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When Harry was born, his parents, Steve and Barb, were delighted to add another boy to their family. But as their baby boy began to grow and develop, they noticed that Harry began to express himself in a manner that they viewed as more feminine than masculine.
He gravitated toward dolls and other toys that our culture typically associates with girls. He even began to draw himself as a girl, complete with a dress and high-heeled shoes. In fact, Harry did not just wish to be a girl; he believed he was a girl. In kindergarten, Harry often got into arguments with male classmates because he insisted that he was a girl, not a boy.
Concerned with the social ramifications associated with his child being transgendered, Steve hoped this was just a phase. They came to this decision after concluding that the criticism he would endure from his peers and other members of society would be less damaging than the confusion he might experience internally if he were forced to live as a boy.
Many transgendered children grow up hating their bodies, and this population can have high rates of drug abuse and suicide Weiss Fearful of these outcomes and eager to make their child happy, Steve and Barb now refer to Harry as Hailey and allow her to dress and behave in manners that are considered feminine.
To a stranger, Hailey is likely to appear just like any other girl and may even be considered extra girly due to her love of all things pink. But to those who once knew Hailey as Harry, Hailey is likely to endure more ridicule and rejection as the result of adopting a feminine gender identity. Currently, seven-year-old Hailey and her parents are comfortable with her gender status, but Steve and Barb are concerned about what questions and problems might arise as she gets older.
In this chapter, we will discuss the differences between sex and gender, along with issues like gender identity and sexuality. We will also explore various theoretical perspectives on the subjects of gender and sexuality. When filling out a document such as a job application or school registration form you are often asked to provide your name, address, phonebirth date, and sex or gender.
But have you ever been asked to provide your sex and your gender? As with most people, it may not have occurred to you that sex and gender are not the same. However, sociologists and most other social scientists view sex and gender as conceptually distinct. Sex refers to physical or physiological differences between males and females, including both primary sex characteristics the reproductive system and secondary characteristics such as height and muscularity. Gender is a term that refers to social or cultural distinctions associated with being male or female. Gender identity is the extent to which one identifies as being either masculine or feminine Diamond Therefore, the terms sex and gender are not interchangeable.
A baby boy who is born with male genitalia will be identified as male. As he grows, however, he may identify with the feminine aspects of his culture. Since the term sex refers to biological or physical distinctions, characteristics of sex will not vary ificantly between different human societies.
For example, all persons of the female sex, in general, regardless of culture, will eventually menstruate and develop breasts that can lactate. Characteristics of gender, on the other hand, may vary greatly between different societies. For example, in American culture, it is considered feminine or a trait of the female gender to wear a dress or skirt. However, in many Middle Eastern, Asian, and African cultures, dresses or skirts often referred to as sarongs, robes, or gowns can be considered masculine.
The kilt worn by a Scottish male does not make him appear feminine in his culture. The dichotomous view of gender the notion that one is either male or female is specific to certain cultures and is not universal. In some cultures, gender is viewed as fluid. In the past, some anthropologists used the term berdache to refer to individuals who occasionally or permanently dressed and lived as the opposite gender. The practice has been noted among certain Aboriginal groups Jacobs, Thomas, and Lang It was not until the s that American and British psychologists and other professionals working with intersex and transsexual patients formally began distinguishing between sex and gender.
Since then, psychological and physiological professionals have increasingly used the term gender Moi By the end of the 2oth century, expanding the proper usage of the term gender to everyday language became more challenging—particularly where legal language is concerned. In an effort to clarify usage of the terms sex and genderU.
AlabamaS. In Canada, there has not been the same formal deliberations on the legal Wives looking real sex Cooks of sex and gender. The distinction between sex as a physiological attribute and gender as social attribute has been used without controversy. For example, in British Columbia, people who have surgery to change their anatomical sex can apply through the provisions of the Vital Statistics Act to have their birth certificate changed to reflect their post-operative sex.
