Talk:Gender identity

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This article quoted in "press"[edit]

Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) quoted this article today at around 12PM Eastern Time on C-SPAN2 during the U.S. Senate debates regarding the expansion of the hate-crime law to include crimes motivated by gender, sexual orientation or disability of victims ("The Kennedy Amendment"). TheGoonSquad 14:44, 27 September 2007 (UTC)

Specifically he utilized text from the article as an argument AGAINST the new bill because the bill includes "Gender Identity" as a protected status for hate-crimes; Hatch quoted parts of the article to make the point that Gender Identity is something selected by the individual and as such would be defined by the victim, not the criminal. I could not specify the quotes used as they were lengthy. TheGoonSquad 17:25, 27 September 2007 (UTC)
That is fascinating! Senate debates are verifiable via transcripts, hence a reliable source of opinions. They fall a long way short of citing an article directly. Hence I think we could publish in an article, "Senator X said peer-reviewed article Y (in press) says, Z. (Source: Transcript #1234 Senate Debate.)" But I don't think we can publish in an article, "Article Y says, Z. (Source: Transcript etc. etc.)" Does that make sense? Alastair Haines 08:17, 26 October 2007 (UTC)

Brain development and gender identity[edit]

In my study of Disorders of Sex Development I've found a large amount of information on brain formation and brain development in association with (core) gender identity, gender role behaviour and sexual preferences. Would you like me to add some of it? It's mostly animal experimental research and postmortem human research. Chbse 07:17, 26 October 2007 (UTC)

That is a very generous offer. This is the ultimate in Wiki possibilities, active researchers publishing simultaneously directly here. I think the WP:OR policy wisely restricts what is permissible, but does not preclude it altogether. Where your work interacts with sources already published it is permissible. Quotes from any papers of your own that have passed peer-review and can be cited would also be permissible.
I, for one, would value highly anything you can add to Wiki documentation of knowledge in this area. Are my comments, or the Wiki policy unclear? Alastair Haines 08:09, 26 October 2007 (UTC)
Thanks for your work. I hope you don't mind my changes. Please correct any mistakes I have made. :D Alastair Haines 11:43, 1 November 2007 (UTC)
No problem. Thanks for changing format and readability. Chbse 15:41, 1 November 2007 (UTC)

Gender identity vs sexual identity[edit]

The notion of "gender identity" vis-a-vis "sexual identity" seems entirely conflated in this highly speculative entry. Gender pertains to values of masculine/feminine vis-a-vis male/female, the former a socially constructed form, the latter a biological fact. Queer Studies lump all this mumble-jumble and their postmodernism into arbitrary claims that defy reason, science, and intuitions. This whole "sexual minorities" includes many aspects that are NOT shared among the class members. Obfuscating "gender" and "sexual" identities only illustrates more confusion, not elucidation. Dshsfca (talk) 21:22, 28 November 2007 (UTC)dshsfca

I'm not sure I follow what you are saying, but would love to understand, please help me. Firstly, I agree, text that jumbles together postmodernist theory (unproven), with "sexual minority" political jargon (unproven), with scientific jargon (which keeps changing), and natural language usage (which keeps changing) can be very confusing. It certainly confuses me. ;)
What I work with, and what Wiki policy recommends (imo rightly), is natural language and current scientific technical use.
In natural language English, people have not systematically distinguished between sex and gender at any point in modern English. There was an attempt, in the early 20th century (c. 1925), by Fowler to recommend such a distinction. There was an attempt, in the late 20th centruy (c. 1975), by a consensus of feminist writers to do the same. Neither has been accepted into the language, although there are certainly a minority of current writers who offer either Fowler or feminists as authorities on what we should say.
When precision is required, as in the current article, the technical scientific language is helpful. It should be noted that this language may change from time to time in the future, because a great deal has been discovered in the last 50 years, but there is a lot more that is unknown. If discoveries continue, terminology is quite likely to adapt to the new discoveries.
In brief, sexual dimorphism is the parent concept, it simply means the differences between males and females of any sexually reproducing species. The natural language equivalent is simply gender, an old French way of saying type, that English borrowed from French. Behaviour and physical structure are both included under these general terms.
Chromosomes, hormones, genitals, breasts and brains all show differences between males and females across species. The differences are small in some and large in others. Presumably this is what you would call sex. That is accepted usage in both natural language and in science.
The problem comes when we reach the brain and beyond. The brain is influenced by internal environment (biology) and also influences it. The brain also is influenced by external environment (including season, weather and altitude, but also by social factors, which include language and learning), however, the brain also influences the way we behave, including a range of socially significant features. These things are not limited to Homo sapiens, however, different species show both different levels of differences between the sexes in behaviour, and sometimes differences that are exactly opposite — male dominance in some mammals (chimpanzee), female dominance in others (elephant), little social contact in yet others (orangutan).
Currently, behaviour is considered scientifically under three main headings: gender identity, gender role (or sex role) and erotic preference. These terms are specially adapted for consideration of humans. In languages other than English the sex/gender issue is not always possible, and is not really necessary. Scientifically, there is not a clear end to biology. Biology and behaviour have a complicated and incompletely understood relationship within the brain. Cognitive scientists have had significant input in this area in recent years.
Gender roles do show certain differences across cultures, however several universal patterns (including distinguishing between the sexes) have been published. Such universals make it unlikely that sex role differentiation is entirely arbitrary (determined by each society independent of other influence). A lot of writers see division of labour arising from female preference for maternal investment. The theory that "gender" (more precisely gender roles) are "socially constructed" is still a theory, it is certainly not normative for language usage, and is probably false. The reality seems to be that societies adapt to their diverse circumstances, in part according to instinctive gender preferences. Evolutionary biologists have had significant input in this area in recent years.
There is more complete treatment of all of this at the gender article. I'd love to discuss this further with you. My suspicion is that people sometimes use sexual identity to mean erotic preference distinct from gender identity. Partly they may do so in order to sound more scientific and less monotonous about sexual preference. Of course, they are simply using sex (intercourse) in a different way to sex (gender), but in this context it adds to confusion.
The scientific practice of using erotic preference rather than sexual preference seems a helpful one. Thanks for your helpful question. Alastair Haines (talk) 06:55, 29 November 2007 (UTC)

I appreciate the effort to "clean" this entry up, but, frankly most of us have no idea what a "natural" language means to Wiki. In the philosophy of language, one has essentialism versus nominalism (I'm on the latter side, as are most philosophers).

On "social constructionism," I've recently updated and footnoted Searle's and Hacking's criticisms of this endeavor. Unlike Hacking, I find the theory useful, but we share Searle's analysis the clearest -- and for what it's worth -- stunning insofar as it has any meaning. Hacking has dismissed it as "excellent shock value," but the shock was over long ago. Only "social" disciplines use it, and recently, psychologists have taken it a creed.

As to fundamental matrices, I contend that "sex" is a "brute" fact, while "gender" is a social fact. That this distinction can be made at all is to Searle's credit. Most readers will not understand "ontological" and "epistemological" coupled with "objective" and "subjective," but even so, this demarcation by Searle is further evidence of his brilliance. Four words, and the whole enterprise comes into focus.

But Searle's larger context is simply the dichotomy of "brute" (natural) facts and "social" (institutional, constitutive) facts. (Searle's Rediscovery of Mind brings in the "excluded middle" insofar as metaphysics of mind is significant -- as it was to Sir Karl Popper.)

J. L. Austin (who was Searle's mentor at Oxford) asked the question, Must we mean what we say? Austin's work, despite its age and Searle's improvements, really is at the crux of this theoretical conflict. The answer is, Yes. Only by using ordinary language in precise ways can we be clear in what our language hopes to communicate.

