The Psychology of Sexual Orientation, Behavior, and Identity: A Handbook

By Louis Diamant; Richard D. McAnulty | Go to book overview

16
Gender Identity Disorders: A Developmental Perspective

Kenneth J. Zucker

The topics of sex and gender grab headlines. In a humorous vein, Tiefer ( 1994) remarked that it has become quite tedious for academics to keep up with the compulsive task of filing away newspaper clippings about sex and gender because there are so many pieces being written about them in the popular press. But this was not always the case. When Kinsey, Pomeroy, and Martin ( 1948) published their landmark work, Sexual Behavior in the Human Male, the topic was considered almost lurid. Further back in the history of sexology, the major texts ( Ellis 1936; Krafft-Ebing 1886) were deemed appropriate only for the eyes of physicians.

At a more scientific level, one needs to remember that our understanding of aspects of biological sex is rather new. For example, the karyotyping of the sex chromosomes in humans was a technique developed only in the 1950s ( Moore & Barr 1955). The development of taxonomies to describe aspects of psychosexual differentiation remains an ongoing endeavor. Money ( 1955), for example, coined the term gender role forty years ago, and the term gender identity was introduced even later ( Stoller 1964a).

It is not surprising, therefore, that it has been only in the past two or three decades that terms to describe disorders of psychosexual differentiation have reached a formal status in the psychiatric nomenclature. Transsexualism, a diagnosis reserved for postpubertal youth and adults, and the gender identity disorder of childhood, a diagnosis reserved for children, appeared for the first time in the publication of the third edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manualof Mental Disorders

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