General Question

spresto's avatar

If you are born a boy are you a boy?

Asked by spresto (898points) May 18th, 2009

I just heard some 8 year old boy just convinced his mother to let him act like a irl. Its a boy. Check the equipment. I don’t care how you feel inside. A penis is a penis. A vagina is a vagina. On top of everything else, a child has no clue as to what they want. They can adopt certain social and cultural influences, but that does not make you a girl. This mother is going to feel like a real fool when this kid decides he actually wants to play football and burn his barbies. lol. What do you think?

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79 Answers

galileogirl's avatar

One can only hope if you are born a boy, within a couple of decades you turn into a man.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I think that you should care how some people feel inside, because it is a VERY hard issue to go through for people whose preferred gender identity doesn’t match their presumed gender identity based on their genitals…or think of it this way: you are not your penis or vagina and you wouldn’t want someone to disregard you just because you don’t fit into the binary system of our society

spresto's avatar

@galileogirl There really is nothing to hope. If you have a penis you will become a man no matter how you act or think.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@spresto yes, especially if everyone else around you will refuse to acknowledge how arbitrary gender is and not let you be a woman if you want to be

spresto's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir I don’t disregard anybody. Screw anybody who thinks you should act any different than how you choose, but the simple fact is you have a penis you are a boy.

spresto's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir I want to be a woman… but I have a penis…so I am a man. I live with that everyday.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@spresto I don’t think it’s such a simple fact – yes I’m aware that we categorize all infants according to specific physical standards and in that sense, it is simple, but all we do after that is not

Likeradar's avatar

@spresto If you have a penis you may be physically a man, but it doesn’t necessarily you will ever feel like what society says a man should be.
There is sometimes a difference between how someone looks on the outside and what they feel inside.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@spresto your experience (if that is truly your experience) is not the same for all transgender people (if you identify as such)and therefore you should allow for others to identify themselves however they see fit

MrItty's avatar

@spresto there is a difference between genetics/anatomy and psychology. That you deny that shows nothing but ignorance regarding the topic on your part.

spresto's avatar

@Likeradar Okay, sure I agree see my previous posts for affirmation.

spresto's avatar

@MrItty I finished with you last week. What do you care what I think. After all I have no regard for human life. REPUGNANCE for ever.

spresto's avatar

@Likeradar But like it or not, snip your penis if you wish, have the doc put some boobies on you, you will never be able to reproduce a child. You are a man.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@spresto not all people with vaginas reproduce, yet we still call them women

galileogirl's avatar

@spresto I’ve actually met some 40 yo boys

spresto's avatar

@galileogirl Me too. It really is quit pethetic.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@spresto so I disproved your point that if you can’t reproduce, you’re a man

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The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

Biologically speaking, a person’s sex is determined by their hardware. The idea of gender is more of a societal construct.

Response moderated
spresto's avatar

@The_Compassionate_Heretic Well if you decide your a girl I guess that makes it so? Okay everybody from now on if you don’t call me princess sophia I will assume you are trying to offend me. Understand?

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@spresto please don’t trivialize what transgender people go through

spresto's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir I am sorry are you talking to me. The name is Princess Sophia. Remember?

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@spresto I didn’t call you any name yet but I see that you’re not taking this seriously

spresto's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir How dare you. I am too. I have just decided that I am a woman. My name is Princess Sophia. Accept it.

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

Why does this strike such a nerve?

shilolo's avatar

[mod says] Personal attacks are not allowed and will be removed.

To answer the question, it is not entirely true to say that if you are born with a penis you are a boy/man and vise versa. There are endocrine disorders such as congenital adrenal hyperplasia (for more medical detail, check here), that can result in ambiguous genitalia in girls (that can be born looking like boys owing to excess testosterone). There are other rare disorders as well, so, in a nutshell (no pun intended), you can’t always “judge a book by its cover”.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@The_Compassionate_Heretic because it actually isn’t as clear cut as people would love to imagine

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@shilolo and many of us in the lgbt community work with people who are intersex (they have the ‘disorders’ you describe) and it is my understanding that it’s a messy situation…in that when a baby is born with ‘ambiguous’ (I put that in quotes as all that means it doesn’t fit a standard) genitalia, more often they become sexed as female because it’s easier to cut off than to create

Zaku's avatar

Even if you want to insist that what your reproductive organs naturally look like should determine your thoughts, feelings, and cultural behavior, you “if you have a penis, you should be a man” folks are in for a shock, if you can handle it. There are many more than two human genital configurations, and doctors mutilate them at birth to make them look like “boy” or “girl” in order to keep society from confronting the truth.

That doesn’t even begin to deal with what goes on in the mind.

So, no, the facts do not support the boy/girl dichotomy,

spresto's avatar

@shilolo @Simone_De_Beauvoir Those are good exceptions. I can understand that. But if you are bonified male…

shilolo's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir Yes, you are correct. I went to medical school in New York with one of the world’s experts on the subject. She gave us numerous lectures in pediatrics and endocrinology. I can’t remember much of the details, but the gist is that it is very challenging, requiring a team approach including the parents, endocrinologists, surgeons, psychologist/psychiatrists, etc.

