Queering gender: studying gender identity in ‘normative’ individuals

Daphna Joel*, Ricardo Tarrasch, Zohar Berman, Maya Mukamel, Effi Ziv

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

In contemporary psychology, normal development is contingent on the establishment of a coherent, universal, stable and unitary ‘core gender identity’. The present study assessed the perception of gender identity in ‘normative’ individuals in Israel using the newly constructed Multi-Gender Identity Questionnaire (Multi-GIQ). The Multi-GIQ includes 32 items assessing gender identity (Feeling like a woman, Feeling like a man, Feeling like both a man and a woman, Feeling like neither), gender dysphoria (Contentment with affirmed gender and the wish to be the ‘other’ gender, Contentment with one’s sexed body) and gender performance (Compliance with gender norms in clothing and language). Of the Men (n = 570) and Women (n = 1585) that participated in the study, over 35% felt to some extent as the ‘other’ gender, as both men and women and/or as neither. Although such feelings were more prevalent and on average stronger in Queers (n = 70), the range of scores for all measures of gender identity was highly similar in Queers and non-Queers. A similar pattern was obtained for measures of gender dysphoria and gender performance. Sexual orientation was not a major contributor to the perception of gender identity in both Men and Women. We discuss our results in view of the current debate around the terminology and diagnostic criteria of gender dysphoria (a substitutive category for Gender Identity Disorder) in DSM-V. We conclude that the current view of gender identity as binary and unitary does not reflect the experience of many individuals, and call for a new conceptualisation of gender, which relates to multiplicity and fluidity in the experience of gender.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)291-321
Number of pages31
JournalPsychology and Sexuality
Volume5
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 15 Oct 2014

Keywords

  • gender dysphoria
  • gender identity
  • performance
  • queer
  • sexual orientation

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