What We Know About Gender Identity According to Science


How would you describe yourself in a few words? I’m a cis-man and I like fun shirts. Our gender plays a big role in how we define
ourselves and others, but it’s not something science fully understands. And, funnily enough, we don’t really know
why I like fun shirts, either, but no one questions that so let’s just move on. A lot of us may never really think twice about
defining ourselves as a man or a woman, but there are many who do think about it. A lot. In reality a lot of biological, sociological,
and psychological factors went into the definitions of “man” or “woman,” or neither. For example, when babies are born at a hospital,
they’re assigned a sex based on primary sex characteristics like genitalia. Someone literally looks at the baby and makes
a decision. They’re mainly going by visual inspection. And though hormones like testosterone play
a big role in developing the primary sex organs you have at birth. Sexual differentiation continues beyond birth,
with a lot of outwardly visible changes (and awkwardness) peaking at puberty. And these processes rely on a whole host of
hormones, receptors, and other factors that come from at LEAST 70 different genes on different
chromosomes. So really, biological sex is not black or
white because there are so many variables going into it that are not necessarily correlated
with one another. Which is why there’s good evidence to say
there are more than 2 biological sexes. For example testosterone is important for
developing the internal genitalia, but it needs to be converted by an enzyme for the
external genitalia to be made. So someone could have testosterone, plus all
the effects that leads to during development through puberty, and be “male” in a lot
of ways internally… …but because they’re missing one enzyme,
things might look a little different on the outside. The thing is, most people don’t know their
genetics or what’s inside their abdomen … so how come we so confidently proclaim
— well anything! When I say I’m a woman, I’m actually referring
to my gender identity. This might be related to or influenced by
primary or secondary sex characteristics, but knowing our gender identity comes from
our brains. The fascinating thing is we don’t really
know a ton about what influences this identity… just like how I might say: I am a confident
or anxious person, but don’t really know what EXACTLY in MY brain makes me like that. There are a few regions in the brain that
are different between sexes, including the interstitial nucleus of the anterior hypothalamus
– and the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis, which is part of the limbic system. In men, these areas are both larger and have
more neurons in them. And studies to date, albeit small, show the
sizes of these areas correlate with the gender identities of transgender men and women. Other studies have found differences in white
matter microstructures between men and women. Transgender men who have not yet received
hormone treatments had patterns more similar to those sharing their gender identity, not
what they were assigned at birth. In other words, the sex they were assigned
at birth didn’t accurately predict their white matter patterns. While there are so many different areas of
the brain that seem different between men and women, some researchers argue there are
more similarities than differences and there isn’t really a typical “male” or “female”
brain. But given that, ALL of us have incomplete
information on our true biological sex, and that we don’t fully understand the neuroscience
behind gender — or honestly a lot of complex things like
why we like fun shirts — …it doesn’t make sense to burden individuals
with proving how they feel. Because scientifically, NONE of us can explain
why we feel like a man, woman *indicate to each other* And as none of us can say that, by making
a minority of people TRY to provide a burden of proof, we’re causing a LOT of health
problems. For example, the suicide ATTEMPT rate among
transgender people ranges from 32-50% in a number of different countries, whereas the
overall population average in the US is estimated around point-zero-four to one-point-one percent%. Both of these numbers are too high, but the
stats for transgender people particularly so, especially when recent studies show these
numbers decrease when transgender people are socially accepted. While there are, of course, a lot more scientific
questions to ask, we could save hundreds of thousands of lives by removing social stigma. We know science will catch up eventually,
but in the meantime… we should all recognize this is more complicated than man, woman,
trans or non-binary. And as is the norm in science, the more we
learn, the more nuanced it gets. And that diversity in people and ideas is
what makes the world so cool. If you want to learn more about what your
DNA says about your sexuality — different than identity — click here. Thank you for watching, I am sure you’ll
have a comment on this video, so make sure you leave it below, and share this video.

