The condition of transsexualism seems to have three possible causes.
- Chromosomes is by no means the only cause but the easiest possibility to identify. As many as 1 in 400 of the population have a karyotype other than XX or XY, some of the other combinations can give rise to a variety of conditions including transsexualism and intersex. A few but by no means all transsexuals have a non-standard karyotype, leading to hormonal ‘confusion’ during fetal development.
- Chemicals. There may be some drugs that were administered to pregnant women or oral contraceptives unknowingly taken after conception frequently caused transsexual offspring by disrupting the hormone processes. There is also increasing evidence that some pollutants can have the same effect — many man-made chemicals are known to mimic oestrogen and disrupt androgen receptors which were very widespread in the 1950’s and 1960’s before their hazardous nature was realised and they were banned. Many women were exposed to dangerously high levels of chemicals like polychlorobiphenyls those days because said chemical was used as ingredient in makeup.
- Random events. Sometimes the biochemistry simply fails to work properly and things just go wrong for no very clear reason. Perhaps the expectant mother is anaemic or the fetus is undernourished for some reason or maybe maternal hormones cross the placenta in sufficient quantity to disrupt foetal development (progesterone in particular is very good at blocking the action of testosterone). The process by which a fertiliszd ovum develops into a complete baby human is so unimaginably complex that there is an almost unlimited number of things that could go wrong.
Most transsexuals undertake hormone treatment to bring their body shape and appearance into closer accord with their gender identity. Some transsexuals continue in a pre-operative state for long periods, taking hormones and living in their preferred gender role but perhaps never having surgery. There is evidence that continuing the high hormone dosages required for pre-op transsexuals for long periods may be harmful.
Male-to-female hormone treatment causes development of breasts, usually rather small as well as redistribution of body fat and a general feminization of the figure, hair and skin. Body hair is often reduced but not removed and hormones seldom have any large effect on facial hair. Hormones will not alter a male voice (nor will genital surgery), so male-to-female transsexuals must usually undertake some kind of speech training, learning to raise and soften the voice as well as using more feminine inflection and vocabulary.For transsexual and transgender people life is profoundly caught up in how the scientific and social worlds produce sexed and gendered beings.
A transsexual may be born with XY chromosomes, have female genitalia, but will feel male. As a result of this, he will take hormone therapy and/ or have surgery in order that the body be aligned with the feeling. Transsexuality might be viewed as a trope for the relationship between scientific and medical worlds and all sexed identities.While the medical profession tends to delay treating young trans people, there also exists a practice of self-diagnosis and self-medication amongst young trans people who are opting out of the existing psychiatric and medical framework for understanding transsexuality. Furthermore, increased global communication has led to drugs (steroids) and surgical procedures (cosmetic surgery) becoming widely available to those that can gain access to and afford them.