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Is gender assigned at birth or is it learned through nurturing and environment?

There are two camps of thought on this. Personally, I think it's assigned at birth so that even if you do nothing to direct a child's development, they will come to it naturally in time. A boy or girl will simply feel/think/act like a boy or girl.

But what about trans people I hear you ask? I don't know what's happening there but whatever it is, I believe it was hardwired at birth. A trans boy or girl aren't making a decision to think contrary to their biological sex, it's who they are. Noone is making decision to be trans, or gay, or bi, or whatever, it's simply who they are at birth.

Xians have made the decision to be hateful, judgmental and intolerant toward these people who are "just as God made them."

See how I worked a Xian criticism into this to stay on topic?

Sgt_Spanky 8 May 29

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The issue here (to me) is the insistence of pitting one answer against another; always making drama and arguing that it's "either this / or that" in perpetuity for the sake of arguing more than anything else. Like most apparent contradictions in life are matters of degree of difference, this again is some from pile A, and the rest from pile B. It's both. I'm sure that's not very satisfying to whoever wants to keep beating their particular drum, and sorry about that, but it'll also be infuriating that I don't intend to "back that up" either. That's my whole point: it's not an argument in the first place. This perspective could be a viable offramp, defusing the endless controversy, making both sides content and to drop it, but it won't, they won't. It's like politics. Well today's politics or spirituality where tribes insist on taking a side and fighting to the death, not about what makes most sense. Although as far as spirituality goes I'm more comfortable not believing in it, but mostly just not talking about it because you can't argue with people about politics or religion when they don't even have one foot in the real world. How we deal with gender issues at least has some foundation, and the main reason people run into trouble with it is when the other two arguments get involved in it (no big surprise there and DUH).


In most things in human life, nature, nurture, indoctrination, disease, nutrition and education, interact in complex ways, to make people what they are. Thinking that any aspect of the human condition from gender, to politics or whether you are religious or sceptical, is determined by one of a simple duality of either genetics or culture, is buying into a vastly oversimplified picture. The two sides of which are usually, as with all oversimplifications, promoted by people with political and religious agendas.


Physical biological sex is assigned as a convenience at birth according to genitalia.
Sexual identity develops naturally a little later it and would seem as hetero and Homo sexual trait appear at a very young age.
Gender identity similarly becomes more marked and developed with the onset of puberty though often appears years before.
Subtle personal sexual/gender preferences (personal turn ons, fetishes etc) seem to come in to play as personality develops in the same way we decide which tastes we prefer and colours we like.

Just an opinion based on personal observation.

All that aside it is no one else's business how an individual decides to identify or how they feel happy living their lives so long as it is not actively and directly hurting anyone else


I was born in 1959 and my family was poor white trash, military, violent and religious.
There were as many Trans people then as now, but we were coerced into silence and conformity, because our lives depended on it. I was ALWAYS aware at one level or another that I wanted to grow up female, after all they had so many more fashion choices. I told my grandmother when I was four years old and she told Dad and I suffered humiliations endlessly until my father died in 2001 by which time I was married and had two daughters.
I had spent my youth trying to fit in as a male hilariously overcompensating, even riding a Harley and wearing leather for about five years after my tour of military service. I exercised way too much and none of it was aerobic because aerobics don't make your muscles swell like a male kangaroo in rut season.
In the Navy I actually dated couples several times and ultimately received an honorable discharge for "homosexual" activity, but I never identified as homosexual or bi for that matter.
I flushed my DD-214 and made an almost lethal attempt at suicide in 1983. I married a Bulgarian woman in 1993 who was about as emotional as a Vulcan from Star Trek and had two daughters. My wife divorced me in 2007 and I went off trying to find myself but it would not be until 2016 that I embraced the truth and remembered all those nights as a young teenager where I prayed that God would help me, just let me wake up as a female. I hadn't wanted to face it but I had always been Trans, just repressed or oppressed into being dishonest with myself.
Three years went by before I told family and work, so yes I am out. The response broke my heart because everyone at least acted like they accepted me, it wasn't the huge disgrace that I had been programmed to believe, the universal abandonment would not happen after all.
Sadly my transition plans have been interrupted by the pandemic and I had a heart attack last year revealing my heart disease. So it's probable that I'll never complete my transition.

