Gender, Sex, & Sexuality: Separate and NOT equal.
First and foremost, a few key terms to keep in mind while reading this paper.
"Sex”: refers to the biological and physiological characteristics that define men and women.
“Gender”: refers to the socially constructed roles, behaviors, activities, and attributes that a given society considers appropriate for men and women.
“Gender identity“: an individual's self-conception as being male or female, as distinguished from actual biological sex.
With so many different terms, it is hard to keep up with the language and understanding of the complex idea of Gender Identity Disorder. If “sex” is a biological term, and “gender” is a sociological term, and “gender identity” is an individual’s self-conception whether or not one's gender matches up with one’s biological sex, where do we draw the line? How can we determine whether or not a person’s gender identity matches their sex? The answer is not an easy one. Gender identity is personal; it is not something that anyone else can determine for you. Therefore it is not up to science or other to say whether or not an individual's gender identity equals their chromosomes and genitalia.
In the case of Daphne Scholinski, we are given insight into her incredibly abusive past as well as her journey through psychiatric facilities due to her diagnosis of Gender Identity Disorder through her memoir The Last Time I Wore a Dress. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) outlines the following criteria for a diagnosis of Gender Identity Disorder in Childhood:
In children, the disturbance is manifested by four (or more) of the following:
1. repeatedly stated desire to be, or insistence that he or she is, the other sex
2. in boys, preference for cross-dressing or simulating female attire; in girls, insistence on wearing only stereotypical masculine clothing
3. strong and persistent preferences for cross-sex roles in make-believe play or persistent fantasies of being the other sex
4. intense desire to participate in the stereotypical games and pastimes of the other sex
5. strong preference for playmates of the other sex
Daphne reported many things about her childhood in her memoir The Last Time I Wore a Dress, but she never mentioned a repeated desire to be the opposite sex. She did prefer to wear clothing that would not be seen as “girly,” such as dresses. Daphne also had a strong preference for her playmates to be boys. She also describes to her readers, too, that she had more of a knack for softball than any desire to perfect the art of makeup. While I wouldn’t consider this a fantasy, Daphne does mention the desire to be as free as a boy is while riding her bike in the sun topless. Counting all of these things as four out of 5 criteria would indeed give Daphne a diagnosis of GID.
How these behaviors come about is what researchers really want to know. Is it a chemical imbalance? Did we not make our children play...