Conservatives do not take the introspective reports of transgendered people seriously, but there are good scientific reasons for supposing that subjective experience of gender is legitimate, even when it contradicts apparent biological sex.
In particular, I want to highlight one freshly insightful passage.
Consider a case study of a genetic male with normal male genitalia who, since childhood, has had the first-person perception of a female identity. It’s possible that this is a case of confusion about identity rooted in psychological trauma. But it’s also possible that this person has some mutation that prevented the masculinization of the brain. The biology leads us to expect that there will be some people in the latter category, even if we don’t currently have a genetic test to identify these people. On the other hand, psychologists do have some ability to identify trauma-induced identity disorders, so in the meantime it’s possible to eliminate people from the former category. We might first look for signs of dissociative disorders or schizophrenia, for instance.
But unless such disorders seem to be the problem, isn’t it most likely that this individual has some intersex condition, one in which the brain does not match genetic sex, in a way that is—currently—only discernible through introspection? Given how little is known about these rare cases, a high degree of certainty is not possible, but inference to the best explanation seems to warrant this conclusion.
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