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Thread: Is gender identity fixed or flexible?

  1. #1 Is gender identity fixed or flexible? 
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    I am doing a research about Transexuals and Gender Identity. And I have found doubts about conclusion in this matter.

    On one side: Many Transexuals feel that "They were born in the wrong body and that they are psychologically the opposite gender". They claim that the APA concludes that transexuality is only treatable through transition and that Gender identity is fixed and cannot be changed.

    On the other side: Some Scientist claim that Gender identity can be changed, and that they have some studies to back it up, even tho the other side claimsthat there is no proof that gender identity can change. But some of the scientists appear to be biased by the religious right. Either way, the studies that suggest that Gender identity is changeable appear legit.


    http://www.questia.com/googleScholar.qst;jsessionid=LQkf7pyhQz9tT1K5SYTvv xZvhzLFtTFBSRsD1hL110wQ1N6N3R1B!-1764684214!657620650?docId=5001306361

    I also know of a boy who addopted a feminine gender identity, not because of hormones or brain structure, but because his mom wanted to have a girl and she treated and reared him as one.

    But apparently, many transexuals have been to psychotherapy and has not have any effect on their gender identity.

    What do you guys think? Is gender identity fixed or flexible?


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  3. #2  
    Veracity Vigilante inow's Avatar
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    I wouldn't go so far as to call it "fixed," but it's darn close to it. Interesting reading for you at the below.

    http://www.apa.org/releases/therapeutic.html
    http://www.apa.org/pi/lgbc/publicati...c-response.pdf


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  4. #3  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    One of the issues is that we treat gender and sex as if they were binary digital characteristics. They aren't. They are analog, with a bimodal frequency distribution.
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    Well, the first link talks mostly about sexual orientation. I know of cases of people who have changed their sexual orientation without any therapy at all.

    Gender identity is something different. It is your sense of being either a man or a woman. A homosexual man has a male gender identity, even if he behaves in a flamboyant feminine way. The same goes for a travestine.

    Well, The main question I was trying to ask is, if there were individuals who were able to change their Gender identity in the long-term, does that mean that the rest of us, including the transexuals, are able to change our gender identity? Why or Why not?

    And no, I am not Transexual, I am just doing a research on the matter.
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  6. #5  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard i_feel_tiredsleepy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by inow
    I wouldn't go so far as to call it "fixed," but it's darn close to it. Interesting reading for you at the below.

    http://www.apa.org/releases/therapeutic.html
    http://www.apa.org/pi/lgbc/publicati...c-response.pdf
    Gender identity and sexual orientation are related but are not the same. Issues of sexual orientation may affect a person's gender identity, but they are not completely related.

    Gender is a social construct, thus if someone perceives attraction to women as a characteristic of masculinity, a lesbian may then perceive her self as gender-nonconformant and displaying male gendered qualities. However, this is not the same as identifying themselves as males.

    I know a transexual who was born biologically female, is attracted to men, but feels like she is a man.

    As to "gender identity disorder", we shouldn't be asking can we "fix" these people, but what is best for the mental well-being of these individuals. Who gives a shit if they're more comfortable as the other gender. Many more studies have shown a link to teen suicide with a lack of acceptance and pressure to change, than have shown an effective "treatment."
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  7. #6  
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    "As to "gender identity disorder", we shouldn't be asking can we "fix" these people, but what is best for the mental well-being of these individuals. Who gives a shit if they're more comfortable as the other gender. Many more studies have shown a link to teen suicide with a lack of acceptance and pressure to change, than have shown an effective "treatment."

    I am not endorsing that transexuals should be "fixed", everybody should live and Identify themselves the way they feel comfortable doing so. I am just asking if it is possible.

    Again, eveybody should live as they feel comfortable, whether that means being attracted to the same sex or identify as the opposite sex.

    The reason for this research is to further understand the knowledge of Gender and Sex. If it is interpreted as anti-transexual, I apologize in advance and say that it is not my intent.

    Thank you
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  8. #7  
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    Imo both. For most it would be fixed, but a few are naive enough to be manipulated by suggestive thinking / group think.
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  9. #8  
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    Quote Originally Posted by i_feel_tiredsleepy
    Gender identity and sexual orientation are related but are not the same.
    This becomes increasingly obvious as society abandons gender stereotypes, while elevating the status of sex. In most (Canadian anyway) subcultures today one may pass comfortably without any outward gender identity to speak of. I believe that gender now is basically a polite indication of sexual orientation. Therefore if everybody suddenly became asexual or bisexual the gender traits would evaporate. But the relatively increased value of sex has us using gender now to project and invite sex.

