Gender Identity

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Gender Identity

Shawn Henry



Gender Identity

Gender identity is the differing cultural and social roles that individuals inhabit and the manner in which each individual experiences those roles internally and externally (Gender identity, n.d.) in a personal concept of oneself as male or female (Emedicine, 1994-2010). Surrounded by this identity, an individual expresses his or her sense of masculine or feminine uniqueness (Gelber, 2010). Although there have been theories concerning the determining, developmental factors of an individual’s gender identity; the majority of people mirror their identity with their biological characteristics. In contrast each individual’s sense within the continuum of masculinity-femininity reevaluates the person’s perception of true identity (Burke & Reitzes, 1981) through cognitive and social influences.

Biological and Neurological Influence

An individual’s sex is determined by biological aspects; noting that the y and x chromosomes determine the sex of a person at the time of conception. In this aspect, the gender identity of a fetus is incomplete. However, there has been some indication of hormonal exposure developing certain identity biasness based upon external anatomy during gestation (Emedicine, 1994-2010). These hormones can persuade behavior (e.g., aggression and libido) that are under the influence of testosterone in the male and the power motivation which is influenced by estrogen in the female (Emedicine, 1994-2010).

During the intrauterine period the fetal brain develops the male identity through a direct action of testosterone or in the female through the absence of this hormone surge. By this action, some theorists believe that a person’s gender identity is programmed in the individual’s brain structure while still in the womb (Swaab & Garcia-Falquevas, 2009).

Cognitive and Social Influences

According to the cognitive and social theorist, children...