Skip to main content

what happens if we remove obstacles?

How sex and gender identity overlap is not completely understood.

What we do know is that individuals are affected by both the chromosomes and hormones of their natal sex and that these components do to some degree contribute towards establishing gender behavior. For example if you give testosterone to female mice, scientists have found that this increased their levels of aggression which is more associated with male behavior.

To say that gender identity is entirely a social construct would be a false statement as much as saying that it’s entirely determined by biology would also be.

In the 1960’s, John Money theorized that gender identity was not just about natal sex and could be heavily impacted by social conditioning. As witnessed by the case of David Reimer, who completely rejected his rearing as a girl upon being gender reassigned on Money’s recommendation, it is clearly about both.

Money defined the notion of gender role thusly:

"all those things that a person says or does to disclose himself or herself as having the status of boy or man, girl or woman, respectively. It includes, but is not restricted to sexuality in the sense of eroticism. Gender role is appraised in relation to the following: general mannerisms, deportment and demeanor; play preferences and recreational interests; spontaneous topics of talk in unprompted conversation and casual comment; content of dreams, daydreams and fantasies; replies to oblique inquiries and projective tests; evidence of erotic practices, and, finally, the person's own replies to direct inquiry."

That recent Israeli study I referenced was not conclusive but if anything it might have helped reinforce the idea that disembodied brains are not easily gendered. However this does not mean that there aren’t portions of the brain or elements at the level of DNA that help determine intrinsic gender traits.

It’s probably most realistic to think of gender identity as being influenced by both biological predisposition and social factors such as parenting style as well as sibling and peer interaction. Why some people have a propensity to reject their natal sex is a question we cannot answer. Just as we also cannot determine how much that rejection is tied to biological versus other factors.

One thing we might want to agree on is that expectation of gender behavior need not be coupled to natal sex which can go a long way towards alleviating the anxiety of gender non-conforming children. By removing objection to their behaviour early might we also be averting an eventual transition down the road or does that even matter?


John Money

Comments

  1. I loved this post Joanna! I wish I had known about Mr. Money many years ago.

    Emma

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

another coming out

Recently I had lunch with one of the young estimators who occasionally works with me here in Toronto. We were chatting about work and our respective lives when she queried about my love life:

“So how is it going on that front. Meet anyone interesting lately?”

I reflected for a moment and then said:

“My situation is a little particular and if you don’t mind I can share something about myself”

She leaned in a bit and told me to please go ahead.

“I am trans” I said matter of factly.

She looked at me and smiled and said:

“Really? That’s so neat”

She is 35 years old and a lovely person which is why I knew I could confide in her. I then added that I had been reflecting on whether I would switch companies and begin working as Joanna and although she is totally open she also knows how conservative our business can be. So I told her that if I did decide to it would definitely be under a different umbrella.

Then yesterday I was coming back to my place and the lady who rents it to me, who is abo…

feeling sexy

Here are the results of a recent survey of genetic women:

“A new hairdo, walking in heels and a glowing tan are among the things that make a woman feel sexy. Freshly applied lipstick, newly-shaved legs and a little black dress also have a positive effect on the psyche”

Are you surprised? I’m not because it is exactly the same list that makes transgender women feel sexy.

For a long time the idea was pandered about that transsexualism was rooted exclusively in aberrant sexuality. But of course you cannot separate the sexuality from the individual because that forms part of their overall makeup and the fact that genetic and transsexual women overlap here surprises no one.

We should also add here that women aren't always thinking about sex and neither are transgender women.

Pre transition transsexuals would not readily admit they found these things sexy because they were afraid to be seen as perverted men in front of gatekeepers who understood nothing about their condition.

Today we kn…

Being transgender isn't exclusively a problem of aberrant sexuality

If being transgender were exclusively a problem of aberrant sexuality, then I would seem to be an exception to the rule.

To date I have lived my life like a choir boy and have had low libido throughout. I have yet to ever see a porn film and both my ex-wife and ex-girlfriend complained about my lack of sex drive. I also knew I was different from a very young age.

This is why the accusation that male to female transgender persons attracted to women are perverts doesn’t hold much water with me. I was mortified when I hit puberty and realized that my desire to be female had taken on sexual overtones and I ended up, like most of you, repeatedly throwing things in the bin as a repudiation. In fact, accepting that my sexuality has been permanently impacted was the hardest pill to swallow in my journey to become a fully realized transgender person.

That is why I say to those who are still concerned about what outsiders who haven’t lived your personal experience have to say about you should l…