First I want to make clear that this isn't a "LOL TRANS IS A MENTAL ILLNESS" thread. I don't care how trans people live their lives and I just want people to be happy. This is really just an interesting intellectual exercise.
The root cause of most mental disorders today is seen as a combination of genetic and environmental factors - i.e. you may have a family predisposition to experiencing bipolar disorder or schizophrenia, but that doesn't mean you're guaranteed to developed those disorders. Traumatic life events like physical and sexual abuse, homelessness, drug use, etc. can activate the latent potential for the disease or worsen it. The same is true vice versa - becoming homeless doesn't mean you're guaranteed to develop schizophrenia.
Is it possible that the same is true of gender dysphoria? I've gotten to know quite a lot of trans people, and they all seem to have the same sort of history that would make them susceptible to mental illness – severe bullying at school, drug addiction, homelessness, abusive parents, NEET shut-in lifestyle, social isolation, and at a far greater than the general populace. I know what your response is likely to be - that trans people face such difficulty and abuse just living their day to day lives that of course they're going to have had traumatic events and lifestyles in their past. Or that their latent gender dysphoria caused their mental and social problems before they realised they were trans.
Of course this can't be ruled out entirely, but it doesn't seem to fit what I hear from actual trans people. Usually the traumatic events happened long before they first experienced gender dysphoria, sometimes even before puberty. And feeling uncomfortable when you look in the mirror or are misgendered doesn't get you molested.
So basically my hypothesis is that a portion of the population experiences or has the potential to experience gender dysphoria, it's just that when they're well adjusted and have led a trauma and mental illness free life it doesn’t develop into full blown gender dysphoria.
It's entirely possible, thus might be a hypothesis however it's very difficult to prove, very hard to get a large sample size of transgender individuals to exclude individual variables associated with there lives, additionally as you've pointed out your validity of any experiment is impaired somewhat by the stigma that goes with Transgender issues.
Is bullying an effect or a trigger? ect
I can't speak for anyone else, but before I was dysphoric (started at 7, high gear at 12) I led a relatively normal life without any traumatic experiences.
I have still not experienced anything traumatic, but I am a bit of a hermit, and that's because of depression. Depression and gender dysphoria occur together like virtually all the time.
>a combination of genetic
Also, whether transsexuality is genetic is entirely unproven and untested. Afaik, the scientific community generally does not believe that genes play a significant role in most cases of transsexuality. There is currently no good theory that explains its origin, but common conjecture suggests that it may be caused by a hormonal-based developmental error pre-birth..
>Is it possible that the same is true of gender dysphoria?
Like psychopathy, or autism, isn't triggered by your environment. Either you have it, or you don't.
Mental disorders are mental disorders, caused sometimes partly due to neurology and experiences. Neurological disorders are entirely neurological, and aren't triggered by experiences, like gender dysphoria.
>and they all seem to have the same sort of history that would make them susceptible to mental illness
Because living in misery, or going through trauma, tend to cause mental illnesses.
You did come to this conclusion yourself, and it's the one with the most logic behind it. You'd have to come with a convincing argument against it, if you want your "hypothesis" to have any value at all.
>Usually the traumatic events happened long before they first experienced gender dysphoria, sometimes even before puberty.
Usually gender dysphoria is first experienced before puberty, usually between ages 4-7.
>I have still not experienced anything traumatic, but I am a bit of a hermit
Of course you've experienced something traumatic.
Seeing your body develop wrong wasn't traumatic? Or the fact you can't have children? etc
The fact that I can't have children bothers me a little.
... going through male puberty would be, though. I often don't think of that. I suppose I didn't count it. Losing my pre-pubescent voice at 12 was one of the worst days I've ever had.