If a person was born male, does this mean that after surgery that person is fully regarded as a female in the eyes of the law though? In the case of Nixon v. The controversy was not over whether Kimberly was a woman, but whether she was woman enough for the position. VRR argued that as Kimberly had not grown up as Wives looking real sex Cooks woman, she did not have the requisite lived experience as a woman in patriarchal society to counsel women rape victims. The B. The court acknowledged that the meaning of both sex and gender vary in different contexts.
The case is currently under appeal.
These legal issues reveal that even human experience that is assumed to be biological and personal such as our self-perception and behaviour is actually a socially defined variable by culture. Vancouver Rape Relief Society is a matter of legal decision making as much as it is a matter of biology or lived experience.
North America is a heteronormative society, meaning it supports heterosexuality as the norm. According to current scientific understanding, individuals are usually aware of their sexual orientation between middle childhood and early adolescence American Psychological Association They do not have to participate in sexual activity to be aware of these emotional, romantic, and physical attractions; people can be celibate and still recognize their sexual orientation.
Homosexual women also referred to as lesbianshomosexual men also referred to as gaysand bisexuals of both genders may have very different experiences of discovering and accepting their sexual orientation. Alfred Kinsey was among the first to conceptualize sexuality as a continuum rather than a strict dichotomy of gay or straight.
To classify this continuum of heterosexuality and homosexuality, Kinsey created a six-point rating scale that ranges from exclusively heterosexual to exclusively homosexual see Figure Sedgwick recognized that in North American culture, males are subject to a clear divide between the two sides of this continuum, whereas females enjoy more fluidity. This can Wives looking real sex Cooks illustrated by the way women in Canada can express homosocial feelings nonsexual regard for people of the same sex through hugging, handholding, and physical closeness. In contrast, Canadian males refrain from these expressions since they violate the heteronormative expectation.
While women experience a flexible norming of variations of behaviour that spans the heterosocial-homosocial spectrum, male behaviour is subject to strong social sanction if it veers into homosocial territory because of societal homophobia Sedgwick There is no scientific consensus regarding the exact reasons why an individual holds a heterosexual, homosexual, or bisexual orientation. There has been research conducted to study the possible genetic, hormonal, developmental, social, and cultural influences on sexual orientation, but there has been no evidence that links sexual orientation to one factor APA Research, however, does present evidence showing that homosexuals and bisexuals are treated differently than heterosexuals in schools, the workplace, and the military.
The Canadian Climate Survey reported that 59 percent of LGBT lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgendered high school students had been subject to verbal harassment at school compared to 7 percent of non-LGBT students, 25 percent had been subject to physical harassment compared to 8 percent of non-LGBT students, 31 percent had been subject to cyber-bullying via internet or text messaging compared to 8 percent of non-LGBT students, 73 percent felt unsafe at school compared to 20 percent of non-LGBT students, and 51 percent felt unaccepted at school compared to 19 percent of non-LGBT students Taylor and Peter Much of this discrimination is based on stereotypes, misinformation, and homophobiaan extreme or irrational aversion to homosexuals.
Major policies to prevent discrimination based on sexual orientation have not come into effect until the last few years. In the federal government legalized same-sex marriage. The Canadian Human Rights Act was amended in to explicitly prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, including the unequal treatment of gay men, lesbians, and bisexuals. Organizations such as Egale Canada Equality for Gays And Lesbians Everywhere advocate for LGBT rights, establish gay pride organizations in Canadian communities, and promote gay-straight alliance support groups in schools.
As we grow, we learn how to behave from those around us. In this socialization process, children are introduced to certain roles that are typically linked to their biological sex. These roles are based on norms, or standards, created by society. In Canadian culture, masculine roles are usually associated with strength, aggression, and dominance, while feminine roles are usually associated with passivity, nurturing, and subordination. Role learning starts with socialization at birth. Even today, our society is quick to outfit male infants in blue and girls in pink, even applying these colour-coded gender labels while a baby is in the womb.
