Gender identity

The term gender has a long history, with Greek roots signifying "birth, race, and family" and Latin roots signifying "birth, race, and kind." The psychologist John Money was among the first to use the term to refer to a person's felt identity as male or female, as distinguished from that person's biological sex traits (Money). The term also is used to refer to a person's nature or identity as male or female and to social aspects of sex such as the cultural roles of men and women.

Various biological traits distinguish male from female, but males and females are not distinct in categorical ways and the boundary between male and female is fluid rather than fixed: Human beings can exhibit atypical traits or intersexed conditions (Fausto-Sterling). Rather than having an XX or XY sex chromosome complement, for example, some people have an XXY or XYY complement. In some cases an individual may be born with only a single X chromosome. Some humans have indeterminate genitalia or both testicular and ovarian tissue. In regard to social roles male and female traits can overlap as well.

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