As for your question, I was born this way. It's not about sex it's about gender. I lost interest in sex a long time ago. Sex is complicated and based in trust and I spent an entire lifetime not trusting anyone for obvious reasons.
How much do you know about a person when the only thing you know is their gender? "Male", "Female", "Trans" tell you nothing at all about the person beyond absurd assumptions. I know Trans people that are conservative Christians while I'm a progressive atheist.
In short we are our nature, let people be who they are, don't expect special treatment for being who you are but by all means be yourself.
I'm grateful for every opportunity I get to bring my body and my psychology into harmony, if you're like me I encourage you to do something about it while you're young and strong enough to be happy.
I'd explain my gender dysphoria if I understood it enough to explain it to myself, but it has always been there.

I knew you'd have a lot to share. Thanks for opening up. If you can't finish transitioning are you at least happy with where you are or do you still feel incompatible mentally and physically?

@Sgt_Spanky Well, having come this far I'm not happy about my situation in the least, but it has been liberating to be honest about it. So it's a net gain.


Gee, I thought that with eleven comments surely someone would know more than the TINY LITTLE BIT I know AS TO HUMANS.
0 ) For a brief time after fertilization every fetus is female
1 ) Soon after fertilization, a “signal” results in the female genitalia re-forming as male genitalia, ovaries becoming testes, clitoris becoming penis, etc.
2 ) It’s now THOUGHT that a few weeks after fertilization another “signal” results in the female brain re-forming as a male brain.
3 ) when those two “signals” don’t match, gender dysphoria results.
4 ) Intersex is something else.

For better info, in PM on weekdays phone SF Sex, Gender & Relationships Info hotline at 1-415-989-7374.


People tell me god does not make mistakes. How about a 2 headed calf? On the other hand, it's hard for me to imagine a girl with a penis. It's also hard for me to imagine people fighting gender assignment problems at age 5.

By five I had been beaten with a belt while naked several times by my father for telling my grandmother that I wanted to grow up to be a woman.
You can be as incredulous as you want but most trans people always knew their condition.

Excuse me here, but what exactly do you think that the male penis starts from when the fetus is still developing?
For your, imo, needed enlightenment, the MALE penis starts off as 2 separate parts, those being the Urethra and, believe it or not, the Clitoris and the Clitoral fold, aka, the Clitoral sheath.
The Clitoral Sheath is made up by the 2 inner Labia of the Vulva, the Labia Minora, where they meet near the top of the Vulva and just below the junction of the Labia Majora..
Beneath the Clitoris lies , in the Female Genitalia, the Urethral Opening,.
Now comes the 'crunch' part, IF the fetus receives EXTRA amounts of Testosterone during the Second Trimester then the rudimentary external Pubic lump begins to change, the hidden Clitoral Bud begins to grow larger and starts to protrude from the Lump, the skin that would have made up the 2 sets of Labia ( should Testosterone NOT have been introduced) of the female Vulva, remains as one, then begins to shape itself into the Penile Shaft which encompasses both the Urethral Opening and the growing Clitoral Head to eventually become a Penis and an EMPTY Scrotum, because Male Testes MUST journey DOWN the Inguinal Canals from the Pelvic Vault and then on into the Scrotum, usually a few days or more, either post-partum or on some rarer occasions just before birth.
And yes, there are such person as women with a clitoris that very closely resemble the Male Penis, both, often in length and shape, there are also cases of Hermaphroditism where both male and female attributes, Breast and Genitalia can be present in the same body.
An Hermaphrodite person MAY look quite average and normal in body at a glance BUT that is where it stops, under their clothing it may be a vastly different thing/world.
He/she MAY have a manly type body build with NO visible or just small manly sized pectorals ( breasts in women), below the waist may dwell either a Vulva, with or without a LARGER than 'normal' protruding Clitoris, OR, a Vulva with a Scrotum attached at the base OR even a fully formed Penis, Scrotum included BUT with a Vaginal Opening hidden under the Scrotum.
So, as you MAY just see, DennoPenno, determination of ACTUAL Gender is NOT as simple as just taking a look at what hangs or does not hang between a new-born baby's legs BECAUSE what you see AIN"T always what you get.