One way children learn gender roles is through play. Parents typically supply boys with trucks, toy guns, and superhero paraphernalia, which are active toys that promote motor skills, aggression, and solitary play. Girls are often given dolls and dress-up apparel that foster nurturing, social proximity, and role play. The drive to adhere to masculine and feminine gender roles continues later in life. Men tend to out women in professions Wives looking real sex Cooks as law enforcement, the military, and politics. Women tend to out men in care-related occupations such as child care, health care, and social work.
Adherence to them demonstrates fulfillment of social expectations but not necessarily personal preference Diamond Canadian society allows for some level of flexibility when it comes to acting out gender roles. To a certain extent, men can assume some feminine roles and women can assume some masculine roles without interfering with their gender identity.
Individuals who identify with the role that is the opposite of their biological sex are called transgendered. Transgendered males, for example, have such a strong emotional and psychological connection to the feminine aspects of society that they identify their gender as female. The parallel connection to masculinity exists for transgendered females. It is difficult to determine the prevalence of transgenderism in society.
Statistics Canada states that they have neither the definitive of people whose sexual orientation is lesbian, gay, or bisexual, nor the of people who are transgendered Statistics Canada However, it is estimated that 2 to 5 percent of the U. Transgendered individuals who wish to alter their bodies through medical interventions such as surgery and hormonal therapy—so that their physical being is better aligned with gender identity—are called transsexuals.
Not all transgendered individuals choose to alter their bodies: many will maintain their original anatomy but may present themselves to society as the opposite gender. This is typically done by adopting the dress, hairstyle, mannerisms, or other characteristic typically ased to the opposite gender. It is important to note that people who cross-dress, or wear clothing that is traditionally ased to opposite gender, are not necessarily transgendered. There is no single, conclusive explanation for why people are transgendered.
Transgendered expressions and experiences are so diverse that it is difficult to identify their origin. Some hypotheses suggest biological factors such as genetics or prenatal hormone levels as well as social and cultural factors such as childhood and adulthood experiences. It is known, however, that transgendered and transsexual individuals experience discrimination based on their gender identity. People who identify as transgendered are twice as likely to experience assault or discrimination as non-transgendered individuals; they are also one and a half times more likely to experience intimidation National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs These organizations hope that by educating the public about gender identity and empowering transgendered and transsexual individuals, this violence will end.
What if you had to live as the opposite sex? If you are a man, imagine that you were forced to wear frilly dresses, dainty shoes, and makeup to special occasions, and you were expected to enjoy romantic comedies and glamour reality shows. If you are a woman, imagine that you were forced to wear shapeless clothing, put only minimal effort into your personal appearance, not show emotion, and watch countless hours of sporting events and sports-related commentary. It would be pretty uncomfortable, right? Well, maybe not.
Many people enjoy participating in activities that are typically associated with the opposite sex and would not mind if some of the cultural expectations for men and women were loosened. Now, imagine that when you look at your body in the mirror, you feel disconnected. As you get older, you hate the way your body is changing, and, therefore, you hate yourself. These elements of disconnect and shame are important to understand when discussing transgendered individuals. Fortunately, sociological studies pave the way for a deeper and more empirically grounded understanding of transgendered experience.
Aggressive behaviour, when it does not inflict ificant harm, is often accepted from boys and men because it is congruent with the cultural script for masculinity. Just as a playwright expects actors to adhere to a prescribed script, society expects women and men to behave according to the expectations of their respective gender role. Scripts are generally learned through a process known as socializationwhich teaches people to behave according to social norms. Children learn at a young age that there are distinct Wives looking real sex Cooks for boys and girls.
Cross-cultural studies reveal that children are aware of gender roles by age two or three. At four or five, most children are firmly entrenched in culturally appropriate gender roles Kane Children acquire these roles through socialization, a process in which people learn to behave in a particular way as dictated by societal values, beliefs, and attitudes.
For example, society often views riding a motorcycle as a masculine activity and, therefore, considers it to be part of the male gender role. Attitudes such as this are typically based on stereotypes, oversimplified notions about members of a group.Wives looking real sex Cooks
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