order where as a person as long as it works you are fine with it. Just my 2 penneth's worth.

      Ideally if you are looking for a comic strip to look through then Misfile would be the 1 I'd recommend. It is about a young man that due to a filing error by angels in heaven wakes up one morning but is a girl who has her male memories & likes but is in a grils body.

    • July 9, 2017 5:40 PM BST
    • LOL Crissie!!!  

       

      Katia, Kubrick will test your "intellect" always, or so say the numerous "pseudointellects" wandering the planet.  It is what it is...you know what you're going to get.  He is/was genious in his own way.  I truly think "2001" was brilliant considering when it was made and the subject matter he worked with.  Eyes Wide Shut was really "out there" and it was like watching a train wreck in that you cannot take your eyes off of it regardless of how slow or disturbing the scenes.  Then of coure, you could always close them and catch up on needed sleep!  LOL

      Maybe you shoulld have watched "2001" under the influence!  (grin)  

       

      Traci xoxo

    • July 9, 2017 9:41 AM BST
    • Kubrick... saw most of his movies, but nothing, Kubrick and I don't get along. Fell asleep 3 times during The Shining, suffered through 2001 to the end, but gosh, it cost me! lol I thought I should like Eyes Wide Shut, hell there was Tom Cruise and Venetian masks, it should be easy on the eyes at least, I thought, but no, just not my cup of tea. There is something about Kubrick and flogging a scene to death....

      As AI gone rebel go I prefer the Matrix, or even Battlestar Galactica. Hell, Number Six can mistreat me any time she wants :-)

       

    • July 9, 2017 9:28 AM BST
    • Traci you are wonder woman xxXxx   The rest is a bit before my time.