Gender Identity Disorder

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Gender Dysphoria or Gender Identity Disorder is the psychological and behavioral distress of a person and their experiences based on sex and gender that was assigned at birth. Most people would refer to gender identity disorder as Transgender. Many people spend years of their life living in a body they do not feel psychologically able to relate to, leading to high risk of stress, depression, and anxiety. According to the new england gender of medicine: “Gender identity refers to an internal sense of oneself as being male, female, or outside these two categories. Although representative studies of transgender people are rare, one estimate suggests that approximately 700,000 U.S. adults are transgender” .

In the society we live in today, the term transgender has influenced our world in many ways. The year of 2018 has been a turning point for many people who fall under this category. The fine line between discrimination and transgendered individuals has lessened over the years. For example, traditional restrooms are now being modified for people who do not fully identify as a man nor a woman. “It, They and Them,” are representations of non specific genders. Transgender psychologists, procedures, surgeries, hormone medicines, pills, and programs are all used to help treat transgender individuals. Sexual reassignment surgery has also been a solution that has saved the lives of many unhappy people that are diagnosed with gender identity disorder.

It is important to consider that gender identity is more mental than physical and the psychology behind it is crucial. It does not only have a physical and mental effect on a person, but also a biological effect on DNA, genes, and traits passed on from generations. In both novels, As Nature Made Him: The Boy Who Was Raised as a Girl, by John Colapinto and She’s Not There: A Life of Two Genders, by Jennifer Finney Boylan, it tells two similar but extremely different stories of true events. Both characters deal with gender identity disorder. There stories differentiate based on their environments and their own case of nature and nurture. One of the main differences between the two characters is that

In the novel, Nature made him: The Boy Who Was Raised as a girl, the main character, David, undergoes extreme struggles based on his rare case of adolescence. David was born biologically as a male, but soon after birth was reassigned as a female due to a tragic injury and result in losing his genitals. The doctors were afraid he would never have a comfortable sexual life because of his injury, therefore the sex reassignment surgery would be more beneficial for him.

Doctor Money believed “that nurture can override nature, that environment is stronger than genetics”. He believed that David would be able to adapt and override all of the issues to eventually have a “normal” life. His parents put trust in money and chose for him to become a female. In his case, it was soon proved that gender, sex identity, and his tortured psychological and mental effects were due to environmental and social reasons. His situation became a nurtured. It was not a natural process of adolescence that was experienced. Later as a teenager, he was soon informed that his true sex identity was a male at birth.

Bruce who had become brenda, soon immediately became a boy again and changed his name into David. It was important for David to transform back to male to help guide him in a more clear direction of life after all of the mental confusion he had to deal with. The psychological and emotional stress is unbearable to imagine the confusion that had gone on in his head. The traumatic experience also withheld in the family as a whole had lead up to clinical depression, alcoholism, and attempts of suicide.

In the Novel, She’s Not There: A Life in Two Genders, the experience of sex reassignment was much more of a smooth and natural process of a man who lived practically half of his life in manhood and the other half of his life as a woman. His story is one that is more natured. His gender dysphoria was innate. Nobody had forced him to change over to become a woman. Becoming a woman had definitely given him a sense of belonging and individuality. Before his transition, he had a wife he was in love with, two young boys, and a full on career. But from early adolescence, “James” was never truly comfortable in his skin and always seem to notice something was off about himself. The slow processing transformation from man to woman also had put major emotional damage on his loved ones, especially his wife with the involuntary sacrifice she must make for love.

In both novels, the male to female is seen as the dominant change once again in society. According to sociologist researcher specializing in gender studies, Michael S. Kimmel, he explains that gender is not an accurate term because there are multiple masculinities and femininities. Gender is more than a boy or a girl, or blue and pink. Gender relies on religion, culture, and can vary within the span of a individual human life. Kimmel also explains that there are three theories used to separate gender differences that also relates in both books.

