Gender identity


All human beings are born with a sex that can identify us as male or female. This initially determines our gender identity, but what happens when the person does not feel identified with their sex, but with the opposite sex? It is from this question that the issue of gender identity goes beyond the fact that the organs that define our sexuality, and are more linked to the way of thinking, act of people according to how they feel in their body from his personal and public experience . It is a fundamental human right that promotes sexual diversity and healthy sexual development.

What is gender identity?

Gender identity is the way in which a person is recognized as a man or a woman based on their way of being, thinking and acting and their acceptance or rejection of their innate physiological characteristics . It differs from sex because gender identity involves cultural and social factors while sex is determined by specific biological characteristics (male or female).


At present, gender identity is a subject studied in many countries at the legal level , to respect the right to gender identity of citizens and especially in the case of trans (transformist, transgender, transsexual) who are part of society and must be treated as human beings with the same rights and duties without exclusion, discrimination or violence due to their orientation or sexual identity of a person .

  • What does it consist of
  • Types
  • What factors intervene in gender identity
  • Development of gender identity
  • Gender identity crisis
  • Gender identity change
  • Discrimination
  • Importance
  • Laws on gender identity
  • Examples of countries where gender identity has been legally discussed in relation to gender and name change

What does it consist of

Gender identity consists of the person being aware of feeling belonging to the male or female gender regardless of the sex with which they were born . A person may feel belonging to a gender identity other than their innate physical characteristics.

Gender identity is generally consolidated in men and women between 3 and 4 years of age.


There are different types of gender identity. Among them, we can mention:

  • Heterosexuals : they are men or women who recognize themselves according to the sex that defines them physically and who are attracted to the opposite sex.
  • Homosexuals: they are the men who feel, act and think like women and feel sexual attraction towards men.
  • Lesbians: They are women who feel, act and think like men and feel sexually attracted to women.
  • Transvestites: They are men or women who occasionally or in specific cases dress and behave as people of the opposite gender.
  • Transgender : They are men or women who habitually behave and dress like a person of the opposite gender and are equally satisfied with their biological sex.
  • Transsexuals: They are men or women who habitually behave and dress like a person of the opposite gender but do not agree with their biological sex, unlike the transgender person.

What factors intervene in gender identity

Many factors related to the family and the social environment in which the individual develops, as well as the psychological and biological conditions of each person, intervene in the development of gender identity . This is common for the sexual identity of heterosexuals; In the case other than the identity other than heterosexual there are certain external factors linked to severe psychological disorders produced in the family environment (upbringing, relatives) or social (influential friends, offensive people) that represent the most representative influence for the change of identity sexual and name.

Development of gender identity

The development of gender identity is linked to the family and social patterns in which an individual developed and the level of acceptance or rejection they have towards them. This is a very complex process that involves biological, psychological, social and cultural factors .

From the age of three, boys and girls already have an idea of ​​how their gender behaves and what their tastes are as seen in their family or in society. There are cases in which despite the sex, the boy or girl may develop an identity contrary to their sexual orientation in the future , but this is only consolidated between 18 and 20 years of age.

Gender identity crisis

The gender identity crisis is an uncomfortable situation or phenomenon that usually occurs when a person does not feel that they belong to their biological sex . This case is known as Gender Dysphoria and being so, family and psychological support is required.

In other cases, the gender identity crisis is related to not conforming to traditional models of masculinity and femininity ; and it cannot be solved simply with hormones or surgeries but with changes of mentality or ideas about what is or is not allowed to men and women.

Gender identity change

Changing gender identity is a process that can be complicated depending on its scope . If it represents only a change in identity and personal attitude, it can generate some type of discrimination or rejection in some social environments. On the other hand, if this change is linked to surgeries and treatments; These tend to be very aggressive to the human body as well as the use of drugs and hormones that are not part of the sex of the individual who wants to change their gender identity.

Currently, the change of gender identity is related to the change of name on identity documents or to the change of sex through surgeries and treatments. In many countries, laws are being drafted related to the issue of gender identity change so that people who do not belong to the heterosexual group are equally respected and are not treated with violence, discrimination or rejection.


Gender identity discrimination occurs mostly against people who are not heterosexual . This is generated by intolerant and disrespectful behaviors of people who falsely use national or religious customs to mistreat, reject or discriminate against non-heterosexuals .

This type of discrimination has been observed in many countries so that a wave of verbal or physical violence does not spread towards people who are not heterosexual and so that they can live free and in equal conditions as all citizens.


The gender identity that defines us not only sexually but also attitudinally , represents our way of projecting ourselves to others and to ourselves according to how we feel about our body, with our family and with the society to which we belong.

It is important to respect the gender identity of all citizens because it represents a Universal Human Right . Regardless of whether or not we like the behaviors or attitudes of heterosexuals and non-heterosexuals, respect should never be lacking , as well as tolerance because everyone is free to choose the gender identity that makes them feel good about themselves. and that freedom must be respected.

Laws on gender identity

In the world, laws on respect for gender identity are being studied by many countries on all continents.

Argentina was the first country to pass a Gender Identity Law in 2012 , which allows trans people (transvestites, transsexuals and transgenders) to be registered in their personal documents with the name and gender of their choice. This Law also orders that all medical treatments of adaptation to gender expression be included in the Compulsory Medical Program with coverage in all health systems, public and private. This is the first law in the world that does not see the trans condition as a pathology.

In other countries, the laws on gender identity are under discussion, but in some countries the change of name is allowed but not always the right to change of sex for transgender people.

Examples of countries where gender identity has been legally discussed in relation to gender and name change

Below are the positions of various countries in relation to gender identity and in relation to gender and name change. These countries are:

  • Argentina:  this country, in order to guarantee the equality, respect and dignity of trans people, promulgated in 2012 a Gender Identity regulation that establishes that there are no requirements for surgeries, treatments or hormonal therapies for the total or partial change of sex , as well as it is possible to change your documentation without prohibitive requirements.
  • Spain :  in Spain, the draft Law to eliminate the diagnosis of gender dystrophy for people who ask for a gender change is under debate. On the other hand, name change is possible for people requesting gender change.
  • Chile :  the legislation Chilean does not legally recognize gender identity in the case of trans. However, the project is discussed in parliament. For this reason, many trans people in this country have had to resort to legal means to achieve the change of name and gender marking, but in many institutions, they require the requirement of having undergone some type of surgery.
  • Brazil:  in Brazil, the bill on gender identity that allows sex change has not been approved, only in some cases the name can be changed under a court order from the Public Ministry and the new name must be accompanied by the civil name of the citizen.
  • Colombia:  in 2015, the presidential decree was signed in Colombia , which allows those over 18 years of age to change their gender marker on their identification documents with the respective administrative procedure. This process can only be carried out twice in a lifetime with ten years of difference between each process.
  • Peru:  the Constitutional Court of Peru recognized, in November 2016, the right of transsexuals to change their sex and name on their identity document. This sentence removed the character of pathology from transsexuality.
  • Uruguay:  in Uruguay a law was passed in 2009 that legitimizes the right to gender identity. This regulation allows the change of name but not the gender in identity document

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