    I dunno. Maybe I'm queer and missing something - does anybody actually "feel like" a man or woman, apart from sexual fulfilment? Personally, I only act manly where I sense it socially appropriate, or (infamously :wink: ) where such act serves my sexual ends. So I sometimes play "the man" on the construction site, for sake of workplace hierarchy and morale; and I deliberately give my wife a good view of my larger arms and shoulders, to turn her on. This role-playing wouldn't feel less genuine if I instead embodied a female gender... it just wouldn't work so well socially or sexually, given the perceptions of those around me.

    My hypothesis: that a growing number of people are born sexually queer (by that I mean indeterminate), lacking any hard-wired sexual attraction. Yes, that would be a simple genetic "toggle off". And yet we all tend to develop into sexual creatures fixated on specific ideals, so the queers gravitate to one sexual attraction or another.. or indeed anything. A queer-born could just as well (and more often I think) grow strongly attracted to the opposite sex, since the cues are plain to follow. I wanna stress this point that how dedicatedly horny one becomes about ...anything... is not diminished by a lack of inborn heterosexuality. Lorenz's goslings come to mind.

    I do think identity follows attraction. Therefore one might later put a different spin on identity, yes, if it compliments the established turn-on by any kind of logic or circumstance.
    A pong by any other name is still a pong. -williampinn
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    Pong, no offence, but I'm afraid you have missed the entire point of the discussion.

    But thanks for your contribution.
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  11. #10  
    Forum Ph.D. Raziell's Avatar
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    It boils down to who you are and who you want to be in order to attract the desired type of partner. And who you want to attract can change, and since that can change - a person might develop a strong wish to change back later.

    So my answer is Flexible.

    Definition problems is a big deal in these kinda things.

    I consider myself heterosexual because im attracted to women and femininity.

    But heres the tricky part.

    Consider a "feminine" male, with slender body and lack of male features. That dyed his hair and used make up, maybe go so far as to have breast implants and would have a soft skin and again... a very feminine demeanor where the ONLY difference is that this person has a penis. Thats what one would call a transexual,right?

    If i slept with this person id still call me heterosexual cause im attracted to femininity, submissive personality and such. What gender you are born with matters little in my opinion and so does physical trivialties like who you were born as.

    When it comes to other males i straightout feel disgust for large muscles, chest hair, and male features in general when it comes to sex. If i met a girl in the city that was in all ways "a girl" and it turned out it was a guy i dont think id lose the attraction.


    The problems is that many people consider sexual attraction to the pure physical attributes. Some people to the psychological only, some both, some are just sick induviduals who likes to plow over a dead animal in the road.

    Genes and enviroment have alot to say i guess but psychologically its a whole other playfield. If i asked people to classify me now after what i just told you i bet some would call me homosexual, some bisexual and some heterosexual.

    When transexuals make a choise the psychological factor is the only thing that counts in my opinion but its important that this person is in a stable phase of their life and is checked for personality disorders and the like first.

    Lets say a guy named jeff is slender and has a slight feminine demeanor. If he is heterosexual he could start taking testosterone, work out and work toward a more manly presence to the crowd he wants to attract.

    He also have the option to start taking estrogen, remove bodyhair and go the other way.

    Im a determinist and dont believe in free will so id say, whoever you become genes are important if you DO decide on who you want to become especially if its another gender.

    Who are you? Who do you want? What lengths are you willing to go to attract them? Ultimatly i think who you want to be is decided by who you want to be with.

    Not many people truly know themselves, as long as there is something to be learned and experience in life things will change.

    There will always be people who wish they were the other sex, change and be happy but also those who regret it. Its important that people that go to the length of considering sex change are given proper healthcare and evaluation but its never possible with a 100% success rate to say "This person will be happy/unhappy like this" because people do change, all the time.