I suppose, medically speaking, we are born with the genitalia ( the outwardly visible sex organs that is) that depict our birth Gender.
However, it is not until the early second trimester that the gender defining hormones begin to take effect, before then there IS No definable gender for a fetus/developing baby.
Post-partum ( after being born) the environmental, etc, influences do come into play to some extent but, more than likely, it is the production of hormones at the onset of puberty that can and do wield some influences over the future sexuality/sexual preferences, etc, of the person.
In females there is an ample production of hormones such as Estrogen and Progesterone with small.minute amounts of Testosterone being produced as well from time to time.
In males, there is, under 'normal' body circumstances, a constant supply of Testosterone being produced by the Testes and sent around the body, however in both male and females case there are exceptions where the Hormone factories get a bit over-excited/lax and those supplies are either either over-supplied or under-supplied.
It may worth remembering that MALE Testes were once EXACTLY the same as Female Ovaries, they were found up in the pelvic vault, and until Testosterone was released they had every chance of remaining there and becoming Ovaries.


People can be whoever they want to be, but if one is born with a penis, I will forever refer to them as male. If they are born with a vagina, I will always refer to them as female.

Nature experiiments with many combination of sex genes. The traditional understanding that XX belies a female and XY belies a male is overly simplistic. A lot like your oversimplistic comment. Genetics and gender assignment is much more complicated than a penis or a vagina. But as an incompetent pediatrician even you should know that.

@t1nick Nature is just nature. There are absolutely zero experiments.

Since you've been on this site you've claimed to come from Australia, finished your residency in Alabama as a pediatrician and began practice there, and graduated with your Med credentials from New York. Based on your comments over the last tear and a half none of these things ring true. Your are just a backwoods Alabama redneck who struggled to graduate high school (if you even did) with the bottom GPA. That just one percent higher than a guppy.


Obviously you failed Biology. Evolution is about nature experimenting and species struggling and experimenting to adapt. Donr try to be a scholar, it doesn't suit you.

@t1nick You’re my favorite 😍

"People can be whoever they want to be," and that answers the question, well said
" but" uho
"if one is born with a penis, I will forever refer to them as male. If they are born with a vagina, I will always refer to them as female."
Who asked you this? Why is it so important to you, how other people think of themselves? Why do you feel the need need to express an intolerant stance on the subject that seems in direct opposition to your excellent and already stated opinion that
"People can be whoever they want to be," ?

@LenHazell53 it’s a simple opinion and I have a right to that.

Why be an asshole though?

@OldMetalHead I simply gave my opinion. It’s typed out with zero tone or inflection available, so if you see me as an asshole for it; that says more about your feelings than it does anything about me.

@CourtJester Did you really mean to say option? I think you meant opinion?

@LenHazell53 hahaha. Damn auto correct…. I fixed it.

@CourtJester No. I'm not saying you giving your opinion makes you an asshole. I'm saying that referring to a trans person by their biological sex instead of their gender is an asshole move. It's intentional infliction of emotional pain.

@OldMetalHead trust the science


I can't say I truly understand, but that's okay. Understanding is far less important than accepting people for who they are. I don't need to put someone in a box or slap labels on them. I may never truly understand what someone is going through or how they feel about themselves and their identity but I'll do my best to accept them as they are.


I'm old-fashioned. I don't get the whole gender dysphoria thing. I guess live and let live.


There are inherent biological traits and there are social conventions. Girls are not inherently bad at math; however, for centuries, we were told that boys are "just" better at math and science. We were also told that we lacked logic, reason, and were ruled by emotions. Some girls are naturally timid, but we were told overall that we were more timid than boys. On the other hand, boys were told that they were inherently braver than girls; boys who were not "brave" but timid were called "sissies," aka "like girls." Girls who were dominant were ridiculed. These are all social conventions.

Humans who have ovaries, a womb, and breasts have babies and feed them. Humans who have penises and testes do the impregnation. These are biological, not social aspects. And yes, some humans have both sets of genitalia, but the focus of my post is "girls will act like girls and boys will act like boys." So, how are girls supposed to think and act? How are boys supposed to think and act?

I'm not saying that gender nurturing and environment play no part, they play a big part but I believe that gender is wired at birth so under neutral conditions, a boy or girl will still eventually develop as a male or female because their gender was already assigned by the time they were born.

