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Is Gender Independent of Biology?
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Posted 9/2/13 , edited 9/2/13
They are interchangeable in spoken language and casual references due to people having a strange, stupid fear of using 'sex' to refer to 'gender' when they actually mean 'sex' and not 'gender.' In biological terms, 'gender' is not used interchangeably with 'sex' as each term means a specific thing. Tying the terms together to be used interchangeably is a confusing and misleading error that does nothing to clarify the role of each word. The distinction, I admit, is controversial but it makes things much clearer.

'Sex' is the biological term. The hormones, the organs, all the nitty-gritty bio stuff. The observable black-and-white stuff.

'Gender' is what you see in sociology and psychology classes when referring characteristics that cultures assign as either masculine or feminine or some other category that might be there besides the main two, depending on the culture.


On topic: I believe it would be possible to have gender independent of biology in a biological being. You can see this in those born bi-sex ual or asexual yet raised from infancy under an influence that assigns them a certain gender. Objects such as cars and ships and stuff do not have a sex but can be ascribed characteristics of a gender depending on its owner or the people of a certain society that are observing the object. I think, however, than nurture has a much more powerful deciding factor than nature, especially when an organism (like a human) can be taught so much. The sheer amount of information you can plant into a human mind is staggering. The longer and the more information you brand into the young mind, the greater its influence later in life.

Let's say that girls were raised like boys and boys were raised like girls, and the ideas about femininity and masculinity were switched. Gender roles CAN be reversed and even assigned to people/things that lack a sex. It's easier the way we do it now because we better follow our natural tendencies but, since the reverse CAN be accomplished, it shows that the two are not necessarily set in stone as unbreakable pairs. Gender has always had a great capacity for vagueness and abstraction, unlike sex.
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Posted 9/3/13

Morbidhanson wrote:

They are interchangeable in spoken language and casual references due to people having a strange, stupid fear of using 'sex' to refer to 'gender' when they actually mean 'sex' and not 'gender.' In biological terms, 'gender' is not used interchangeably with 'sex' as each term means a specific thing. Tying the terms together to be used interchangeably is a confusing and misleading error that does nothing to clarify the role of each word. The distinction, I admit, is controversial but it makes things much clearer.

'Sex' is the biological term. The hormones, the organs, all the nitty-gritty bio stuff. The observable black-and-white stuff.

'Gender' is what you see in sociology and psychology classes when referring characteristics that cultures assign as either masculine or feminine or some other category that might be there besides the main two, depending on the culture.


not according to the dictionary.....
by definition both terms are interchangeable
i think the term you are looking for is gender identity



On topic: I believe it would be possible to have gender independent of biology in a biological being. You can see this in those born bi-sex ual or asexual yet raised from infancy under an influence that assigns them a certain gender. Objects such as cars and ships and stuff do not have a sex but can be ascribed characteristics of a gender depending on its owner or the people of a certain society that are observing the object. I think, however, than nurture has a much more powerful deciding factor than nature, especially when an organism (like a human) can be taught so much. The sheer amount of information you can plant into a human mind is staggering. The longer and the more information you brand into the young mind, the greater its influence later in life.

Let's say that girls were raised like boys and boys were raised like girls, and the ideas about femininity and masculinity were switched. Gender roles CAN be reversed and even assigned to people/things that lack a sex. It's easier the way we do it now because we better follow our natural tendencies but, since the reverse CAN be accomplished, it shows that the two are not necessarily set in stone as unbreakable pairs. Gender has always had a great capacity for vagueness and abstraction, unlike sex.


i disagree with this.
even if you force a little girl to play with cars and robots and play sports, she can still grow up to be feminine.
its the same idea that if you let kids watch violent cartoons, they will grow up to violent. the whole idea is ridiculous.
ones hormones determine their gender identity. hormones are not influenced by what toys you play with as a kid. hormones are a chemical released in your brain based on your DNA.
everything else is people trying to adhere to different stereotypes or being pushed in one direction or another by their parents.
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Posted 9/4/13 , edited 9/4/13

swirly_commode wrote:


ones hormones determine their gender identity. hormones are not influenced by what toys you play with as a kid. hormones are a chemical released in your brain based on your DNA.
everything else is people trying to adhere to different stereotypes or being pushed in one direction or another by their parents.


Um, no. Hormones act to direct the physical developments to the male or female body type, which is why HRT does what it does, is best early on in physical development, and not so much as you get older. "Gender Identity" is thought to occur prenatally.
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Posted 9/4/13
As a biologist, I can definitely say that gender identity is affected by complex brain neurons that have been modified a bit differently from an assigned gender. However, this does not apply that gender is completely dependent on biology. In example, we as humans are necessary of nutrients and water. Say you're an asian person who grew up eating rice and certain types of meats following a strict diet. If that individual were to come overseas and change his/her eating habits, he/she has only modified behavior and NOT genetic structures. Following that example, the individual still meets his/her nutritional BIOLOGICAL needs but had the free choice of HOW to meet the bodily functions.