I start with the basics: "sex" is from the Latin and medieval language "to divide," and has always meant two things: (i) the means of reproduction of certain sexual species with dimorphic differences, and (ii) the coitus between them. Male/Female and intercourse. "Gender," on the other hand, is a social fact in which masculinity and femininity are thought to overlay the two sexes. Here, Madison Avenue's Marlboro Man meets Estee Lauder's feminine mystique (with apologies to the ideologues) -- and for most of us, these bipolar "icons" represent male hegemony over female submission (or if gay, "butch" and "nelly" bipolar opposites). Whether "gender" has a biological underpinning -- of which I am agnostic -- is of immense interest. But as with all social facts, they are indeed dependent temporally, logically, and ontologically on "brute" facts, so the question remains unanswered.

In context of the "larger" LGBT/Queer umbrella, the socially constructed aspects have come to dominate theory -- such as Ed Stein, Larry Kramer, and other theorists. The remarkable "fact" is that Stein's erudite, well-documented, and decidedly ideological "Mismeasure" went out of print within a couple of years -- even with an OUP imprint. I suggest it did so because his own ideology -- and his refusal to incorporate in any way -- Searle's and Hacking's criticisms of the Theory into his own Queer "deviant" Matrix fell on deaf ears.

GLB -- and I deliberately table T -- are indebted to the Sixties' feminists. Without their appeals to equality as co-equal members of the species, no longer submissive to Judeo-Christian-Islamic essentialism, was key to Gay Liberation. Initially, the Movement was dedicated to a single cause: The repudiation of the Closet, concealment, and ignominy -- which had criminalized gays for eons. And feminists' insistence as a co-equal member of the human race was decidedly instrumental in that repudiation. But "feminists" of the extreme type -- Judith Bulter, for example -- made unpalatable and counter-intuitive claims that empirical realities could not countenance. With the advent of sociobiology -- esp. E. O. Wilson's 1975 and 1978 books -- the gender issue became clouded.

In many ways, the ideological "war" by feminists against male dominance vis-a-vis females was a simple assertion: Darwin's evolutionary theory, coupled with sexual dimorphism, should not be seen as establishing male dominance over women, but as two members of a species with different functions. For gays and lesbians, decriminalization was the objective.

But Feminists, especially those influenced by French intellectual thought, sought to conflate males and females as "identical" in all respects, despite the biological realities. That claim never met the logical, biological, or sociological contingencies we all see -- however we see the world politically. With the advent of AIDS and even more desperate measures needed to keep "above water," Queer Theorists embarked on a "resistance" mentality. It is at this juncture, with the ambiguity of Michel Foucault's work, his death from AIDS, and a Larry Kramer "silence = death," that many sought a "Queer/Deviant" rejection of all brute facts.

The "lie," to these theorists' claims, of course, is ubiquitous. But when "power," rather than "facts," dominate the discussion, equivocation ensues. Equivocation serves only as a force of antagonism -- not understanding, and with the antagonism, a bipolar warfare that bears no resemblance to any facts -- just ideology of contentiousness.

Dshsfca (talk) 04:00, 5 December 2007 (UTC)dshsfca

I can still remember being delighted to see Sense and Sensibilia by J Austin on my first year epistemology reading list. I found the idea that an author would even use his personal name to create a bibliographical pun a total hoot. Serendipitously for our topic here, the genderlessness of initial and surname is required to make this possible.
Thanks for your interesting, pleasant and erudite essay on gender scholarship in the late 20th century. It seems a fair appraisal of the nature of the debate, and one I have, by and large, come to myself also.
We certainly would have a number of minor points of disagreement in detail. But I think your conclusion is the main thing and one I fully endorse — politically motivated and manipulated terminology aimed at constraining thought rather than promoting enquiry is a dreadful thing, and it's alive and well in the world of gender discussions.
It has occurred to me, just as you point out, that feminism paved the way for radical reassessment of homosexuality. Early on, the two movements found much in common and could often share conceptual frameworks. Ultimately though, feminism finds itself in more difficulty with regard to biology and psychology than homosexuality does.
On the one hand, equality of opportunity will never lead to equality of outcome if substantial differences in social and occupational preferences, especially those related to reproduction are indeed consequent on subtleties of brain structure etc.
However, on the other hand, gay and lesbian ideals thrive on distinction between the sexes and are completely free of issues realted to division of labour based on reproduction. It is precisely because "he is a he like me" that the erotic attraction is stimulated, or vice versa in lesbianism. Issues of dominance and submission in homosexual contexts demonstrate that "equality" is not everyone's preference, even when such differentiation is not based on gender/sex.
So yes, although historically feminists and homosexuals constructed their ideologies along similar lines, queer theory is generally more amenable to scientific knowledge at this point than many feminist theories. Perhaps science will show that women who want to dominate men and men who want to be dominated by them are a statistical minority among heterosexuals, and they will end up being the beneficiaries of queer theory that has fought for the right of minority preferences to be free of legislative interference.
Although feminism probably has much wider support than homosexual liberation in legislation and in popular culture, this may not always be the case. But anyway, as regards this article, I think your point is a helpful one, conflating feminism, queer theory and postmodernism is not clear or accurate. There are strong logical and evidential arguments against postmodernism and feminism, but little but prejudice to stand against homosexual claims for recognition. But then again, I've not read much for or against homosexuality, it's not my main focus. Perhaps I should think more about its relevance. Thanks for getting me to ask new questions. :) Alastair Haines (talk) 14:04, 5 December 2007 (UTC)

I appreciate the feedback. As additional perspective, and as one immersed in the nascent evolution, certainly the Sixties in general, and feminism in particular, were essential in "questioning authority" as preconditions to gay liberation efforts. It is not a parochial fact that talk show host Phil Donohue did more for raising a national consciousness about gays than anyone else. Stonewall could not have happened without his rehearsing the subject -- not at all coincident to housewives and their kids after school. Every gay guy my age acknowledges Donohue's significance.

The generation itself, obviously, was an opportune moment to question psychological theories of homosexual pathologies and cures. The behavioralists were still practicing reparative therapy into the Seventies, and it was not the behavioralists who changed course on their own initiative, but biologists and philosophers demanding "proof" of their claims. Many "Queer Theorists" either are ignorant, or choose to ignore, this immensely important fact, many of whom have significant ties to Freudian metaphysics. For example, Albert Ellis, a psychologist and sexologist had claimed to "know" the causes and cures of homosexuality in his 1965 book. Thus, the APA convocation in Hawaii, 1973, capitulated to extracurricular demands for "proof," with the likes of Karl Popper, E. O. Wilson, and others providing the leverage. Reparative therapy persisted among many behavioralists into the Eighties.

The first stage of liberation was its decriminalization, a process not achieved fully until the 2003 SCOTUS decision. Up until 1978, the notion of a "gay community" had no sense (in Austin's terms) as gays and lesbians were still in an ad hoc mode. Having no formal antecedents, exploration, not arrival, was the motif. That all changed in 1978, when the Evangelical folks, sparked by Anita Bryant's fight to repeal Miami's sexual orientation discrimination bans. Her success motivated Orange County State Senator John Brigg's Initiative, Proposition 6, in California. (see Wiki's entry). Despite vigorous campaigning by Southern and Northern California gays and lesbians, funded with national contributions, the Proposition was predicted by California's Field Poll to win in a landslide eight days before the election -- predicted to carry even in San Francisco. If passed, gays and lesbians would be banned from teaching in California's public school; according to Senator Briggs, it was only the first of several efforts to put gays and lesbians in their place.

