What gives you the right to be you gender essay

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  1. What gives you the right to be you? Yes I am gonna go there. One of today’s major political issues is the rights of individuals with gender identity…
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  • 1. What gives you the right to be you? Yes I am gonna go there. One of today’s major political issues is the rights of individuals with gender identity displacement. Whether it is the right of a same sex couple to have their commitment to each other recognized by the state in which they reside or it is the decision to fire a state official who decides to change his/her sexual identity, Americans are at odds about how to embrace their neighbors, relatives and friends who previously lived alongside them without discernment. But now the decision to identify their sexual preference makes them seem alarmingly different, even dangerous. You can look at someone and make decisions about their race based on your unconscious prejudices but unless someone acts out of socially constructed character or identifies themselves you cannot tell that an individual is gay, or transgender. The betrayal by Americans young and old who are coming out, and those who support them has made right wing politicians quote the bible and challenge the sexuality of the president of the United States of America. Entire industries are being developed around curing people of their gayness. I never understood the issue. In my opinion a lot of people do kinky things behind the veil of their bedroom window. So I could not understand why same sex relationships set people absolutely mad. At the time it was not a feeling I could understand a woman being sexually attracted to a woman so it did not bother me. That was until I witnessed the kind of torment, and i don’t mean teasing I mean internal, emotional, torment that an individual who just want to live as they feel experiences when they have gender identity conflicts. My love for more than one person in my life forced me to look closely at what I thought were my liberal ideals because I was not the person they chose to come out to. Rather they fell out of the closet into clinical psychology. I had to find a way to more than empathize or rationalize but to identify with this pain so that I could change my language and behavior to be that of a person who they could turn to if necessary. My journey into sexuality began with science. You see I said to myself there are people who are born with both sexual organs and I once read an article that explained that the existence of a y chromosome alone does not determine whether or not you are a man. These questions made the implications of religion and politics more difficult to explain without prejudice. For example Complete Androgen Insensitivity syndrome has become an important genetic discovery for the sports industry. Androgen insensitivity syndrome happens when the function of the androgen receptor is compromised. CAIS is a condition that prevents the masculinization of male genital in the developing fetus fetus’s that develop. In standard masculine maturity, the SRY gene on the tip of the Y chromosome helps to send the embryo down the masculine path. Women with CAIS have a Y chromosome or more specifically and SRY chromosome. They have the very same SRY gene but lack androgen receptors. The lack of androgen receptor prevents them from developing male genitalia. A 2007 News Week article entitled Rethinking Gender , talks about the sports industry issues with gender as it notes among other gender struggles the Olympic struggle with gender “ There have long been accusations about male athletes' trying to pass as women, or women's taking testosterone to gain a competitive edge. In the 1960s, would-be female Olympians were required to undergo gender-screening tests. Essentially, that meant baring all before a panel of doctors who could verify that an athlete had girl parts. That method was soon scrapped in favor of a genetic test. But that quickly led to confusion over a handful of genetic disorders that give typical- looking women chromosomes other than the usual XX. Finally, the International Olympic Committee ditched mandatory lab-based screening, too. "We found there is no scientifically sound lab-based technique that can differentiate between man and woman," says Arne Ljungqvist, chair of the IOC's
  • 2. medical commission” (NEWSWEEK, 2007). That is just one of the type of genetic and endocrine disorders that challenge the way we classify gender scientifically. Further it is important to mention that an embryo is equipped to be either male or female at inception. All embryos have what is called Mullerian duct and Wolffian ducts depending on the combination of x and y chromosomes the human body will develop masculine or feminine anatomy. Rethinking Gender explores nature verses nurture by illustrating the findings of neuroscientist Nirao Shah, and biologist Anne Fausto-Sterling “Between 1 and 5 months, male human babies also experience a hormone surge. It's still unclear exactly what affect that surge has on the human brain, but it happens just when parents are oohing and aahing over their new arrivals. Here's where culture comes in. Studies have shown that parents treat boys and girls very differently—breast- feeding boys longer but talking more to girls. That's going on while the baby's brain is engaged in a massive growth spurt. "The