100 comments

  1. Hey y'all! We've been reading comments and there's a lot of discussion about which studies we used to put together this video. Further down is a comprehensive list (note: it's a lot). I really appreciate those of you who've left substantive comments below. As many of you pointed out the science is not settled on gender identity as a whole, but it is definitive that gender and sex are far more complicated than most realize (or than many need to think about). If you're ever in doubt of our sourcing, we always put some links in our descriptions. If you need a place to continue your own research you can always go there! If you want more information, tweet the host! They nearly always write the video. Keep learning and growing, and, as always, thanks for watching. – Trace ⭐️

    [SOURCES]
    The Neuroanatomy of Homosexuality
    http://www.bu.edu/thenerve/archives/spring-2010/reviews-spring-2010/homosexuality/

    Understanding gender diversity and the search for identity
    https://bewell.stanford.edu/understanding-gender-diversity-and-the-search-for-identity/

    Specific cerebral activation due to visual erotic stimuli in male-to-female transsexuals compared with male and female controls: an fMRI study.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18761592

    The Science of Transgender Identity
    http://sitn.hms.harvard.edu/flash/2016/gender-lines-science-transgender-identity/

    Chromosomal Sex Determination in Mammals
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK9967/

    Exploring the Biological Contributions to Human Health: Does Sex Matter?
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK222286/

    Sex redefined
    https://www.nature.com/news/sex-redefined-1.16943

    White matter microstructure in female to male transsexuals before cross-sex hormonal treatment. A diffusion tensor imaging study.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20562024

    5-alpha reductase deficiency
    https://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/condition/5-alpha-reductase-deficiency

    Sexual differentiation of the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis in humans may extend into adulthood.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11826131

    Structural connections in the brain in relation to gender identity and sexual orientation
    https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-017-17352-8

    Suicide and Suicidal Behavior among Transgender Persons
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5178031/

    Ensuring an inclusive global health agenda for transgender people
    http://www.who.int/bulletin/volumes/95/2/16-183913/en/

    Study finds some significant differences in brains of men and women
    http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/04/study-finds-some-significant-differences-brains-men-and-women

    How Science Is Helping Us Understand Gender
    https://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2017/01/how-science-helps-us-understand-gender-identity/

    Is There Something Unique about the Transgender Brain?
    https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/is-there-something-unique-about-the-transgender-brain/

    Secondary Sex Characteristics: Explained
    https://health.howstuffworks.com/sexual-health/sexuality/secondary-sex-characteristics.htm

    Gender Identity Is in the Brain, What Does This Tell Us?
    https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/hormones-and-the-brain/201608/gender-identity-is-in-the-brain-what-does-tell-us

    Transgender? Or TrueGender?
    https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/laugh-cry-live/201507/transgender-or-truegender

  2. We've talked about a lot of these things in my anatomy and physiology classes in college. Comparing these things with the stuff I've learned in my classes I'd say it lines up well with our curriculum. To be more specific, there are multiple kinds of gender identities. That is, every person has a genetic sex, but there is also their gonadal sex and phenotypic sex (and possibly others). Depending on the proper development of certain genes and enzymes their external genitalia may not correspond to their genetic sex. In other words, they could have XY chromosomes but have a vagina or XX and have a penis. This is quite rare, but has been documented to happen. Bottom line, there are multiple layers to our overall sex. Only people who are all of one or all of the other are 100% male or 100% female (this is the vast majority of people), but people who aren't in these categories fall somewhere in between and thus have complex gender identities.

  3. There is a chromosome that dictates you gender/sex. X or Y. Holding this idea of gender identity must exclusively occur with gender roles and norms. If you do not identify as your chromosome dictates than you have to feel like the opposite, and for that you must hold a general idea of what the opposite should be. Transgender is sexist by definition.

  4. Most people in the comments are saying: there are only two sexes!11!!!
    Yes, exactly, are you watching a different video? There is a difference between sex and gender.

  5. Virgin Science
    -cant do anything
    -changes so much its acyually scary
    -Proves that gay is "natural"
    Chad biology
    -2 genders
    -Gay is unnatural
    -Stays the same trough the years

  6. So basically there’s no scientific evidence to support your theory right? Yet people like you want society implement this ideology as if it’s true, poisoning the minds of our children, our future? Please kindly do us all a favour and take a walk off a short pier or to be frank, go [email protected]#k yourselves!

  7. Smal study's. There is mot enough to say for fact that is the case. So its a load of bull crap. For a chamnel that focus on scientist, you write alot o crap

  8. Yale and university of Michigan declined the study of gender. Because they said there is no study to be done. Bcs they said it’s simple. 2 genders.