The day after the Field Poll, former governor Ronald Reagan announced his opposition to it, bucking many of his fellow Republicans. With the help of the state's newspapers heralding Reagan's opposition, the Proposition went down to defeat by one million votes a week later, losing even in Orange County. Sally Gephardt and Harvey Milk (the gay supervisor who would be assassinated in two weeks) could not bring themselves to give Reagan the credit. Milk was an outspoken Trotskyite, and the surprising victory party after the defeat was noticeably void of any reference to the force that gays alone could not stopped.

Social acceptance, political viability, and assimilation was increasing -- particularly in the metropolitan areas of San Francisco, New York City, Boston, Chicago, Miami, and of course, in most college based communities (we often forget the University of Wisconsin, Madison, was far ahead of other communities). Travels abroad reflected similar patterns. Then AIDS struck, the full impact of which was not until 1983. Managing the Hibernia Bank's Castro branch became a rather joyless experience, as gay men began dying en masse. By 1985, San Francisco's gay community (like other metropolitan areas) was being decimated. While the CDC and HIH, together with public health officials, dealt with the disease, a political ordeal was unfolding in Washington. Reagan's right flank had been calling for quarantine, citing Fidel Castro as being smarter than their own president. The Administration chose a two-pronged strategy: Reagan's total silence of the subject, while his Administration's officials would work behind the Silence in funding research, networking with information centers with less visibility.

I focus on this moment for several reasons. If one was gay and afflicted, this strategy (assuming one knew it as a strategy) seemed rather impotent. But, if one went outside gay metropolitan areas, Reagan's strategy diffused his right flank by refusing to talk about it. But to many in the gay community, and especially to Larry Kramer, myopia became legion. Since an AIDS diagnosis was a death sentence, Kramer and ACT-UP had absolutely nothing to lose by being "activists." On one hand, many in the gay community understood the frustration, but very few approved of the methods. But Kramer's influence, while marginal in terms of ACT-UP, fostered equally radical ideas among those nascent gay men and lesbians in academia. Not yet embedded in the actual world, the two combined to create the Queer Theory and Activism. Queer Studies rediscovered the writings of Foucault (who is a rather unique thinker) from his death in 1984 from AIDS, the "resistance" ideologies fermenting under the various French and German counter-culture thinkers, and viola, the second wave of feminism, and viola, PostModernism, Foucault, and Queer Studies became fused.

It's important to note that Foucault's writings were not PostModernist in the slightest, but his crusade against the Big Three, Political, Medical, and Criminal persecution of minorities from the Sixties, found fertile reception. As far as I and other scholars know, Foucault was committed to the Age of the Enlightenment. But, he borrowed many social constructionism themes in his historical appraisal of persecution and criminalization of "deviants," which include all non-normative behavior, not just homosexuality. Foucault's own deviance into extreme paraphilias was largely unknown, but his appeal to the "marginalized" has been immensely appealing -- even to those in main. One is less charitable with the PostModernist Lacan, Derrida, and Lyotard. The "last stand" for Marx, Freud, and Relativism is, of course, the PostModernist objective.

The influence of PostModernism and Social Constructionism (strong version) remains immense in certain fields of interest, especially sociology, political theory, literature, and Queer Studies. I often cite Ed Stein's book, Mismeasure, as the consummation of the effort. It is extremely well-organized and very well argued from several perspectives. But the remarkable fact about this fine work is not what is included, but what is excluded. Stein claims an analytic philosophical background, and yet neither Searle nor Hacking's criticisms are to be found in Stein's work. That is remarkable for many reasons, not the least of which is Oxford University's imprint, Hacking and Searle are eminently regarded philosophers, and analytic methodology that "ignores" substantive criticism from within a professional program may only be noted by "professionals," but once it is, the suppression of criticism becomes a cause for criticism.

I also use Mismeasure for a salient departure point. The book was published in 2003, and yet it lacks many insights from several recent studies, including the adoption of Foucault's starting point: Gays are deviants. This claim will strike readers differently, but deviance in what sense? Biologically? Absolutely not. Socially? Yes and no. Do gays self-referentially regard themselves as "deviant?" Actually, subsequent to Queer Theory, many find the alignment fits their temperament -- rebels with a cause. Conversely, many find their same-sex attraction quite "normal," and not a celebration of deviance. If one is a nominalist, then any "name" given to a class or object is just a "name." But connotations still ring true, and the words "queer" and "faggot" were once equivalent to "nigger" as a pejorative. So, a division of temparament continues among GLBT. Those who self-referentially see themselves as "deviant" in some ontological sense boast of it, and even develop Queer Nation communes to be openly deviant.

But, those who do not regard their congenital state of sexual orientation as "deviant" have reasons to resist the "queer" connotations. It has been suggested that Queer Theory, recognizing implicitly that homophilia or same-sex attraction is biologically "normal," and increasingly acceptable, is but a standard variant from the statistical mean, not deviant in the sense that many Queer Theorists hope to obscure. Homosexuality was once socially-mis-constructed as a "deviance," which we now know to be untrue. But similarly-regarded behaviors, especially paraphilias, also have a socially constructed connotation of psychosexual disorder. If the hegemons were wrong about "gay," they're no more wrong about "paraphilia." This conflationary scheme, of course, creates problems to many in the gay community. Back in the 1970s, NAMBLA (North American Man-Boy Love Ass'n) wanted to participate in the Gay Freedom Parade, and were declined by the parade sponsors.

Here's where the dilemma becomes significant, and converges in many ways: Ronald Reagan could argue in 1978 that discrimination against gays and lesbians from teaching in California's school was irrational for the liberal state to legislate, but what if GLBT had approved NAMBLA's request, and therefore, explicitly included pedophiles? Could Reagan have counseled voters against Proposition 6, knowing that, had GLBT acted differently and included pedophiles, that pedophiles would be among GLBT teachers? While I speculate over this hypothesis, I doubt we have any doubt his -- or any politician's -- likely choice. This dilemma came again into focus with the recent expansion efforts to include "gender identity" along with "sexual orientation" in the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). Choosing lines in the sand is arbitrary, Queer Theorists insist, so all sexual minorities are in the "same boat." Some boats that full are too top heavy and sink. Choosing allies, co-interests, and associates carries a stigma of "association." Today, that stigma is being fought within the gay/queer community? Are gays' and lesbians' civil rights "tied" to transsexual and transgender and to all paraphiliacs, including pedophiles?

It is patently offensive to transpeople to suggest any equivalence between the condition of being transgender, and paraphilias (regardless of whether "paraphilia" is actually a coherent concept). I'm sure you'll deny having done so, but the implication was clear. This is not the only place where your pontification verges on transphobia.
For example (quoted from below):
'Supposedly, these two "identity" issues seem to guarantee employers ban on discrimination on cross-dressing. Yet, ENDA-with-T specifies an employers' right to require suitable attire in the workplace. So "what" is at stake in this issue eludes me. Some gay men have claimed that it protects their "effeminancy" from discrimination (and lesbians reciprocally "masculinity"). Well, if "appearance" guidelines are retained by the employer, is it discrimination against "affectations" one wants barred? If so, say "affectations." (Must we mean what we say? -- Austin: Yes)'
What would a transgender-inclusive ENDA achieve? Simply basic employment rights -- that is, giving transgender people the same rights as anyone else not be fired or denied promotion, for instance, on the basis of gender discrimination. Gender expression is very far from an "affectation", and to call it that merely demonstrates your ignorance on the subject.

The Gay/Queer Divide is still undecided. Unless and until those who insist "gender identity" give us their sense of their meaning, some of us are reluctant to incorporate every sexual minority as equally on par with every other. What one does in the privacy of their private lives, and how one appears in public in the workplace, home, and public accommodation, are different -- a difference Queer Theorists insist is merely socially constructed.

