Gender identity is the personal sense of one's own gender. Gender identity can correlate with assigned sex at birth, or can differ from it. All societies have a set of gender categories that can serve as the basis of the formation of a person's social identity in relation to other members of society. In most societies, there is a basic division between gender attributes assigned to males and females, a gender binary to which most people adhere and which includes expectations of masculinity and femininity in all aspects of sex and gender: biological sex, gender identity, and gender expression. Some people do not identify with some, or all, of the aspects of gender assigned to their biological sex; some of those people are transgender, genderqueer or non-binary. There are some societies that have third gender categories.
Core gender identity is usually formed by age three. After age three, it is extremely difficult to change, and attempts to reassign it can result in gender dysphoria. Both biological and social factors have been suggested to influence its formation.
There are several theories about how and when gender identity forms, and studying the subject is difficult because children's lack of language requires researchers to make assumptions from indirect evidence. John Money suggested children might have awareness of, and attach some significance to gender, as early as 18 months to two years; Lawrence Kohlberg argues that gender identity does not form until age three. It is widely agreed that core gender identity is firmly formed by age three. At this point, children can make firm statements about their gender and tend to choose activities and toys which are considered appropriate for their gender (such as dolls and painting for girls, and tools and rough-housing for boys), although they do not yet fully understand the implications of gender. After age three, core gender identity is extremely difficult to change, and attempts to reassign it can result in gender dysphoria. Gender identity refinement extends into the fourth to sixth years of age, and continues into young adulthood.
Martin and Ruble conceptualize this process of development as three stages: (1) as toddlers and preschoolers, children learn about defined characteristics, which are socialized aspects of gender; (2) around the ages of 5–7 years, identity is consolidated and becomes rigid; (3) after this "peak of rigidity," fluidity returns and socially defined gender roles relax somewhat. Barbara Newmann breaks it down into four parts: (1) understanding the concept of gender, (2) learning gender role standards and stereotypes, (3) identifying with parents, and (4) forming gender preference.
According to UN agencies, discussions relating to comprehensive sexuality education raise awareness of topics, such as gender and gender identity.
Although the formation of gender identity is not completely understood, many factors have been suggested as influencing its development. In particular, the extent to which it is determined by socialization (environmental factors) versus innate (biological) factors is an ongoing debate in psychology, known as "nature versus nurture". Both factors are thought to play a role. Biological factors that influence gender identity include pre- and post-natal hormone levels. While genetic makeup also influences gender identity, it does not inflexibly determine it.
Social factors which may influence gender identity include ideas regarding gender roles conveyed by family, authority figures, mass media, and other influential people in a child's life. When children are raised by individuals who adhere to stringent gender roles, they are more likely to behave in the same way, matching their gender identity with the corresponding stereotypical gender patterns. Language also plays a role: children, while learning a language, learn to separate masculine and feminine characteristics and subconsciously adjust their own behavior to these predetermined roles. The social learning theory posits that children furthermore develop their gender identity through observing and imitating gender-linked behaviors, and then being rewarded or punished for behaving that way, thus being shaped by the people surrounding them through trying to imitate and follow them.
Dr. John Money was instrumental in the early research of gender identity. He was credited for coining the term gender identity “to describe a person’s inner sense of himself or herself as male or female.” He disagreed with the previous school of thought that gender was determined solely by biology. He argued that infants are born a blank slate and a parent could be able to decide their babies’ gender. In Money’s opinion, if the parent confidently raised their child as the opposite sex, the child would believe that they were born that sex and act accordingly. Money believed that nurture could override nature.
A well-known example in the nature versus nurture debate is the case of David Reimer, otherwise known as "John/Joan". As a baby, Reimer went through a faulty circumcision, losing his male genitalia. Psychologist John Money convinced Reimer's parents to raise him as a girl. Reimer grew up as a girl, dressing in girl clothes and surrounded by girl toys, but did not feel like a girl. After he tried to commit suicide at age 13, he was told that he had been born with male genitalia, which he underwent surgery to reconstruct. This response went against Money's hypothesis that biology had nothing to do with gender identity or human sexual orientation.
Most did not dare to argue against Money’s theory. Milton Diamond was a scientist who was one of the few to openly disagree with him and oppose his argument. Diamond had contributed to research involving pregnant rats that showed hormones played a major role in the behavior of different sexes. The researchers in the lab would inject the pregnant rat with testosterone, which would then find its way to the baby’s blood stream. The females that were born had genitalia that looked like male genitalia. The females in the litter also behaved like male rats and would even try to mount other female rats, proving that biology played a major role in animal behavior.
Several prenatal, biological factors, including genes and hormones, may affect gender identity. The biochemical theory of gender identity suggests that people acquire gender identities through such factors rather than socialization.
Hormonal influences are also complex; sex-determining hormones are produced at an early stage of foetal development, and if prenatal hormone levels are altered, phenotype progression may be altered as well, and the natural predisposition of the brain toward one sex may not match the genetic make-up of the fetus or its external sexual organs.
