John/Joan Gender Identity
August 3, 2010
On my honor I pledge that I have neither given nor received any unacknowledged aid on this assignment.
Who are you internally and how do you identify yourself? Gender identity is an individual’s private experience of the self as male or female. Gender identity usually establishes whether you identify with masculine or feminine characteristics. Gender roles are behaviors socially constructed to define each sex from the type of clothes your wear to the way a person speak. Gender identity is usually well established by early childhood. By the age of 2 usually a boy comes to know he is a boy, and girls know they are a girl. Gender identity is who you identify with from a cultural standpoint on what characteristics one tends to have whether it’s feminine or masculine depends on each individual. However, with the case of John/Joan it is almost the opposite of what our book describes. John was born a male and reassigned to the female sex, and John was never able to relate to the feminine gender. It is amazing that he always related to the masculine gender although he was castrated at 22 months, and reassigned to be a female he still had all the characteristics of masculinity. John felt like he never fit in with little girls, and had a real hard time being a female. Without knowing he was born male he always knew something was not right and could not make himself accept femininity as his gender identity. Gender identity is established during childhood usually before 2 years old. Society tends to place gender and gender roles based on one’s sex (male/female). Gender identity and sexual orientation both seem to work together on some level with gender there are many variations from male to masculine and female to feminine, and all things in between. However, sexual orientation refers to who a person is attracted to sexually. Based on the true story, John/Joan my first initial thoughts on gender identity have been compromised. After reading this story I now believe gender identity may also be associated with biological influences. If gender identity was solely based on what a person think and who they identify with, then we cannot be sure as to why John/Joan had a hard time being a girl. Looking at the timeline of events surrounding John/Joan gender identity will help put things in perspective. In the story John/Joan, a baby boy was turned into a girl after a botched circumcision when he was only 8 months old. Due to the fact, he was medically disfigured his parents desperately sought out help from medical professionals. These professionals suggested that they should change John sex, and reassign him to be a girl. After taking a long time to think it over his parent’s reluctantly decided to go through with it, and when he was 22 months old John was castrated. By his 2nd birthday his mother decided to put Joan in her first dress, and Joan did not like it as she tugged away at the dress showing extreme discomfort. At age 4 Joan was intrigued while watching her father shave and he told her that little girls do not shave. At this point and time Joan was experiencing gender role strain. However, she continued the facade as a girl and by the time she reached first grade her behavior was out of control. Joan immediately identified that she was not like other little girls and did not like girl things. In fact Joan did not do things like the other children and it caused her a lot of problems in school. As she got older she begin to notice more and more that she like boy things, and wanted to do what little boys did. When she turned 8 years old her doctor Mr. Money, was ready to complete the sex change operation, but Joan refused vowing she never wanted to be a girl. At age 9 she told Dr. Money, when he asked her a question about her sexual orientation…