Ah yes, the "so long as you do it in the privacy of your own home" compromise. Bollocks to that; it's not even close to enough. --David-Sarah Hopwood (talk) 23:27, 9 April 2009 (UTC)

In summation, I would expect the revision of this subject incorporate many of these considerations. As is often the case with political schemes, ambiguity works to their advantage. In this case, clarity work to our body of common knowledge. The latter, not the former, seems to me, at least, the objective of Wiki. And thanks for your comments and regards. Dshsfca (talk) 22:46, 5 December 2007 (UTC)dshsfca

Absolutely fascinating. You provide me with a lot more here, than I could deduce from a week or weeks of intensive research. I believe you. You're also very clear about where the literature can be found, and where it cannot, and why! ;)
It is interesting that you raise the pedophilia issue. Of course the main difference with pedophilia is the difficulty with establishing an objective measure that could reasonably used to ascertain consent on behalf of the younger party. I understand a meta-analytical study on this was published, then withdrawn by the APA, bowing to political and media pressure.
Personally, I'm sure pedophilia is wrong (and sickening), but legally, statutory rape is now pedophilia, which stretches the definition somewhat, imo. What of the precocious 15 yo and the 27 yo partner? That has not been considered "sick" historically, in fact it would describe thousands, tens or even hundreds of thousands of marriages. Puberty was the ancient boundary on the issue. Theories of "power relationships", not hard facts of biology, are behind current legislation.
I wonder if there is a sociological "law of conservation of persecution of minorities". Release blacks, Jews, gays and women from persecution, and replace them with unemployed, Muslims, drug-takers, smokers, traitors, pedophiles and alpha males. Allow anonymous reporting without other evidence, empower arrest on suspicion and detention without trial. The majority feel an increase in status when there are identifiable others with lower status.
I have read and pondered some Wiki articles that discuss pederasty, which was most certainly commonplace in Greece, and well known in Rome. But probably limited to the priveleged classes. Maybe there is an association — more wealthy societies, with the wealth more evenly distributed may give scope to social practices that were previously a mark of the elite classes...
But, as interesting as all this is, and as relevant as "gender identity" is to the discussion, I'm not sure the converse is true. Some of what we are saying does not bear directly on GI.
Well, well, well, ... sex, religion and politics ... far too fascinating for polite conversation! ;) But note, Wiki has given me quick access to some controversial subjects, that I'd never trouble to research for myself. Please contribute the sourced content of your wide and insightful knowledge. You, clearly, can present certain subjects with both the sympathy needed for objective expression, and with the logical clarity needed to make it comprehensible — just what is needed for encyclopedic treatment. You seem to know how futile "soapboxing" is too.
I really hope you'll share more with us — in article space! Drop me a note at my user page if no one else gives you feedback. I'll watch with interest any refinement you make at this page, though I suspect its others you could flesh out even more. You have already created some articles? Alastair Haines (talk) 06:54, 6 December 2007 (UTC)

Thanks again for your feedback. Since I've been there, done that, I can share many of the most common experiences -- even if it may be by acquaintance rather than directly.

The purpose of these narratives is to contextualize the debates in Queer Theory in general, and sexual/gender identity in particular. As far as I am concerned, "sex" and "gender" pick out "brute" and "social" facts, respectively. What I cannot ascertain from others is their meaning of "sexual identity" and "gender identity." As far as I can tell, these issues are largely pertinent to transsexuals and transgender, not to gays and lesbians. Insofar as gender is an issue, that axis of some continuum of masculine-feminine is relative to some social archetype. Effeminate men are both straight and gay, masculine women the same. But add "identity" to these two words, sexual and gender, does not make it meaningful in any way I can determine.

Supposedly, these two "identity" issues seem to guarantee employers ban on discrimination on cross-dressing. Yet, ENDA-with-T specifies an employers' right to require suitable attire in the workplace. So "what" is at stake in this issue eludes me. Some gay men have claimed that it protects their "effeminancy" from discrimination (and lesbians reciprocally "masculinity"). Well, if "appearance" guidelines are retained by the employer, is it discrimination against "affectations" one wants barred? If so, say "affectations." (Must we mean what we say? -- Austin: Yes)

Paraphilia is again another class of "psychiatric" terms used to demarcate psychosexual disorders, which is all inclusive (Wiki has a list). Under the DSM-IV model, two lesbians using a device would constitute a paraphilia? My sense of the disorder is that individuals divert their sexual interest in a "person" to an "object" that substitutes for a person. Yet, fisting is listed as a paraphilia, and it involves two people with a fist as a sexual object (strange, but true). As many in the psychiatric field have lamented, the ad hoc nature of the enterprise is rather lame. (see, McGuire & Troisi, Darwinian Psychiatry, New York: Oxford University, 1998, esp. Chap. 1 -4).

Pedophilia and ephebophilia are not synonymous -- and which many political and psychiatric leaders conflate. Clearly, adult-child sexual interplay (pedophilia) is inappropriate and immoral. How dare anyone make the same claim of post-pubescent teens? Their reproductive gear and hormones should expose that lie -- not to mention teen pregnancies. For A Lost Soldier (Voor een verloren soldaat, 1992), a Dutch film that explores ephebophilia is a case in point. Maarten Smit plays the prepubescent Jeroen Boman smitten by Andrew Kelley who plays the conscripted-teen Canadian soldier during WWII. This particular film illustrates the difference. I'm not advocating it, but merely distinguishing it. The eromenos and pais (Greek Man-Teen), Romeo and Juliet, etc, etc.

Which thus introduces the "mental health disciplines" again. They are the ones who make up these multiple choice diagnoses from descriptive metaphysics to fit anyone of several conceptual models (e.g., biomedical, sociocultural, psychoanalytic, chaotic, behavioral, etc.). This "conceptual pluralism" is at once psychiatry's strength and its weaknesses. As McGuire and Troisi (among many others) remind their colleagues, they're currently practicing the equivalence of astrology -- with astrology at least having a single testable hypothesis, which psychiatry has not. Similarly, are therapeutic interventions justified by an ad hoc procedure of great indeterminacy? Are patient/test candidates' self-reports a valid measure?

Yet, the very field that stigmatized homosexuality as a "disorder" and "pathology" with "cures" is now the same field that many GLBT use to adjust to sexual orientation. But how? With what? Talking about it? Psychotropics? How did a whole generation of GLBT succeed -- already frightened of the discipline's reparative therapies -- without it? (Gay physicians in the Seventies did everything but refer their patients to the discipline.) The results, thus far, among a younger generation are less than glowing. But it does give new meaning to dependency. Perhaps the APA will vote on paraphilias, and by consensus (again) change the diagnosis, cures, etc? This is not an anti-psychiatriac expression, but rather illustrates legitimate concerns by many of a "profession" without a single testable theory. Should paraphilias be designated "psychosexual disorders?" My own view is that paraphilia is context-dependent, in most cases, (e.g., pedophilia - disorder, dildos among women - not). I also share McGuire's and Troisi's framework as the only empirically valid approach to their discipline.

The reason psychiatry emerges throughout is that it accepts many of Queer Theory's categories (or is it vice versa?). Yet, NYU Professor of Psychiatry Laurence Trancredi's writes (Hardwired Behavior, 2007) that he finally accepts that nature works through nurture (finally?), but many mental disorders are caused entirely by biology (seriously!). How does he determine this? PET a fMRI scans that show physiological changes in the brain. Yet, which caused which, Doctor? Did too many twinkies really cause Dan White to assassinate two politicians? And in the non-medical field of psychology, strong social constructionism is emerging as the dominant paradigm to explain and modify behavior? And when two or more "therapists" disagree, to whom, or by what, do they arbitrate?