Therefore, gender is independent of biology. Hell, it's a free country right?
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Posted 9/4/13

MopZ wrote:


swirly_commode wrote:


ones hormones determine their gender identity. hormones are not influenced by what toys you play with as a kid. hormones are a chemical released in your brain based on your DNA.
everything else is people trying to adhere to different stereotypes or being pushed in one direction or another by their parents.


Um, no. Hormones act to direct the physical developments to the male or female body type, which is why HRT does what it does, is best early on in physical development, and not so much as you get older. "Gender Identity" is thought to occur prenatally.


so what youre saying is that people can CHOOSE to act differently than their body chemistry tells them to?
when you get older, or pregnant, youll understand the effect hormones have on people. in the mean time your just someone who seems to be trying too hard to not offend people and be accepting of what ever people want to label themselves
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Posted 9/5/13

swirly_commode wrote:


MopZ wrote:


swirly_commode wrote:


ones hormones determine their gender identity. hormones are not influenced by what toys you play with as a kid. hormones are a chemical released in your brain based on your DNA.
everything else is people trying to adhere to different stereotypes or being pushed in one direction or another by their parents.


Um, no. Hormones act to direct the physical developments to the male or female body type, which is why HRT does what it does, is best early on in physical development, and not so much as you get older. "Gender Identity" is thought to occur prenatally.


so what youre saying is that people can CHOOSE to act differently than their body chemistry tells them to?
when you get older, or pregnant, youll understand the effect hormones have on people. in the mean time your just someone who seems to be trying too hard to not offend people and be accepting of what ever people want to label themselves


Uh, no. I'm saying that a part of my brain was not fully masculinized in the womb, and that hormones direct the general path of construction of the human body. That a persons Gender Identity is different from gender roles and gender expression, which are constructs of the society you live in. My Gender Identity is internal. I am a girl and that is all there is to it. I was born this way.

More info on the effects of hormones here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hormone_replacement_therapy_%28male-to-female%29


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Posted 9/5/13

MopZ wrote:


Uh, no. I'm saying that a part of my brain was not fully masculinized in the womb, and that hormones direct the general path of construction of the human body. That a persons Gender Identity is different from gender roles and gender expression, which are constructs of the society you live in. My Gender Identity is internal. I am a girl and that is all there is to it. I was born this way.

More info on the effects of hormones here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hormone_replacement_therapy_%28male-to-female%29




so you were born a girl, and youll always be a girl but you may choose to act like a boy?
is that what you are saying?
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Posted 9/5/13 , edited 9/5/13

swirly_commode wrote:


Morbidhanson wrote:

They are interchangeable in spoken language and casual references due to people having a strange, stupid fear of using 'sex' to refer to 'gender' when they actually mean 'sex' and not 'gender.' In biological terms, 'gender' is not used interchangeably with 'sex' as each term means a specific thing. Tying the terms together to be used interchangeably is a confusing and misleading error that does nothing to clarify the role of each word. The distinction, I admit, is controversial but it makes things much clearer.

'Sex' is the biological term. The hormones, the organs, all the nitty-gritty bio stuff. The observable black-and-white stuff.

'Gender' is what you see in sociology and psychology classes when referring characteristics that cultures assign as either masculine or feminine or some other category that might be there besides the main two, depending on the culture.


not according to the dictionary.....
by definition both terms are interchangeable
i think the term you are looking for is gender identity



On topic: I believe it would be possible to have gender independent of biology in a biological being. You can see this in those born bi-sex ual or asexual yet raised from infancy under an influence that assigns them a certain gender. Objects such as cars and ships and stuff do not have a sex but can be ascribed characteristics of a gender depending on its owner or the people of a certain society that are observing the object. I think, however, than nurture has a much more powerful deciding factor than nature, especially when an organism (like a human) can be taught so much. The sheer amount of information you can plant into a human mind is staggering. The longer and the more information you brand into the young mind, the greater its influence later in life.

