Gender Identity and Conflicts
“In 2017, a study was conducted that showed 12% of the population in the United has identified as transgender or gender non-conforming, and it’s still growing. Currently, people are shifting and creating so many new gender identities to the point where people who are not educated in all these new identities get overwhelmed with it. As the general population is known to be an uneducated swine for not understanding that I am, I took the time to learn to understand the origin of gender identity and how it affects our generation.
First, let us find a definition of “Gender Identity.”” Now, let me say this, the definition of gender identity has changed of the time, so we must find the most up to date with our culture. According to a website, Gender Spectrum, they state that Gender Identity is “our deeply held, internal sense of self as masculine, feminine, a blend of both, neither, or something else.”(Understanding Gender) So, Gender Identity is our internal sense that only we have the power to dictate and no one else.
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Gender Spectrum’s, the definition makes sense in our current culture because people want freedom when deciding what they are. We don’t want rules and definition to tell us what we can or can’t be. For example, the article named “Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, and Gender Expression””: expressed that gender identity is self define and can’t be determined by another human being. This means that even doctor who first pulled you out of the womb, can’t determine your identity. Identity is something which is changeable to your liking. So, you can go out right now and change to whatever you please.
There are also push back to limit gender to simply men and women. American citizens believe that gender identity should not be determined by any kind of authority but by the people themselves. The American Association Of Collegiate Registrars And Admissions Officer, also known as the AACRAO, said that they join a coalition in a letter to The United States Department of Health & Human Services to express their concern with a federal proposal to narrowly define gender identity as something determined at birth and unchangeable. Having this definition would create trouble for the people who want to change their gender. Due to this, debates sparked about how you handle gender identity. Some people believe it’s our American rights to choose what we can be because of the 1st amendment.
Now, there are obviously going to be people who don’t agree with the idea of changing or finding out your “true gender identity.” For people with a religious background, most commonly Christians, the concept of gender identity is nonsense. For example, according to an academic journal, “The Nature of Gender”, states that for Christian believers, the book of Genesis in chapter 1 states that we are created to be image bearers of God as male and female. There is no such thing as another gender beyond male and female. Their idea of “image bearers” supports their idea that we were created in the “image of God” and that to change that is to change something precious we have been given by God. This argument has been used to go against the idea of gender identity by saying how we been given a role already.
Now after taking the time to find how people see and define Gender Identity, another question arose. Why would they change in the first place? Do people change because they can or is there something else in play?
Now let me said this first, people don’t give themselves their gender identity for no reason. Identity is not just because one feels like that gender. The article, “Gender Identity formation and early childhood” said that “”to create an identity for oneself is to position oneself in the world around them; to find a place where one seems to “fit” in our communities.” Gender identity is a part of becoming one with society. People see their identity as a necessary part of life and as a right. Not having the ability to determine your identity, to them, is an abridging of rights.
People who change their gender may also have a feeling of gender confliction. This is when a human being believes that they are the opposite gender then what they are named to be. For example, if someone believes to be a man when they are currently known to be a female is a form of gender confliction.
Trying to understand gender conflict that occurs in humans is more difficult than it seems. To find an answer to this problem, we must first find a starting point somewhere. Elizabeth Glaeser, a psychologist, suggests that “..a study on children…[and] their gender conflict would provide answers to how gender identity works at a young age.” Understanding how the youth understand and learn gender identity is where we can learn how people even determine how they identify themselves. The reason psychologist study children are that they are constantly observing their surrounding. They are more vulnerable to be affected by peoples actions and opinions. Understanding the effect we have on our children will lead us to understand current struggles we face today.
One out of many studies looking into children who are learning about their gender identity found something interesting. Children who switch genres are mainly girls to boys. According to Jamie Solomon (the author of Gender Identity and Expression in the Early Childhood Classroom), he states that “many young boys demonstrate awareness of these desirable qualities and perhaps worry about losing such advantage if they were to cross gender lines.”(Paragraph 15) These desirable qualities that Jamie is speaking of are “male characteristics” that are associated with power, opportunity, and prestige. The reason these characters are important is that we live in a male-dominated culture where we give men more power, opportunity, and prestige. For women who see that kind of couture, they would desire the same kind of privilege as well. It’s interesting to see our children are able to know the current culture around them.