  9. Great video. Made me think about Gender definition, and made me think about Subscribing to your Channel (I decided to subscribe within a few seconds). Gender respect should be taught at schools 🙂

  10. Guess I'll seek somewhere else .. here goes my subscription.
    If you're afraid to deny science just so that dumb liberal Nazis don't make you a target than you've lost your should ground for being a seeker of truth.
    You've just become a stupid political correct channel.

  11. So many people blatantly denying the scientific FACT presented in this video. Open your minds. You're no better than those who deny evolution.

  12. There are only two genders,tf? Lol I’m not morphing into an alien. It’s gender dysphoria. Transgender isn’t a third gender.

  13. I'm going to go out on a limb here, and say that there are some so-called Transgenders who legitimately correct in saying they are a man in a woman's body, or vice versa. Here is my rationale. There is a phenomena known as reincarnation… some fully disbelieve this to be an actual thing to be possible. However, there are many documented cases of children knowing their pass lives in incredible detail. And, in some cases, the child has known about themselves, as a verifiable historical figure, or family descendant. And, there is know way the child could possible know any of the information the know, with such encyclopedic detail. So, forget about a rebuttal regarding being coached. There are many Transgenders that are just born that way. And, some homosexual that were just born that way. However, there are a group in both, that are choosing to claim to be, other than what they actually claim to be. What their true motivation is, is unclear. Perhaps, an attempt to feel as though they can maybe finally fit in somewhere. Or, for novelty. Tough to say. But, that is my two cents. I am genuinely curious what your thoughts on this theory are. Thank you.

  14. The gender indentity thing you talk about is called being male and female if you have a penis your male if you have a vagina and boobs your a women (YOU CANT CHOSE)

  15. This is the video that made me unsubscribe from this channel, one year after I don't regret it at all. I do remember that there was several comments with over a thousand views and now I haven't been able to find them, I wonder why?

  16. Maybe instead of trying to pull off this nonsense, you should spend more time on the abuse this creates in the innocent minds and bodies of children/by supposed adults who believe this crap.
    Thank the heavens I didn't grow up under this mindset as a child. It was difficult enough trying to survive my generation of destructive programing
    just to realize I was a good all along and that whatever I chose to do or be was my decision the whole time. I had enough peer pressure in high school and now it has spread like a disease.

    When you wake up and realize all of this supposed intelligence you spout is nothing but more social programing done on you and that you become more valuable by building character through creativity and love and real human compassion for others( and specifically ourselves)and wisdom from taking responsibility for your actions ,words and thoughts then humanity will be able free themselves and climb out of this muck of self destructiveness ,separation, victimhood, divisiveness and bullying in plain site under the guise of being compassionate. As well as selfrighteous ignorance based on mob mentality, over sensitiveness…SPECIALness. Political correctness, fragileness and create a better world of people who do have a mind of creativity, universal love, selfesteem and actually solve some of the problems you are helping to create in the name of leftist ideology.
    Then child trafficing and child sacrifices and all of this gender Frankenstienation, pedifilia that the progressive left is promoting as truth and Science. It is no wonder figuring out who we are, has gotten more complicated every year. Why not focus on conscientiously doing well as a human being period. I have watched and seen "reality" become just like Pinnochio wanting to become a real boy not made of wood. Hello he was wood. No amount of fairy god mother is gonna change that! Maybe that programing is what has morphed into this delusion WALT DISNEY WAS A PEDIFILE AND USED CARTOONS/TELIE VISION TO QUIETLY PROGRAM
    innocent children into acceptance of ideas while parents bring thier children in droves to his fairytale kingdom created to lie to them and make fun the catalyst of indoctrination.
    The idea that fun is getting drunk and hanging out with idiots to be accepted and related to so that manipulation is less obvious may be the crux of this whole matter/ever think of that!??
    All of Pinnochio's  supposed good friends(bullies) all turned out to be jackasses/donkey's sound familure??? This video should be removed but people who are actually attempting to save this country with real information are being censored and demonitized. People are waking up to what is going on. And from the comments and thumbs down you guys are looking pretty unintelligent
    right now. 😏🤗🙏

  17. Biological sex is completely black or white. There are only two Sexes/genders which are male or female. Women have xx chromosomes and males have xy chromosomes. You cannot change science to further your insane liberal and politically motivated ideology. You are only here due to a sperm cell coming from a male which fertilized an egg coming from a woman which is exactly why women cannot reproduce alone without sperm from a male hence only two sexes/genders. Accept reality and stop this rediculous delusional childish behaviour.

  18. Lmao remember in the early 2000s when everyone in YouTube was making fun of creationism for their ridiculous beliefs with no scientific basis and they constantly tried to explain it using nothing but feelings and propaganda? Now it's the far left doing it!!!

  19. Im honestly trying to accept these things but i cant help but notice that people overthink these things some aspects of life are black and white wether we choose to accept them or not.

  20. Well I can send you a research paper on biological genders that States you are wrong. This is falls under the field of psychology not biology.

  21. It's amazing how we are in 2019 and debating about the number of genders… for anyone curious, if you use your critical thinking skills, you'll arrive at the answer of 2. Any other answer requires incredible mental gymnastics. Stop ruining peoples lives, but especially influencing the young children with your devilish ideology.

  22. Late comment but I remembered this video and came back to it. The human brain is extremely complex. I mean, we can comprehend the concept of death but because we can't understand how it actually works it baffles our minds. Most, if not all, religions have a solid, in depth explanation of how death integrates itself into our lives. Wayyyy back when science wasn't a popular practice, people assumed conscientiousness wasn't physical and therefore couldn't "die" with our bodies. That lead to the ideology of reincarnation, eternal afterlife for our souls, or even an entirely different dimension in which our souls reside. My main point is that though our brains were able to understand that death means the complete end of someone's life, every thought they had, their unique personality, everything you loved and hated about them, it's just gone. You can no longer talk to them, laugh with them, share memories with them. They're GONE. That's what got to us. We couldn't wrap ourselves around the fact that something that seems beyond physical can just disappear like that, even though we understand that that in itself is a thing. Therefore religion played a big role in the mentality towards death. It gave us peace of mind knowing that even though they are gone, they're still there, somewhere. All that being said, this whole gender identity issue reminds me a lot of this. We're getting to the point where we're questioning gender orientation because select individuals are going against the flow, and others are encouraging it. We can't fully explain why this is happening so we look for reasons as to why it is. To be honest, it's all a bunch of crap. We still need sexual reproduction as a means to populate. Just because we're more advanced mentally than any other species we share this planet with doesn't mean we don't still follow a lot of the same principles as them. We revolve around nature, not the other way around. Maybe in a time where gender doesn't mean much this can be a debate, but for now if you are a male and you feel that you are a female then there is something WRONG with your brain. I don't mean that in a negative connotation, it's just that people SHOULDN'T be thinking like that. Every somatic cell in your body (all the cells besides gametes like egg and sperm) will display an additional X chromosome or Y chromosome. THIS determines gender. Even homosexuality isn't supposed to be a thing. Why the hell would a normal (by biological terms) male adult want to be attracted to another male. It makes no sense (btw I'm not a homophobe. I don't judge that stuff I'm just making a valid point that homosexuality itself isn't supposed to be a "normal" trait in the development of human psychology as compared to heterosexuality). It wasn't supposed to happen but given all the stuff that has to go right throughout the development of a fetus SOMETHING is bound to go wrong. I may not know a whole lot about this but I can say that if everything goes as nature intended then a man and woman shouldn't be focused on what gender "they really are", they'll just reproduce and that's that (along with much more but this is just the generalized consensus pertaining to gender). Our brains, being the curious little organs they are, need to find answers to everything that we don't understand. It's in our biology. These people are just an example of how complex the human body can be, so complex that it's easy for things to get messed up. This is in no way an argument as to why we should mistreat these people, more so to focus an effort as to why they think like this, not to formulate already grounded science around it to comfort those who avidly support it. DISCLAIMER: my beginning statement about religion wasn't meant to invoke any kind of debate. I respect all religions and believe that those who are religious have a right to support that religion in any healthy personal and societal manner. I just saw a connection in the aspect of "needing answers as to why we think like this" and thought it was an applicable analogy to the situation to further an understanding on the current topic to anyone reading this comment. Moving on from my religious analogy, my opinion towards this topic is flexible. As someone who aspires for a degree in biology, I'm simply just displaying an idea as to why this doesn't seem as the video explains it. I do not hold the credentials to argue this in depth but do know enough to be able to hold a semi-credible argument. I believe that more research (specifically unbiased research as to not look for answers as to why this is is or isn't a natural part in the the human psychology) should be conducted before people start boasting about how gender is on a spectrum and what have you. As Trace said in the video, some of these studies were in fact, small studies. Leaving more room for error than is usually already present. I've witnessed credible scientists dissolve their credibility just to pander to those who heavily believe what they think no matter what real science says so it's going to take intense, drawn out research for me to adapt to the idea that gender is in fact on a spectrum and all that good stuff. Which biologically speaking has no value to the species and could actively affect how populations form, just to name one major effect it would have. Though our populous is high enough to negate that doesn't mean it isn't something to consider when deciding if it's factually healthy for species or not. That's my 2 cents on the topic. Not really open to debate about it as I've said what I've needed to say but feel free to reply with a response, I might not reply unless intrigued enough in the discussion to do so but anything arguing along the lines of "respect what people feel" is completely invalid to me. Science won't always make people happy with the results, and that includes me. If enough credible sources can apply the issues that I supplied to the topic while still supporting the side that I'm arguing against then that'll suck for me but at least I have the mentality to approach this with the thought that I could be wrong. Have nice day

