Are we born with sexual identity?

Cecilia - posted on 01/07/2013 ( 28 moms have responded )

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Basically I'm wondering how many people feel that someone is born as the wrong gender,

I was unsure about this issue myself for many years, until i read one story. A woman had twins, both born boys. circumcision went horribly wrong on one. A psychologist paid the mother to allow him to reassign gender to female. This poor child (i will call her a she from this point on to avoid confusion) always felt like she was a boy. She even tried to stand and pee. She even told her mother she was going to marry a woman.

When she turned 14 she was told she was born a male. She choose to become a male again.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Reime...

Basically, I believe that in some cases a few genes can be off and that can chance sexual identity/orientation. No matter what they tried to make David a strait female, they failed. It's a sad story in my eyes. Anyways, does this story change your mind about sexual identity?

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[deleted account]

Dr.Money's reports that the Reimer's reassignment was a success have been discredited for many years, and for many reasons. First off, it didn't stick--He was born a boy, then forced to live as a girl through much of his childhood, but before he was even a teenager, he knew he was a boy and started taking steps to turn himself into a boy. Second, we know that ALL children cross gender rolls during childhood, so his mother letting him "act like a boy" on occasion would not have completely overridden all of her efforts to make him into a girl.

According to the Encyclopedia of Mental Disorders, the specific cause for Gender Identity Disorder is unknown, however science has proven that biology does play a role in the disorder. Consider the following excerpt:
"The sex of a human baby is determined by chromosomes. Males have a Y chromosome, in addition to a X chromosome, while females have two X chromosomes. The Y chromosome contains a gene known as the testes determining factor. This gene causes cells in an embryo to differentiate and develop male genitals. Embryos without the testes determining factor continue to develop undifferentiated as females.

The newly formed male testes release significant quantities of male hormones during the third month of pregnancy, further enhancing male differentiation. This sudden surge of hormones occurs again in males sometime between the second and twelfth week after birth. It is important to note that there is no corresponding feminizing hormonal surge sequence observed in females at this age.

These facts provide the biological basis for gender identity disorder. Male hormonal surges must occur not only in sufficient amounts, but also during a short window of time to cause masculinization of the developing infant. If there is insufficient androgen, the hormone primarily responsible for masculinization, or the surge comes too early or too late, the developing infant may be incompletely masculinized.

Disruptions of hormonal surges may come from a variety of sources. A partial list includes a disorder in the mother's endocrine system, common maternal stress , or maternal medications or some other toxic substances yet to be identified.

Recent post-mortem studies conducted on male-to-female transsexuals, non-transsexual men, and non-transsexual women show a significant difference in the volume of a portion of the hypothalamus that is essential for sexual behavior. While further investigations are needed, these initial studies seem to confirm that one's sense of gender resides in the brain and that it may be chemically determined."

Furthermore, cases of gender identity disorder have been documented throughout history. "Gender identity disorder may be as old as humanity. Cultural anthropologists and other scientists have observed a number of cross-gender behaviors in classical and Hindu mythology, Western and Asian classical history, and in many late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century pre-literate cultures. This consistent record across cultures and time lends support to the notion that the disorder may be, at least in part, biological in origin."

Jodi - posted on 01/07/2013

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OK, I do plan on coming back here with a longer response on where I stand on the issue, however, can I just point out that gender identity (which is what you have described in your example) is a VERY different issue to sexuality (which is what you are implying this post is about by asking whether someone is gay or straight). And they should be treated as separate issues when responding in a debate such as this.

Julie - posted on 01/11/2013

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I believe in Identity Gender Disorder. There is lots of research and scientific studies now that show changes in utero that may cause higher levels of certain hormones in the pituitary gland. Also a study saying women who give birth over the age of 40 (maybe 38) are at a higher risk of having a IGD child.
I do find it ironic that as women have children older, the disorder is becoming more main stream. I also believe in Sexual Identity crisis. This is when environmental causes confuse the brain into thinking they should be one sex, or another. Or they may be confused for years and think they are gay when it was IGD all along.
Either way, very difficult road to travel. I would show nothing but love and acceptance to any and all of these people. We in America ignore mental disease and disorders, but if it were cancer...

