Gender identity is defined as a personal conception of oneself as male or female, both, or neither. It is a person's own internal sense and personal experience of gender. Only the individual can determine their own gender identity. This concept is closely related to gender role, which is the outward manifestation of personality that reflects gender identity. In the much-debated topic of gender identity being whether in nature or nurtured, I believe it is in nature. In gender identity, nature refers to what we are born with– genes, hormones, nervous system, and brain. Nurture, on the other hand, refers to how we are brought up, our experiences within our environment, our family background, education, and culture.
Studies show evidences supporting the biological nature of gender identity. A seminal study by Meyer-Bahlburg was conducted involving outcomes of XY individuals raised as females due to severe non-hormonal, anatomic abnormalities of sex development like penile agenesis, cloacal exstrophy, and penile ablation. In the study, 78% of all female-assigned 46 XY patients were living as females. While the majority of these patients did not initiate a gender change to male, none of the 15 male-raised 46 XY patients initiated a gender change to female. Another seminal study was conducted by Reiner and Gearheart where they reviewed 16 XY genotype subjects with cloacal exstrophy who underwent female gender reassignment surgery. The result shows that four (4) out of 14 individuals raised as girls announced they were male, and other 4 chose to live as boys when they became aware of their genotype. Similar to the story of the boy who lived as a girl, the case of David Reimer, where he chose to live as a male when he learned about the truth. Another evidence, are the people born with congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH), a condition which causes them to have significantly higher levels of androgen, a male hormone. Boys with CAH play and behave much like normal male peers. However, girls born with CAH tend to display male traits and behavior. They are also born with external genitalia that look like those of males'. But even though that is the case, they are still female because their gender is determined genetically rather than anatomically. Girls with CAH prefer to play with male peers and choose masculine toys and activities. In short, higher levels of male hormones strongly influence girls to behave like boys. These are some of the evidences that support the biological nature of gender identity.
As it was defined, gender identity is a personal conception and it is self-identified. The definition itself tells everything. The John/Joan case is a good example of how gender identity is innate itself. Even if he was raised as a girl, later in his life he still identified himself as male. One's gender identity is something that everyone must accept and respect. I believe it is a line we must not easily just cross. No one can decide our own gender identity, more than ourselves, not even our family members.
We were tasked to write a position paper (for a debate) in one of our minor subjects regarding this topic, after discussing the John/Joan case. I'm not fully satisfied with my paper since I crammed this, to be honest. 😆 But I still hope you get something out of this one.
Btw, the John/Joan case is about the boy who lived as a girl, Bruce a.k.a. David Reimer. He was a victim of a mechanical malfunction during circumcision when he and his twin brother were still babies. The doctor encouraged his parents to treat him as a girl, to let him live as a girl, so they did. But eventually, he learned the truth and he chose to be a male.
That's all I can tell. If you want to know more, you can search it up because it had such a sad ending.
Thank you for reading. ❤️