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Such definitional slackness has often resulted in muddy and imprecise communication of ideas.
Therefore, it is essential that all central terms of reference be clearly understood. (For a fuller treatment of my use of the terminology of sex, gender, and sexuality see Devor, 1993b).
When I use the term sex, I refer to persons' biological statuses as female, male, or intersexed.
Sex statuses are usually assigned on the basis of visual inspection of genitalia at the time of persons' births.
Throughout persons' lives, primary sex characteristics are generally used as arbiters of sex statuses. Maternal reports of pregnancy, genital, and related fantasies in preschool and kindergarten children.
However, sometimes persons' sexes are determined on the basis of genetic markers. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 33, 416-423.
The precise criteria and numbers of categories used in such determinations are historically and culturally variable (Lacqueur, 1990).
In this essay, I propose extending the usage of the term gender: dysphoria. I briefly introduce a rationale for more broadly defining female gender dysphoria and provide some examples of how such an expansion of the idea might be undertaken. In so doing, I take a social psychological view of gender dysphoria. That is to say that I view gender dysphoria within a context of social meanings which give significance to the shapes of persons' bodies. Consequently, I assume that when persons attempt to develop identities and to perform social roles, they do so within the constraints of socially intelligible choices.
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I therefore assume that persons' genders, and their attitudes about them, are the combined products of innate dispositions, psychological developments, social conditioning, and individual choices made from within a limited number of socially meaningful options.