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Holly - posted on 01/03/2014

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my husband is transgender, male to female. he's too stubborn to seek help from psychologists, therapists, etc. he was raised in his older sister's shadow, his needs and wants always being put on the back burner for hers... it's really sad, because 'M' is such a manly man, but when he decides it's time for 'girl' to come out, the drama begins, and becomes unbearable. it's like there are 2 sides of him, there's HIM, who i love more than my own life and would gladly die for, then there's HER, who is a very selfish and vain person who don't care about anything but her own feelings. i have a post up on here about this, if you would like to read it.

honestly i believe it's just the atmosphere the person was raised in. i do not believe in the born this way theory. i believe there are underlying causes to this situation rather than just being born that way. i mean in the case of a gender reassigned infant, such as an intersex infant, nature will always come out, because in a lot of cases, their genders are chosen by uneducated guesses by people that don't care- it's just whatever is easiest for the doctor to do. they don't run the proper testing to see whether or not the child is actually male or female.

i've done a lot of research on these issues because of my husband...
in the case of post op, there are a good percentage of them that actually either commit suicide or end up going through reverse transition after a couple of years, by going back on hrt and srs to their birth gender because of various reasons, but one of the main ones was that there were in fact underlying reasons that they felt that way, being molestation, or the amount of children around them of the opposite gender, how they were raised, etc... or that they went through transition for the wrong reasons and realized afterward that they really were wrong and didn't want it in the first place.

Momma - posted on 01/27/2013

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Definitely more genetic, than nurture. However, confusion can come from nurture, thus leaving said person in denial or unsure. Inside, though, they truly know their preference and needs, it just may take a bit longer for them to "find" themselves.

~MeMe

Hillary - posted on 01/25/2013

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I also believe that we are born a certain way...whether it's our sexual orientation or what, I think that we are all born the way we are...looking back on things, in preschool, there was a little boy who just acted so feminine. As we got older and I knew what "gay" was, I knew that he was. I just knew. At such a young age, you can't decide something that you don't know what it even is...he ended up coming out in highschool.

I also think that sometimes, especially in college years, sometimes people DECIDE to go a different route-whether short term, or long term...I don't think it makes them wrong or not genuine in their feelings, though.

Taryn Cadance - posted on 01/16/2013

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I very strongly believe that we are born with a sexual identity, and that the sexual identity doesn't always match the characteristics that we were born with. It's truely kind of a lengthy discussion that could be had. I do believe that we need to be in tune with our children and listen to how they feel, not how we feel. Society, including us as parents are often afraid of the things we don't know or haven't experienced and tend to worry about what others will say or think about our child, be it whatever. But, I believe that if we care about what others will say or think about our children then why can we not care what our child is thinking or feeling first. If your child is different than maybe we shouldn't make such a big negative deal about it but instead assure that they are normal, and help build confidence. I'm not saying don't address the issue but I am saying don't scold them for there sexual identity/orientation. Remember not serious to you could be VERY SERIOUS to them. I do not talk as a person that has read about it or heard about it. I'm dealing with it. I followed and conformed to society and my family for 24 years until I couldn't any longer. I am not going to put all of my business out here, but if anyone has any questions I would be happy to discuss things with you over private messaging. I would rather educate versus allowing ignorance.... even though sometimes ignorance is easier.

[deleted account]

"Kelly, thank you for the post. It does say genetics plays a role, but it is not that alone. " Cecilia

This is true. It is a widely accepted idea that both genetics and environment BOTH play a role in our mental and emotional development. Some people are born more outgoing and open while others are born more shy and withdrawn. No amount of environmental pressure will make those shy ones outgoing or vice versa. That said, environmental conditions, such as abuse during childhood, can cause shy children to become so socially withdrawn that it interferes with their day to day lives--prevents them from living normally. Likewise, it can cause anger management issues in those more outgoing children.

