Gender Identity Disorder (GID) Essay

This essay has a total of 1056 words and 6 pages.

Gender Identity Disorder (GID)

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Gender Identity Disorder (GID)

As early as the age of four (Vitale, 1996), some children begin to realize that the gender
their body tells them they are, and the gender their mind tells them they are don't
correspond. The sense of gender and the anatomical sex of a person mature at different
times and different regions of the body (Vitale, 1997b). Sometimes the gendermap, the
template within the mind of a person that codes for masculinity, femininity and androgyny
doesn't coincide with the body of the individual (Vitale, 1997a). This condition is
commonly referred to as Gender Identity Disorder (GID). GID is characterized by
unrelenting confusion or discomfort of one's own gender.

The terms "sex" and "gender" are often used interchangeably, and this generally causes
confusion. The term "sex" will refer to one's genitalia, and "gender" will refer to the
individual's gendermap of being masculine, feminine, or somewhere in the middle (Vitale,
1996).

Some traits for Gender Identity Disorder are strong desire to be the other gender,
frequent living or being treated as the other gender, or the feeling that one has the
reactions and emotions as the other gender would. Another characteristic is persistent
discomfort with their birth gender. Some individuals believe that they were born the wrong
sex (Hammond & Wilson, 1996). As one of my friends, "Wil" sadly admits, "I was born
wrong."

Gender Identity Disorder begins to affect the individual in early childhood ("Gender
Identity", 1999). If, by adolescence, a person isn't certain about their gender identity,
most likely they never will be. A person's sense of gender in unchangeable over that
individual's lifetime once it is established (Vitale, 1997a). Psychotherapy treatment may
help a person be able to live with the sex they were born with. Sex reassignment is
available for a few cases where therapy doesn't end a person's desire for sex reassignment
("Gender Identity", 1999).

Sex reassignment is not for everybody. Individuals must successfully complete a "real life
test" where they live a year as their desired sex before the procedure will be performed
(Vitale, 1997b). Hormone treatment is begun after the completed trial period. Females
receive androgens, a male hormone, and males receive estrogen and/or antiandrogens. The
surgical procedures include, for male patients, the removal of the penis and testes, and a
neovagina is created. Corrective plastic surgery of the larynx and removal of body hair is
also performed. Female patients undergo a mastectomy and a hysterectomy, and in some
instances, phalloplasty is performed as well, in addition to removal of the ovaries
("Gender Identity," 1999).

As stated earlier, sex reassignment surgery is not for everyone and should not be started
too soon. In some cases, after the psychotherapy treatment, individuals decide to live
homosexual and sometimes even heterosexual lives according to their born sex. It's not
just homosexuals who feel that they were born the wrong sex. The patient usually must be
at last eighteen years of age before treatment begins ("Gender Identity", 1999), although
sometimes hormones are administered at adolescents. Less than 2% of male-to-female
transsexuals had any regrets about their sex reassignment, and less than 1% of
female-to-males had any regrets (Vitale, 1997b).

There are some who believe that the diagnosis of Gender Identity Disorder is merely a way
of "curing" homosexuality. GID is a way for the parents of homosexual children and their
doctors to cope with the fact that their child is homosexual. Society views homosexuality
as "wrong" and "immoral". The treatment, back in the 1950's for the "little gay boys"
(Pela, 1997) was torture, and treatment today is the still same. Homosexuality was
replaced by GID as a mental disorder when it was removed from the books in 1973 (Pela,
1997). Many fear being discovered, as they will be ridiculed and labeled sick, uncaring,
and even be abandoned be their loved ones (Vitale, 1997a).

There are some social and support groups in various cities and countries to help
individuals come to term with their gender. Nashville has one such group, the Tennessee
Vals. It is a confidential organization for transgendered individuals, their friends,
families, and loved ones. It has a secure and anonymous meeting place, for the protection
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