Let's say that girls were raised like boys and boys were raised like girls, and the ideas about femininity and masculinity were switched. Gender roles CAN be reversed and even assigned to people/things that lack a sex. It's easier the way we do it now because we better follow our natural tendencies but, since the reverse CAN be accomplished, it shows that the two are not necessarily set in stone as unbreakable pairs. Gender has always had a great capacity for vagueness and abstraction, unlike sex.


i disagree with this.
even if you force a little girl to play with cars and robots and play sports, she can still grow up to be feminine.
its the same idea that if you let kids watch violent cartoons, they will grow up to violent. the whole idea is ridiculous.
ones hormones determine their gender identity. hormones are not influenced by what toys you play with as a kid. hormones are a chemical released in your brain based on your DNA.
everything else is people trying to adhere to different stereotypes or being pushed in one direction or another by their parents.


I'm not leaving out the possibility that a person raised the opposite way of how one is usually raised can still show the 'proper' masculine and feminine traits, I am just saying that nurture/upbringing has a greater effect than nature/genes alone. Take, for instance, the violent cartoons thing you mentioned.

Simply watching violent cartoons is usually not enough to make most kids violent because it's just not a big enough part of their lives (2 hours of cartoons a day or so?) to create a lasting framework by which they make their decisions. Kids are also encouraged to NOT be violent and are punished for being violent, so this works against the influence of the cartoons as well. This combination of relatively low exposure and almost omnipresent condemnation for violence make it unlikely for moderate cartoon-watching to make kids into violent adults.

However, immersion in a violent lifestyle, that which is full of hunting and war, will be much more likely to produce an adult who is more apt to use violent force because he has done it all his life and it has been what he lived by. Violence is encouraged and the person's upbringing is steeped in it. If a kid grew up playing violent games all the time and watching violent shows and violence was encouraged or completely unpunished, it would probably have some sort of lasting influence on him, since young children are highly impressionable, learn fast, and their behavior can be easily molded. The feeling of empowerment that comes from overwhelming something/someone you dislike with violent force can be addicting to some.

Gender identity is much the same. Society and upbringing and one's closest loved ones all support it, it is encouraged for girls to be feminine and boys to be masculine (the opposite is frowned upon), and participation in gender-specific activities is okay and supported, it is widely-prevalent and a very obvious part of 'traditional' upbringing.
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Posted 9/5/13 , edited 9/5/13

swirly_commode wrote:


MopZ wrote:


Uh, no. I'm saying that a part of my brain was not fully masculinized in the womb, and that hormones direct the general path of construction of the human body. That a persons Gender Identity is different from gender roles and gender expression, which are constructs of the society you live in. My Gender Identity is internal. I am a girl and that is all there is to it. I was born this way.

More info on the effects of hormones here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hormone_replacement_therapy_%28male-to-female%29




so you were born a girl, and youll always be a girl but you may choose to act like a boy?
is that what you are saying?


An under-masculinized brain would have the gender identity of a girl due to a smaller neuron size, and if you grow up in a society, you adopt some of the attitudes of that society, which also has specific attitudes and expectations on various things like gender. So, it's that I was born a boy, identifies as female because of my brains construction, and how I act is partially influence by the culture and it's pressures I was born into.
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Posted 9/5/13

MopZ wrote:


swirly_commode wrote:


MopZ wrote:


Uh, no. I'm saying that a part of my brain was not fully masculinized in the womb, and that hormones direct the general path of construction of the human body. That a persons Gender Identity is different from gender roles and gender expression, which are constructs of the society you live in. My Gender Identity is internal. I am a girl and that is all there is to it. I was born this way.

More info on the effects of hormones here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hormone_replacement_therapy_%28male-to-female%29




so you were born a girl, and youll always be a girl but you may choose to act like a boy?
is that what you are saying?


An under-masculinized brain would have the gender identity of a girl due to a smaller neuron size, and if you grow up in a society, you adopt some of the attitudes of that society, which also has specific attitudes and expectations on various things like gender. So, it's that I was born a boy, identifies as female because of my brains construction, and how I act is partially influence by the culture and it's pressures I was born into.


so a lack of testosterone can cause a boy to act feminine which will be further exacerbated by a society which rewards girly boys for claiming to be some kind of transgender identity, or whatever the flavor of the month minority gender identity is?

is this what you are claiming?

can you explain it to me like im five?
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Posted 9/5/13 , edited 9/5/13

Morbidhanson
Gender identity is much the same. Society and upbringing and one's closest loved ones all support it, it is encouraged for girls to be feminine and boys to be masculine (the opposite is frowned upon), and participation in gender-specific activities is okay and supported, it is widely-prevalent and a very obvious part of 'traditional' upbringing.



so its, likewise, encouraged for "non gender specific" children to act outside the "norm" for their gender?
if encouragement is what leads to gender identity, whether it be positive or negative encouragement, then what happens outside of encouragement?
are you claiming that gay or gender neutral/trans is what happens with no influence or encouragement? if that is your claim then i have to disagree.
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Posted 9/5/13 , edited 9/5/13

This happens when you are still in mommies tummy. The process to make a baby isn't perfect, so no human body is born perfect, which is why most people are not 100% asymmetrical. And, the system can err quite drastically, so it's not surprising when someone is born transgender.

