The Gray Areas of Human Gender

893 Words4 Pages
The Gray Areas of Human Gender

It is an all too integrated part of our culture to assume that humans can be neatly fit into two categories: male and female. For society, the end all be all is the genetic pattern of a person that dictates whether that person does or does not have the potential to give birth. So how does this "theory" explain transsexuals, hermaphrodites, homosexuals, or even masculine women (feminine men)? The answer is that it does not address any of these issues. Our theory is flawed. There must be more to gender than merely the X and Y chromosomes. Gender is a composition of a variety of factors.

According to a Jordan Berdache, a mosaic hermaphrodite, "people recognize that we [humans] are both spiritual and physical beings" (1). He proclaims that people are not born into one gender or another, and that many times a person's gender may be different from his/her physical characteristics. "These brave people undergo excruciating pain and lengthy treatments and expense to have their external bodies match their inner identity and spirits as women, or men" (Berdache 1). According to gender expert Carl Bushong, gender is a composition of five different factors. Due to this, he says there can be thousands of different combinations of gender (2). Sexual disorders may have a great deal to do with chromosomal makeup, but they are also rooted in the makeup of the psyche.

The first category of Dr. Bushong's theory is genetics. Due to defects in fertilization, fetuses can have a chromosomal pattern of XXXY (mosaic hermaphrodite), XXY, or XYY. These abnormalities result in deformed genitalia, sterility, or an individual whose physical appearance as one sex does not match their genetic makeup as a member of the other...

... middle of paper ...

...ave a valid gender that lies in the broad gray areas between.

Works Cited

Berdache, Jordan. Just an "other." 17 July 1997.


This site is a touching personal account of Jordan Berdache, a mosaic hermaphrodite. He pleads with people to recognize gender has more to it than just genetics. It also has many wonderful links to other related cites at the bottom.

Bushong, Carl W. Multi-Dimensionality of Gender. 1995.


This site gives in depth analysis of gender by Dr. Bushong. It explains his theories.

Tampa Gender Identity Program (TGIP). "Sexual Differentiation."

Abstract. 11 October 2000.


This site gives a brief overview of some of the biological aspects of sexual disorders.
Open Document