Therefore, it seems to me that those who insist "gender identity" is distinct from "gender" need to explain how/why it is, what they mean by it (I have no conceptual idea whatsoever), and ultimately, why it is the distinction significant? Those requirements I cannot provide, but once someone does, then we can critically examine the claims for the claim they make. Conversely, a concept like "gender roles" makes common sense only in the social context in which it arises (unless "sexual positions" are meant, in which case we have another subject altogether).

Finally, if you're not already familiar with my friend Wayne Dynes' and William Percy's Encyclopedia of Homosexuality (online at Wiki:, I've found it the most reliable examination of various subjects. I asked Wayne why none of the "affection" terms like eros, love, romantic love, friendship, were included, and his answer was that I could write them for him. But in terms of other subjects, I defer to his comprehensive knowledge. (Wayne is professor at NYC's Hunter College). It really is immensely comprehensive.

Dshsfca (talk) 19:33, 6 December 2007 (UTC)dshsfca

One further observation, which you raised, and I believe is immensely important. The choice of words, such as "homosexual" (an oxymoron), "heterosexual" (pleonasm), etc., are very poor choice of words, coined in the 19th century by, guess who? Guess who replaced it with "men who have sex with men (MSM)?" But men cannot have sex with men! :-) For discplines with a huge armamentarium of words, it sure comes up with the wrong ones many times.

In my writing I prefer "homophile" and "homophilia" (literally, affection for the same) in reference to both gays and lesbians and "homoeroticism" and "homoerotic" (literally, sexual desire for the same) in reference to erotic activities gays and lesbians sexually and intimately enjoy. since we do not have "sex." In very true sense, the overuse of "sex" to mean virtually nothing clouds an immensely important distinction by burying it in a deep linguistic confusion that even the biblical authors did not commit. (N.B. They refer to homophiles and homoeroticism as "unnatural lusts." Some translations misappropriate "sodomite" for one who engages in anal intercourse, but Sodom has no relevance to "that" issue.) Within the gay community, "top" and "bottom" have become common designations, although better terms than previous efforts (e.g., active, passive), but not without some incorrect connotations (e.g., the bottom on top). When I ask gay guys what they mean by "gender" in ordinary discussions, without exception it is the masculine-feminine axis. Inquire about "gender identity," and they're blank.

One still hears straights ask gay couples, "Which one is the man?" After perplexity or bouts of laughter, the answer is still the same: "both." This, of course, raises language problems. The male/female names specify the biologically dimorphic sexes. What does "man" and "woman" specify? Is that a "gender" designation, or a biologically "brute" fact? Of course, masculine-feminine are distinctly gender terms.

My unabridged dictionary gives numerous "definitions" for "man," including the "adult male," "the entire species Homo sapiens," "the features associated with males," "a subordinate member of a group," etc. Imagine if "MSM" translated as "men who have sex with men" could mean by substituting the references.

On a personal note, my first acquaintance with J. L. Austin (why Brits avert using given names has always been a strange affectation) was also Sense and Sensibilia, but his greatest work How To Do Things With Words is supplemented by his Collected Papers (Harvard, UOP, respectively). His protege, John Searle, who wrote the decisive Speech Acts (1969), has been of enormous influence in my own thinking. Conversely, Paul Feyerabend, another Cal professor, and Karl Popper's apostate protege, led me back to Popper. I find it rather comical that social constructionists, particularly the universalists, are the ones most often "abusive" of language (another Austin phrase).

Dshsfca (talk) 20:14, 6 December 2007 (UTC)dshsfca

Very interesting. Homophilia sounds rather like the androphilia and gynophilia I find in the literature. Indeed you may not be alone, homophilia is the natural way of speaking collectively of androphilic men and gynophilic women.
The topic of erotic preference is somtimes known as sexual identity, where the usage of sex is distinct from the biological term for gender, i.e. physical typing. Sexuality is not a description of one's sex, but of one's erotic inclination, from which, of course, behaviours of various kinds may follow.
I like your way of thinking about the word homosexual, but I think you are equivocating on the word sex. If you think sex should be restricted to biological dimorphism only, then homosexual is perfectly apt — homosexual sex actually juxtaposes both senses of sex. Homosexual sex is erotic activity between pairs (or more) from only one biological type.
Having said that, there's something helpful about the term homophilia, as it refers specifically to inclination rather than activity. If one is to argue for decriminalisation of the activity, a natural analysis might consider separately a putative inclination and the behaviour forms themselves. That homosexual was the only substantive available for a long time is indirect evidence that detailed consideration was not being articulated. In fact, it is consistant with the perception of homosexuality as an abberration, homophilia, like andro/gynophilia, hypothesize an ontology for erotic preference, rather than presuming heterosexuality to be fundamentally structured in the psyche.
I'll try to respond to some of your other comments as soon as possible. Cheers. Alastair Haines (talk) 03:56, 7 December 2007 (UTC)
PS in Greek, since nouns were classified as masc, fem, neut in the BCs, thelukos is female sex, and nouns, like women, can have this female "sex". However women, unlike nouns, can also be "feminine", and the word is gunaikos. In Greek, nouns have "sex", not "gender". In English, it works the opposite way. In German, there is no distinction at all, Geschlecht means sex or gender and is applicable to people or nouns.
Essentially both sex and gender are used in English to make distinctions. Terminology varies across languages. Underlying it all, however, is synechdoche. Words are often used in ways that presume common associations. Hence the question, "who is the man" in a homosexual couple. But note also, this is not typically asked of lesbians. The sexual mechanics of male-female interaction often serve as a metaphor for their social interactions. There is considerable feminist treatment of this topic. Alastair Haines (talk) 04:15, 7 December 2007 (UTC)

Two minor observations. As a nominalist, the naming of classes (objects/ideas) is obviously ad hoc, and I need to correct my sloppy claim that "homosexual" was coined by psychologists; a German homophile coined the term, and by virtue of his Jewish roots, it came to the attention of nascent therapeutic psyhologists in Europe, Freud in particular. But then a distinction between "homo" and "sexual" seemed off balance, so they prefixed "hetero" nine years later. One doubts, however, that the term's currency would have taken hold if these connections were not in play. In contrast, for example, Brits tended to use all sorts of terms, particularly the "third sex."

Not unlike the appearance of "gay" and "queer" in the Fifties, I prefer non-pejorative terms, and if one is going to create neologisms, why use pleonastic or oxymoron roots? "Sex" as a noun, and "sexual" as and adjective, serve different functions. I can be "sexual" without engaging in the biological act of coitus. Ergo, sexual orientation, while less ideal than erotic orientation, is not as abusive to their word roots: "sex" derives from Latin "to divide" in the sense of male/female division as a means of reproduction distinct from "asexual" reproduction. Reproduction, clearly, is not possible among homophiles, yet homophiles have a sexual desire (eros) that is expressed with the same, not "divided" by sex. I prefer your term erotic orientation, which you set at the outset, but the difference to sexual (adj) orientation is radically distinct from "sex" in its primitive root uses as (1) male/female, (2) coitus. Which is rather remarkable in that many teens today do not regard fellatio as "sex," and they're technically right. It is, however, sexual. Dshsfca (talk) 19:21, 7 December 2007 (UTC)dshsfca

You appropriately raise a distinction between orientation and action, such as homophilia and homoeroticism distinguish. It is useful for a number of reasons to make this distinction, principally legally and intellectually. One's desires and one's acts are not necessarily coeval, nor necessarily conjoined in any way. Many homophiles never act on their desire.

But this bifurcation, while entirely appropriate, also allows others, such as Archbishop John Quinn (1975) and subsequently the Roman Catholic Church's prelates (1986), to claim homophilia is an exculpated "intrinsic disorder," but homoerotic activity is gravely sinful, following the Church's Natural Law Theory in which the telos (final end) of the sex organs is for procreation only (what about waste?). Thus, the Church claims the disposition/orientation is merely "disordered," but any act is still gravely sinful (without any specificity).

