Gender identification generally refers to the identification of individuals as either females or males. It defines how a person identifies their gender without considering their sexual characteristics. In the older centuries, gender identity was basically determined by the appearance of the individuals. After the 20th century, the studies on genes and chromosomes were widely spread and it became widely used as a determinant of gender. High presence of certain types of hormones in an individual will course some behaviors in a person while on the other hand it is argued that some behaviors may cause a change of hormones in a person (Lloyd 2004). It is can therefore be argued whether it is the biological factors, hormonal differences or the environmental factors that help individuals identify their gender.
Gender identity has been said to be affected by the hormonal balance within oneself. This means that the hormones in an individual affect how the individual is going to behave. For the female hormones they influence the individual to behave in a feminine nature while the male hormones are expected to drive the individuals to behave in a masculine nature. The hormones present in the individuals usually affect the brains of the individuals and this eventually affects how the individuals are going to behave. The behaviors exerted by the individuals are then used to judge their gender identity. Many scholars have therefore argued that the hormones present in individuals cause or guide the behaviors of the persons which will finally help them identify their gender (Neave 2007).
Biological factors also influence sexual differentiation and gender identity. This includes the factors such as testosterone and also genes which have effects on the brain cells of the individuals. The study of chromosomes in the 20th century came to identify women with two X chromosomes while the male genitalia are identified with two types of chromosomes that is X and Y. Biology indicates that the ovum always carries the X chromosomes while the sperm carries the X or Y chromosomes. On the fusion of the egg and the sperm the resulting gender will depend with whether the sperm had X or the Y chromosome. XX combination gives rise to female gender while the XY combination will give rise to a male gender. The Y chromosomes are deemed to give the directions of producing a male gender. In some instances some individuals have been found to have a combination of chromosomes that do not clearly identify with the male or the female gender. This individuals are referred to as inter sexual individuals. These transsexual individuals usually undergo physical surgeries in order to clearly identify them with their primary gender.
This will normally involve the removal of some parts of the body such as the penis, the breasts and other parts that identify with the other gender. Some of the surgical procedures also involve the refashioning of the primary organs such as the vagina, breasts and other body appearance. This has brought about a lot of public debate on the reassignment of the gender by the surgeons. In some instances the reassignment of gender by refashioning the sexual organs does not coincide with the behaviors of such individuals as expected in their sex. This has brought many people to a conclusion that gender identity is not only about sex but it is also affected by other factors (Baker, 2005).
Environmental factors usually will come from the immediate family members where the individuals come from. The socialization process of child will normally affect the sexual differentiation of genders. This is because the society usually has predetermined roles and norms which are identified with specific genders. This plays an important role in helping the individuals identify their gender by assuming roles and duties which are identified with either the females or the males. A child who is a female is taught the female norms and behaviors and she will believe that she is a female. Starting from the birth of the child, the parents of a child and also the society treat the child in reference to their gender. This eventually helps the child to identify with the prescribed behaviors and identity of that gender. The interaction of the children with the social environment helps them to identify their gender and they adopt the mannerism and behaviors of their gender (Lloyd 2004).
In conclusion the biological and the environmental factors will have a greater influence on gender identity than the influence of the interaction of hormones and behavior. This is because even though the hormones will cause a certain code of behavior; the sustainability of these behaviors will be affected by how the individual interacts with the environmental factors. The gender identity of the individuals will be more easily identified with the chromosomal combinations and the physical appearance that results from this combination. This then guides the environmental factors on how to help the individual identify with their gender which is usually reliant on the sexual differentiation through societal behaviors, beliefs and norms. On the other hand the cases of transsexual occurrences as indicated by the study are rare and the most predominant ways of gender identity will always be the biological and the environmental influences.
John Archer and Barbara Bloom Lloyd (2004). Sex and Gender. Cambridge University Press.
Nick Neave (2007). Hormones and Behavior: A Psychological Approach. Cambridge University Press.
SW Baker (2005). Biological influences on human sex and gender.