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We will argue here, similarly, that there is little scientific evidence that gender identity is fixed at birth or at an early age.
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The concept of biological sex is well defined, based on the binary roles that males and females play in reproduction.
An example is Facebook’s move in 2014 to include 56 new ways for users to describe their gender, in addition to the options of male and female.
As Facebook explains, the new options allow the user to “feel comfortable being your true, authentic self,” an important part of which is “the expression of gender.” Whether or not Judith Butler was correct in describing traditional gender roles of men and women as “performative,” her theory of gender as a “free-floating artifice” does seem to describe this new taxonomy of gender.
Research investigating whether these transgender individuals have certain physiological features or experiences in common with the opposite sex, such as brain structures or atypical prenatal hormone exposures, has so far been inconclusive.
Gender dysphoria — a sense of incongruence between one’s biological sex and one’s gender, accompanied by clinically significant distress or impairment — is sometimes treated in adults by hormones or surgery, but there is little scientific evidence that these therapeutic interventions have psychological benefits.The underlying basis of maleness and femaleness is the distinction between the reproductive roles of the sexes; in mammals such as humans, the female gestates offspring and the male impregnates the female.More universally, the male of the species fertilizes the egg cells provided by the female of the species.This reductio ad absurdum is offered to present the possibility that defining gender too broadly could lead to a definition that has little meaning.Alternatively, gender identity could be defined in terms of sex-typical traits and behaviors, so that being a boy means behaving in the ways boys typically behave — such as engaging in rough-and-tumble play and expressing an interest in sports and liking toy guns more than dolls.There is a clear need for more research in these areas.s described in Part One, there is a widely held belief that sexual orientation is a well-defined concept, and that it is innate and fixed in each person — as it is often put, gay people are “born that way.” Another emerging and related view is that gender identity — the subjective, internal sense of being a man or a woman (or some other gender category) — is also fixed at birth or at a very early age and can diverge from a person’s biological sex.Science has shown that gender identity issues in children usually do not persist into adolescence or adulthood, and there is little scientific evidence for the therapeutic value of puberty-delaying treatments.We are concerned by the increasing tendency toward encouraging children with gender identity issues to transition to their preferred gender through medical and then surgical procedures.Developments in feminist theory in the second half of the twentieth century further solidified the position that gender is socially constructed.One of the first to use the term “gender” as distinct from sex in the social-science literature was Ann Oakley in her 1972 book, Sex, Gender and Society.