Sunday, September 19, 2010

Self-Testing of Sexual Identity

Self-Testing: A Check on Sexual Identity and Other Levels of Sexuality
by Milton Diamond, 1995

Using several case studies, this article explores the disconnect between socially-assigned gender and sexual identity and the self-assigned gender identity of transsexuals: that is, how an individual's idea of their own gender and sex can come to vary so greatly from what the rest of society tells them they are. The author puts forth the idea that many transsexuals engage in frequent self-testing, or analysis of their own adherence to assigned gender roles, by behaving in accordance with the gender society assigns them rather than the one they believe themselves to be– high self-monitoring. However, their preferences continue to differ from those typical of their sex, and this dissonance causes them to conclude that they are "truly" supposed to be the opposite sex. (Notably, the dissonance remains even when their attempts to fill their biological gender roles are successful in the eyes of society.) As "The Social Self" in the textbook indicates, the formation of self-concept is highly dependent on comparisons with others; in the case of transsexuals, however, social reinforcement is insufficient to counteract their private thoughts, even when they intentionally seek verification of their birth sex. Transsexuals are so internally resistant to their societally-assigned sexual identity that they choose to change their bodies rather than their self-concept.

1 comment: