What is Gender Identity?

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What is gender identity? Gender identity is our personal sense of being male, female, or some other variation.  Everyone has a gender identity and this should not be confused with being a transgender person.  For transgender individuals, your gender identity is not in sync with the sex you were assigned at birth.  Unfortunately, many misconceptions related gender identity abound.  Here are some common misconceptions.

4 Myths About Gender Identity

Myth 1: Gender Identity is Directly Related to Sexual Orientation

A common myth related to gender identity is that those whose gender identity does not match the sex assigned at birth are gay or lesbian.

In reality, a person’s gender identity has little to do with their sexual orientation.  Transgender people are just as likely to be heterosexual, gay, lesbian, etc., as are our cisgender counterparts.  Gender identity and sexual orientation are distinct, separate issues.

Myth 2: Transgender people are Mentally Ill

Transgender people maintain higher rates of depression and other mental disorders mainly as a result of the stigma surrounding those who are transgender and society’s treatment of transgender people.  According to a 2001 study, 60% of transgender people reported being the victims of harassment.  27% of study participants were the victims of violence.

In fact, gender identity disorder, which is defined as anyone whose assigned birth gender is different from the gender with which they identify was removed from the DSM.  The edition of the DSM (DSM 5) released on May 22nd, 2013, includes gender dysphoria, which emphasizes the importance of distress as a result of an incongruent gender identity.  Those who are comfortable with their gender identity are no longer subject to a pathological diagnosis for the simple fact that they are transgender individuals.

Myth 3: Male and Female are the Only Two Sexes

There is considerable biological variation in our bodies regardless of the standard definition of gender identification.  While XX is standardly considered female and XY considered male, some individuals display other chromosomal patterns.  The two most prevalent are XO, or Turner Syndrome, and XXY, known as Klinefelter Syndrome.

Others are born with reproductive organs which are not distinctly male or female.  Regardless of biological makeup, every individual is entitled to a gender identity regardless of whether it fits neatly into male or female categorization.

Myth 4: Transgender People will seek Hormone Therapy or Gender Reassignment Surgery

Some transgender people are comfortable with their body not being congruent with the gender they identify with.  Others choose to seek hormonal therapy and gender reassignment surgery to align their bodies more closely with their gender identity.  This is a matter of personal preference and should not be considered a declaration of sexual orientation.  Transgender people are just as likely to be heterosexual, gay, or lesbian as their cisgender counterparts.  It is important to note that undergoing a medical procedure is not necessary to be a transgender person.

Myths surrounding gender identity will continue to be pervasive as along as those attempting to persuade others of these inaccuracies, remain uninformed.  Our goal is to continue to educate, with the goal of eliminating misconceptions about gender identity.

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by SlickLion, TRANZGENDR

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