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My Female Brain (2004)

My Female Brain (2004)

©2004, 2013 by Dallas Denny

Source: Denny, Dallas. (2004). A word from the editor: My female brain. Transgender Tapestry, 107, p. 5.

In every issue of Tapestry, the Word From the Editor page featured a different photograph of me.




Tapestry Page (PDF)


A Word From the Editor

My Female Brain

By Dallas Denny


If my brain is female, it doesn’t know it. In the best male tradition, it unerringly finds its way through the maze of streets of Metropolitan Atlanta. It’s not a particularly emotional brain, either; it accepts pain, disappointment, and good fortune with equal stoicism. Nor is it as maternal as most female brains are rumored to be. It likes babies, but can live without them.

Now, I’m not saying it’s the most masculine brain in the world. It clearly isn’t. It doesn’t get the competition thing. It can’t understand why there must always be winners and losers, and is always on the lookout for the win-win; it has little interest, therefore, in watching sports. Its communication patterns and interpersonal skills seem to follow the female pattern more closely than the male. It is not, however, interested in female-oriented things like dolls or playing house or chintz curtains, and never has been.

I often hear or read claims made by transsexuals: “I have a female brain” (MTFs). “I have a male brain” (FTMs). No doubt they believe they do, but in most cases I just don’t see it. What I seem more often than not is natal gender-typical patterns of behavior, problem-solving, and communicating. FTMs tend to have high levels of empathy, understand the complexities of social situations, and have difficulty in competitive situations. MTFs tend to be practiced at interrupting, establishing dominance, and responding to life as a problem to be solved (and nowhere is this more obvious than in their handling of transition, which these brains tend to look at not as a process, as a female brain would be apt to do, but as a series of obstacles to be wrestled to the ground and stomped).

Research has in fact shown a tie-in between the degree of masculinization of a brain and gender-typed behavior and identity—but crossdressers, and even most transsexuals, no doubt myself included, show every indication of having brains that are fairly typical of our natal sex. Maybe it’s time for us to quit claiming we have female brains or male brains and just be honest— we identify as members of the non-natal sex. We have every right to do so. Let’s stop using our brains as justification.