There are many factors that can determine gender identity. There is continuous research comparing the affect of both biology and environment on gender identity. Gender identity is almost always chromosomal sex although that isn’t enough to rule out the affect of environment. Intersexuals are rare individuals who posses the typical external genitalia while possessing ambiguous sexual organs of the other sex. There are also hermaphrodites who possess both testicular and ovarian tissue. These two factors that determine gender identity are caused by hormonal factors in prenatal development. Hermaphrodites usually assume the gender identity of the sex assignment at birth.
A sex assignment is the process of determining the sex of a child at birth. Intersexualism has given scientists a chance to compare environment and biology. Intersexualism means a person possesses a whole, either male or female reproductive organs. They also possess internal or external tissue of the other sex. Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia is a form of intersexualism in which a genetic female has internal female sexual structures but masculinized external genitals. Androgen-insensitivity syndrome is a form of intersexualism in which a genetic male is prenatally insensitive to androgens such that his genitals are not normally masculinized.
Dominican Republic Syndrome is a form intersexualism in which a genetic enzyme disorder prevents testosterone from masculinizing the external genitalia. CAH is caused by exposure to androgens which are produced naturally through adrenal or mothers may have received synthetic androgens to prevent miscarriage in women who have a family history of miscarriages. Research has been done on CAH and results have shown that girls with CAH act more like a boy. They are more interested in masculine toys such as trucks while girls without are more interested in playing with dolls. Girls with CAH show more aggression in play and tend to have more male friends while girls without CAH play with other girls. There are many kinds of androgen-insensitivity syndrome. One involves a male having a sensitivity to prenatal androgen due to a mutated gene. At birth, their genitals are feminized and can even include a small vagina. This insensitivity causes male internal reproductive organs to remain undeveloped. Girls can have partial androgen-insensitivity syndrome or complete androgen-insensitivity syndrome.
Girls with CAIS develop typical genital external organs but their internal reproductive organs to not function properly. Girls with PAIS are usually raised as boys but sometimes as girls. Research results show that women with PAIS have no difference in gender identity in comparison to women without although they are born with external masculinized genitalia. Three things that have effected the gender identity of my own are very simple and generic. Of course, I have external male genitalia which in turn makes the perception I have of myself lean more towards being a man. I was raised by mom and only my mom so being the man of the house was always being presented to me because I was also an only child. This masculinized my attitude overall and gave me an alpha male self-esteem at an early age.
I played a lot of sports which exposed me to aggressive play and taught me how to play hard. One of my reasons is backed by biology and the other two are backed by environment. This doesn’t mean that environment has a larger affect on gender identity but it is the direction I chose to go when analyzing my own factors of determining my gender identity. In conclusion, there is still no real answer when the question is asked: nature or nurture? Gender identity is largely influenced by biology and prenatal androgens but parenting and encouraging by a primary caregiver can influence gender identity greatly. Many factors can determine gender identity and prenatal conditions can cause internal and external differences in genitalia which will affect both sex assignment and gender identity.
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