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A Question of Gender?

So I Read THIS article, and I got to wondering.

Doesn't your body parts/nature decide what your gender is?  I mean just because I want to be a female doesn't mean I am.  My body is one of a male, and that's it.  Granted there are some genetic anomalies where people come out with both sets or nothing at all, but apart from them, I don't understand how someone can be confused on what they are.

Another issue with this is how could parents (no matter the genders) permit this kind of medical treatment for such a young child?  I mean if this kid has a penis why are they disturbing nature's cycle?  So he's going to get a sex change before he's even an adult?  IS a kid this young REALLY in a position to make any sort of decision like that?  

Lastly, in the article it alludes to it possibly being because both parents are female so he wants to be like them.  I can see the validity of this, since as a child your parents are usually role models and when you don't have one of your gender, you may decide to want to be a girl instead.

So three parts:
1.  What determines gender?  Nature?  Or do we decide we are whatever we want even if we have contradictory body parts?

2.  Should parents even be allowed to do something like this to a child?  See as how this has nothing to do with physical health, should doctors be allowed to even perform stuff like this on a child?  Especially without any long term studies done on it?

3.  Do you think the parents being both female has anything to do with what this child is saying?  Or do you think possibly they are WANTING their child to be a girl and thus being selfish in their actions?

Discuss. :)
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MtnChickCommented:
1.  I don't know what determines gender but I thnk it is clear that body parts do NOT.  There has been much documentation on ambigious sexual organs or infant boys who have a circumsion accident and are made into a girl by the doctors.  Talk about freaky medicine!  You don't even wait to see how the child develops at all.  
2.  It sounds like the parents are trying an option that gives the child the most options as she/he grows into puberty.  
3.  Possible but I would say unlikely if it is true that the solicted opinions from both extended family and impartial therapists.  
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CCSOFlagAuthor Commented:
I don't know what determines gender but I thnk it is clear that body parts do NOT.

That's what I don't understand.  I mean, I thought gender was what anatomy you had.  I mean people can act however they want, but you can't change (well easily) what body parts you have.  Once you have a vagina or penis it takes a lot of money and surgery to change it and even then I've heard horror stories of the outcome.  I see it similar to, I can act like a dog, but it doesn't make me a dog.  I can try to think like a gorilla but it doesn't make me a gorilla.  I can't remember her name but wasn't there a woman who studied gorillas and she started to think she was one or something like that?  She'll never be a gorilla though because genetics are genetics right?

There has been much documentation on ambigious sexual organs or infant boys who have a circumsion accident and are made into a girl by the doctors.
Like the doctors removed the penis and installed a vagina?  They're allowed to do that?

It sounds like the parents are trying an option that gives the child the most options as she/he grows into puberty.  
So going back to my first post, why not give them the option to be a goat, or a mouse or anything else they want?  I mean where do we draw the lines?  We can't be anything we want.  I think children need to learn to be who they are, and not try to be someone else.

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raterusCommented:
To answer #3, I think 100% absolutely these "parents" are the sole reason this child is confused.   This unfortunate child has been raised without a strong male role-model in his life, of course he's confused!  The outcome would have been completely different had his natural parents (man & woman) raised him.  He never had a Daddy to wrestle with him on the floor, teach him to pee standing up, play with guns, jump in standing puddles of water, etc.  It's not going to be the popular answer in our day and age, because this isn't the politically correct answer.
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CCSOFlagAuthor Commented:
I think 100% absolutely these "parents" are the sole reason this child is confused.

I tend to lean toward this, my only issue is what about those born with both body parts?  OR those born without one?  What then?  If these truly are neither or both, then what DOES make a person male or female?
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MtnChickCommented:
There is plenty of documentation on the medical community attempting to answer the nature vs. nurture question in regard to gender but this is the most publicized that I am aware of:

http://www.amazon.com/As-Nature-Made-Him-Raised/dp/0060192119

I have not read the book but I have read several online versions of the story.  

So yes, doctors are "allowed" to randomly assign gender.  There are a whole host of issues with this topic, particularly in the cases of children who have both sexual organ or the genetic test to determine gender does not have clear results.  

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003269.htm

You can't draw lines around some of this.  It is  fine to say that boys need role models but that is not the whole picture either.  I have a son that I raised with no male role model until this last year.  He was and still is, ALL boy from the beginning.  It is easy to blame the parents but I think ths is far more complex than any of us can grasp.  
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CCSOFlagAuthor Commented:
Hmmm...  Good thoughts MtnChick.  Thanks for your inputs so far.
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sbdt8631Commented:
1.  I think people confuse gender and sexuality.  If you are born a typical male or female without any medical complications then your gender is male or female.  Your sexuality or feelings may be otherwise but you gender is what it is.
2. IMO, the child id too young for this type of therapy unless it is physically, medically necessary.  The child is incapable at that age of making informed decisions that will profoundly affect the rest of his life.  The long term medical and mental effects are unknown.  Think Michael Jackson.
3. I think it is impossible to know from the information provided what influence the parents had on the decision of the child.