    Edit: Id also like to say that i think people overthink and overdo the importance of gender. If you are a girl you will be slightly physically weaker and be able to carry children. If male slightly stronger but unable to bear children. Thats pretty much it. Culture, parents and so on has a lot more to say than gender in my opinion. People make more out of gender than is "real" so to speak.
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  12. #11  
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    Quote Originally Posted by HexHammer
    Pong, no offence, but I'm afraid you have missed the entire point of the discussion.
    What is it you would like the "point" to be?
    A pong by any other name is still a pong. -williampinn
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  13. #12  
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    The brain and genes of any person are subject to plastic rules so I don't see why it would be impossible for a person to identify him or herself as the opposite gender after one has been established.
    However it is the 'paradox of plasticity' that the same rules which allow change are also the ones which are responsible for preventing it. So I suppose it would depend on whether the individual wanted to work toward that change, etc.
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  14. #13  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raziell
    I consider myself heterosexual because im attracted to women and femininity.
    That makes sense. Though exactly what qualities or relationships primarily attract you could make things more interesting. I already suggested that all people tend to fixate on specifics, and develop perhaps ridiculous ideals... anybody please correct me if I'm wrong.

    Say I'm a male who's attracted to females because I feel especially free & powerful with them. Maybe I like to coerce a quickie in the elevator, that sort of thing. I think that here I may further develop my particular attraction (turn-on) and I naturally would. I may dominate my wife. I may get a kick out of putting wimps in their place. I may feel most comfortable with children. See the different paths this may lead down? If what I said about developing ideals is correct, then my sexual interests may go beyond or even abandon female anatomy, easily.

    I think we already established that sexual identity and gender identity (especially public gender) aren't the same thing. Which is more flexible? I would think that sexual fantasy has practically unlimited space to expand and intensify, beyond reality. Meanwhile gender is stuck in the real world: How much did those shoes cost? So though sexual identity is all in the mind, it may be a mountain massively reinforced by the time we reach adulthood. I can say personally that picking up some dude at a bar would be easy, compared to wiping the compounded image of every female pelvis I've ogled and etched into my brain as supreme sex object.

    Beginning as a heterosexual male who is basically repulsed by willing weakness (one ideal of feminine gender), I imagine that to become transgendered I'd first have to get excited by penises: My penis, then penises in general. From there I could become gay, and learn to appreciate a man's body. From there I could train myself to a feminine role, with an appropriate partner. Outward gender would follow, I guess.

    Hmm. One of my cousins is a girl now, but I've never sensed any "gender crap" (as I see it) from her. If gender depends on social environment, perhaps I should make a point of treating her like a lady... more than I would other people. Since that is what her chosen gender really needs isn't it?
    A pong by any other name is still a pong. -williampinn
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  15. #14  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    Quote Originally Posted by HexHammer
    Pong, no offence, but I'm afraid you have missed the entire point of the discussion.
    What is it you would like the "point" to be?
    Even if you as a homosexual act like man or woman, you still know your a man inside.

    The problem with sexual identity is that a man may feel like a woman trapped inside a man's body and a woman can feel like a man trapped inside a woman's body. Sexual orientation or acting like a man or woman has nothing to do with it.
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  16. #15  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard SkinWalker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HexHammer
    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    Quote Originally Posted by HexHammer
    Pong, no offence, but I'm afraid you have missed the entire point of the discussion.
    What is it you would like the "point" to be?
    Even if you as a homosexual act like man or woman, you still know your a man inside.

    The problem with sexual identity is that a man may feel like a woman trapped inside a man's body and a woman can feel like a man trapped inside a woman's body. Sexual orientation or acting like a man or woman has nothing to do with it.
    The OP is questioning the static nature of gender identity not sexual identity. Though related, these are not the same concepts. So perhaps it is you that is missing the entire point of the discussion.

    While a transsexual undoubtedly realizes that there is a Y-chromosome in her genes, she nonetheless identifies as female in gender. The question is does she solely identify as female or can she, at times, also identify as male. Could she prefer to live as a woman but also prefer to have female sexual partners over male. Or perhaps she enjoys both. The sexual partner preferences speak to her sexual identity. The way in which she interacts with the rest of the world in clothing, body form, walk, talk, and perhaps even thought, represents her gender identity.

    I see no reason why gender identity cannot be a continuum of conscious perspective (much in line with the "analog" description Ophiolite used) rather than a point perspective. For many, the continuum of perspective ranges far to one side or the other in gender, often in line with their genetic sexuality. For others, this might be a continuum of points closer to the midpoint between genders. This continuum concept, of course, would render gender as a false dichotomy, though I would accept that there are those for whom one could easily say that the merger between genders is less of a grey area than others.

