Why Might Trans People Take Hormones?

For my first article, I’ve decided to write about something that hits at the very core of what I write about. For transfolk this will probably be boring, but if you’re not trans and are curious as to why a trans person may take interest in taking hormones, or if you yourself think you might be trans and are unsure about taking hormones, this is for you.

With that out of the way, let’s get down to business. Why get hormones? Why would somebody decide to start hormone replacement therapy? This is an intricate matter. It all starts with dysphoria. Dysphoria is difficult to describe. Most trans people would describe it as the worst thing they’ve ever felt. There’s a reason it combines dys, from the Greek for pain or difficulty, and phore, meaning bearer of. It’s the bearer of pain and difficulty.

But what’s the cause of that? If something as bad as that is going on, surely there must be a very deep difficulty involved. This is where modern science comes in. Our current neurobiological understanding of the matter is that there are actually differences in the brain structure between male and female brains. This BBC news article goes into a little bit more detail on the matter: http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/humanbody/sex/articles/brain_sex.shtml

What happens is that the brain recognizes that it’s not getting the correct hormones, and it sees that the body doesn’t match what it expects. What I mean by that second statement is that the physical shape of the body is mismatched with the brain. Both of these things together cause such extreme unhappiness that we’ve termed it “dysphoria.”

Thus, something has to be done. And changing the brain structure is nigh impossible. Yes the brain goes through little changes throughout life, but this is not something that can just be rearranged. So instead, we accommodate on a hormonal level with a process called Hormone Replacement Therapy. This involves taking a medicine that delivers the correct hormones, and also taking a medicine that blocks production of the incorrect or mismatched hormone.

Trans folk may decide to take hormones for a variety of reasons, but ultimately it almost always boils down to the two things above. First, making sure that the brain itself is receiving the correct hormones, and second, changing the physical shape of the body to match what the brain expects. Although further steps may be taken to continue alleviating dysphoria, this is often one of the earliest and biggest.

Source by Sarah McAtee

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