These 20 Psychologists Weigh In on Gender Identity
"As a psychologist I am concerned about socially constructed gender binarism because it contributes to norms supportive of stigmatization, harassment, discrimination, marginalization, and violence towards those with non-conforming gender identities and expressions." Shawn M. Burn Ph.D.
In today’s day and age, gender is no longer a fixed characteristic. What most of society once thought to be concrete may actually be fluid, as is becoming more apparent. Gender identity is a person’s perception of having a particular gender, whether or not it mirrors the sex they were born with. Previously, it was assumed that whichever sex you had at birth was matched with the gender you identified with your entire life, but the recent rise in the number of transgender and gender-fluid individuals has shown this to be incorrect. More and more people are coming forward with opposing gender identities, but the overall concept is still confusing for some, so we put together the opinions of 20 psychologists to gain a better perspective on gender identity.
Shawn M. Burn is a doctored professor of psychology at California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo as well as the author of four books on psychology. In her opinion, gender is far more complex than the simple exclusions of “male” and “female.” For starters, Dr. Burn states that about 1.7% of humans are “intersex,” meaning they possess chromosomal and anatomical features of both males and females. Nevertheless, most cultures see gender in black-and-white terms: you are either male or female from birth until death. This close-minded perception is of great concern to Dr. Burn.
Her solution? Greater openness and acceptance of these individuals. In her mind, gender variant people are not the problem; “what needs fixing is how we think about gender identity and gender identity expression.”