Are transsexuals born that way?
Over 99.98% of the individuals are, obvious at birth, either male or female sex (Sax, 2002) if defined by physical characteristics (the presence of a vagina or a penis). In a very small number, sex may be unclear due to ambiguous genitalia as a result of medication conditions, e.g. adrenal virilization syndrome (in which girls are born with a masculinized clitoris) or hermaphroditism .
Different explanations on transsexuality have been offered, with the debate centering on nature vs. nurture.' Recently, Dr Mohd Ismail Mohd Tambi, a consultant clinical andrologist, disclosed to the media that one of the reasons for transsexuality was biological (The Star, 2005-11-28). Yet studies on biological causes remain inconclusive, for differences in brain structure could have been caused by hormonal medications. In other words, the strength of studies on brain structure is still very limited. Research has also not been able to confirm the suggestion of differences in hormone levels nor demonstrate genetic cause. There is still a general lack of good replicated research. The debate continues.
According to a report by the Evangelical Alliance Policy Commission (EAPC) in Britain , the body of evidence for transsexuals having psychological causes is greater and more long-standing compared to evidence for biological causes. "Published academic literature that indicates transsexual people as children have experienced much greater psychological harm than non-transsexuals remains largely undisputed."
Some examples of psychological factors are: parental rejection, absence of father during childhood, having emotionally-distant father, peer pressure, perfectionism, media images, self-rejection and poor self-esteem which may be reinforced by hostile reception from society.
In some cases, transsexual behavior ceased when a concurrent psychiatric condition was treated with medication (e.g. a 1997 case report: Four year remission of transsexualism after comorbid obsessive-compulsive disorder improved with self-exposure therapy'). In other words, transsexual can and do change their gender identity and preference.
In sum, the precise etiology (study of causes) of transsexuality is still an open question.
Scientists say they may have found genes that help explain why a tiny percentage of men see themselves as women, cruelly trapped in the wrong body.
The researchers say the findings are very preliminary and should be “interpreted with the utmost caution,” due to the small sample size used in their study...
It is unknown exactly how this change in the ER-beta gene might contribute to transsexualism, the researchers said. The gene may produce different variants of the molecular gateway, which transmit estrogen more or less easily; but it’s unknown whether one of these might be the reason for the effect, or whether the reason is something else.
Moreover, the researchers found that the two other genes that they studied also seem to influence the risk of becoming a transsexual. But neither of these genes on its own predicted that risk, they found. Rather, specific combinations of all three variants seemed to be more common among transsexuals.
At any rate, the idea that there is solid research showing the link between transsexualism and genetic or hormonal preconditions is shaky and preliminary at best. I am willing to be corrected by any conclusive research out there. I have noted many "theories" being put forward by researchers but not one of them has been confirmed by independent experiments under controlled laboratory conditions. The bottom line is that the burden of proof lies with those who formulate the theories. Prove it under scientific conditions or else your theory remains just a theory.