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Eliezer_Yudkowsky comments on Changing Emotions - Less Wrong

22 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 05 January 2009 12:05AM

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Comment author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 05 January 2009 06:07:13AM 8 points [-]

Adept42, there really are such things as sex differences, not just gender differences; the verdict of the experimental evidence on this is definite. See e.g. The Blank Slate by Pinker. (Though of course I'm quite willing to believe that there are alternate Everett branches where men wear skirts and women wear pants, etc.)

There are different reasons why people go transgender. But a transgender of the sort who's always known, growing up, that they were one of the girls rather than one of the boys (or vice versa), knows on a very visceral that sex is hardwired into the brain at a level that transcends your suit of flesh or anything socially expected of you. In fact, a transgender did look at an earlier version of this essay and say, more or less, "Yeah, that's right."

I understand that there are a lot of things attributed to sex that ought to be attributed to gender. But if brains were not sexually typed, brains born into the wrong bodies wouldn't be in such awful straits - they could just construct a gender that matched their body. Yes, there are androgynous men and women, bisexuals, people who go transgender for other reasons... But to deny that many brains are strongly sexually typed is to deny the very real problems of a male brain born into a female body or vice versa.