    I would also grant that I have no scientific evidence to support this hypothesis other than general observations of human nature and behavior and my own education in culture and social norms. Nor would I begin to have an idea how to test this hypothesis, but it makes for interesting discourse and study. And certainly there must be conditions that could falsify it as an hypothesis, yet I know not what they are either.
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  17. #16  
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    @ SkinWalker

    As english isn't my first language, the concept are blurred to me, when I fills forms in various places, it is sometimes refeered to as "sex" when it may have been more correct with "gender".

    That's why my misconception, but if you actually read my definition it should be quite clear.
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  18. #17  
    Forum Ph.D. Raziell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkinWalker

    The OP is questioning the static nature of gender identity not sexual identity. Though related, these are not the same concepts.
    As in, if its set in stone from birth what gender identity you will develop? Or that its set in stone once one has decided on one if you were unsure to begin with?

    All people are different so that there will be both fixed and flexible is kinda obvious?
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  19. #18  
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    Quote Originally Posted by HexHammer
    Even if you as a homosexual act like man or woman, you still know your a man inside.
    I personally can't relate to this "knowing... inside". Therefore not everybody holds an inner sense of gender identity. :? If anybody has a feeling of self-gender, please explain it.

    I wonder if some people try too hard, and it backfires? Instead of modelling the (same) gender they imprint it as an object. So the more they study it, the more they grow attracted to it? That could be confirmed by asking people if as teens they had idols whom they wished to be like, but ultimately jerked off to.
    A pong by any other name is still a pong. -williampinn
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  20. #19  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    Quote Originally Posted by HexHammer
    Even if you as a homosexual act like man or woman, you still know your a man inside.
    I personally can't relate to this "knowing... inside". Therefore not everybody holds an inner sense of gender identity. :? If anybody has a feeling of self-gender, please explain it.
    Hmmm, if you don't have any self-gender preception, it's very interesting.
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  21. #20  
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    Yeah, well that's a very elegant cape you're wearing, oh Emperor. Can you elaborate on it?
    A pong by any other name is still a pong. -williampinn
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  22. #21  
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    Quote Originally Posted by HexHammer
    Hmmm, if you don't have any self-gender preception, it's very interesting.
    Could you elaborate this Hex?

    For example:

    I know im a male. But i dont try to live up to manly stereotypes just because of it, i just try to be myself. When people tell me to "man up" (Because ive been told i act rather feminine, and some people have mistakenly thought i was gay) i just tell them "hey its who i am, if you dont like it screw you"

    Why would a person change their personality or behavior just to fit a gender profile? That seems like a sign of inferiority complex to me.

    If i understood you right and by "self-gender preception" you mean a person tries to identify their own gender. To then act it out pysically to a large degree just to "Fit" that gender.
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  23. #22  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raziell
    Quote Originally Posted by HexHammer
    Hmmm, if you don't have any self-gender preception, it's very interesting.
    Could you elaborate this Hex?
    It's interesting because I'v never heard of any non-gender preception before, but non the less good to hear about it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Raziell
    For example:

    I know im a male. But i dont try to live up to manly stereotypes just because of it, i just try to be myself. When people tell me to "man up" (Because ive been told i act rather feminine, and some people have mistakenly thought i was gay) i just tell them "hey its who i am, if you dont like it screw you"

    Why would a person change their personality or behavior just to fit a gender profile? That seems like a sign of inferiority complex to me.

    If i understood you right and by "self-gender preception" you mean a person tries to identify their own gender. To then act it out pysically to a large degree just to "Fit" that gender.
    As I see it, there are 3 things to the matter:

    Exterior
    - male, female, pseudo/hermaprodite, androgyne ..etc

    Behaviour
    - male, female, mix, none ..etc.

    Gender ID
    - male, female, mix, none.


    No, I belive most people have their behaviour and gender ID so closely alligned that they don't really think they'r 2 different things, but sometimes the Gender ID will be a seperate factor that causes people to consdier or actually change gender, hench the term "in the wrong body"



    - it's good that you free youself of such group think, there's nothing worse than having other people dictating what you do, when one does no wrong to others.

    - btw, I must add to my first post, a 3rd possebility a genetic mutation, thereby ones gender-identity may spontanously change.
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