I don't believe trauma needs to be this big thing for someone to have experienced it. For instance, if you take a shy, sensitive natured boy, but not necessarily feminine and put him in a situation where his manhood is questioned, or he's bullied for factors he cannot control, that could be considered a type of trauma that helps shape you into who you are. It's like when someone tells you about the starving kids in Africa and how they have it worse in life than you do, though in your mind, your problems are very serious to you, no matter how light they may seem to the world. Trauma is very subjective. I'd even go as far as to say that a 5 year old child might not see being touched inappropriately by an adult as anything out of the ordinary. Children are innocent.
I was definitely not bullied or anything. I can't think of anything that could possibly qualify as out of the ordinary.
Furthermore, these microtraumas don't induce transsexuality in 99.9% of people. So what makes it different for the 0.01%? There is no current evidence to suggest that we're genetically susceptible to becoming completely repulsed by the unnatural-feeling secondary sexual characteristics of our birth sex while simultaneously being mentally feminized and coveting opposite sex characteristics.
Honestly I think it's a long shot to suggest that environmental factors can cause transsexualism in children. They can definitely contribute to depression and compound the problem, but on their own I can't imagine they're doing anything.
All the relatively common things in the OP generally happen as a result of being trans, so I don't think they're the cause, but rather just the tragic and unfortunate effect of trans people existing in a society that actively rejects and despises them more often than not.
Those factors leading to other disorders is both plausible and likely, however.
I think in a society fit to test a like hypothesis in, lack of gender stress and respect for bodily autonomy would almost entirely nip dysphoria in the bud, preventing the accruing of external trauma to complicate matters.
I'm pretty much a textbook transsexual (FTM) and my life has basically been idyllic except for dysphoria. Never bullied, never abused, no drug or alcohol problems, parents took great care of me and my siblings. Grew up in a picturesque small town where basically nothing ever went wrong, did well in school, participated in lots of activities, had great friends, etc.
Aside from the dysphoria that started around puberty I've experienced exactly zero trauma of any sort. Pretty much nothing bad has happened in my life... except for dysphoria.
If you're looking for studies and evidence AFTER you've formed an opinion about how things are from how they seem based on your personal anecdotes then you're probably doing it wrong.
Try looking at the available data and research first and then form an opinion otherwise you're using young-earther/flat-worlder/anti-vaxxer logic.
No "liberal outcry" boogeyman is stopping you from researching the available evidence and likewise nothing is stopping you from "expanding on your hypothesis" unless by that you mean that you think having to go through all the regular procedures and evaluations for human experiments is the liberal conspiracy stifling your "truth".
The current research points more to an epigenetic cause though the research is all very new and needs a lot more before we really start to understand things.
The presence of feminized/maculinised neurological structures that are not plastic past the womb suggests that's the point where things likely occur and the current best hypothesis is that it's from imbalanced hormone surges from the mother at key points of development.
Same with gay/lesbian which would fit with later children being more likely to be gay from the mother losing reproductive ability with age and multiple children.
It's currently the best working hypothesis though it definitely needs more research, but then who wants to fund anything for dirty trannies unless it's how to "cure" them/get rid of them.
I know a lot of trans too. I think you might be right. I am trans and had a horrible early childhood of physical, sexual, and emotional abuse. I find anectodally a whole lot of us did.
Now did the abuse cause the trans or did people notice the trans and abuse us?
I think in my case that is likely. I don't remember people hurting me until around 4 when they just kept saying stop acting like a girl. Girls get raped. So you want to be a girl now?
I had no fucking idea what they were talking about.
The problem with further neurological study is more one of understanding than interest. Our knowledge about the workings of the human brain is insufficient for directed experimentation into what may be responsible for noted gender-identity/sexual orientation/sex diverging results in BSTc scans of fully mature brains.
Similarly, our tools for even just examining the suspected mechanism are too primitive, expensive, and invasive to use on any substantial number of pregnant mothers. Even if that hurdle could be surmounted, researchers would have to spen in excess of two decades monitoring the children resulting from these pregnancies to get their results.
Science is *hard*.