Lifestyle & Belief

Transgender news: Scientist finds people who can “switch” between genitals

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Indian supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community participate in the 'Queer Azadi March' in Mumbai on January 28, 2012.

Credit:

PUNIT PARANJPE

Human sexuality, it appears, has never been more complex.

Not to mention elusive.

A scientist has studied a group of men and women who report that their sexual identity can switch involuntarily to that of the opposite sex and back again, Scientific American reports.

For some people, the switch can occur several times a day.

Most of them however, report the frequency is more like once a week.

The “switch” is accompanied by the sensation of phantom breasts or genitalia of the non-biological sex.

The study,  Medical Hypotheses, “Alternating gender incongruity: A new neuropsychiatric syndrome providing insight into the dynamic plasticity of brain-sex,” was published by Laura Case, a graduate student of renowned neuroscientist Vilayanur S. Ramachandran.

It is based on research with 32 respondents (11 anatomically female) from an online bigender forum that hosts about 600 members.

Scientific American listed the following fascinating quotes from research subjects:

"I still have the same values and beliefs, but a change in gender is really a change in the filter through which I interact with the world and through which it interacts with me."

I"f I’m in male mode and I see someone crying, I’ll think more along the lines of ‘Man up… while if I’m in girl mode I’ll think more long the lines of ‘Oh sweety!’"

"I sometimes wake up thinking I have a penis,” says one female respondent, “or that I have no breasts…I usually end up in tears and I can’t get out of bed because once I get up I’ll know for sure it’s not really true and it’s just my mind playing tricks on me, so I just lie there and cry. It’s strange though because I normally don’t even want to have a penis.”

This is an amazing discovery, with the possibility of deep implications for what it means to be transgender in the world.