What about trans men and non-binary people?

My Hormonology

What about trans men and non-binary people?

BY GABRIELLE LICHTERMAN

 

  • Why isn’t Hormonology inclusive for trans men and non-binary people? Preliminary evidence suggests that hormones may affect these populations in a way that is different from cisgender populations. And, since the vast majority of current published studies about hormonal affects in menstrual cycles are conducted using cisgender females, it’s inappropriate and disrespectful to automatically apply these studies’ results to trans and non-binary individuals. 

 

May 3, 2022—I regularly get email and messages from allies of the trans and non-binary communities asking me why my Hormone Horoscope apps, books and other Hormonology materials aren’t more inclusive and address trans and non-binary people.

Since more and more allies are reaching out to me, I’d like to address this important topic now.

First, I’d like to emphasize that I support the LGBTQ+ community. Always have, always will.

However, the bulk of my Hormonology work simply does not apply to trans or non-binary individuals.

That’s because my Hormonology work is not primarily about periods and menstrual cycles–it’s about hormones and how hormones affect mood, health and behavior through the menstrual cycle. So, Hormonology isn’t focused on what it takes to have a period–the machinations of what triggers the uterine lining to shed, etc. My work is about the receptors in the brain and body that respond to cycling levels of estrogen, testosterone and progesterone and the many varied effects they have.

Right now, science suggests that transgender and non-binary individuals may have unique physiologies. This can potentially impact how the hormones their body produces affects them. For example, a 2019 study out of Augusta University in Georgia pointed to genetic factors that impact estrogen receptors in the brain in transgender individuals.1

Because the vast majority of currently available research conducted on hormones in the menstrual cycle has been done on and with cisgender females, I can’t simply presume that these studies apply to those who are not cisgender female. This would be scientifically inappropriate as well as disrespectful of transgender men and non-binary people.

The science of the physiology of trans and non-binary people is only just emerging. I expect more studies to come soon as I do notice a significant rise in published research on the topic. But, the research upon which Hormonology–my books, my apps, my website–is based has been ongoing since the early 1940s. This gives me a wide breadth of research upon which to draw that provides a holistic and substantiated view of hormonal effects in cisgender females. It will take years, if not decades, to gain similarly detailed insight into how hormones impact transgender and non-binary people.

I hope that you can understand why I have focused my work as I have. I do hope in the future that when the research provides us with more detail about hormones and their effects in transgender and non-binary people, I can share this and include it in my Hormonology work.

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Sources:
(1) J. Graham Theisen, et al., “The Use of Whole Exome Sequencing in a Cohort of Transgender Individuals to Identify Rare Genetic Variants”, Scientific Reports, published December 27, 2019
Eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2020-02/mcog-gvp020420.php

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