The first theory is interplanetary. This states that men and women are different based on nature and nurture. Women are more instinctively nurtured than men when growing up. Boys during adolescence are taught to be tough and not show emotion or weakness. When David transitioned into a young girl during adolescence, he did not fit the feeling of a young girl. He felt mentally and psychologically that he had the mindset of a boy. And the same can be said about James before he transitioned into a woman.

A man feels like he has to hold the standard to be more masculine. This includes being strong, built, firm, and a hard worker. Meanwhile the woman holds standards including being loving,kind, caring, having curves, and giving off feminine energy. James role as a parent had changed because his gender identity had changed. He would no longer be able to give his children the same feel as a father.

Women are taught to express emotions and talk about feelings. Because these characteristics are drilled into our heads are children, it becomes second nature to us to act in certain ways. Society places certain pressures on men and women to act a certain way in order to fit in. One example is gender homophobia. It is socially more acceptable in society to be a lesbian, than to be a gay male. Men are looked down upon more for being gay then a woman is for being a lesbian. Another example is a woman working in an office with all males.

This woman is considered less educated and looked down upon by the men in the office for her “lack of knowledge”. The second theory is the nature theory. This theory states that men and women differ biologically. Such as brain structures, bones, hormones. Kimmel also states that “there are more differences among men and among women then between men and women”. The last theory is nurture. This theory states that people see differences between men and women as social not as biological. Kimmel also believes that all of these differences caused between men and women cause inequality and issues amongst society causing barriers.

Origin theories of sex differences in human behavior also play a major role in gender identity disorder. It illustrates the explanatory power of each to account for the overall differences between the mate selection preferences between men and women. The first origin theory is the evolved dispositions that differ in sex. The second theory is the differing placement of women and men in the social structure.

According to the article The Origins of Sex Differences in Human Behavior, D.M. Buss’s study in 1989 about sex differences in the attributes valued in potential mates in 37 cultures yielded cross- cultural variation that supports the social structural account of sex differences in the mates preferences. Social behavior, personality, and abilities differ between men and women. Men and women also possess sex specific evolved mechanisms and usually tend to have different social roles in a society. Because of this fact, gender identity disorder causes an immense amount of stress on an individual that feels they belong to the opposite gender. In the early 2000s, David could no longer mentally survive in the world, and soon took his life because of the intense stress.

In society, men are nurtured for and taught to be the provider and “money makers” for their family. This is why men grow up to be perceived more put together than woman. The abilities between and man and a woman are also very different. Men tend to be more aggressive and stronger biologically while women have a smaller built and are weaker. In 1998, according to evolutionary psychologists Buss and Kenrick, there were studies about sex differences and how numerous psychological disposition arose from differing fitness related goals of women and men that followed from their contrasting sexual strategies. Most people would agree that many women tend to connect better emotionally than men do. That is why women tend to talk to their girl friends about problems going on in their lives while men keep a lot to themselves. But, men are often more naturally confident than women are.

Social media also has a major impact on gender identities and the stress it places on these different social roles within genders. Because social roles are so instilled in our lives, it makes many individuals who are gendered confused or transgendered, feel out of the “norm”. Many stereotypes keep society thinking in a narrow minded way. Media has proved to affect viewers attitudes towards females and they’re specific gender relations. Women have been under the thumb a lot in regards to their representation, in particular media, and are more likely than men to be, sexualized, and given the typical stereotypical role such as subordinates, housewives, and helpless victims while men are viewed in media to be in power and dominance.

There is a constant debate between how nature and nurture play an important role in shaping the way a female or a male will develop in adolescence. Our behavior and abilities are innate and instilled in our genes when we our born, but our environment and upbringing also shape the way a person will develop as well. Everything we see and hear on television and our electronic devices influence the way we view and compare ourselves in society. Nature and nurture can not simply just be looked at as black and white. There are many grey areas in between that focuses on the theory that is more influential on an individual depending on their situation. Every human being has their own specific storyline and are influenced differently.


Cite this paper

Gender Identity Disorder. (2021, Apr 15). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/gender-identity-disorder/

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