This is not the place to analyze specious theological claims, nor Thomistic conflation of Aristotle's natural teleology and instrumental action as one and the same. But, the distinction does serve to highlight just how fraught an "intrinsic disorder" (authored, presumptively by the creator) makes divine benevolence. For those claiming "intelligent design," clearly the designer in Catholicism deliberately disordered humans for its ineluctable and ineffable reasons.

But as biological organisms, we come equipped with our nature acting through nurture, and certainly one of the dominate biological theories vis-a-vis same-sex attraction continues to be an enigma -- not only in humans, but 450+ other species. While biologists have yet to explain why homophilia was "selected for," no clear reason has yet been found. But clearly a statistically-stable congenital phenomenon affecting approx. 3% of human population is a wrinkle all Darwinists hope to explain. Insofar as homophilia has been socially acceptable may have any number of coherent explanations, not the least birth-control, mentoring, male-bonding, etc.

Since humans alone are purposive agents in the sense of deliberative abilities, in theory only humans can act against their congenital constitution -- and have! That leaves only one question: What reasons could possibly exist to demand (legally, politically) that agents act against their constitution and not act on their orientation? From a moral point of view, homophilia brings no harm to its participants nor to the larger society; ergo, no moral basis exists for a hypothetical demand. Ethically, again no harm is involved, and the "mean" of ethical evaluation is always context-bound and subjectively determined, which again lacks any ethical reason to demand abstinence. That leaves religion, and the three Abrahamic religions are the only three to make this demand, on the basis of divine revelation. It would seem to follow that those of these religious persuasions, and only they, are subject to these commands, assuming any consistency in "following a rule."

A final observation, raised intelligently by philosophers, which is known as the "disgust factor." Disgust is a biological emotion to avoid contamination, which is presumed to be hardwired in the mind to avoid any harm to the individual and the species. Since it is true that certain bacteria (e.g., E. coli) outside the intestinal tract are potentially pathogenic, it is argued that hygiene demands abstinence. Perhaps, from a primitive understanding of such things, but not a modern one. The "disgust factor" may help explain the aetiology and subsequent pervasiveness of distaste for homophilia and homophiles, -- far more pronounced against males than females -- but, if so, numerous societies in antiquity never considered it, and hygiene today removes those considerations. (N.B. Anal intercourse, of course, is also practiced among heterosexuals, as well as by homophiles. But no one should presume all homophiles are homoerotic in this particular act.) Dshsfca (talk) 23:18, 19 December 2007 (UTC)dshsfca

cross dressing/androgynous appearance[edit]

Eddie Izzard is listed on a list here...

"People say I wear women's clothing, I don't, I wear my own clothing"

I wouldn't even say Eddie Izzard's cross-dressing is "androgynous", I mean, he's just wearing clothing traditionally designed for women, it's not even a gender identity thing, it's just clothing.

Yes, he cross-dresses, but it has nothing to do with "core gender identity".

PyroGamer (talk) 03:08, 8 December 2008 (UTC)

Exactly, he's a transvestite, but not transgender or transsexual (and not even a drag queen). Kaldari (talk) 16:01, 8 December 2008 (UTC)
As has been discussed at talk:Eddie Izzard numerous times, cross-dresser or transvestite is a subset of transgender. There are deprecated meanings of transgender that didn't include cross-dressers, but the current prevailing meaning is as an overarching term encompassing all gender variant people. Oh, amd Eddie Izzard has been quoted as describing himself as transgender. There is a reference to that in his article. --AliceJMarkham (talk) 11:16, 11 December 2008 (UTC)


There are many academic criticisms of so-called gender theory and this article should allow room for it, at least if correct sources are found. (talk) 22:59, 30 December 2008 (UTC)

Indeed, if you happen to know of reliable, well-established credible science that refutes so-called gender theory, go ahead and add it! (talk) 13:25, 22 September 2011 (UTC)
How can you refute a fart? You can only point out that it is a fart, and hope that common sense prevails. (talk) 15:22, 31 August 2014 (UTC)
Sex and gender distinction has a criticism section. We could link there. (talk) 12:42, 1 September 2014 (UTC)

Hormonal influence and contraception[edit]

The article mentions the fact that hormones are thought to have an influence on gender identity. However, it should maybe look into various claims alleging that contraception, especially oral contraception, influences gender identity for both the mother and the child, eventually affecting male identity since the 1970s and 1980s. ADM (talk) 20:28, 27 January 2009 (UTC)

It's thought that gender identity cannot be changed simply by adding hormones to the equation (in case of mother taking oral contraceptives). Normally, a mother would stop taking oral contraceptives if she wants to get pregnant of finds out that she is pregnant. Second note is that not all oral contraceptives contain estrogens (mostly progestagen). In animal experiments (mostly rodents) it is clear that adding estrogens can lead to decreased so-called mounting behaviour in males, which suggests that a relative form of behaviour tends to be female-like. Of course, the question remains: can we translate this to human behaviour. I will look into this (specifically the small window of sensitivity to estrogen vs gender identity). Chbse 07:52, 28 January 2009 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Chbse (talkcontribs)
Pregnant women do not take oral contraceptives as it is redundant, i.e. the way that oral contraceptives work is that they mimic being pregnant (you can't get pregnant while you're pregnant). And since the effect of sex hormones is quite short lived, I don't see how there could be any effect on the baby from prior use of oral contraceptives. Who is making these dubious claims? Sounds like some reactionary religious FUD. Kaldari (talk) 00:05, 27 February 2011 (UTC)

Deletion of large amounts of content[edit]

Leadwind has deleted a large amount of content from the article, most of it marked uncited since October. Perhaps this should be discussed to see if any of it merits restoration. Kaldari (talk) 23:57, 26 February 2011 (UTC)

Anyone? We're talking about 6 paragraphs of content. Kaldari (talk) 06:13, 5 March 2011 (UTC)
I'm sorry, but material needs to be sourced, especially if someone tags it. Feel free to restore any material for which you can find a reliable source. Leadwind (talk) 16:55, 5 March 2011 (UTC)
No need to apologize. I'm just surprised no one cares. Kaldari (talk) 18:26, 5 March 2011 (UTC)

While I want to be clear that I'm all for LGBT rights and respect, and I agree that WP is a good place to share positive information, I have to agree with whoever put the "needs verification" tag on the page. A lot of this material sounds right but just doesn't have any RSs to back it up. Leadwind (talk) 16:05, 11 March 2011 (UTC)

Edit, restored previously deleted information in gender identity below the surface due to misreading.


