Body and Mind

It might be argued that these definitions echo the traditional dichotomy in academic thought between mind and body. It is of course an extension of the distinction, that we have been at pains to make, between sexual dimorphism and gender, artificial though it may be.

Indeed, there is a move among some transsexuals to suggest that it is an intersex condition of the brain, though it would seem very hard to prove, as we will read in the section on neurology.

At the same time, intersex people are heatedly pointing out that their situation is not transsexualism, since most transsexuals have perfectly normal appearing physiology.

One aim of this section is to suggest that, for many intersex persons, their gender identity is not as clear cut as one might expect it to be. This author sees no reason why an intersex person should not also have a gender identity issue. Much of this site is devoted to discussing how, and when, gender identity is formed, and it would seem to be not entirely predictable.

Indeed, throughout human history there have been individuals who have been temperamentally unable to live either as what we are familiar with as a 'man' or a 'woman.' The anthropological literature is full of traditional cultures which made space for such people by having what are referred to as multiple 'gender' systems. In many such cultures the demarcation between male and female roles are not clearly defined, something that Gilbert Herdt has referred to as "gender liminality"

In our culture there are individuals within an umbrella category called transgendered who swap between the genders, or who manage to find some in-between way of living, which is not easy. Living in a culture that has no name for you, you do not have a place.

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Bland, J., (2003) About Gender: Body and Mind
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Web page copyright 2002-6 Derby TV/TS Group. Text copyright Jed Bland.
26.04.02 Last amended 19.08.03