Second Neurological Puberty Among Transgenders Taking Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)? One Transwoman’s Question Of Hope     by     Ruth Utnage

During adolescence we humans go through neurological changes that usually enhance our abilities to make social connections outside of wherever we reside, or, friends. I don’t know much about neuroscience other than it’s a guilty pleasure of mine to study, having said that, I’m no expert, more like a fan.

Currently I am reading a book titled “The Neuroscience of Human Relationships” by Louis Cozolino that got my attention. It talks about what happens to our brains during adolescence. As it turns out our brains go through some serious changes. It’s not just “hormonal” moments, it’s legitimate, structural change to learn and accommodate new behaviors. This got me thinking, does this happen a second time when I’m taking HRT?

It matters to me because growing up I didn’t get the opportunity to socialize like most other kids and making deep connections is something that kind of scares me. This would be part what I have come to learn is part of my “Attachment Schema” (a term that web developers should be familiar with!). I know that change is possible because I’ve done it. Practice some ‘thing’ enough and it becomes natural. This is part of something called “neuroplasticity”, our brains ability to adapt and change to new stimulus.

This also offers hope for me to concern myself with because I did commit a crime with a rather deeply rooted stigma, a wrongly associated stigma, but it exists nonetheless. One that hints at I am incapable of change. This simply isn’t true, I know it’s not because I have already done so. Anyone who knows me, knows this is true.

Buy what if my HRT journey offers me a greater opportunity to establish brand new cognitive patterns? What if during my “second adolescence” I can make fresh connections, fresh neurological pathways, make new synapses that restructure my white and gray matter into the person I’ve always wanted to be?

I guess, in a way it doesn’t matter because I am doing that anyway. I can’t help but think, though, what if HRT is helping me accelerate that process?


With Love
Ruth Utnage
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Jeff Utnage