Hormones may affect differences between males' and females' verbal and spatial abilities, memory, and aggression; prenatal hormone exposure affects how the hypothalamus regulates hormone secretion later in life, with "women's sex hormones usually follow[ing] a monthly cycle [while] men’s sex hormones do not follow such a pattern."
A survey of the research literature from 1955–2000 suggests that more than one in every hundred individuals may have some intersex characteristic. An intersex human or other animal is one possessing any of several variations in sex characteristics including chromosomes, gonads, sex hormones, or genitals that, according to the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, "do not fit typical binary notions of male or female bodies". An intersex variation may complicate initial sex assignment and that assignment may not be consistent with the child's future gender identity. Reinforcing sex assignments through surgical and hormonal means may violate the individual's rights.
A 2005 study on the gender identity outcomes of female-raised 46,XY persons with penile agenesis, cloacal exstrophy of the bladder, or penile ablation, found that 78% of the study subjects were living as female, as opposed to 22% who decided to initiate a sex change to male in line with their genetic sex. The study concludes: "The findings clearly indicate an increased risk of later patient-initiated gender re-assignment to male after female assignment in infancy or early childhood, but are nevertheless incompatible with the notion of a full determination of core gender identity by prenatal androgens."
A 2012 clinical review paper found that between 8.5% and 20% of people with intersex variations experienced gender dysphoria. Sociological research in Australia, a country with a third 'X' sex classification, shows that 19% of people born with atypical sex characteristics selected an "X" or "other" option, while 52% are women, 23% men, and 6% unsure. At birth, 52% of persons in the study were assigned female, and 41% were assigned male.
A study by Reiner & Gearhart provides some insight into what can happen when genetically male children with cloacal exstrophy are sexually assigned female and raised as girls, according to an 'optimal gender policy' developed by John Money: in a sample of 14 children, follow-up between the ages of 5 to 12 showed that 8 of them identified as boys, and all of the subjects had at least moderately male-typical attitudes and interests, providing support for the argument that genetic variables affect gender identity and behavior independent of socialization.
Some studies have investigated whether or not there is a link between biological variables and transgender or transsexual identity. Several studies have shown that sexually dimorphic brain structures in transsexuals are shifted away from what is associated with their birth sex and towards what is associated with their preferred sex. In particular, the bed nucleus of a stria terminalis or BSTc (a constituent of the basal ganglia of the brain which is affected by prenatal androgens) of trans women is similar to cisgender women's and unlike men's. Similar brain structure differences have been noted between gay and heterosexual men, and between lesbian and heterosexual women. Another study suggests that transsexuality may have a genetic component.
Research suggests that the same hormones that promote differentiation of sex organs in utero also elicit puberty and influence the development of gender identity. Different amounts of these male or female sex hormones within a person can result in behavior and external genitalia that do not match up with the norm of their sex assigned at birth, and in a person acting and looking like their identified gender.
In 1955, John Money proposed that gender identity was malleable and determined by whether a child was raised as male or female in early childhood. Money's hypothesis has since been discredited, but scholars have continued to study the effect of social factors on gender identity formation. In the 1960s and 1970s, factors such as the absence of a father, a mother's wish for a daughter, or parental reinforcement patterns were suggested as influences; more recent theories suggesting that parental psychopathology might partly influence gender identity formation have received only minimal empirical evidence, with a 2004 article noting that "solid evidence for the importance of postnatal social factors is lacking." A 2008 study found that the parents of gender-dysphoric children showed no signs of psychopathological issues aside from mild depression in the mothers.
It has been suggested that the attitudes of the child's parents may affect the child's gender identity, although evidence is minimal.
Parents who do not support gender nonconformity are more likely to have children with firmer and stricter views on gender identity and gender roles. Recent literature suggests a trend towards less well-defined gender roles and identities, as studies of parental coding of toys as masculine, feminine, or neutral indicate that parents increasingly code kitchens and in some cases dolls as neutral rather than exclusively feminine. However, Emily Kane found that many parents still showed negative responses to items, activities, or attributes that were considered feminine, such as domestic skills, nurturance, and empathy. Research has indicated that many parents attempt to define gender for their sons in a manner that distances the sons from femininity, with Kane stating that "the parental boundary maintenance work evident for sons represents a crucial obstacle limiting boys options, separating boys from girls, devaluing activities marked as feminine for both boys and girls, and thus bolstering gender inequality and heteronormativity."
Many parents form gendered expectations for their child before it is even born, after determining the child's sex through technology such as ultrasound. The child thus arrives to a gender-specific name, games, and even ambitions. Once the child's sex is determined, most children are raised in accordance with it to be a man or a woman, fitting a male or female gender role defined partly by the parents.
When considering the parents' social class, lower-class families typically hold traditional gender roles, where the father works and the mother, who may only work out of financial necessity, still takes care of the household. However, middle-class "professional" couples typically negotiate the division of labor and hold an egalitarian ideology. These different views on gender from a child's parents can shape the child's understanding of gender as well as the child's development of gender.
