Friday, April 15, 2005

Are you sure of your own gender?

I have a little donut here for you readers to stomach:
Are you sure of your own gender?

Gender defined at http://www.dictionary.com/ describes it as:
gen·der ( P ) Pronunciation Key (jndr)
n. Grammar.
1. Sexual identity, especially in relation to society or culture.
2. The condition of being female or male; sex.
3. Females or males considered as a group: expressions used by one gender.

Our sex is governed by a pair of sex chromosomes in our DNA. Males are XY by nature and females are XX by nature. If our sexuality is only confined by the condition of our sex, then what are the sex of the people who are borned XXY or XYX? Are they sex-less or they are male, female or both?

X is called the female sex chromosome. When X expresses itself in the human body, it leads to the production of female hormones. The presence of female hormones exert different effects on the host body. If the level of female hormones is high in a fetus during the pregnancy period, the fetus will develop into a girl because high level of female hormone result in development of the female genitals. Normally, high level of female hormones results when there is more than 1 X chromosome present in the DNA.

Y is called the male sex chromosome. When Y expresses itself in the human body, it leads to the production of male hormones. Male hormones not only suppress the development of female sex organs but also bring about development of male sex organs. A normal male contains the XY sex chromosome. The X and Y chromosomes are codominant, ie. they don't completely terminate the expression of the other chromosome. This suggests that he has both male and female hormones present in his body. However, the male hormones suppress the development of female sex organs, thus the male body will not exhibit breasts and a female pubes, but rather a penis.

Considering the sex condition of people borned with a mutated sex chromosome would be very difficult. It would be seem as if there are double standards in our basis of judgement. Essentially, we are people who see, observe, then rationalise. Our eyes cannot see genes directly when we look at a person. However, we can tell if the person is a he or she in virtue of the presence of certain sexual characteristics such as augmented chest of a woman and the adam's apple of a guy. We will consider a XXY person female because she only exhibits the female phenotype due to the high level of female hormones present in the body and the Y chromosome is defective. However, considering her sexuality on the basis of her genes, she is both male and female because she contains XX and XY. Isn't this conflicting? Don't you find it disturbing? It's even more upset to talk about the XYX people.

XYX is a rare mutation and its resultant phenotype is the development of both male and female sexual organs in the body. If you have both a penis and a vagina that is naturally part of you, do you consider yourself a male, female or both? It would be intitutivel to rationalise your sexual identity by yur sexual preference. Being a mutant, you would think "If I like a girl, I must be male" or "If i like a guy, I must be female" or "If I fancy both sexes, I must be bisexual". Considering that you are physically capable of acting as both female and male during the copulation process, why not consider yourself bisexual? Is one's sexual preference truly the guide of one's sexuality? Even I can't decide my own sex, how sure can I be sure about the other party's?

Now that I am finally done with discussing about the physical aspects of our sexual characteristics, this essay is not complete without examining the psychological concept of sex. As we all know it (through our naked eye looking at society around us) we see girls in skirts, guys in jeans, girls with long tresses, guys with crew cut. The psychological aspect of sexual identity is interesting because we can change it, unlike our physical characteristics which is determined by our genotype. If we project ourselves as the opposite sex, we will tend to dress up like what society would expect the opposite sex to wear and try to emulate their behavior. Not everybody has fantastic ability to perform this job, but there is evidently interest among some people. It's not how good they are in projecting themselves as the opposite sex, but rather the interest, the reason and sometimes the natural preference to be the opposie sex.

Why would people want to be the opposite sex? They could be envious of certain characteristics or social advantage inherent that particular sex. eg. People are more willing to take care of girls because they are girls. In fact, girls' clothes are generally much better designed and tastefully coloured, unlike the limited variety of clothes imposed by male fashion around the world. Sometimes it could be a bad memory from the past. Imagine if you are a young girl who was raped by her dad, would you grow up detesting male sexuality? Probably to the extent that you find it unacceptable to copulate with a male, but you find yourself more comfortble to make love to a fellow woman? Perhaps, it's just one reason to act as the turning point for one's sexual preference. Sometimes, we been brought up with the idea of one's sexual gender being imposed by others. Many a time, my sister would consider as herself as a guy because she was brought up as one, expected to behave like one, especially when the rest of her siblings are male and she's brought up in a confuscian family where guys are always given preferential treatment. I consider her as my sister and not my brother because the idea of her being a female has been imposed on me since her birth by my parents.

With the advancement in modern cosmetic technology, it is hard to differentiate male and female based on appearances. Even examining one's genotype to determine one's sex is not conclusive enough to decide one's sex. There is no rule-of-the-thumb or a proper scientific method present to determine one's gender. Only ideas that have been imposed on us while we were growing up. Hence, there is a need for a scientific method to determine one's gender. If no such procedure exists, how can you be sure if you are male? How can you be sure if you are female? Can you accept that your gender is actually a collective set of opinion?

Perhaps differentiating one's gender by male and female isn't sufficient. After-all, there are 30000 types of sex in the mushroom family (due to high level mutation in their genome). Can't we humans extend our sex types too?

1 comment:

mandla ngwenya said...

i believe lam a man cause l have a penis and feel l need to have sex with a female.but when l went to see the doctor he told me that lam xxy .but l have a daughter. my wife usaully passes her mps with 2 to4 weeks then she will then have her mps.help what is this?

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