Now people are not just looking into young children. Researchers are also looking into teenagers and how they are affected by gender identity. One of the common ways for a Teenager to express themselves and their gender identity is by the power of the internet. The internet has a ton of place where you are able to hide with a mask. David A. Huffaker is a researcher who states in his work “Gender, Identity, and Language Use in Teenage Blogs” that the virtual world allows “flexibility and anonymity are possible”(paragraph 21) and that people may “feel comfortable expressing their sexual orientation and exploring their sexual identity beyond social prescriptions.”(paragraph 21). The ability to place a mask and express yourself means a lot to people who are afraid of expressing themselves People are afraid to express themselves to even their own parents. The internet has become a haven for people who fear the criticism of the public.
Reasurech into gender identity is not clear cut as some people think. I want to share two research papers that yield different results on gender identity. At first, studies have also shown another interesting occurrence with people who have changed their gender identity. People are not always satisfied with their self-given identity. There is a trend of who is more “loyal” to the gender they identify with. According to Kristina Olson, ” transgender children showed a strong implicit identification with their expressed gender.” Meaning that people who have changed gender are more likely to associate to what they have changed too. This means that people who are not transgender and did pick their own gender are not always content with it. Now, this doesn’t apply to all people. However, it shows an insight into how people view their own genders and how they feel about it.
On the other hand, even though people express negativity people about changing your identity and eventually becoming a transgender, people see a positive outcome from changing genders. People who are pro-LGBTQ agree that people are not suffering from changing gendering at all! The research was done by Cornell University says that there is an improvement with quality of life for transgender. They are suggesting that if someone believes they are another gender, for any reason, they will feel happier.
This is a serious contradiction to what their opposition states. They say that because of the suicide rate still being high, there is no way for it to be good for people to change. So there is no evidence about the benefits of taking action on your gender is still not sure. Our culture is always changing. At the beginning of this research paper, I gave a current definition of what Gender Identity could be. However, the definition was different from 10 years ago and could be different in the future.
One of the main reason why peoples views on gender identity is always changing is that people are constantly changing how to define our identity. People are starting to believe that our identity is not determined by our physical appearance. People like Dr. Joshua believe that our sex is not determined by our anatomy. That what we identify yourself is by your feeling only. Saying that our physical property doesn’t matter is huge since our physical property determines what gender we are assigned during birth. If we start to resign based on feeling, we need to change our system of identifying as a gender.
There is such a thing as “Gender Identity Disorder” that spark debate. Most people want it to be removed completely from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders(aka DSM). People who support this idea, like Robert Marvin, argued that Gender Identity Disorder should be removed because it parallels homosexuality disorder. Homosexuality disorder uses to be in the DSM. However, it was removed in the 1970s. People believe that switching genders are not someone goes insane. With medical advances, people are able to switch genders from male to female and vice versa. Will they revise it? Most likely. Most people are not an agreement with this idea of calling Gender Identity a disorder any may want it to remove as soon as possible.
The “Gender Identity Disorder” is also to believe in false in the idea of definitions. Although the term “Disorder” is to be treated as a social and environmental restriction, people believe that Gender Identity does not conform to dominant social norms. N. NakkeeranEmail author and Barathi Nakkeeran wrote a research paper about disability and gender identity. They said that “Gender identity, on the other hand, refers to a person’s deeply felt and individual experiences of gender”(Paragraph 38) and not a mental restriction on a person. Gender identity is mixed up with other terms like “Gender Orientation” which refers to the person’s sexual and emotional attraction to another person. This is where the term, homosexual, bisexual, and pansexual comes from. This idea of gender identity is still not seen as something normal. Which is why we categorize it as a disability. However, with more people looking into it, we can truly find out more about Gender Identity.
There is still one thing missing in all of this, what are people doing to address the idea of gender identity and getting the correct information out to the people? Well, there is only one real way to do this. Education should be the top priority in addressing Gender Identity in our society. They argue that educating the future, or the kids will solve the hate and the negativity in the world. Belkis Luisa Aranda Cintra, a teacher at Oriente University, states that we should educate the next generation, so they will be more informed and loving to other people. Her point of view is that education is optimistic and shows how informing the youth can lead to a brighter future. Education is one solution that people believe will work to solve hated against people with a different identity. However, this is a long and draining process that will take years to complete.
So what is gender identity at the end of all of it? There is no right answer to this question. Gender identity and how it’s defined will be determined by whatever the majority want it to be. No matter how much people place research in gender identity, people can ignore it and change it to what they believe to be true. For now, it is what we define ourselves to be. But this definition will not stay the same. How it will be defined will be up to the next generation, and the generation to come.”