Also, it should be stated that sex hormones (like testosterone) have profound effects on the brain (and its development). Both testosterone and estrogen (the main ones, but there are many others) work by binding to proteins in the cell that change the pattern of genes that are expressed (made). Thus, in utero exposure to testosterone can have significant effect on the brain and the genitalia, so even if you alter the external appearance, the person will have been patterned to feel and behave differently.

justwannaknow's avatar

YES, end of story!

spresto's avatar

@justwannaknow So it was written; so let it be done.

purplelow's avatar

biologically yes

essieness's avatar

I was going to weigh in with my legitimate opinion, but then I realized that @spresto is just a flamethrower… so nevermind. Thanks for playing, @spresto.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@spresto bonified male—there’s no such thing

Ivan's avatar

I love the circular nature of this question. If you are born an elephant, are you an elephant? The question is meaningless.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@btko lol, that hangs in my office

Response moderated
spresto's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir I told you my name is Princess Sophia.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@shilolo I understand about the hormones yet I do believe socialization has more to do with behaviour

MacBean's avatar

Yeah, I’m with @essieness. I was going to give an actual opinion, but it’s pointless to waste time, words, wisdom, intelligence and experience on people like @spresto.

spresto's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir So how many sexes are there?

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@spresto there are 2 legally recognized
everything else would be meaningless in our society unless we stop categorizing

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wundayatta's avatar

There is an underlying question here, which is ‘what is a boy?’ We have never determined what a boy is here, so we don’t know how to tell if someone is a boy at birth, or later on. Basically, all the question is asking is whether, if you are born as something, do you stay that way, even if you do not behave that way?

The question here is purely definitional. One definition of boy is “anything with a penis.” The is a purely physical definition. It’s about form. Form defines categorization. Still, it begs the question of what happens when the penis is cut off? Is that person no longer a boy?

There are, no doubt, other definitions. Perhaps a person with an x and a y chromosome. Of course, some of those have vaginas. What about a person with two x and one y chromosomes? Well, anyway, if this is a serious question about gender, then these questions have to be answered. If it’s merely strurm und drang, then this is irrelevant.

GAMBIT's avatar

Princess Sophia you can feel anyway you want. You can declare that you are a woman but when you need to go to the restroom in a public place that will determine what you are unless you want to work on your appearance. If you work on your appearance than people will treat you as such (that is if your appearance has changed that much).

loser's avatar

Gender and sense of self is a product of one’s mind. If the mind is female, then one is a girl. Body anatomy is irrelevent there. Most people are lucky enough to be born with a girls mind and body, but some aren’t. Take it from a girl born with a boys mind.

casheroo's avatar

@spresto Whoa! That is extremely uncalled for!

@simone I don’t think they just “cut it off because it’s easier” I thought there have been many studies done that prove people born like that, percentage wise, feel that they are woman. Of course not always, but the majority feel that way (if I’m correct)

If my son is any age and tells me he doesn’t feel “right” and that he feels like he was meant to be a woman, then I would support him 100%. I cannot tell someone that they are a woman or a man, if they don’t feel they are. If he told me he wants to be referred to as a woman, then I would oblige.

spresto's avatar

@casheroo what is extremely uncalled for? Asking a question then voicing my opinion then getting attacked for it? You are absolutely right. All I want are some opinions.

casheroo's avatar

@spresto No, calling someone names is uncalled for. You are entitled to your opinion on this topic, even if it is wrong.

MacBean's avatar

@spresto I think the ‘uncalled for’ stuff was personal attacks (calling Ivan a dick and me a piece of shit) and probably also the general mockery and trivialization of gender.

@casheroo I dunno, I’ve heard doctors use the phrase “It’s easier to dig a hole than build a pole” A LOT.

casheroo's avatar

@MacBean My “facts” come from a recent Private Practice episode, so take it with a grain of salt lol

spresto's avatar

@MacBean I am just voicing an opinion. You calling me small minded when you know nothing about me is also uncalled for. I have an opinion, I asked this question, if you dont like it leave. I actually have an interest in this and I will request for you to call me Princess Sophia if I damn well feel like it.

Dont respond back it will not be read. Promise.

spresto's avatar

I will give my opinion. You don’t have to like it people. Call me a flame thrower if you like, but once I have decided you should respect that. If a transgendered person did the same you would bend over backwards to see that you respect that choice. Give me the same. Thats all I want.

MacBean's avatar

@spresto Maybe I’m wasting my time writing this, but I’m willing to bet a solid 90% of the time when people say things like “Don’t respond, I won’t read it” they don’t mean it, so it’s worth a shot.

If you honestly had any kind of genuine interest in this topic, you would not have started out by stating your opinion as fact in a way that is offensive to people who know about the topic from a first-person perspective. And when people disagreed with your opinion, you would have asked questions to further your understanding, instead of continuing to loudly state your ignorance.

