Gender Identity - Gender Identity and Sex

Gender Identity and Sex

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When the gender identity of a person makes them one gender, but their genitals suggest a different sex, they will likely experience what is called gender dysphoria. Some people do not believe that their gender identity corresponds to their assigned at birth sex, including transsexual people, transgender people, and many intersexed individuals. Consequently, complications arise when society insists that an individual adopt a manner of social expression (gender role) which is based on sex, that the individual feels is inconsistent with that person's gender identity. Complications can also arise with the stereotyping, or gender typing of behavior for individuals for behavior related to a specific sex, when they identify as a different gender. This dissonance can lead to gender identity disorder.

One reason for such discordances in intersexed people is that some individuals have a chromosomal sex that has not been expressed in the external genitalia because of hormonal or due to other abnormal conditions during critical periods in gestation. Such a person may appear to others to be of one sex, but may recognize himself or herself as belonging to the other sex. The causes of transgenderism are less clear; it has been subject of much speculation, but no psychological theory has ever been proven to apply to even a significant minority of transgender individuals, and theories that assume a sex difference in the brain are relatively new and difficult to prove, because at the moment they require a destructive analysis of inner brain structures, which are quite small.

In recent decades it has become possible to surgically reassign sex. A person who experiences gender dysphoria may then seek these forms of medical intervention to have their physiological sex match their gender identity. Alternatively, some people who experience gender dysphoria retain the genitalia that they were born with (see transsexual for some of the possible reasons), but adopt a gender role that is consistent with what they perceive as their gender identity.

There is an emerging vocabulary for those who defy traditional gender identity; see Transgender and Genderqueer.

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