I agree!

@Sgt_Spanky Are you making a distinction between "sex" and "gender"? How are women "supposed" to act because they are women? How are men supposed to act?

@Gwendolyn2018 Sex is determined by what's between your legs, gender is whether you identify as male or female. Males will exhibit more masculine behavior and thinking and females will exhibit more feminine behavior and thinking.

It's really not that hard to understand.

@Sgt_Spanky I am quite well aware of the distinctions between "sex" and "gender," but many people use the words interchangeably. That is why I asked.

However, the issue still remains how women are "supposed" to act vs. how men are "supposed" to act. What is "feminine" behavior and who decides? The same for masculine behavior. I have been complimented by men--always by men--for being "logical" and thinking like a man. On the other hand, I have also been told by men that my logic is skewed and it is due to being female. I know and have met many men who lack logic and yet, think that they have the superior edge in rationality because they are men.

As a girl, I was told, "girls do not act like that (whatever "that" was)--boys do."


@Gwendolyn2018 "What's a girl supposed to act like?" and "What's a boy supposed to act like?"It seems like you want me to explain the difference between boys and girls and I refuse to believe you don't already know that.

@Sgt_Spanky Sigh. I know the physical differences, but you said "girls will act like girls" and the same for boys. If you cannot understand that when I was a girl--and even as a woman--I was told that many of my actions were not what "girls do" or were not "womanly." The roles assigned to males and females are not necessarily related to their sexes, but are dictated by culture. The same for boys--I remember boys being called "sissies" if they wanted to "do" what the girls were doing. I have witnessed men being told that their actions are "unmanly" if they do not fit cultural expectations. If you can't understand that, then I can't explain it any other way.

@Gwendolyn2018 I could probably answer you better if you clarify what these things you do/did both then and now that are/were criticized for not being appropriate for a female?

@Sgt_Spanky It is moot. Nothing to see here.


As a Transwoman all I can say is "Baby I was born this way"... It wasn't easy to accept myself, I hid in my armoire for 26 years..I was a pleasant "man" to know, the interior me was a different story. As a bestie Gf put it when she met Me for the first time, " I never realized how unhappy you were back then"
She loves Me, for Who I am, even more now.
So imo it's all about social conditioning

I was hoping for some trans input. So you knew there was an issue with your biological sex and who you felt you really were. Eventually you made the decision to bring your mind and body into alignment. This suggests to me that you were born with a female wired brain in a male body. Am I wrong?

@Sgt_Spanky nope, not wrong at all.. I can’t ever remember feeling right in my skin and not understanding why I should "Stop crying acting like a girl"..I was one..

@Charlene Confirmation that this is hardwired at birth. It's the same with gays. They didn't make a choice, they were born with a sexual preference for their own sex. Why do so many people, mostly religious ones, fail to get this? They insist this sort of thing is a illness that they can cure ..with more Jesus!

@Sgt_Spanky or it's a 'life style" I woke up one morning and said 'Damn I wanna be Female and get shit on daily'.

@Charlene And at its core, crying is neither a boy or girl "thing"--boys cry every bit as often as do girls. I know, I raised boys and have a grandson. However, none of them were ever ridiculed for crying.


Science has answered this query. I do not remember exactly what trimester in the embryonic development it occurs but at some point way prior to birth the fetus is flooded with hormones, there is some signal that occurs and depending on how much of one or the other the fetus gets this will determine the "sex" of the individual. This is the reasons that trying to assign gender once the child is born can be risky. What is hanging off the front may not match the xy chromosomes or is there is evidence of both genders (as does happen).
Culture plays a role in how we get raised and what boys or girls get to do. Always seemed like so much bull shit to me.


I agree. I would think almost all trans people were raised to follow their biological gender and yet still made the difficult decision to transition. The same prejudice against LGBTQ people today used to exist against left-handed people in earlier times. My paternal grandfather (born in 1900) was forced to learn to write right-handed. Left-handed people were seen as dishonest, stupid, even evil. Today, even most religious people know better then to ascribe these qualities onto a child because they favor their left hand.


I see your question and your analysis as being over-simplistic.

God Mobsters will use any excuse and none to belittle other people.

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