Understanding Gender Identity 101 - OutBuro - LGBT Business News Gay Professional Network Company Culture Employer Branding Trandgender Diversity Inclusion Welcoming Environment

Most people when they hear – LGBT – they think of it is a group of individuals who are attracted to members of the same sex to some degree. Interestingly, most don’t realize that the “T” does not directly relate to a person’s sexual attraction at all. It is separate and refers to a person’s sense of gender. Inside, do they feel like a male or female or even somewhere in between the two. This is referred to as gender identity.

Before the 19th century, the terms gender and sex were interchangeable. It was believed was what you physically appeared as at birth was cut and dry. Binary. Female or male from birth in body, mind, and soul.

Around 1925, a sexologist named Magnus Hirschfeld from Germany published an article. In it, he described for the first time the difference between the sexual desire for persons of the same gender compared to a deep desire to live and/or dress as the opposite gender because it matches how you feel and view yourself.

In the 1950s the concepts and theories about gender, gender roles, and gender identity were introduced and defined in the psychological literature. Psychologists, such as Jerome Kagan and John Money, initially believed that gender identity was simply degree a person felt feminine or masculine coupled with the ability to live openly and freely as who they are supporting a secure sense of self.

From around 1965 through 1985 researchers such as Sandra Bem, Richard Green, Harry Benjamin, and, Robert Stoller furthered the understanding of gender and gender identity. Green, Benjamin, and Stoller pioneered gender identity clinics, as well as gender-related medical and surgical treatments.

The ongoing work of these and other pioneer researchers in the field of gender identity development raised awareness that gender is not exclusively determined by assigned sex at birth but determined by a person’s sense, belief, and the ultimate expression of self.

A bit more to understand

The term transgender is an overall term for people whose gender identity, expression and/or behavior is different from those typically associated with their assigned sex at birth. Since the 1990s, transgender has also been used to describe:

  • transsexuals
  • crossdressers
  • androgynous people
  • genderqueers
  • gender non-conforming people

Transgender men had or have female body parts; however, they may identify and/or express themselves as male. Female to male or F2M.

Transgender women had or have male body parts; however, they may identify and/or express themselves as female. Male to female or M2F.

Research shows that gender identity, in many cases, is independent of sexual orientation.

  • Androphilic are people that were born with a male body, have a female gender identity, and are attracted to men. My understanding is like this:
    • M2F Straight
    • F2M Straight.
  • Gynephilia is people that were born with a male body, have a female gender and are attracted to women. My understanding is like this:
    • M2F Lesbian
    • F2M Gay
  • Cis-Gender, is a person who feels that how they mentally identify matches their physical body.
    • Cis-male
    • Cis-female

Marketors, employers, prevention specialists, and healthcare providers should be aware that beliefs impact almost all areas of a person’s life, their feeling of accepted and being welcomed.

Think about not only your own beliefs and attitudes but how can you impact your place of business, your working environment, policies, benefits. How can you make your company, business, institution more accessible and in some cases safe?

If in my attempts to simplify for the sake of understanding a very complex field I’m happy to be constructively corrected and happy to edit the content if necessary. Please add your comments below.

I’ve already written about the Surrey University study demonstrating a clear bias against persons who are preceived as LGBT in the hiring process, promotions and salary. Added to the stress of work anyone faces, add being verbally harrassed or worse not just at work but everywhere.

At this point it’s – Duh!. In order to understand you have to get to know.

If you work for a company if not already happening, suggest or start social gatherings to get to know others out of the work environment. Maybe host a company talent show embracing the differences. The biggest is connect with others and be open and willing to give everyone an opportunity to shine. Listen carefully. Do you have interests in common? Do you hear an opportunity to partner on a project to help each other and maybe others in the company or community.

Dennis Velco

Dennis Velco

Everything Guy at OutBüro
I'm an LGBT media entrepreneur and activist of sorts. I am a US Army veteran. From my past fortune 1000/government consulting I have lived in many US cities and Europe and traveled extensively for past clients. My career has focused on facilitating change and support systems. I have many interest and hobbies. I'm focusing on great relationships. Gay male. Single.
Dennis Velco
Dennis Velco

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