The Complex World of Gender
There are no definite conclusions as to what makes a person transgender.
There is growing evidence that gender identity must be due to a combination of factors as it is too complex to simply be the product of a single factor like a gene, or a past experience, or how someone was raised.
Beyond a Western Model
What we often refer to as being “transgender” can actually be found across the globe.
People from a range of cultures often see gender in far broader terms that simply as a male / female binary. In fact, in some cultures, as many as six gender identities exist.
So when we see someone as transgender that is because we a re looking at gender through a lens that sees the gender default at a two way split, and while many people embrace their transgender identities, others find them a bit limiting.
Some Theories of Gender Identity
There are a number of different ideas about the formation of gender identity.
Some scientists think a transgender identity is biological and has to do with the timing of when a male hormone is secreted during fetal development.
Others think that this may relate to the fact that a woman used certain medications during pregnancy.
Different research points towards a links between transgender identity and the way a person’s brain is structured.
Some people think that there are also psychological causes and point to the fact that a lot of transgender people feel their identities are deeply woven into who they are from their earliest memories.
Ultimately, however, we just don’t know!
Theories That Don’t Hold Up
While we don’t know exactly why some people are transgender (or genderqueer or agender), we do know that a lot of ideas about why some people are transgender aren’t actually legit.
For example, a transgender identity won’t be caused by child abuse or sexual assault.
Nor is it caused by parenting style. In fact, all you need to do to refute the idea that parenting style determines gender identity is to point out that the majority of transgender people have cisgender parents.
Plus, while being transgender is an issue of identity, some people still view it as a mental health illness.
Transgender identity cannot be cured with treatment. And it is a sad situation that some people think this is even something that should be attempted. Now that isn’t to say that a person who is trans might also have mental health issues. Living in a very transphobic world can cause great distress, anxiety and depression. However, this is a very different thing than is the idea that a person’s trans identity itself is the issue.
Unfortunately, this can be a hard message to spread when the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders still lists:“Gender Identity Disorder” as a psychiatric condition.
What it All Comes Down to
The bottom line is, whatever the cause, you can’t change your gender identity and trying to do so can cause a lot of harm. We are who we are, and hopefully, that is something we will be able to feel comfortable with and appreciate.