Within a study conducted by Hillary Halpern it was hypothesized, and proven, that parent behaviors, rather than parent beliefs, regarding gender are better predictors for a child's attitude on gender. It was concluded that a mother's behavior was especially influential on a child's assumptions of the child's own gender. For example, mothers who practiced more traditional behaviors around their children resulted in the son displaying fewer stereotypes of male roles while the daughter displayed more stereotypes of female roles. No correlation was found between a father's behavior and his children's knowledge of stereotypes of their own gender. It was concluded, however, that fathers who held the belief of equality between the sexes had children, especially sons, who displayed fewer preconceptions of their opposite gender.
Gender identity can lead to security issues among individuals that do not fit on a binary scale. In some cases, a person's gender identity is inconsistent with their biological sex characteristics (genitals and secondary sex characteristics), resulting in individuals dressing and/or behaving in a way which is perceived by others as outside cultural gender norms. These gender expressions may be described as gender variant, transgender, or genderqueer (there is an emerging vocabulary for those who defy traditional gender identity), and people who have such expressions may experience gender dysphoria (traditionally called Gender Identity Disorder or GID). Transgender individuals are greatly affected by language and gender pronouns before, during, and after their transition.
In recent decades it has become possible to reassign sex surgically. Some people who experience gender dysphoria seek such medical intervention to have their physiological sex match their gender identity; others retain the genitalia they were born with (see transsexual for some of the possible reasons) but adopt a gender role that is consistent with their gender identity.
The terms gender identity and core gender identity were first used with their current meaning — one's personal experience of one's own gender — sometime in the 1960s. To this day they are usually used in that sense, though a few scholars additionally use the term to refer to the sexual orientation and sexual identity categories gay, lesbian and bisexual.
In late-19th-century medical literature, women who chose not to conform to their expected gender roles were called "inverts", and they were portrayed as having an interest in knowledge and learning, and a "dislike and sometimes incapacity for needlework". During the mid 1900s, doctors pushed for corrective therapy on such women and children, which meant that gender behaviors that were not part of the norm would be punished and changed. The aim of this therapy was to push children back to their "correct" gender roles and thereby limit the number of children who became transgender.
In 1905, Sigmund Freud presented his theory of psychosexual development in Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality, giving evidence that in the pregenital phase children do not distinguish between sexes, but assume both parents have the same genitalia and reproductive powers. On this basis, he argued that bisexuality was the original sexual orientation and that heterosexuality was resultant of repression during the phallic stage, at which point gender identity became ascertainable. According to Freud, during this stage, children developed an Oedipus complex where they had sexual fantasies for the parent ascribed the opposite gender and hatred for the parent ascribed the same gender, and this hatred transformed into (unconscious) transference and (conscious) identification with the hated parent who both exemplified a model to appease sexual impulses and threatened to castrate the child's power to appease sexual impulses. In 1913, Carl Jung proposed the Electra complex as he both believed that bisexuality did not lie at the origin of psychic life, and that Freud did not give adequate description to the female child (Freud rejected this suggestion).
During the 1950s and '60s, psychologists began studying gender development in young children, partially in an effort to understand the origins of homosexuality (which was viewed as a mental disorder at the time). In 1958, the Gender Identity Research Project was established at the UCLA Medical Center for the study of intersex and transsexual individuals. Psychoanalyst Robert Stoller generalized many of the findings of the project in his book Sex and Gender: On the Development of Masculinity and Femininity (1968). He is also credited with introducing the term gender identity to the International Psychoanalytic Congress in Stockholm, Sweden in 1963. Behavioral psychologist John Money was also instrumental in the development of early theories of gender identity. His work at Johns Hopkins Medical School's Gender Identity Clinic (established in 1965) popularized an interactionist theory of gender identity, suggesting that, up to a certain age, gender identity is relatively fluid and subject to constant negotiation. His book Man and Woman, Boy and Girl (1972) became widely used as a college textbook, although many of Money's ideas have since been challenged.
In the late 1980s, Judith Butler began lecturing regularly on the topic of gender identity, and in 1990, she published Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity, introducing the concept of gender performativity and arguing that both sex and gender are constructed.
As of 2018, there is some changing of views and new discrepancies about the best way to deal with gender nonconformity. Medical practitioners, as well as an increasing number of parents, generally no longer support or believe in the idea of conversion therapy, which is now widely discredited as unethical and ineffective. In the UK, all major counselling and psychotherapy bodies, as well as the NHS, have concluded that conversion therapy to 'cure' sexual orientation is dangerous and work is being done to extend this position to include gender identity.
On the other hand, there are still a number of clinicians who continue to believe that there should be interventions for gender nonconforming children. They believe that stereotypical gender-specific toys and games will encourage children to behave in their traditional gender roles.