Also, please get it through your head that expression is not the same as gender identity. There are plenty of people who cross-dress that identify as their born gender.
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Posted 9/5/13

MopZ wrote:


This happens when you are still in mommies tummy. The process to make a baby isn't perfect, so no human body is born perfect, which is why most people are not 100% asymmetrical. And, the system can err quite drastically, so it's not surprising when someone is born transgender.

Also, please get it through your head that expression is not the same as gender identity. There are plenty of people who cross-dress that identify as their born gender.


you still didnt address the issue of social conditioning that youve been talking so much about
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Posted 9/5/13
Here's an analogy to simplify this for 5 year old swirly_commode-chan. Actually it's a little complex but I think Swirly will follow.
Suppose we had the technology to clone humans. I suggest this as opposed to applying it to identical twins to remove the likelihood of interference of the development of one baby with the other. So we clone a child who we have determined is going to be born male. The clone will be the subject and the original will be the control. The control child is allowed to be born male with no surgical interference. The clone will have his genitals surgically altered to resemble as close as possible a female, and she will receive hormone treatment to simulate the production of estrogen if necessary as if she was naturally born female. Both the subject (Mary) and control (Matt) will be observed over the next 8 years of their life.

Neither Mary nor Matt will be made aware of the experiment, the treatments or the fact that Mary is a clone. Mary will grow up thinking that she is simply Matt's fraternal female twin.

2 outcomes are likely:
1) Matt identifies as a boy in accordance with his male sex. He is clearly a cis-gendered male fully accepting of expressing himself in boyish ways and fits well into the male roles assigned to him by society.
Mary is not as lucky, she feels anguish and a sense of disconnect with her body and her surroundings. Her brain, physically and chemically identical to Matt's brain in every way, rejects the female roles being assigned to her and the hormones that are affecting her mood and personality that don't want to be pulled in that direction. Mary definitely shows the signs of being gender dysphoric and expresses interest in being male instead.

2) It so happens that Matt does not identify as a boy in accordance with his male sex. He rejects being pressured into fulfilling male oriented gender expression and behaviors. He sees a lot of himself when he looks at Mary, wearing girly clothes and playing with dolls that their parents have given her. Matt doesn't like the trucks and cowboy outfit that he got for his 8th birthday.
Since Mary's brain is identical to Matt's except born into life physically female and assigned female social roles she effectively ends up a happy cis-gendered girl which Matt would have also embraced if he received the same surgical and hormonal treatment (neither of them ever knowing they were biologically meant to be born boys).

In both scenarios the underlying gender identity is something that has to have been naturally established before they were born, but because they are genetically identical in every way, it is impossible for both to be happy as the sex they were born as (post alteration of the subject).
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Posted 9/5/13 , edited 9/5/13

swirly_commode wrote:


Morbidhanson
Gender identity is much the same. Society and upbringing and one's closest loved ones all support it, it is encouraged for girls to be feminine and boys to be masculine (the opposite is frowned upon), and participation in gender-specific activities is okay and supported, it is widely-prevalent and a very obvious part of 'traditional' upbringing.



so its, likewise, encouraged for "non gender specific" children to act outside the "norm" for their gender?
if encouragement is what leads to gender identity, whether it be positive or negative encouragement, then what happens outside of encouragement?
are you claiming that gay or gender neutral/trans is what happens with no influence or encouragement? if that is your claim then i have to disagree.


That is not what I said. So, no, that is not necessarily the case. I think you misunderstand. I believe more encouragement = a greater likelihood for one to be affected by that encouragement and to be successfully indoctrinated. It is not a guarantee and I did not address what may happen to a person not supported or encouraged. These non-gender specific people are a very small part of the population. The vast majority of the population behaves within the boundaries of what mainstream society considers normal. It is virtually impossible to be outside of encouragement, short of living without ever meeting another human being. At the end of the day, SOMETHING caused something else to happen.

The human machine is astoundingly complicated and even if the upbringing is the same, it is possible for one individual to deviate from the 'normal' path that the conditioning usually leads the person onto. I believe that the non-gender specifics belong in this category of 'deviants' so to speak. They have not been fully/successfully indoctrinated by the rules of society, according to society, and that is all. The reasons behind this may vary. They might have had some sort of traumatic or very significant event that affected them very deeply, they might have some sort of hormonal imbalance or another physiological problem, they think in a very different way, etc.
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