IMO, this is child abuse, plain and simple.
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CCSOFlagAuthor Commented:
1.  I think people confuse gender and sexuality.  If you are born a typical male or female without any medical complications then your gender is male or female.  Your sexuality or feelings may be otherwise but you gender is what it is.

Maybe that's how I understand it as well.

2. IMO, the child id too young for this type of therapy unless it is physically, medically necessary.  The child is incapable at that age of making informed decisions that will profoundly affect the rest of his life.  The long term medical and mental effects are unknown.  Think Michael Jackson.

I tend to agree with this.  I beleive there is a reason children are under parent supervision/care.  If a child is supposedly old enough and mature enough to make a decision on their sexuality, why not sex itself, marriage, working, driving, etc?

3. I think it is impossible to know from the information provided what influence the parents had on the decision of the child.
Agreed, but just curious what people are thinking about whether having two female parents could have an influence on a child.
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sbdt8631Commented:
>>Agreed, but just curious what people are thinking about whether having two female parents could have an influence on a child.

There must be more to than this.  I am sure there are plenty of gay couples, male and female, who raise heterosexual children.

"Scientific research has been generally consistent in showing that gay and lesbian parents are as fit and capable as heterosexual parents, and their children are as psychologically healthy and well-adjusted as children reared by heterosexual parents"
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LGBT_parenting
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MtnChickCommented:
I think being raised by two females is irrelevant to the issue.  If so, there would be sexuality issues with children raised in maternal multigenerational households.  Grandma, Mom and kid(s).
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sbdt8631Commented:
>>I think being raised by two females is irrelevant to the issue.  If so, there would be sexuality issues with children raised in maternal multigenerational households.  Grandma, Mom and kid(s).

I agree
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Jason210Commented:
According to widely accepted definitions:

Sex, the biological part is easy. It is the presence or absence of a Y-chromosome determines gender - males have XY chromosomes and females have XX, and as a result, the gender is differentiated as the embryo grows, leading to the development of specific male or female physiological characteristics, inlcuding through infancy, childhood, puberty and adolescence, and adulthood.

"Gender", however, is more complicated. There was a European Convention in April that defined gender as a "social constuct": http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/new-european-convention-defines-gender-as-social-construct/. But there are clearly two aspects to gender. There is the gender role, which is determined by social and cultural influences; and then there is gender identity, which is the psychological conception of oneself as male or female. This latter aspect is the most complicated. There are many factors contibuting to gender identity, including social influences, sex, and so on, such that the sexual identity that emerges beyond childhood is a separate from gender identity, and can be different to it.

A person's gender can be said to be the free expression of gender identity and gender role.



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PaulHewsCommented:
>So three parts:
1.  What determines gender?  Nature?  Or do we decide we are whatever we want even if we have contradictory body parts?<

I don't think I know anyone who decided their gender, where decision indicates a conscious act.  I think it may be a combination of predisposition and environment.  

>2.  Should parents even be allowed to do something like this to a child?  See as how this has nothing to do with physical health, should doctors be allowed to even perform stuff like this on a child?  Especially without any long term studies done on it?<

My gut instinct says no.  In order to figure yourself out, you need to have some idea of what the world is, and where you hope to fit into it.  It may be that the child is too young to really know any of that, and that this is the result of over protective "it's okay sweetie if you want to be a girl, let's help you" type of thinking.  The treatment seems over the top for someone so young.  But the problem with most gut reactions like that, is that we don't really know the situation of the child or the family, so it is a completely arbitrary opinion.

>3.  Do you think the parents being both female has anything to do with what this child is saying?  Or do you think possibly they are WANTING their child to be a girl and thus being selfish in their actions?<

The simple answer is that it's complicated.  I'm sure they have the best intentions towards the boy, and I doubt selfishness really factors into it.  In fact quite the opposite, it sounds like they have their hands full with a child that has some difficult and scary issues.
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CCSOFlagAuthor Commented:
MtnChick wrote:
I think being raised by two females is irrelevant to the issue.  If so, there would be sexuality issues with children raised in maternal multigenerational households.  Grandma, Mom and kid(s).


For the most part I agree.  I think boys need some sort of male influence in there life just as I think girls need a woman influence.  Whether it's uncles/aunts, grandpas/grandmas, parent's boyfriends/girlfriends, teachers, etc.  I do agree that one gender is perfectly capable of raising one of the opposite though.  It has more to do with what you teach them while they're growing up imo.


Jason210 wrote:
males have XY chromosomes and females have XX


I agree.  I don't think we choose any part of our sex or whatever you want to call it.  