Transsexual self-identified people sometimes wish to undergo physical surgery to refashion their primary sexual characteristics, secondary characteristics, or both, because they feel they will be more comfortable with different genitalia. This may involve removal of penis, testicles or breasts, or the fashioning of a penis, vagina or breasts. In the past, sex assignment surgery has been performed on infants who are born with ambiguous genitalia. However, current medical opinion is strongly against this procedure, since many adults have regretted that these decisions were made for them at birth. Today, sex reassignment surgery is performed on people who choose to have this change so that their anatomical sex will match their gender identity.
In the United States, it was decided under the Affordable Care Act that health insurance exchanges would have the ability to collect demographic information on gender identity and sexual identity through optional questions, to help policymakers better recognize the needs of the LGBT community.
Gender dysphoria (previously called "gender identity disorder" or GID in the DSM) is the formal diagnosis of people who experience significant dysphoria (discontent) with the sex they were assigned at birth and/or the gender roles associated with that sex: "In gender identity disorder, there is discordance between the natal sex of one's external genitalia and the brain coding of one's gender as masculine or feminine." The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (302.85) has five criteria that must be met before a diagnosis of gender identity disorder can be made, and the disorder is further subdivided into specific diagnoses based on age, for example gender identity disorder in children (for children who experience gender dysphoria).
The concept of gender identity appeared in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders in its third edition, DSM-III (1980), in the form of two psychiatric diagnoses of gender dysphoria: gender identity disorder of childhood (GIDC), and transsexualism (for adolescents and adults). The 1987 revision of the manual, the DSM-III-R, added a third diagnosis: gender identity disorder of adolescence and adulthood, nontranssexual type. This latter diagnosis was removed in the subsequent revision, DSM-IV (1994), which also collapsed GIDC and transsexualism into a new diagnosis of gender identity disorder. In 2013, the DSM-5 renamed the diagnosis gender dysphoria and revised its definition.
The authors of a 2005 academic paper questioned the classification of gender identity problems as a mental disorder, speculating that certain DSM revisions may have been made on a tit-for-tat basis when certain groups were pushing for the removal of homosexuality as a disorder. This remains controversial, although the vast majority of today's mental health professionals follow and agree with the current DSM classifications.
The Yogyakarta Principles, a document on the application of international human rights law, provide in the preamble a definition of gender identity as each person's deeply felt internal and individual experience of gender, which may or may not correspond with the sex assigned at birth, including the person's sense of the body (which may involve, if freely chosen, modification of bodily appearance or function by medical, surgical or other means) and other experience of gender, including dress, speech and mannerism. Principle 3 states that "Each person’s self-defined [...] gender identity is integral to their personality and is one of the most basic aspects of self-determination, dignity and freedom. No one shall be forced to undergo medical procedures, including sex reassignment surgery, sterilisation or hormonal therapy, as a requirement for legal recognition of their gender identity." and Principle 18 states that "Notwithstanding any classifications to the contrary, a person's sexual orientation and gender identity are not, in and of themselves, medical conditions and are not to be treated, cured or suppressed." Relating to this principle, the "Jurisprudential Annotations to the Yogyakarta Principles" observed that "Gender identity differing from that assigned at birth, or socially rejected gender expression, have been treated as a form of mental illness. The pathologization of difference has led to gender-transgressive children and adolescents being confined in psychiatric institutions, and subjected to aversion techniques — including electroshock therapy — as a 'cure'." The "Yogyakarta Principles in Action" says "it is important to note that while 'sexual orientation' has been declassified as a mental illness in many countries, 'gender identity' or 'gender identity disorder' often remains in consideration." These Principles influenced the UN declaration on sexual orientation and gender identity In 2015, gender identity was part of a Supreme Court case in the United States called Obergefell v Hodges in which marriage was no longer restricted between man and woman.
Some people, and some societies, do not construct gender as a binary in which everyone is either a boy or a girl, or a man or a woman. Those who exist outside the binary fall under the umbrella terms non-binary or genderqueer. Some cultures have specific gender roles that are distinct from "man" and "woman." These are often referred to as third genders.
In some Polynesian societies, fa'afafine are considered to be a third gender. They are anatomically male, but dress and behave in a manner considered typically feminine. According to Tamasailau Sua'ali'i (see references), fa'afafine in Samoa at least are often physiologically unable to reproduce. Fa'afafine are accepted as a natural gender, and neither looked down upon nor discriminated against. Fa'afafine also reinforce their femininity with the fact that they are only attracted to and receive sexual attention from straight masculine men. They have been and generally still are initially identified in terms of labour preferences, as they perform typically feminine household tasks. The Samoan Prime Minister is patron of the Samoa Fa'afafine Association. Translated literally, fa'afafine means "in the manner of a woman."
In some cultures of Asia, a hijra is usually considered to be neither a man nor a woman. Most are anatomically male or intersex, but some are anatomically female. The hijra form a third gender role, although they do not enjoy the same acceptance and respect as males and females in their cultures. They can run their own households, and their occupations are singing and dancing, working as cooks or servants, sometimes prostitutes, or long-term sexual partners with men. Hijras can be compared to transvestites or drag queens of contemporary western culture.
