Gender Identity is NOT an Identity

Nowadays it's common for people to "claim an identity".  That is, they adopt a social role to show what's important for them, such as "I'm a Republican", "I'm a Catholic" or "I'm an American."   Sometimes Superman "identifies" as Clark Kent; sometimes Batman "identifies" as Bruce Wayne. 

This kind of Identity is a temporary choice.  Everyone knows that Clark Kent is really Superman.  And sometime in the future, he may need a new "alter ego".   Beyond that, the American might move to Canada.  The Catholic may stop going to mass.  And sometimes a Republican may vote Independent.

Since Gender Identity has the word "identity" in it,  it's common for people to mistakenly believe that Gender is also a choice -- a whim -- something that can be changed from day-to-day or even from hour-to-hour:  I 'identified' as a woman this morning, but I think I'll 'identity' as a man this evening.

The fact is, Gender Identity is established early in fetal life and can't be changed afterward.


Androgynous Gender Identity

"Claimed Gender Identity" is most often encountered in the androgynous community.  Androgynous people have a gender that's a mixture of both female & male personality traits.   How can they express both sides of their gender?   ...One option is to switch from female Gender Expression to male Gender Expression.  And they might describe their plan as, I 'identified' as a woman this morning, but I think I'll 'identity' as a man this evening.

It's important to understand that, even though they used the word 'identify', their Gender Identity is Androgynous.  -- And it'll never change.

Everyone is aware of whether they're female, male, or somewhere in between.  It's an inner sense, present at birth and it never changes throughout life.  (See The American Academy of Pediatrics' book, Caring for Your Baby and Young Child:  Birth to Age 5  [2009]) 

The best example of how Gender Identity works is an 18-month old who announces with her first sentence, "Me girl. mommy" 

How could she possibly know that, unless it was written in her heart since before she was born?  All her life, everyone's called her a boy (since that's what her genitals look like).  The walls in her room are blue; trucks and airplanes line her crib.   Society hasn't had a chance to indoctrinate her yet.

But as she gets older, she'll fight to wear a dress instead of pants, she'll play house with dolls, and her best friend will be another girl.  (However, these behaviors are part of Gender Expression, not Gender Identity.)

Not Biology

An  individual's gender awareness isn't determined by their biology:  Many toddlers know they're a girl, even though they might have XY-chromosomes, testicles, testosterone and male genital anatomy.  And many other toddlers know they're a boy, in spite of XX-chromosomes, ovaries, estrogen and female genital anatomy.  (See INTERSEX.)

Likewise, no one has ever been able to change a person's Gender Identity', no matter how hard they try.  Gender Identity resists punishment, harassment, psychotherapy, indoctrination, prayer and legislation.

During the past 20 years, advances in biologic understanding have shown that Gender Identity is determined by several groups of cells in the brain ("Gender-specific Nuclei").  They develop during the first few weeks of gestation, before the gonads & hormones appear -- which is why Gender and Anatomy don't always correlate with each other.

Gender Identity

The New Gender Paradigm

The Gender Portal