I have removed the section on neurobiology as it was not really related to the topic of gender identity. The very definition of gender is opposed to the definition of sex in that the latter is biological (at least to some extent) and the first is socially constructed. The concept of gender identity is specifically not linked to neurobiology because it refers to the way in which individuals use gender categories as the basis of forming a social identity. I suggest that the material I removed is inserted into our article on Sex differences in humans.·Maunus·ƛ· 15:51, 6 March 2011 (UTC)

Fancy meeting you here, Maunus! Tell me, was David Reimer's gender identity entirely socially constructed? Or might it have had at least some biological component? Who says that "the way in which individuals use gender categories as the basis of forming a social identity"..."is specifically not linked to neurobiology"? John Money did, but who else? Leadwind (talk) 04:49, 7 March 2011 (UTC)
Leadwind, I will quote Walther Sobchek here: "you are out of your element". You've reads some misguided crap about John Money and David Reimer which is somehow preventing you from understanding both the difference between sex and gender and what evolutionary psychology is an isn't. Also you apparently haven't really read the changes I made to the lead - I do not say that biology does not influence gender identification - I am saying that nobody knows if it does and how. About gender identity: The word "gender" is defined to mean only the socially constructed part of the male/female divide. The biological part of that divide is referred to as "sex". Gender identity by definition cannot be biologically determined because it is the culture that one lives in that determines which gender categories are available and how they are constructed (for example you cannot be biologically determined to be a hijra if your society does not have such a category)- but the choice of identification with a particular gender category within a society is definitely influenced by sex and by biological variables. Start by reading your faourite encyclopedia (the britannica)'s entry on gender identity and you may become a little less confused about what gender and identity is and isn't. And yes David Reimer's gender identity was every bit as socially constructed as everyone elses - perhaps even a bit more seeing that his identity was basically the result of a combination unfortunate social circumstances. Now did his biological predispositions play a role in the fact that he changed the assigned identification when he was old enough to do so? Yes it very likely did. I also personally believe that there is probably biological causes behind the fact that many people feel uncomfortable with the particular gender that they are socialized into. This does not make gender identities less socially constructed. Identity is social by necessity. It makes no sense to have an identity that is not socially constructed. The only way to get an identity is to construct it in relation to other human beings - that is socially. A person who has never socialized with humans, may have a personality, but not an identity. You really need to try harder to understand the stuff you disagree with. And you definitely need to social sciences and what goes on in those field a lot better in order to be able to make meaningful contributions to this topic.·Maunus·ƛ· 14:05, 7 March 2011 (UTC)
So now you're saying that the way in which individuals use gender categories as the basis of forming a social identity is in fact linked to neurobiology, but you just don't want to mention it on this page? Leadwind (talk) 14:35, 7 March 2011 (UTC)
I can always trust you to twist and misrepresent any argument with which you are presented. Your neurobiology data is a primary source, it is not linked specifically to gender dysphoria and it does gives several kilos of undue weight to a viewpoint a coupple of studies that have not gained any wide currency. Furthermore its poorly written (uses neurological jargon that I don't even think you understand yourself - and the lay reader much less) and it isn't even explicit about what the significance to the topic of gender identity is. The reason that the page cannot go into detail about the ways in which gender identity may or may not be related to neurobiology is that it that research represents a minuscule part of the reserach on gender identity which, I regret to inform you, is almost exlcusively conducted within the framework of what you probably think of as the "standard social science model" (which is of course why they call it "standard").·Maunus·ƛ· 14:47, 7 March 2011 (UTC)
Thanks for moving the material. I wasn't sure where to put it. You mentioned Britannica earlier. I'm happy to incorporate whatever Britannica says into the page even if it doesn't match my own views. I'd rather a page have cited information that I don't agree with than uncited information that I do agree with. That's WP policy. Would you care to add citations from Britannica, or should I? Leadwind (talk) 15:58, 9 March 2011 (UTC)
I wonder how much of the conflict in this section was caused by the way gender identity is often meant in the same as sexual identity in relation to the person's self-concept of sex.
Anyway, the section in question seems at least slightly redundant, and makes no use of the article below which is well-sourced (though perhaps Maunus would disagree with the weight the article puts on the 2 major subjects):
Causes of transsexualism
--Cornince (talk) 22:49, 18 March 2011 (UTC)
I honestly am not even going to look at that article.·Maunus·ƛ· 22:59, 18 March 2011 (UTC)
I'm sorry, is this supposed to be a statement that you disapprove of the article? Please clarify. I think its subject matter is relevant to the section that was discussed here, "Neurobiology." If you think there may be problems with the article, I ask that you state your objections. --Cornince (talk) 23:14, 18 March 2011 (UTC)
I don't dissaprove of the article, but the research into causes of sexual orientation is not something that I am interested in knowing about, anymore than research into the causes of red hair. If some of the material there is relevant to the article on gender identity, i.e. if it explicitly relates to gender identity please feel free to include it.·Maunus·ƛ· 01:15, 19 March 2011 (UTC)

IP's comment moved down, out of older comments, to avoid confusion concerning the comments that followed it (not everyone checks, or always thinks to look at, the timestamps). The IP's comment is addressed to Maunus. I will alert Maunus to the comment. Flyer22 (talk) 16:36, 1 April 2013 (UTC)

I realize this debate is over a year old. But if I understand the semantics of your argument correctly, you are stating that there is the physical and biological phenomenon known as "sex", which we understand to be related to two typical chromosomal categories and two named categories, intersexed and neuter, to complete the power set, and that there are socially constructed roles, which you are calling "gender" and "gender identities", which are culturally dependent and typically model the biological phenomenon. If I understand that much, it seems like you've still neatly avoided directly addressing Leadwind's point. Which is, that there is a phenomenon which you've both agreed existed in the case of David Reimer, which caused him to reject his socially constructed role, and which was based in part on a phenomenon that can't be labelled within the namespace you've created at all. Herein lies the problem. We understand biologically that sex chromosomes control hormonal regulation. We also know that things such as testicles, which David lacked, are necessary to produce many androus hormones. Therefore, we know that our current model of sex, especially with regard to hormones, had a limited potential effect on whatever it is about David that caused him not to take to his socially constructed role. Working the other direction, we know that his socially constructed role did not cause David to produce enough estrogen or otherwise change his biology enough to be consistent with it. In other words, there is some sort of thing, which we can't call either "sex" or "gender" (or even "gender identity"), which is neither a construct of sex as we understand and model it scientifically, or socially constructed gender roles (or "gender identities" as you've called them) as we understand them. What this means is that the above paragraph is, respectfully, a transparent dodge. You have attempted to refute an argument by obfuscating it with language that simply does not have a symbol set describing the concept you find abhorrent. Or, to put this another way, you and Humpty Dumpty can define terms to coincide with your argument until the cows come home. But whether you call it a Jabberwocky or a Dragon, it doesn't change the beast itself. Now it's true that you can't "be a girl" without some concept of "girl", and I agree with you wholeheartedly that that concept is indeed at least partially socially constructed. It's also partly biologically constructed. The point I believe you are avoiding addressing, is that whatever "girl" is, it is persistent. It has been assailed by both biology and society, and survived, enough times and in enough studies to be a statistically significant and scientifically reproduceable very real thing. It is not, in other words, a pure social construction, any more than "frog" and "tadpole" are constructed by the people that chose those labels. My motivation in posting this a year later is not merely to be as snide as yourself, although I am not going to be shy about the fact that it has been a pleasure indulging myself. I would simply like to see topics such as neurobiology and our current scientific understanding of its relation to gender, addressed with candor and the spirit of encyclopedists, in this article. Whether you agree with it or not should be the last thing on your mind as a wikipedia editor. It exists, it relates to the article, it should be documented, and some time in the future at some university, some student is going to hate your guts for making him or her (or whatever gender labels exist by then)... for forcing them to concoct original research because you have decided that the well funded and peer reviewed literature of today simply did not belong in your little revisionist history. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2002:AD16:23AB:0:8A9F:FAFF:FE47:1850 (talk) 12:49, 1 April 2013 (UTC)

Buddy try not to be so verbose. You can convey a message better with a few pithy sentences than a furious canto. -Onlooker — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:50, 19 October 2013 (UTC)
Note: Maunus's response to being alerted to the new comment. Flyer22 (talk) 18:08, 1 April 2013 (UTC)

Please clarify[edit]

(Undid revision 516830490 by Georgia guy (talk) - reverting good faith edit - that's the way the research finding is phrased; also, it is a mistake to categorize trans women as simply "female")

Does this mean trans women are a "third gender" as opposed to being a kind of woman?? Georgia guy (talk) 14:07, 12 October 2012 (UTC)