The khanith form an accepted third gender in Oman. The khanith are male homosexual prostitutes whose dressing is male, featuring pastel colors (rather than white, worn by men), but their mannerisms female. Khanith can mingle with women, and they often do at weddings or other formal events. Khaniths have their own households, performing all tasks (both male and female). However, similarly to men in their society, khaniths can marry women, proving their masculinity by consummating the marriage. Should a divorce or death take place, these men can revert to their status as khaniths at the next wedding.
Many indigenous North American Nations had more than two gender roles. Those who belong to the additional gender categories, beyond cisgender man and woman, are now often collectively termed "two-spirit" or "two-spirited." There are parts of the community that take "two-spirit" as a category over an identity itself, preferring to identify with culture or Nation-specific gender terms.
An Act to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code (Bill C-16, 2016) is a law passed by the Parliament of Canada. The law adds gender expression and gender identity as protected grounds to the Canadian Human Rights Act, and also to the Criminal Code provisions dealing with hate propaganda, incitement to genocide, and aggravating factors in sentencing.Bigender
Bigender, bi-gender or dual gender is a gender identity that includes any two gender identities and behaviors. Some bigender individuals express two distinct personas, which may be feminine, masculine, agender, androgyne, or other gender identities; others find that they identify as two genders simultaneously. A 1999 survey conducted by the San Francisco Department of Public Health observed that, among the transgender community, less than 3% of those who were assigned male at birth and less than 8% of those who were assigned female at birth identified as bigender.Cisgender
Cisgender (sometimes cissexual, often abbreviated to simply cis) is a term for people whose gender identity matches the sex that they were assigned at birth. Someone who identifies as a woman and was assigned female at birth is, for example, a cisgender woman. The term cisgender is the opposite of the word transgender..
Related terms include cissexism and cisnormativity.Gender dysphoria
Gender dysphoria (GD) is the distress a person experiences as a result of the sex and gender they were assigned at birth. In this case, the assigned sex and gender do not match the person's gender identity, and the person is transgender. Evidence from studies of twins suggest that people who identify with a gender different from their assigned sex may experience such distress not only due to psychological or behavioral causes, but also biological ones related to their genetics or exposure to hormones before birth.The diagnostic label gender identity disorder (GID) was used by the DSM until its reclassification as gender dysphoria in 2013, with the release of the DSM-5. The diagnosis was reclassified to better align it with medical understanding of the condition and to remove the stigma associated with the term disorder. The American Psychiatric Association, publisher of the DSM-5, stated that gender nonconformity is not the same thing as gender dysphoria, and that "gender nonconformity is not in itself a mental disorder. The critical element of gender dysphoria is the presence of clinically significant distress associated with the condition." Some transgender people and researchers support declassification of the condition because they say the diagnosis pathologizes gender variance and reinforces the binary model of gender.The main psychiatric approaches to treatment for persons diagnosed with gender dysphoria are psychotherapy or supporting the individual's preferred gender through any or all of hormone therapy, gender expression and role, or surgery.Gender dysphoria in children
Gender dysphoria in children, also known as gender identity disorder in children or gender incongruence of childhood, is a formal diagnosis used by psychologists and physicians to describe children who experience significant discontent (gender dysphoria) with their biological sex, assigned gender, or both.
GIDC was formalized in the third revision of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-III) in 1980 and primarily referenced gender non-conforming behaviors. GIDC remained in the DSM from 1980 to 2013, when it was replaced with the diagnosis of "gender dysphoria" in the fifth revision (DSM-5), in an effort to diminish the stigma attached to gender variance while maintaining a diagnostic route to gender affirming medical interventions such as hormone therapy and surgery.Controversy surrounding the pathologization and treatment of cross-gender identity and behaviors, particularly in children, has been evident in the literature since the 1980s. Proponents of more widespread GIDC diagnoses argue that therapeutic intervention helps children be more comfortable in their bodies and can prevent adult gender identity disorder. Opponents say that the equivalent therapeutic interventions with gays and lesbians (titled conversion or reparative therapy) have been strongly questioned or declared unethical by the American Psychological Association, American Psychiatric Association, American Association of Social Workers and American Academy of Pediatrics. The World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) states that treatment aimed at trying to change a person's gender identity and expression to become more congruent with sex assigned at birth "is no longer considered ethical." Critics also argue that the GIDC diagnosis and associated therapeutic interventions rely on the assumption that an adult transsexual identity is undesirable, challenging this assumption along with the lack of clinical data to support outcomes and efficacy.
Gender dysphoria in children is more heavily linked with adult homosexuality than adult transsexualism. According to limited studies, the majority of children diagnosed with gender dysphoria cease to desire to be the other sex by puberty, with most growing up to identify as gay or lesbian with or without therapeutic intervention.Genderqueer
Genderqueer, also known as non-binary, is a catch-all category for gender identities that are not exclusively masculine or feminine—identities which are outside the gender binary and cisnormativity. Genderqueer people may express a combination of masculinity and femininity, or neither, in their gender expression.