brain doubles in size in the first five years after birth, and the connectivity between the cells goes up hundreds of orders of magnitude," "The brain is interacting with culture from day one (NEWSWEEK, 2007)." It seems to ask the age old question we can all ask about our character traits is it Nature or is it Nurture? Not to minimize the topic with gest keep in mind that Gender Identity is a compounding issue for both transsexual individuals and intersex individuals. For most transsexual individuals at about the age children decide to choose gender roles for social interaction transsexual individuals choose roles opposite to the social construct for their anatomy. They are aware of what sex they want to be from childhood and the more their caregivers try to repress this notion the more painful the experience is for the individual. Wayne Maines a Huffington post blogger illustrates this in his article about his twin boys. Maines writes” I was fortunate enough to watch my identical twins babies grow and develop unique and diverse personalities. At each stage of development, I witnessed a minor miracle, including a special child that could not be ignored. I watched both twins played with trucks, dolls and wrestle, but Wyatt (Now Nicole) always returned to watching, playing and acting the female part… As Wyatt (Nicole) grew older (age 4 to 6), he continued to obsess over long hair, dresses, Barbie dolls and girls. Cindy (age 8) was his best friend. They loved to act out the books we read and girl's parts on television. Everything Cindy did Wyatt wanted to do. He wore Cindy's clothes, brushed her hair and obsessed over Cindy. It was about this time Wyatt started to show signs of unhappiness that went beyond the normal tantrums of a child. He would anger easily and lash out at his twin brother. He often had an edge that was hard to describe and it sometimes raised questions” (Maines, 2012). There are a plethora of parental testimonies of childhood transsexual indicators or what the doctors call gender dysphoria, behaviors that identify a mismatch between a child’s sexual anatomy and their gender identity. The experience is similar for intersex children who most eventually have surgery to allow them to live as the sex of their choice. Intersex children have ambiguous genitals but can have chromosome combinations that identify with a specific sex. An example of how complicated sexual assignment can be for an intersex child can be seen in the ABC news story about Jim Bruce a Californian writer. “Jim Bruce was born with XY male chromosomes but ambiguous genitals. Doctors couldn't be sure if he had a large clitoris or a small penis and were convinced he could never live a "satisfactory life" as a man. So shortly after his birth in 1976, Bruce's external organ and testes were surgically removed and he was raised as a girl. He struggled for years, preferring "rough and tumble" play and being attracted to girls. When he was 12, Bruce was given female hormones so his body would feminize. Then, at 18, he prepared for a vaginoplasty -- "designed to allow me "to have sex with my
  • 3. husband." But he knew something was wrong and, battling depression, sought his medical records when he was 19. What Bruce discovered was horrifying. "I was sterilized at birth -- and no one ever told me," he said. "I knew that I wasn't a girl," he said” (JAMES, 2011). Gender Identity is a different experience for gay and Lesbian children. They “come out”. Most Gay and Lesbian youth identify as Gay or lesbian when they reach puberty and begin to have feelings for their peers, however I find it important to note that a number of gay men and lesbian women that I have had the pleasure of having relationship with have shared with me that they never felt like the textbook Boy or Girl gender assignment yet they do not want gender reassignment surgery. Unlike other non-traditional gender identity individuals we have discussed their sexual orientation is not as clearly defined. The NIH report, The Health of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender People describes the process. Models of homosexual identity development proposed by Cass (1979) and Troiden (1989) describe a staged process that (1) recognizes the impact of stigma that affects both the formation and expression of homosexual identity, (2) unfolds over a period of time, (3) involves increasing acceptance of a homosexual identity, and (4) includes disclosure to other persons (Building a Foundation for Better Understanding, 2011). Gay and lesbian teens face great scrutiny from peers and family even in today’s more accepting society. However there are more resources now than ever before that will help them make well informed life decisions about their sexual health and life decisions. Gender identity is an issue that is intimate, individual, and human. The lessons that we have been taught about the human genome in high school biology blur in comparison to the true complexity of human nature, and whether nature or nurture impacts a child’s sexual identity is a question that should have little relevance when we are discussing a person’s emotional health and human needs. So many of us can identify with being different image what it would be like to want so badly for your outside to match your inside and how it must feel to have the world pound your true self back into ambiguity every time you try to live out loud.
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