Anatomical Sex Vs. Gender Identity

            Transgender is an umbrella term for people whose gender identity is different from the sex and gender role they are assigned with at birth (Sonnie, 2000, p. 247). Transgender people do not necessarily want to have sex-reassignment surgery (SRS) but lives in their preferred gender. Transgender includes heterosexuals, homosexuals, and bisexuals. Transgender occurs as a disorder known as Gender Dysphoria, previously known as Gender Identity Disorder (DID). Gender Dysphoria is disapproved of society due to the misconception and education of a disorder that the transgender community experiences. Gender Dysphoria affects the transgender community and societies nationwide causing a lot of distress to and within the transgender communities. The transgender community can be viewed as a disgrace in society, human interest, and family values particularly due to the norm of religion, society, and personal reasons; a view that can be changed with the acknowledgement that transgender is not a decision, it is something an individual is born with. The more ways that transgender people are talked about in popular culture, academia, individuals’ awareness, knowledge, and openness about transgender people allows them and their experiences to grow because they are now part of the norm in our societies.

In order to understand Gender Dysphoria, one must know the difference between anatomical sex, gender identity, or self-identification. According to (2013), anatomical sex is the apparent gender, male or female, of an individual based on physical sex characteristics. The American Psychological Association (2011) defines “anatomical sex is assigned at birth and is associated with the physical attributes such as chromosomes, hormone prevalence, and internal/ external anatomy. Self- identification is the psychological sense of being male or female ( p. 2)”. This refers to the socially constructed roles, behaviors, activities and attributes that a society considers as appropriate for males and/ or females. The differences between biological sex and self identity are the fundamentals of Gender Dysphoria and how Gender Dysphoria arises; furthermore, the understanding of the transgender community.

According to Sue, Sue, Sue,

GID is characterized by conflict between a person’s anatomical sex and his or her gender identity, or self-identification as male or female. GID involves the person experiencing strong and persistent cross-gender identification and persistent discomfort with his or her anatomical sex, creating significant impairment in social, occupational, and other important areas of functioning. People with this disorder do not choose to be born this way; they do not mentally decide their gender identity, rather emotionally bound to it. They hold a lifelong conviction that nature has placed them in the body of the wrong gender. This feeling produces a preoccupation with eliminating the “natural” physical and behavioral sexual characteristics and acquiring those of the opposite sex (2010, p.286).

Gender Identity Disorder is now changed to Gender Dysphoria with retrospect that a conflict between one self continues to be the issue. Gender Identity Disorder is changed because it was thought to be only for homosexuals; which was seen as a disorder, but this is not the case. Gender Identity Disorder includes homosexuals and heterosexuals. In addition to the change, the concept of homosexuality being a disorder, is no longer seen as a disorder, thus making this change. Also, as reported by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (2013), mental illness is a medical condition or conditions that disrupt a person’s thinking, feeling, mood, ability to relate to others and daily functioning which make it confounding. Many transgender people do not experience their gender as distressing or disabling in any form or way, which also implies that Gender Dysphoria is not a mental illness. According to the DSM-5 (2013), “Gender dysphoria refers to the distress that many accompany the incongruence between one’s experienced or expressed gender and one’s assigned gender. Although not all individuals will experience distress as a result of the incongruence, many are distressed if the desired physical interventions by means of hormones and/ or surgery are not available (p. 451)”. Another distressing or disabling issue for them is to minimize discrimination. Although there are Anti-discrimination laws in most U.S. cities and states, it does not protect them from gender identity or gender expression (APA, 2013, p. 3).

            In conclusion, the transgender community can be viewed as a disgrace in society because of the misconception of how transgender occurs. Transgender occurs to a disorder known as Gender Dysphoria. Gender Dysphoria is disapproved to society due to a misconception due to lack of knowledge and awareness of such a thing. Gender Dysphoria is the conflict between a person’s anatomical sex and his or her gender identity, or self-identification as male or female, which is not a mental illness. Identity conflict is not an issue a person chooses for themselves, they are born with it. The more ways that Gender Dysphoria is talked about in popular culture, academia, individuals’ awareness, knowledge, the openness and acceptance of the transgender community can grow and develop as every individual has the right to.


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