"It makes me now wonder, "What is added onto the gene code to make it one way or the other?" Cecilia

We currently don't know exactly, but scientists are in the process of "mapping" our genes (assigning fragments of DNA (those variances) to specific chromosomes). We already know which chromosomal variances in our DNA are responsible for most physical deformities, such as sickle cell anemia (which is an interesting one because the variance that causes sickle cell anemia is also the one that causes a higher resistance to malaria--those who have one copy are malaria resistant, but those who have two get sickle cell anemia). They also know what variances in our DNA are responsible for certain personality traits, such as shyness, and which put people at higher risks for depression, OCD, bi-polar, and other personality disorders. Unfortunately, in most cases it is not a variance in one chromosome, but rather a combination of variances working together. I don't have my biology books with me, but when I get home, I can look up some of the specifics that have been mapped. Or you can probably find some info online.

In the example you wrote about in your last paragraph, the children will probably grow up to be normal men, unless she actually traumatizes them in a way that effects their sexual identity. Playing with girl toys is not going to do it, even if she exclusively gives them girl toys. However, if she were also sending them the message that girls were superior to boys and that they should want to actually be girls, then yes, her actions could have consequences on their long term mental health.

Cecilia - posted on 01/08/2013

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Lady, I personally don't mind if we go into both personally. They can in some way intertwine. (specially now that it has been proven that there is no full debate on Sexual identity)

Kelly, thank you for the post. It does say genetics plays a role, but it is not that alone. It makes me now wonder," what is added onto the gene code to make it one way or the other?"

Cancer can be a born into trait, which is why it does run in families. We can be born with a genome and we don't know why sometimes it activates in some and not in others. We never know if we have the genome until it becomes activated and becomes cancer.


As far as why I the listed debates don't come across as too strong, they are still debates i've seen. Although I do find the one you missed to be the most possible. The sick things that the doctor did to him and his brother... Childhood trauma, specially sexual in nature, can do some really messed up things to a child's mind.

I know all children cross genders roles, but maybe a parent pushing them one way or the other... might do some damage. I've seen a story on TV(i believe it was taboo but i can't be sure) where this mother claims to have no bais on gender related play things. It honestly looked to me as if she pushed them in girl direction. They had a play date and were playing dress up. No fireman costumes, no cop, indian, doctor nothing that said boy related to me.. All the costumes were princesses. I actually wondered if she was doing more damage than good.

Jodi - posted on 01/08/2013

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Sorry Cecilia, I just re-read a couple of your earlier posts and it clarified.

Lady Heather - posted on 01/08/2013

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Yeah, I still think those people who believed they were straight were in denial as was mentioned. If you had asked my stepdad's ex if she was straight, she'd have said she was.

Sexual orientation and identity are two different things obviously but given that the LGBT community aligns itself so frequently I don't think we should feel too horrible for discussing them within the same thread. Ha. Two sides of the coin - who you are, who you want to be with. I think you're born with both.

Cecilia - posted on 01/08/2013

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Jen, It was not a routine circ. If i remember right it was done 6-8 months old because of a medical issue.

Jodi please explain. I'm not sure where i did that. although it possible lol. I actually reread, i think it was because i used "transgender". sorry i used the wrong word. I should have said "sexual reassignment".

My last post was simply stating some debates about this story proving it is not genetic. It was what happened while growing up that changed the outcome of the way she saw herself.

[deleted account]

Well first off, it just bolster my belief that routine infant circ is wrong and immoral.

Anyway....

I'm not sure. I think for the most part, it 's a genetic thing.

Jodi - posted on 01/08/2013

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Cecilia, I think you are confusing gender identity and sexual orientation.

Cecilia - posted on 01/08/2013

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well Kelly, there are many debates over the story i listed. If you read it the psychologist did some sick things to the twins as young children and some say that this could be the cause for the identity confusion. Thus, saying it is still nurture and not nature which cause the issue at hand. Some say the mother allowed her to act as a boy, because she knew he was one, that may be the cause.

I have not heard that they proved sexual identity was proven to be a born with trait. If you can find me a study on it i would love to read it.

Even with a study that says one thing does not truly say for sure in most cases that it is always the case. Mind you the psychologist who studied this, says that it was a great success and many people followed suit in transgender-ing children because of the so called research.

