In considering how different people approach the complex issues associated with gender dysphoria and transgender persons, I was looking at a web site that discusses various approaches to the topic. They discuss four “categories in the study of transgender”: (1) essentialism or naturalism, (2) social constructivism, (3) performance, and (4) memory and language generation. The first two of these also represent two philosophical perspectives on the subject: essentialism versus social constructivism. According to the definition given on the web site, essentialists focus on the two genders as distinct and treat biological sex and gender as if there was no real difference between the two. Proponents also hold that they cannot be changed. In contrast, social constructivists claim that sex and gender are linguistic constructs fashioned by society. According to the article, they are in some ways products of how society assigns meaning to them and can to some extent be addressed or changed.
For reflection: Which philosophical position reflects your understanding of sex and gender? How does one’s philosophical position inform at a practical level how a person approaches the topic of gender identity? Also, moving in a different direction, it has been suggested by Richard Carroll that there are separate dimensions to sexuality, including one’s body, one’s social role, one’s sexuality, and one’s gender identity. Are there any other dimensions or considerations? Also, what are the relative weights you would give to these dimensions of sexuality? How does this inform how you approach the topic of gender identity concerns?