Genderqueer people may identify as either having an overlap of, or indefinite lines between, gender identity; having two or more genders (being bigender, trigender, or pangender); having no gender (being agender, nongendered, genderless, genderfree or neutrois); moving between genders or having a fluctuating gender identity (genderfluid); or being third gender or other-gendered, a category which includes those who do not place a name to their gender.Gender identity is separate from sexual or romantic orientation, and genderqueer people have a variety of sexual orientations, just as transgender and cisgender people do.LGBT employment discrimination in the United States
The regulation of LGBT employment discrimination in the United States varies by jurisdiction. Many states and localities prohibit bias in hiring, promotion, job assignment, termination, and compensation, as well as harassment on the basis of one's sexual orientation. Fewer extend those protections to cover sexual identity. Some cover government employees, but do not extend their protections to the private sector. Protections at the national level are limited. There is no federal statute explicitly addressing employment discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. However, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) interprets Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to cover discrimination against LGBT employees, as "allegations of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation necessarily state a claim of discrimination on the basis of sex". This interpretation in essence bars employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in accordance with the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In 2012 the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ruled that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 does not allow gender identity-based employment discrimination because it is a form of sex discrimination. Then in 2015, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission concluded that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 does not allow sexual orientation discrimination in employment because it is a form of sex discrimination. However, these rulings, while persuasive, may not be binding in courts.On April 9, 2015, the gender identity ruling went into effect when Judge Mary S. Scriven of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida approved a consent decree entered into between the EEOC and Lakeland Eye Clinic, P.A. and ordered the Florida-based eye clinic to pay $150,000.00 in damages for firing a transgender employee because of their gender identity. The EEOC ruling on sexual orientation also went into effect in June 2016, when the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission reached an agreement in a case against Pallet Companies, doing business as IFCO Systems, which agreed to pay $202,200 and provide significant equitable relief as a result of a lesbian employee alleging discrimination based on sexual orientation.LGBT rights at the United Nations
Discussions of LGBT rights at the United Nations have included resolutions and joint statements in the United Nations General Assembly and the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), attention to the expert-led human rights mechanisms (such as the United Nations Treaty Bodies and Special Procedures), as well as by the UN Agencies.
Since its founding in 1945, the United Nations political bodies had not discussed LGBT rights (regarding equality regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity) until September 1995, when sexual orientation became a topic of debate in the negotiations on the Draft of the 1995 Beijing Platform for Action at the 4th World Conference on Women. While the proposed language on "sexual orientation" was eventually dropped from the text, it was the first time governments took a public and explicit stance for or against the inclusion and recognition of sexual orientation as part of women's right to control their sexuality. Furthermore, at that conference Beverley Palesa Ditsie became the first openly lesbian person to address the United Nations regarding LGBT issues, calling for States to adopt resolutions that recognized sexual diversity.
In April 2003, Brazil presented a resolution prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights. However, in the ensuing debates the Commission voted to postpone discussions on the resolution until 2004.In December 2006, the discussions expanded to include gender identity, when Norway presented a joint statement on human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity at the Commission on Human Rights on behalf of 54 states. This was followed by a joint statement presented at the General Assembly by Argentina on behalf of 66 states in December 2008. The 2008 statement in support of LGBT rights in the General Assembly prompted a statement backed by the Arab League and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation in opposition to LGBT rights. Both statements remain open for signature, and neither has been officially adopted by the General Assembly.
On June 17, 2011, South Africa led a resolution at the UNHRC requesting that the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) draft a report "documenting discriminatory laws and practices and acts of violence against individuals based on their sexual orientation and gender identity" to follow up and implementation of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action. The resolution passed with 23 votes in favour to 19 against, with 3 abstentions. It was the first such resolution and was hailed as "historic".The report, which came out in December 2011, documented human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity, including hate crimes, criminalization of homosexuality, and discrimination. High Commissioner Navi Pillay called for equitable ages of consent; comprehensive laws against discrimination based on sexual orientation; prompt investigation and recording of hate crime incidents; the repeal of laws criminalizing homosexuality; and other measures to ensure the protection of the rights of LGBT persons. The text of the report from the UNHRC is dated on 17 November 2011.In July 2014, the United Nations (as an employer) announced it would extend equal benefits to employees in same-sex unions entered into in jurisdictions where they are legal.
In September 2014, Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Uruguay led on a follow up resolution at the UNHRC. This second resolution on "human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity" passed with an increased vote margin (25 to 14, 7 abstentions), reflecting the trend for increased support by member states to address these issues at the international level. It requested the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to update the 2011 report "with a view to sharing good practices and ways to overcome violence and discrimination, in application of existing international human rights law and standards". The update was presented to the Human Rights Council in June 2015.
In 2016, the UNHRC passed a resolution to appoint an Independent Expert to find the causes of violence and discrimination against people due to their gender identity and sexual orientation, and discuss with governments about how to protect those people. This long-term OHCHR-based mandate has been seen as the UN's "most overt expression of gay rights as human rights".Also in 2016, the UN Security Council condemned the 2016 Orlando nightclub shooting; this statement marked the first time the U.N. Security Council used language recognizing violence targeting the LGBT community.LGBT rights in Montana
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons in the U.S. state of Montana may face some legal challenges not experienced by non-LGBT residents. Same-sex sexual activity is legal in Montana. Same-sex couples and families headed by same-sex couples are eligible for all of the protections available to opposite-sex married couples, as same-sex marriage has been legal since November 2014. However, discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity is not banned statewide.Pangender
Pangender is a non-binary gender defined as being more than one gender. A pangender person may consider themselves a member of all genders. The prefix pan is Greek and means "all". Pangender is a kind of third gender, much like bigender, trigender, or genderqueer. Pangender individuals may identify with gender inclusive or gender neutral pronouns instead of gendered ones (such as she/he or her/him).Questioning (sexuality and gender)
The questioning of one's gender, sexual identity, sexual orientation, or all three is a process of exploration by people who may be unsure, still exploring, and concerned about applying a social label to themselves for various reasons. The letter "Q" is sometimes added to the end of the acronym LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender); the "Q" can refer to either queer or questioning.Sex assignment
Sex assignment (sometimes known as gender assignment) is the determination of an infant's sex at birth. In the majority of births, a relative, midwife, nurse or physician inspects the genitalia when the baby is delivered, and sex and gender are assigned, without the expectation of ambiguity. Assignment may also be done prior to birth through prenatal sex discernment.
Sex assignment at birth usually aligns with a child's anatomical sex and phenotype. The number of births where the baby does not fit into strict definitions of male and female may be as high as 0.06%, of which 0.02% are due to visibly ambiguous genitals. Other reasons include atypical chromosomes, gonads, or hormones. These conditions are collectively called intersex or disorders of sex development, and may complicate sex assignment. Reinforcing sex assignments through surgical or hormonal interventions may violate the individual's human rights.The act of assignment carries the implicit expectation that future gender identity will develop in alignment with the physical anatomy, assignment, and rearing. In the overwhelming majority of cases, sex assignment matches the child's gender identity. If sex assignment and gender identity do not align, the person may be transgender or gender non-conforming (GNC). The sex assignment of an intersex individual may also contradict their future gender identity.Sexuality and gender identity-based cultures
Sexuality and gender identity-based cultures are subcultures and communities composed of people who have shared experiences, backgrounds, or interests due to common sexual or gender identities. Among the first to argue that members of sexual minorities can also constitute cultural minorities were Adolf Brand, Magnus Hirschfeld, and Leontine Sagan in Germany. These pioneers were later followed by the Mattachine Society and the Daughters of Bilitis in the United States.
Not all persons of various gender and sexual orientations identify or affiliate with a particular subculture. Reasons include geographic distance, unawareness of the subculture's existence, fear of social stigma, or personal preference to remain unidentified with sexuality- or gender-based subcultures or communities. Some have suggested that the identities defined by the Western heterosexualized cultures are based on sexuality, have serious flaws, and often leave no space for the public to discuss these flaws of gender and sexuality. This leaves many rejecting these identities in large numbers, often while disowning their own sexual needs and possibly subjecting them to be classified under what they may consider misclassified sexual identities.Trans bashing
Trans bashing is the act of victimizing a person emotionally, physically, sexually, or verbally because they are transgender or transsexual. The term has also been applied to hate speech directed at transgender people and at depictions of transgender people in the media that reinforce negative stereotypes about them.Discrimination, including physical or sexual violence against trans people due to transphobia or homophobia, is a common occurrence for trans people. Hate crimes against trans people are common even recently, and "in some instances, inaction by police or other government officials leads to the untimely deaths of transgender victims."One of the most infamous incidents was the December 1993 rape and murder of Brandon Teena, a young trans man, by two male friends after they found out that he had been assigned female at birth. The events became internationally known when told in the feature film Boys Don't Cry, which earned Hilary Swank an Academy Award for Best Actress.Transgender
Transgender people have a gender identity or gender expression that differs from their assigned sex. Transgender people are sometimes called transsexual if they desire medical assistance to transition from one sex to another. Transgender is also an umbrella term: in addition to including people whose gender identity is the opposite of their assigned sex (trans men and trans women), it may include people who are not exclusively masculine or feminine (people who are genderqueer or non-binary, including bigender, pangender, genderfluid, or agender). Other definitions of transgender also include people who belong to a third gender, or else conceptualize transgender people as a third gender. Infrequently, the term transgender is defined very broadly to include cross-dressers, regardless of their gender identity.
