Gender Identity Disorder the Site Term Paper

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3. Where did you find it? (Book, article, URL, etc.)

The information was found at, and it was actually presented in a very sensitive and informative way.

4. Further thoughts:

The understanding of human sexuality has perhaps served to bring a dimension of maturity to my own thinking about human sexuality. Often times these things are taken for granted, but when we begin exploring them at an academic level, we find that we probably were not so well informed as we might have at first believed ourselves to be. It is incredibly interesting to me that the brain and the skin are two of the most significantly involved organs in the sexual act, and yet they have so much to do with the pleasure derived from intimacy that it almost makes one feel kind of silly to have overlooked it, or to have let it go without great thought.

Learning about human sexuality demystifies and demythifies many things that a lot of think in terms of sexuality.


Behavior in question:

The behavior in question is whether or not the individual who has had a sex changed performed on early in life grow to adulthood experiencing feelings, psychology, and physicality in synch with their assigned sex. Keeping in mind that both cases cited as examples here, are cases where the sex reassignment was made at an early age in the child's life. When it was anticipated that the child would recover from the surgery and go on to lead a healthy, happy, "normal" life consistent with the sexual reassignment. The question is what is normal?

The answer might be that "normal" is whatever sexual identity the individual finds most comfortable, natural, and satisfying to them personally. In the case of the individual born Lynn Elizabeth Harris, the level of comfort, and the accompanying physiology, by way of the images, was such that Harris might have felt comfortable as a woman. Obviously did, according to the story. Early on in her life Harris was quite beautiful as a woman. Then, around the time Harris seeks to have her sex legally changed, she is looking very much like a man. This raises questions, too, as to whether or not we should leave these children be, and see which they evolve and choose to live for themselves.

As for the second case of John William Money, who botched a circumcision he was performing on a child, and advised sexual reassignment; this is a heinous case of something that goes beyond medical malpractice to child abuse really. The child grew up and suffered identity issues, and when he finally began to live his life as the man he was born, he still had no way of coping with his psychological pain and, the story intimates, it is for this reason that at age 38 he took his own life.

The cases described here are very different, of course, since one is a natural evolution, and the sexual assignment that was selected for the child at birth seemed to support the child's behavior and lifestyle throughout adolescence and into young adulthood. Then, when the child's physiology began manifesting symptoms of Harris' "other" sexual side, Harris changed his sexual identity and has lived, it seems, a healthy and productive life.

Unfortunately, the child who Money botched the circumcision on, and who suffered as the assigned sex with feelings and emotions that he could not relate to his sexual identity, never felt comfortable in the assigned sexual role. That took its toll on this person's psyche, and was really a source of torture such that it lead to suicide.


PREVALENCE (How common is it?):

Some sources for data on statistical norms of sexual behavior include the GSS study:

Cannot access above site!

and Kinsey's somewhat older data (from 1940's) from possibly non-representative sample, but very comprehensive:

The Kinsey site is devoted to sexual interaction, and does not address Hormorphidites


SUFFERING: (What symptoms or complaints motivate seeking help from doctors?)

For Harris, she (prior to changing sexual identity as adult) began experiencing conditions consistent with male maturity; facial hair, a change in facial appearance from feminine to masculine, and a sense of not feeling comfortable as a woman anymore.

For Money's patient, he never felt comfortable as a woman, but his true sexual identity was kept from him until he was much older; then, when he found out that he was actually born a boy, many of the things he experienced psychologically and physically were clear to him. His interests were those of boy. His body felt masculine to him. Later, when he began living his born identity, his life was improved, but he suffered problems that were residual of his sexual reassignment and he took his own life.

DISABILITY: (How does it impair ability to function in relationships, or at work?)

For Harris, it seemed less problematic. When Harris began experiencing a discernable level of discomfort, she sought change to become comfortable with who she felt more close to in herself. For Money's patient, it was quite different. He experienced psychological torment as a result of his thoughts that were masculine and his body's feelings. It caused him emotional and social problems that he did not know how to cope with because he did not, at first, know his own medical history.


SOCIAL ACCEPTIBILITY (Is it disturbing or offensive to others?)

What is acceptable may vary with culture, as discussed in Chapter 9 of text.

Sexual reassignment is more acceptable today because people are less concerned with it today. However, while either of the men discussed here were growing up, it would have been a much different story. It would have been a social impairment. Others would have probably manifested a range of behaviors in response to the information from curiosity, to being offended, to wanting to distance themselves from the situation that they felt poorly equipped to deal with or respond to.

LEGAL (Is it a violation of law? Does it violate others' rights?)

See notes for Chapter 16 for a discussion comparing legal and social acceptability. There may be overlap between legal and medical criteria for normality: When mental patients are considered "dangerous," they may be locked up in psychiatric hospitals.

We will cover legal issues in Module 7, but references to law can be found throughout the text. A search at for the word "law" will find examples in many chapters.

This makes no sense. What is the question here?

Module 4 Assignment Instructions

Everyday you are exposed to examples of relationships in the media. Are these portrayals real or sensationalized? Why? Think of someone you know who is in a positive relationship. In your view, what makes this relationship successful? What emotional and practical factors contributed to the interpersonal bond? Has your idea of a successful relationship changed since were younger? If so, how? Answer and elaborate on these questions in a 1-2-page paper. Since this assignment focuses on your opinion, rather than facts there is no assignment worksheet. You may address such factors as attraction, communication, etc. Save the file as Module 4 Assignment

I think that most of the relationships in the media are sensationalized, because they are meant to draw attention to a media outlet, cable or television channel. They are not example of real relationships, which are much less sensational, probably less glamorous, and probably involve more work because of commitment.

As I consider one couple that I know who have been married for 30 years, I admire their loyalty to one another, because they evolved through the range of "love" emotions that many people do not survive in a relationship. That is, getting past the point where every single meeting, touch, and moment of life is preoccupied with thoughts of the other person, and you become comfortable in the relationship knowing that the other person is with you for life and that every moment between yourselves does not have to be "exciting" in a sexually intense way. There is passion in knowing another person well, and a deep sense of love that is not affected by jealousies, but is reinforced with confidence and sureness. This is the way I describe the couple I know, one of the few, to have a long-term relationship and marriage.

The emotional factors that contributed to their success is that they remained close friends throughout the years, able to share with another their most intimate or blatantly loud thoughts about each other. They had fun together, went around the world and found favorite places and made sure that they spent time together in those favorite places celebrating their love for the place, the fun, each other. They have great fun together.

My idea of a successful relationship has changed since I was younger, because youth is a time of discovery, and I probably did not discover what love meant in a mature way until I was…[continue]

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