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Frequently Asked Questions? FAQs

What is the differences between Sexual Identity and Gender Identity?

The primary difference is that sexual identity refers to how an individual relates sexually to others while gender identity refers to how an individual relates to their gendered self. Terms such as asexual, heterosexual, homosexual and bisexual are terms relating to sexual identity. Gender Identity--as it is defined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder III (DSM III), "is the sense of knowing to which sex one belongs, that is, the awareness that 'I am male' or 'I am female'. Gender identity is the private experience of gender role and gender role is the public expression of gender identity. Gender role can be defined as everything that one says and does, including sexual arousal, to indicate to others or to oneself the degree to which one is male or female."

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What does cisgender mean relative to transgender?

Cisgender is a combination of the prefix "Cis" and gender. Cis means "on this side of something" and "trans" means the other side of something. When both Cis and Trans are used in association with gender identity we come up with cisgender or people having a gender identity and body development that are closely in line with each other. Cisgendered people feel comfortable with that alignment. Transgender folks on the other hand experience a mis-alignment with their gender identity and body configuration. Hence the extreme desire to correct the situation

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Why do you use the term Gender Role Transition rather than Sex Change?

Gender roles are highly influenced by physical limitations and cultural needs. They are also influenced by personal interest. This latter element, personal interest is, highly influenced by sex hormones. Although both males and females produce testosterone and estrogen, men whose testes are working properly, have 10 to 20 times more testosterone in their systems than women do. When you combine that with having a correspondingly larger number of androgen receptors in their brain, the individual is going to need to express all of that in what we generally recognize as masculine behavior. In addition to the brain responding to all that testosterone, muscle mass, both sexual and physical energy levels are also effected in a more robust way. Keep in mind, however, testosterone can also have a negative effect on a willingness to cooperate with one's peers, a dulling of sensitivity, the blunting of emotional lability and lack of interest in nurturing.
Women on the other hand, have very limited amounts of testosterone. What little they have is produced primarily by their adrenals, which aid them in maintaining muscle tone and sexual desire. What women lack in androgens, they more then make up for in estrogen produced primarily by the ovaries. Estrogen, makes an entirely different contribution to the female anatomy by rounding it and giving it the typical female shape and soft look. Along with physical changes, estrogen feeds the female receptors in the brain. The receptors in the brain regulates the complex female reproduction cycle, expands the individuals emotional range, develops tactile and emotional sensitivity, and encourages reproductive desires.

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What is the difference between Gender Dysphoria and Gender Identity Disorder?

Actually there is no clinical difference. It is the same phenomenon. Gender Identity Disorder was the official diagnosis given to gender dysphoric patients per the DSM IV. With the publication of DSM 5 in 2014, the official diagnosis was softened to Gender Dysphoria. Dysphoria can be defined as a state of unease or generalized dissatisfaction with life. In this case, it has to do with a deep or even morbid dissatisfaction over being assigned a gender role opposite of what the individual experiences internally. The term Gender Identity Disorder (GID) first appeared in the Fourth Edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM, 1994). It replaced the term "Transsexualism" from a previous version. The diagnosis was changed in DSM 5 to more accurately describe the phenomenon.

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What is the difference between Intersexuality and GD? Do these individuals identify with both genders, or the opposite gender, or does it vary?

As you probably suspect, there is some overlap between GD and intersexuality. However, the term intersexuality generally is reserved for those individuals who are born with genital malformations caused by XX/XY chromosomal irregularities . It has long been standard practice (a practice now being seriously questioned) to assign these children as either male or female depending on how easily it would be to surgically modify the genitals into looking "normal". It is has only recently been shown to be an unreliable indicator as to how these individuals understand their sense of being male or female when they get old enough to say something about it. (see Intersex Society of North America) So in a way some intersexuals experience GD. The term GD is usually used to refer to individuals whose genitalia appear normal at birth--assigned accordingly--but go on to experience extreme discomfort with their assigned sex as their life progresses.

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Nothing on this site should be viewed as providing therapeutic advice. No formation of a client/therapist
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