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Essay / Research Paper Abstract
A 4 page discussion of how our gender can be affected by both genetics and our environment. This paper specifically considers the problems presented by infants with ambiguous genitalia and adults who seek surgical intervention to change their sex.
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4 pages (~225 words per page)
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Unformatted sample text from the term paper:
that is not completely understood even today. Historically it was assumed that a persons sex was determined by their external genitalia. At times, however, external genitalia is not a
conclusive means of establishing sex. Consequently, our understanding of gender identity was later refined to encompass a consideration of internal sexual organs. Even our interpretation of internal anatomy,
it seems, can be misleading in terms of an individuals gender identity. Contemporary research reveals that gender identity can vary according to genetic attributes that are linked to such
things as hormones and it can even vary in accordance with environmental factors. Gender identity can, in fact, be affected by a number
of factors. In some cases, the external genitalia of a newborn is not decidedly either male or female. These newborns have what physicians prefer to refer to as
"ambiguous genitalia" or as an "intersex condition" (Stein, Sandberg, Mazur et. al, 2004, pp. SS1473). Historically, the sex of these individuals was determined at birth based
on what was then considered the best criteria. In the more radical cases this determination was even used to justify surgical intervention to sculpt the individual into a better
reflection of a particular sex in terms of their external genitalia. Parents and society then took these individuals, surgically altered or not, and raised them as the designated sex.
The problem that often results in such cases is that sometimes the decision that was made at that early moment in
this individuals life was wrong. The result is an individual that feels that they are one sex when society regards them as another sex. As adults, these individuals