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Louis J. G. Gooren

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date: 26 January 2022

Transsexualism is the condition in which a person with apparently normal somatic sexual differentiation is convinced that he/she is actually a member of the opposite sex. It is associated with an irresistible urge to be hormonally and surgically adapted to that sex. Traditionally transsexualism has been conceptualized as a purely psychological phenomenon, but research on the brains of male-to-female transsexuals has found that the sexual differentiation of the brain—the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BSTC) and the hypothalamic uncinate nucleus—had followed a female pattern (1). This finding may lead to a concept of transsexualism as a form of intersex, where the sexual differentiation of the brain (which in mammals also undergoes sexual differentiation) is not consistent with the other variables of sex, such as chromosomal pattern, nature of the gonad and nature of internal/external genitalia. Thus it can be argued that transsexualism is a sexual differentiation disorder.

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