OF MALE/FEMALE SELF-DESIGNATION: TRANSSEXUALISM:
AM A BOY; I AM A GIRL; I AM A MAN; I AM A WOMAN
By the time we begin to talk in
most of us clearly know that we are boys or girls.
We might not be able to articulate just what the differences are,
but we are certain that there are two kinds of children in the
and that we belong to one of those categories—boys or
From an early age, we can distinguish male and
And as we learn to speak, we learn different pronouns
for the two sexes: he, him, his; she, her, hers.
Years later we learn the genital differences
between the sexes.
When we learn that boys have penises and girls have vaginas,
we add this to the differences we already knew about boys and
Our male/female self-designation is imprinted
rather than learned.
Imprinting means that our sense that we are either boys or girls
becomes a part of our psyches so quickly and so permanently
that it is nearly impossible to change this belief later.
What other things are imprinted rather than
(1) one’s handedness—whether one is right-handed or left-handed,
(2) one’s first language, & (3) one’s sexual fantasies [Chapter
But most of our personal identity is learned,
We will explore how we acquire our gender traits in Chapter
In the vast majority of cases,
the sex we believe ourselves to be is the same as
(1) our biological sex, (2) our announced sex, & (3) our sex
Males are imprinted with the belief that they are boys.
Females are imprinted with the belief that they are girls.
And as we mature into adulthood, we carry this imprinting with us.
We remain convinced that we are either men or women,
that we always have been one sex or the other,
and that we will always remain that sex.
But for a very small minority of people
a mistaken male/female self-designation is imprinted shortly after
Sometimes this happens because of anomalous external genitals at
and the parents and doctor just guess at the sex of the child.
But most individuals who have mistaken male/female
are not biologically ambiguous in any way.
They are biologically normal males or females
who somehow got imprinted with the belief that they are the other
Ch. 2 VARIATIONS OF MALE/FEMALE SELF-DESIGNATION:
TRANSSEXUALISM by James