[deleted account]

Jodi made a good point a few posts back about the difference between sexuality (or sexual orientation) and sexual identity, and I, for whatever reason last night, totally glossed over the sexual identity area and focused only on sexuality--and for whatever OTHER reason, the word "orientation" which I really prefer over "sexuality" completely slipped my brain.

That said, hasn't it already been proven that sexual identity is genetically encoded? So really there is no debate there. The only debate would be whether sexual orientation is encoded or not? Right?

Sorry if I'm not following along properly--rough weekend.

Jodi - posted on 01/08/2013

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"I just find it mind boggling that someone can be so little self aware as to NOT notice they seem to be attracted to same sex!"

Denial can be a powerful thing. Also, our sexuality (how we feel about ourselves sexually) changes at different times in our life. Someone who is bi-sexual may not recognise their bi-sexuality until much later. As an example, women don't peak sexually until they are about 35, so......who knows, right?

Aleks - posted on 01/07/2013

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Lady Heather Livingstone
There is a difference in beliving oneself to be straight but later "discovering" to be gay (usually with quite dramatics, need for therapy, etc and serious life-style and family ramification) and "acting" straight but then coming out later rather than continuing with the charade.

This is what I am talking about!!! These people have BELIEVED themselves to be straight.

I am not saying someone can just be "turned"... this is not my point.... I just find it mind boggling that someone can be so little self aware as to NOT notice they seem to be attracted to same sex!

Aleks - posted on 01/07/2013

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Lady Heather Livingstone
There is a difference in beliving oneself to be straight but later "discovering" to be gay (usually with quite dramatics, need for therapy, etc and serious life-style and family ramification) and "acting" straight but then coming out later rather than continuing with the charade.

This is what I am talking about!!! These people have BELIEVED themselves to be straight.

I am not saying someone can just be "turned"... this is not my point.... I just find it mind boggling that someone can be so little self aware as to NOT notice they seem to be attracted to same sex!

Cecilia - posted on 01/07/2013

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I did mention they tried to raise her as a "strait female" for one reason. She saw a girl in the mirror but liked females. the male in her was present at all times. Her having female parts and liking females did not mean she was gay by any means. she was born as a guy and thought like a guy despite the fact she was told differently.

Do you think that you would like girls if someone sewed a penis onto you at 1 years old? Would still liking males make you gay? Do you see why it is a different issue?

Lady Heather - posted on 01/07/2013

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I can't wrap my mind around the possibility that somebody could do something to me that would make me not attracted to men or turn me into a dude or something so yeah...people are born whatever way they are and that's that. I actually find it kind of humourous that homophobes claim you can turn someone straight because all that means is that they have the potential to be turned gay if it's just that simple to switch it up. Dun dun dun.

On the subject of people who discover their gayness later in life - I think they just weren't previously honest with themselves either because they didn't want to be gay or it wasn't okay to be gay. My stepdad's first wife is a lesbian and trust me - she didn't make that up. They were married for nearly 20 years and had three kids. I think she was just trying to do what she was supposed to do. Fortunately things are gradually getting easier for LGBT folks and I imagine we will see less of this later in life epiphany stuff in the future.

If a person discovers they are gay after living in a house full of gay people or hanging out with a bunch of gay friends well...doesn't that make you think that they might have had some subconscious reason for living with a bunch of gay people? Lol. I don't think it's in the water.

Cecilia - posted on 01/07/2013

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sexual identity basically is more about if someone sees themselves as a boy or a girl. This would more be touching on the people who might choose to change sexes. If a male sees himself as a woman stuck in a mans body, and chooses to become a female. This would not in theory make him gay.

Some do not go through the surgery, they sometimes will choose to dress as the preferred gender. Some will restrain from sex all together.

There is an island ( sorry i forget the name of it) where 75% of the children born are born with both parts (although the female part is usually nothing more than a shallow opening, which means no reproductive organs) They are allowed to choose which sex they identify with and live as that one.

Now can someone be born gay/strait/bi... I would assume so. But I would think all would fall equally on the chart thus bi-sexual is just as much as valid as gay is. Maybe he just never realized that he enjoyed both. This is saying he wasn't grossed out by his wife, nor the thought of being with a male.