EmpressPixie's avatar

You realize, of course, that there is MUCH more to it than a TG person saying, “Oh, I was born the wrong gender, let me correct that” yes? Your responses, Sophie, indicate that you don’t realize the process a TG person has to go to in order to be able to start doing that. Like, you can’t just invert your wang, change your name, and call it a day. It takes months and years of a horrible in-between during which you are often stared at and treated quite horribly. People who truly wish to have a sex change to reflect an inner gender, go through a LOT of pain to get there. You seem to be ignoring that.

Of course, in many ways, a mature 10 year old about to enter puberty who, after years of counseling, makes this decision is far better than a 17 year old doing it—there are things you can do pre-puberty to make the transition easier.

But in the end, this is something that you, Sophie, will never be able to truly understand—just as I will never be able to truly understand—because we don’t know what it is like to live every day with everything from society to our body betraying us. I, at least, will have a much more sympathetic view towards it.

Dansedescygnes's avatar

This is the question I always ask people who deny the whole difference between sex and gender thing: what do you get out of insisting that a person with a penis is always a man no matter how they feel on the inside? What does that do for you?

If it didn’t do anything, you wouldn’t argue against it so vehemently.

I see it like this: gender is not the same as sex. Sex is male or female (most of the time, unless you are a rare case born with both sexual organs, then you are intersexed and that does happen; that is a biological thing). Gender is also male or female (man or woman, boy or girl). MOST of the time, the physical sex of the person matches the gender. But there are those who feel as if they are born into the wrong body. It isn’t a whim; it isn’t suddenly “hey, I’m sick of being a girl, I want to be a boy”. It’s much more complex than that; it has to do with the mind, which is your entire being, not necessarily completely in-tune with the physical body.

I’ve had people comment that I may feel like I want to be a girl because I’m gay, I have many feminine interests, I even did feminine things as a young kid, so why not be a girl? Life would be so much easier, right? The thing is, though, I don’t feel like a girl. I feel like a guy and that’s all I want to be. Feminine or not. Some people can’t seem to take that; they think feminine gay men want to be women, which is not true at all. It’s kind of interesting, actually.

tiffyandthewall's avatar

if you do any research whatsoever on this matter/exist and interact with other people, you will certainly find that there is more to being male or female than physical characteristics.

jlm11f's avatar

[mod says:] Just to be clear, we address people here by their user names. So as long as your name is spresto, you will be referred to as that. If you feel that you would prefer princess sophia, you will need to make a new user name.

Also, remember to keep the flame off, people.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@casheroo I haven’t seen any of the studies you mention but how could they possibly know what gender they’d really be comfortable in if their genitals weren’t butchered…when I spoke to Physicans for Social Responsibility at the Creating Chagne conference, they said that of course it’s easier to make a vagina than it is a penis

MacBean's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir: @casheroo DID admit that her info came from a prime time medical drama, and said to take it with a grain of salt.

CMaz's avatar

Plenty of feminine straight guys. No matter what, if you have a penis you are a man. How you feel? That is something all together different. How do you feel? Be true to yourself.

gailcalled's avatar

Check out the story of Richard Raskind, a former captain of the Yale tennis team (in 1954) and nicknamed “The Indian” because of his beaky profile and lean, well-muscled build. I dated him during the summer between my freshman and soph. years in college. I stopped going out with him because he was too sexually aggressive for naive and inexperienced little me.

Fast forward. During the last 1960’s, he became my Ophthamologist in NYC and even did surgery on my sister’s rolling eye. But odd things began to happen, even though he married and had a daughter.

Before
After

Read all about it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Renee_Richards

He was living in skfinkel’s parents’ building at the time, and everyone was startled to see him in tennis dresses, lace tennis panties and gold hoop earrings.

Darwin's avatar

Some cultures admit that there are actually more than two genders, regardless of equipment. The Hijras of India and Pakistan, the Fa’afafine of Polynesia, and the Sworn Virgins of the Balkans, and the kathoeys (or “ladyboys”) of Thailand are all examples of this. The kathoeys have a separate restroom, making three restrooms in all

Various Native American cultures that often contain social gender categories that are collectively known as Two-Spirit, including the Winkte of Lakota culture, the ninauposkitzipxpe (“manly-hearted woman”) of the North Peigan (Blackfoot) community, and the Zapotec Muxe.

Some anthropologists and sociologists see as many as five different genders.

Gender is actually a combination of genetics (XY, XX, or even XYY and XXY), physical attributes, mental self-image, and cultural indoctrination. I would suspect that @spresto has either been very thoroughly indoctrinated in a two gender culture, or perhaps is protesting too much.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@MacBean I wasn’t being judgmental

mattbrowne's avatar

There are cases of babies seemingly born as girls but genetically they were boys. The penis started to grow during puberty. It might have to due with hormonal influences during pregnancy. Perhaps you’d like to read this article about transsexuality

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transsexual

scotielee's avatar

Review sex and gender.

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