There is the gender role, which is determined by social and cultural influences; and then there is gender identity, which is the psychological conception of oneself as male or female.
Although I think it's putting words to something that should have those words.  I mean who defines how a male or female should act?  To me, it doesn't matter how a male or female acts.  They'll always be a male or female.  I know a lot of cultural groups claim male/female should act in certain ways, but I disagree.  I think everyone has a right to act how they want.  As an individual we might desire our partner or others of that sex to act a certain way, but we have no right to say they must act that way.  Some stereotypes include women doing all the cooking and cleaning.  they're the nurturing ones to the kids.  The men grunt and scratch their parts all day and do the disciplining.  I totally disagree.  Personally I do most the cooking in my house, the wife isn't very good at it.  I enjoy cooking, does that make me a female?  I don't think so.

If a guy wants to wear a dress or a skirt or anything else, why not?  Women wear pants, shorts and everything else guys wear.  So why not the other way around?  Some of the Scottish wear skirts essentially.  Are the men there thought of as women?  Not that I'm aware of.

So I guess my point is gender/sex or whatever you want to call it is decided by nature.  We can't DENY the body parts we have.  As far as how we act, that's up to us and shouldn't have anything to do with what sex we are.

PaulHews wrote:
It may be that the child is too young to really know any of that, and that this is the result of over protective "it's okay sweetie if you want to be a girl, let's help you" type of thinking.  The treatment seems over the top for someone so young.  But the problem with most gut reactions like that, is that we don't really know the situation of the child or the family, so it is a completely arbitrary opinion.

I agree, I think this can be a dangerous attitude as well.  IMO, if you have to give hormone treatments to have the body do something it's going against nature, especially if there is nothing wrong with the way their hormones are in their normal state.  Granted we do not know everything, but I think if there were real hormone issues to begin with they would have mentioned them in the story.  My impression is they simply want to let the boy be a girl, instead of letting nature grow him into a man.  

The simple answer is that it's complicated.  I'm sure they have the best intentions towards the boy, and I doubt selfishness really factors into it.  In fact quite the opposite, it sounds like they have their hands full with a child that has some difficult and scary issues.
I agree.
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MtnChickCommented:
Jason210 wrote: Sex, the biological part is easy. It is the presence or absence of a Y-chromosome determines gender - males have XY chromosomes and females have XX, and as a result, the gender is differentiated as the embryo grows, leading to the development of specific male or female physiological characteristics, inlcuding through infancy, childhood, puberty and adolescence, and adulthood.
What about individuals who are born with XXY chromosomes?  Individuals with XX chromosomes who have male gentialia or XY with female gentialia?  
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Jason210Commented:
What about individuals who are born with XXY chromosomes?  Individuals with XX chromosomes who have male gentialia or XY with female gentialia?

Both these cases are rare and considered to be disorders. When we talk about gender, gender role and gender identity, it is independant of sex and genetic disorders.

 
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TlingitCommented:
MtnChick
>>I think being raised by two females is irrelevant to the issue.  If so, there would be sexuality issues with children raised in maternal multigenerational households.  Grandma, Mom and kid(s).

CCSOFlag
>>For the most part I agree.  I think boys need some sort of male influence in there life just as I think girls need a woman influence.  Whether it's uncles/aunts, grandpas/grandmas, parent's boyfriends/girlfriends, teachers, etc.  I do agree that one gender is perfectly capable of raising one of the opposite though.  It has more to do with what you teach them while they're growing up imo.

I think you are both wrong respectfully.  I have kids.  Two girls and two boys.  When they were born they instintively knew who Mom and Dad were.  They knew we were different and we played very important roles in their lives and this was when they were first born.  It's not something they were taught, like I said they instintively knew we were different individuals.  I don't need a scientific study to tell me this either because as a father I know the important roles that each parent gives to their children.

I think it is sick and wrong what they are doing to this child.
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CCSOFlagAuthor Commented:
Tlingit,

I agree that it is sick and wrong what they are doing to this child.  I do not agree with it in any way.

As far as the roles parents have, I agree they do have roles, I am simply acknowledging the fact that there are many kids out there who grow up quite well in a single parent home.  One of my good friends was raised by his mother.  He is quite normal.  He's married, has a good job (makes more than me), and doesn't complain too much about his life (no one's life is perfect).  He's a good guy and i'd trust him with my life.  On that note I have also seen kids raised in a single parent home that are seriously jacked up.  This is why I say it depend son what that child was taught, and I also believe there needs to be some sort of role model in their life.
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TlingitCommented:
>>This is why I say it depend son what that child was taught, and I also believe there needs to be some sort of role model in their life.

A good role model because even in a home where there is a mother/father figure, some kids turn out bad, so there is no garantee.  I do, however, believe babies know the difference between a mother and father at a very early age and that is the point that I was trying to get across.
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CCSOFlagAuthor Commented:
A good role model because even in a home where there is a mother/father figure, some kids turn out bad, so there is no garantee.

Totally agree.
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CCSOFlagAuthor Commented:
Thanks for the inputs everyone.
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