Introduction to Gender Identity

For the vast majority of people the gender that they feel most connected to matches the physical signs of gender they were born with. The gender that we associate ourselves with will determine how we choose to dress, how we choose to respond to some situations, who we choose to love, and many other aspects of our lives. If we are born with male genitalia and we associate more closely with the female gender, then we are confused, and often miserable throughout our lives.

When a person is born with the physical body of one gender, and inside they identify more closely with the other gender, then it can often cause serious outcomes that affect their lives. Some people who experience this condition never understand their feelings and they become so clinically depressed that they commit suicide.

Gender Dysphoria

Gender Dysphoria is defined as a person who is uncomfortable with the physical gender of their body. This feeling normally starts to develop as a person reaches the age of puberty and their body begins to go through the hormonal puberty changes, and yet the person feels on the inside like they are the other gender. Males may feel more emotional than what society says males are supposed to feel, or they may be more effeminate in their actions, or responses. Girls may be more Tom-boyish and seem to be rougher than most girls. This is usually more accepted of the females because society says it is okay for a girl to be a tomboy, but when a male shows sensitivity, or effeminate ways they are labeled as “sissies”. This labeling adds to the gender confusion and many people start to be depressed or dissociative at this point in their lives.

Gender Identity Disorder

This is the diagnosis that is given when a person tells their physician that they do not wish to live life as the gender they were biologically born into. When people admit that they do not want to be a boy, although they were born with a penis, it may cause discord between them and their friends and family. The acceptance of gender identity disorder is actually very low. People are more likely to accept the fact that their family member is a homosexual than they are to accept that the person feels like they are in the wrong body for the gender they should be.

The hateful labels that are applied to people who have these feelings only add to the depression they experience. These labels include:

  • Transgender; meaning people who do not identify with their birth gender
  • Drag Queens meaning men who dress as women, usually for stage performances
  • Drag Kings are women who dress as men, usually for stage performances
  • Cross dressers, meaning either sex who prefers to wear the clothing usually worn by the opposite sex; like men who wear dresses and high heels
  • Transsexuals, means people who would rather live as the opposite sex from the gender they were born into