Biological Studies of Trans Identity: What do they say? Do they matter?

Hold onto your seats for a whirlwind tour through the scientific study of gender identity and how it shapes our thinking! Biologist Rachel Levin, neuroscientist Kale Edmiston, and psychiatrist Laura Erickson-Schroth tackle the science but also the social debates surrounding this topic. Do our genes contribute to our gender identity? What about prenatal hormones? Can brain scans give us more insights or do they just muddy the waters? Who does this kind of research and why? How has biological research influenced public understanding of trans identity? What would it mean to us as a community if

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About the presenters

Laura Erickson-Schroth, MD

Laura Erickson-Schroth, MD, MA is a psychiatrist working with LGBTQ people in New York City. She is the editor of Trans Bodies, Trans Selves, a resource guide written by and for transgender people, and co-author of "You're in the Wrong Bathroom!" and 20 Other Myths and Misconceptions About Transgender and Gender Nonconforming People. She is also a board member of the Association of LGBTQ Psychiatrists, and a former board member of GLMA: Health Professionals Advancing LGBT Equality. She has appeared on NPR's Fresh Air and On Point, and was named to OUT Magazine's OUT 100 in 2014.

E. Kale Edmiston, PhD

E. Kale Edmiston, PhD is a neuroscientist from rural Ohio. He is also a transgender person who works to improve access to mental healthcare for transgender communities. In 2015, he co-founded the Trans Buddy Program, a peer advocacy service for transgender people seeking healthcare. In his professional life, Dr. Edmiston studies mood and anxiety disorders and is expert in the use of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in psychiatric research. His work focuses on how people with anxiety perceive social and emotional information. He is currently a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Pittsburgh

Rachel N. Levin, PhD

Dr. Rachel Levin is an associate professor of biology and neuroscience at Pomona College. She studies reproductive behavior and its underlying neuroendocrinological mechanisms in both wild animals and humans. She is the principal investigator on a research project with over 1300 participants that examines biological influences on human gender diversity and sexuality.