When my friend from a former university asked me to use 'gender-neutral pronouns' around her, I wasn't exactly sure what she meant. Later, I found out that she doesn't identity with being a male or female. That is, she would rather be called by her name than by pronouns that indicate what sex she was born as. She didn't feel comfortable being called the typical "he" or "she" (etc.) because she expressed that she couldn't "be a female or a male" one hundred percent. Some days, she would believe herself to be male, and other days she would consider herself to be female. It was always different everyday and many times, very confusing for Kelly [*Name changed].
Looking at this experience, I find it difficult to read a small segment in chapter ten which presents the development of gender identity. During a study, it was shown that children aged one year or less have a natural tendency to play with toys that suggest their gender (i.e. girls play with dolls and boys play with toy trucks). Even when children are of age three, "boys prefer to hang out with other boys, and girls with other girls." Despite this being "natural" how does this explain individuals like my friend or those who have 'gender identity disorder?'
A segment on Dr. Phil reveals the story of a mother who has a son, but wants to become a female. This story, as well as countless individuals who feel the way my friend does (or are transgender) cannot sympathize with studies like these. I know that the amount of individuals who have issues with gender identity are less than those who understand their gender, but how can we describe individuals who don't know what gender they are [if they feel that they are one sex/gender at all]? Where do they fit into the box? Can it be explained by biological differences? How can psychology explain those who simply don't fit the bill? This is what needs to be addressed.
-I did use gender-pronouns to make my friend's story more clear. Normally, I don't use them around her or those who prefer gender-neutral pronouns.
-Friend's name is changed.
-Psychology, From Inquiry to Understanding (Textbook)
-http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z8Iq3E85-VY (Dr. Phil Segment)