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Critique Essay Humanities Natural Sciences Nonfiction Social Sciences Theory

Transgender Medicine: Depathologization, Organizing, and Practice

By Eli Erlick, 2014

Is being transgender a medical condition? While some researchers attempt to attribute transgender (trans) identities to neurobiological mechanisms, there has never been conclusive, significant research illustrating how these identities are biological. Even then, there is always the issue of neuroplasticity, the concept of neurons changing due to environment or behavior, some hypothesize that simply identifying as transgender could lead to the observed differences in the nervous tissue from a cisgender (people who identify as their sex assigned at birth) control group. The essentializing of what some may consider being medical “causes” of transgender identities can also be harmful if a certain aspect of biology becomes the standard to test for to make sure a trans person is “actually” trans. Any form of pathologization (which is encoded with stigmatizing and societally negative attitudes of “mistake” and “abnormality” ) of transgender people has had an oppressive history in the community along with holding the potential to leave out many trans people who do not fit the diagnostic criteria.

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