With all the talk about the whistleblower formerly known as Bradley Manning transitioning from male to female and adopting the name Chelsea Manning, I thought it might be a good time to dig into the topic of Gender Identity.

Boy? Girl? Cupcakes

Gender Identity for Breakfast.

Gender Dysphoria is the technical name for transsexualism and is “a marked incongruence between one’s experienced/expressed gender and assigned gender.” In other words, Gender Dysphoria occurs when the physical body and outward appearance does not match the gender of one’s mind.

Gender Dysphoria is not a sexual in nature. There is no sexual titilation involved; it is a condition where a person seeks for their outward appearance to correspond with their inner identity. It should not be confused with cross dressing or drag, which are completely different.

Cross dressing involves a person who self-identifies as the biological gender of birth, but enjoys wearing clothes of the other gender for pleasure. Usually, a cross dresser is heterosexual.

A drag queen, on the other hand, is a generally a gay man who dresses in women’s clothes and takes on female mannerisms for the purposes of performing, often as comedy.

Note that both cross dressing and drag relate to what one does, whereas Gender Dysphoria relates to what one is. A transsexual with Gender Dysphoria can have any sexual orientation, including heterosexuality, bisexuality, homosexuality, asexuality, or any mix of these.

Gender Dysphoria is no small matter in the life of a person who finds that their assigned gender role and body do not match their internal experience. Human rights and basic compassion dictate that any person who has Gender Dysphoria ought to get the medical and psychological treatment that they need, even while in prison.

Since Manning has declared herself to be female, it is clear that the government has a responsibility to provide care for Manning as long as she is in custody, regarless of cost.

As always, Off Topic is On Topic at Over Easy and lurkers are encouraged to join the conversation. I’ll see you in the comments around 7:30 a.m. PST when I roll out of bed.

Photo and cupcakes by Kristin Ausk released under a Creative Commons No Derivatives license.