Aleks - posted on 01/07/2013

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While on the one hand I believe that people are "born" to be which ever sexuality, there is one thing that really bothers me about this... and this is the circumstances where the person has functioned and "believed" themselves to be straight, even got married (in the cases I have heard usually married for more than 10yrs) and had kids...etc....
Only to later "discover" they were in fact gay.. or believed themselves to be gay.
I have heard some such people tell their stories first hand (not reading an article about it or hearing other people talk about it). And they lead very straight lives and believed themselves to BE straight, only later.. to say... "actually, I think I am gay".
Some were adamant of being straight, but then "turned out gay" after sharing a house with some gay people ....
What do you guys make of this????

Cecilia - posted on 01/07/2013

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Yea i looked up the book and bookmarked it for now. I have to go get a barns and nobles card to add it to my nook. (i'm out of money on it spent the last of my money sending my kids books for Christmas ) I can be such a dork for books like this. I do not like the fact that they call it abnormal instead of non-normative though.

A little off topic- my favorite book of all times" They F*** You Up: How to Survive Family Life "

[deleted account]

Thanks, I thought most of the people here would understand what I was trying to say, but I was worried it wouldn't be clear and felt the need to clarify.

The Other Side of Normal is an attempt to look at how much of our behavior is determined by genetic coding, and how much is determined by environmental factors. Obviously, no clear line can be drawn in most cases, but basically what we have learned is that while environmental conditions do have a major effect on the trajectory of our genetic coding, it cannot override it. I find this fascinating!

Cecilia - posted on 01/07/2013

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I understood what you were saying about genetics. You were simply trying to state that in some cases nature will always over ride nurture. ( such as in cases with disabilities) For anyone who does not understand what i mean -- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nature_vers...

That's where my debate lied for a long time with this issue. For a long time i believed that nurture was more powerful that nature. The more I looked at it, the longer i was raising children, the more i realized i was wrong.

I do believe that some of the disorders that come along with transgender might have to do with society and them feeling as if they don't fit in.There are studies that say when transgenders find a like-minded group that suicidal tendencies decrease. I would hope that if/when society becomes more accepting, they will feel more secure in themselves.

[deleted account]

You would definitely love the book I mentioned in your other thread! You must read it!

Yes, I do think our sexuality is genetically programmed into us. Even minute variances in chromosomes can have a major impact not only on our physical appearances, but the way we think, process information, and even interpret and express emotion! Thus, I find it very plausible to believe that some genetic coding is responsible for our sexuality, and that variances in that coding can influence whether we are heterosexual, homosexual, or bisexual. I think these variances are most definitely responsible for transsexualism (being trapped in the body of the opposite sex, which is different from homosexuality, in which the person is comfortable with their sex, but attracted to the same sex).

That is not to say that environmental factors do not play a part. I am sure they play a part as well, but I don't believe any amount of environmental stimuli can override our genetic coding. For example, if one's genetic coding resulted an illness, such as Williams Syndrome or Downs Syndrome (both genetically encoded), no amount of teaching and coaching and pushing will raise the child's ability to learn and process certain forms of information. Likewise, if a person is born with variances that effect their sexuality, no amount of environmental input can change their sexuality, or make a gay person straight, or visa versa.

Furthermore, that is NOT to categorize homosexuality, bisexuality, and transsexualism as mental illnesses or deformities! There are MILLIONS of genetic variances, and no one's genetic makeup is exactly like anyone else's. These variances make us unique, and in some cases, such as the illnesses I mentioned above, come with very serious health risks and must be recognized and treated, while others, such as those that determine that we are more social than others, or more introverted, are "normal" variances. I would put most sexual determinate variances in the "normal" variance category, with the exception of transsexualism, because I do believe that transsexualism requires some form of treatment. Transsexual individuals are at VERY high risk for suicide, depression, and several other personality disorders, such as borderline personality and bi-polar disorder. I do not know if these risk factors are increased due to the same genetic variances that make them transsexual, or to the fact that our society is so unaccepting of their personalities.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 01/07/2013

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I totally think we are born the way we were meant to be. If you are gay, straight, bi, transgender, or anything else. I completely believe we are already hardwired to be a certain way when we are born.

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