No, although there are some reasonable arguments that given the neurobiology underlying some types of transsexual women, they comprise a "third gender", as opposed to simply being males with feminized brains? For example, see Savic & Arver - "Sex Dimorphism of the Brain in Male-to-Female Transsexuals".
The core problem with your edit is that trans women aren't "female": they don't carry eggs, or bear young.
BTW, as it happens, I loathe all the "third gender" crapola that pomo queer theorists inflict on trans women's identities. This is an area where "gender politics", or perhaps I should say "anti-gender politics", overrides what's known from anthropology about trans women in different cultures: they identify as women, and in general seek to live as women by the norms of their culture… as much as their culture permits.
thanks, - bonze blayk (talk) 12:02, 13 October 2012 (UTC)
You mean, trans women are not women?? Georgia guy (talk) 22:01, 13 October 2012 (UTC)
Gee, I would say that the majority of trans, and particularly transsexual women, are psychologically very much like women and should be regarded as such… but on the other hand, no trans woman is "female": we are not born with ovaries, and thus do naturally have the potential to bear children?
That's what a "female" is; it's a term from biology, not psychology or sociology: a female is an egg-bearing animal.
thanks, - bonze blayk (talk) 14:31, 15 October 2012 (UTC)

Amazing bias[edit]

I understand the difference between "gender" and "sex," I understand the difference between "biology" and "social constructs." But this entire article is based on the idea that biology has no effect on these "social constructs." There are some who disagree with this idea, believing that genes actually affect the development of characteristics of "gender." Why not have simply a few sentences explaining this view? — Preceding unsigned comment added by TMBTC (talkcontribs) 01:10, 6 February 2013 (UTC)

Of course they do, we are biological beings, not socially constructed ones. (talk) 15:28, 31 August 2014 (UTC)
Please, find some good reliable sources and write a few sentences about this! Lova Falk talk 18:11, 6 February 2013 (UTC)
There's a whole anti-John Money backlash movement, of people who were subjected to surgical manipulations by Money or his followers as infants or children, and who feel that it basically ruined their lives or childhoods... AnonMoos (talk) 01:20, 18 September 2013 (UTC)

P.S. According to the New York Times obituary, Money was the one who coined the phrase "gender identity", and: AnonMoos (talk) 01:29, 18 September 2013 (UTC)
Doctors today are far more wary of trying to re-engineer biology in this way, particularly in rare cases of badly damaged genitals, when the genetic sex is clear. Recent studies have emphasized the importance of prenatal exposure to hormones in shaping sexual identity.

Please fix this statement[edit]

Gender identity disorder is defined by strong, persistent feelings of identification with the opposite gender and discomfort with one's own assigned sex.[16] The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (302.85) has five criteria that must be met before a diagnosis of gender identity disorder can be made.

The phrase "opposite gender" in this statement implies that trans women are really men. Please fix it. Georgia guy (talk) 18:58, 24 July 2013 (UTC)

Hello, Georgia guy. I changed it. However, I don't view the use of gender in the aforementioned line the same way you do; I don't because the text can mean the gender the person was raised as, or still publicly identifies by, as opposed to their internal gender identity. After all, the text/source also uses "own assigned sex." And remember to be WP:BOLD. Flyer22 (talk) 20:25, 24 July 2013 (UTC)
That stated, your issue with the previous wording is valid because it can be interpreted the way you concluded. Flyer22 (talk) 20:30, 24 July 2013 (UTC)


The "X" in this form uses a semi-strange transliteration of Arabic; the "Xanith" article was redirected to Khanith long ago... AnonMoos (talk) 01:24, 18 September 2013 (UTC)

If you search published books (in Google Books search engine) you'll see that the X-form is commoner in English texts. (talk) 12:42, 1 September 2014 (UTC)

Duplicate citations and cited Encyclopedia Brittanica article is unsourced. (Actually, further problems as well.)[edit]

Citations 4 and 5 are the same source. The ISBN list should be merged, and one should be deleted. Further, citation 2 is an Encyclopedia Britannica article with an empty bibliography. This is not a reliable source. Citations 3 and 4 are also potentially irrelevant, because the statement cited is essentially the same wording as what is said in Encyclopedia Britannica. Further, this Wikipedia page lists a source that contradicts this claim: Gender_identity_disorder_in_children#cite_note-3 (talk) 12:37, 4 January 2014 (UTC)

It is worth noting that this article contradicts itself multiple times and seems to be deeply flawed. (talk) 18:56, 4 January 2014 (UTC)

In The DSM - revise for better clarity?[edit]


Looking at, even as a short piece little section it would have more clarity and serve the purpose of the page if:

- It began with a summary of the definition of Gender Identity Disorder in the current DSM (DSM-5), especially if it differs from the DSM-IV treatment of Gender Identity.

- Followed by the DSM-III and DSM-III-R historical information on their treatment of Gender Identity Disorder

- And the controversy, (if included), ought to be clearly in a section of its own.

I was wondering why the current edition of the DSM isn't referenced.

CJBre (talk) 14:57, 21 July 2014 (UTC)

No one got around to adding it. Flyer22 (talk) 15:01, 21 July 2014 (UTC)

New Addition to the Biological Factors Section[edit]

Hello fellow Wikipedians, I wanted to edit the page under Biological Factors in the Influencing Factors section. I thought to further validate the claim for the argument of biological variables having an impact on gender identity and behavior independent of socialization, as stated in the article.I would like to add the following sentence to the third paragraph before the last sentence. I feel that this would give a more specific example of a case that supports the claims in the paragraph.Suggestions are welcome.

Similarly David Reimer was born male but after a botched circumcision went through reassignment surgery to become female. Though he always felt like a male and eventually reverted back to his original sex. Nolen-Hoeksema (2014). Abnormal Psychology (6e ed.). McGraw-Hill. p. 368. ISBN 9781308211503. 

Thanks LizzyIshola (talk) 19:10, 5 December 2014 (UTC)

Funny Thing[edit]

It's curious how nowhere in this article you can find a single criticism of this fraud of "Gender Theory", and the real history behind it's creation by Marxists to undermine traditional values and culture using Antonio Gramsci's subversion strategy. But hey this is Wikipedia, a heaven for Far-Left quackery. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:26, 23 March 2015 (UTC)

While it seems possible that there is bias in some of the editing on this article, and your point about alternate views being included may well be valid, your statement is not helping much as it is clear you are biased yourself, and happy to conclude that anything contradicting your own world view must be a conspiracy over which you can whack a convenient and disrespectful label, rather than offer some form of verifiable source in support of your opinion. Unless, of course, the entire world is 'a heaven for Far-Left quackery' and so no such source can be found. Wikipedia is a user edited encyclopedia, so it's expected that not all articles are entirely clean of bias, but that's why anyone can edit. (talk) 15:25, 15 April 2015 (UTC)

Sources contradicting each other[edit]

Having read a number of the sources for this article, sources which contradict each other are being selectively used to state concepts as facts, biased towards a single viewpoint. For example, in the section Biological Factors, one statement reads:

" It is a common mistake when people assume a Y chromosome makes a person a boy or a man and the lack of a Y chromosome makes a person a girl or a woman."

which is sourced from

However, in the same section, another source is used to support a different point, despite the fact that the source used for that section also clearly states "Girls' true gender is determined genetically rather than anatomically." which directly contradicts the previous source, since the X/Y chromosomes are the determining genetic factor.

So, either one or both sources are not reliable, or the subject itself is not clearly defined.

This pattern is repeated in several places in the article, yet much of the tone of the article states various points as absolute fact. Either way, some of the article is most certainly not encyclopedic, and I suspect many editors involved are biased in their understanding of the subject matter, although I have no doubt they are editing in good faith. (talk) 15:18, 15 April 2015 (UTC)