Being transgender is independent of sexual orientation: transgender people may identify as heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, asexual, or may decline to label their sexual orientation. The term transgender is also distinguished from intersex, a term that describes people born with physical sex characteristics "that do not fit typical binary notions of male or female bodies". The opposite of transgender is cisgender, which describes persons whose gender identity or expression matches their assigned sex.
The degree to which individuals feel genuine, authentic, and comfortable within their external appearance and accept their genuine identity has been called transgender congruence. Many transgender people experience gender dysphoria, and some seek medical treatments such as hormone replacement therapy, sex reassignment surgery, or psychotherapy. Not all transgender people desire these treatments, and some cannot undergo them for financial or medical reasons.Most transgender people face discrimination in the workplace and in accessing public accommodations, and healthcare. In many places they are not legally protected from discrimination.Transgender rights
A person may be considered to be a transgender person if their gender identity is inconsistent or not culturally associated with the sex they were assigned at birth, and consequently also with the gender role and social status that is typically associated with that sex. They may have, or may intend to establish, a new gender status that accords with their gender identity. Transsexual is generally considered a subset of transgender, but some transsexual people reject being labelled transgender.Globally, most legal jurisdictions recognize the two traditional gender identities and social roles, man and woman, but tend to exclude any other gender identities, and expressions. However, there are some countries which recognize, by law, a third gender. There is now a greater understanding of the breadth of variation outside the typical categories of "man" and "woman", and many self-descriptions are now entering the literature, including pangender, genderqueer, polygender and agender. Medically and socially, the term "transsexualism" is being replaced with gender identity or gender dysphoria, and terms such as transgender people, trans men and trans women are replacing the category of transsexual people.
This raises many legal issues and aspects of transgenderism. Most of these issues are generally considered a part of family law, especially the issues of marriage and the question of a transsexual person benefiting from a partner's insurance or social security.
The degree of legal recognition provided to transgenderism varies widely throughout the world. Many countries now legally recognise sex reassignments by permitting a change of legal gender on an individual's birth certificate. Many transsexual people have permanent surgery to change their body, sexual reassignment surgery (SRS) or semi-permanently change their body by hormonal means, hormone replacement therapy (HRT). In many countries, some of these modifications are required for legal recognition. In a few, the legal aspects are directly tied to health care; i.e. the same bodies or doctors decide whether a person can move forward in their treatment, and the subsequent processes automatically incorporate both matters.
In some jurisdictions, transgender people (who are considered non-transsexual) can benefit from the legal recognition given to transsexual people. In some countries, an explicit medical diagnosis of "transsexualism" is (at least formally) necessary. In others, a diagnosis of "gender dysphoria", or simply the fact that one has established a non-conforming gender role, can be sufficient for some or all of the legal recognition available. The DSM-V recognizes gender dysphoria as an official diagnosis.Transitioning (transgender)
Transitioning is the process of changing one's gender presentation and/or sex characteristics to accord with one's internal sense of gender identity – the idea of what it means to be a man or a woman, or to be genderqueer. For genderqueer people, their internal sense of gender identity is neither solely female nor male. For transgender and transsexual people, this process commonly involves reassignment therapy (which may include hormone replacement therapy and sex reassignment surgery), with their gender identity being opposite that of their birth-assigned sex and gender. Transitioning might involve medical treatment, but it does not always involve it. Cross-dressers, drag queens, and drag kings tend not to transition, since their variant gender presentations are (usually) only adopted temporarily.
Transition must begin with a personal decision to transition, prompted by the feeling that one's gender identity does not match the sex that one was assigned at birth. One of the most significant parts of transitioning for many transgender people is coming out for the first time. Transitioning is a process, not an event, that can take anywhere between several months and several years. Some people, especially genderqueer people, may spend their whole life transitioning as they redefine and re-interpret their gender as time passes. Transitioning generally begins where the person feels comfortable: for some, this begins with their family with whom they are intimate and reaches to friends later or may begin with friends first and family later. Sometimes transitioning is at different levels between different spheres of life. For example, someone may transition far with family and friends before even coming out at work.Transsexual
Transsexual people experience a gender identity that is inconsistent with, or not culturally associated with, their assigned sex, and desire to permanently transition to the gender with which they identify, usually seeking medical assistance (including hormone replacement therapy and other sex reassignment therapies) to help them align their body with their identified sex or gender.
Transsexual is a subset of transgender, but some transsexual people reject the label of transgender. A medical diagnosis of gender dysphoria can be made if a person expresses a desire to live and be accepted as a member of their identified sex and if a person experiences impaired functioning or distress as a result of their gender identity.Yogyakarta Principles
The Yogyakarta Principles is a document about human rights in the areas of sexual orientation and gender identity, published as the outcome of an international meeting of human rights groups in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, in November 2006. The Principles were supplemented in 2017, expanding to include new grounds of gender expression and sex characteristics, and a number of new principles.
The Principles and the supplement contains a set of precepts intended to apply the standards of international human rights law to address the abuse of human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) and intersex people.