  23. Gender has always been settled and it is black and white – morons confused this issue in this generation – previous generations must be turning in their graves seeing how blatantly stupid so many of their offspring are. Science has one and only one gender identifier – chromosomes – nothing else.

  24. holy shit what did I just watch if that was the science of two genders then what is wrong with those people who believe in more than 2

  25. I watched this video twice just to make sure I understood everything, and I still can't figure out why everybody hates it so much, I don't think they said anything wrong. I think they made some pretty good points. Yes, there is very little science behind this, but the fact is, telling somebody they have to prove their gender identity is just ignorant. why make somebody feel like that, everybody is valid, you should be yourself no matter what.

  26. “There isn’t a typical male or female brain”…..says the stereotypical girl on the left. Guy on the right however, not so much

  27. I don't think scientists would keep their jobs if their study concluded negatively in this regard. So in essence, only biased research is being published.

  28. I looked at every white matter study I could find and did not see the conclusion they reported. The major study doesn’t support their thinking at all

  29. "Biological sex is not black or white …" You are having trouble framing sentences..fukin hilarious 🤣 everyone is aware biological sex isn't about Color of skin you idiot … Atleast try to lie something like "Biological sex isn't just male and female" .. even though we know it is 😉

  30. This is rumour control, here are the facts. Gender Identity is not complicated, you are either a Man a woman or intersex. It is not about feelings it is about biology. Cis is not a real word and facts don't care about your feelings.

  31. If I think that I’m Alexander the Great, it doesn’t make me Alexander the Great ! You stupid liberals are crossing the limits.

  32. Right-wing trolls: This isn't facts, its feelings!

    Seeker: Here are our scientific studies we used as citations.

    Right-wing trolls: I don't feel like that's true.

  33. What a bizarre video. This is similar to listening to a delusional person believing they are Jesus Christ. You can follow their argument all the way but it's still not true, they just cant see it. Astonishing. She's wearing a dress, long hair, makeup. hes wearing a t-shirt (THE male fashion item of the age) and they both agree that nobody knows their own gender identity. Uh?

  34. Well during the 1st minute of the video I was still hoping this would be a kind of joke.
    Maaan was I surprised when I realized they were dead serious.
    I'm out

  35. 1:20 which is why there's good evidence to say there are more than 2 biological sexes
    4:11 we know science will catch up eventually.
    Huh??

  36. There are two genders, XX, and XY chromosomes, that's what gender means, boy or girl. I don't mind what people feel in their head, people should be able to be who they are without judgment, but that's about their sexuality or psyche, they still either have XX or XY chromosomes, meaning they are either a boy or a girl… And boys and girls have different genitals, (and also other biological differences) meaning you can identify a gender looking at its appearance 99,9999..% of the time. I get that people want to be able to define their personality, to fit in somewhere, but don't mix gender up in all this phycology, you are stupid.

  37. It's a mental illness end of. I know that may upset people but its completely true its called Dysphoria…. I don't have any issues with anyone on the LGBTQ community but god damn stop making everything into a statement that you are special and others should be forced into calling you male or female. Because life isn't like that yet, and for people who go out their way to bully or tell people they cant be whatever the want.. stfu go anyway you are not special either so what ever you think or say dosnt matter just live as you want.

    Ps sorry for all the spelling mistakes or bad grammar I am very Dyslexic😁

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