Gender identity in life-span development

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Respond by Day 5 in one or more of the following ways:

-Add to your colleague’s explanation of how gender identity affects an individual’s life-span development.

-Explain whether you might use your colleague’s strategy for applying the concept of gender identity to social work practice. Provide support for your position.

Be sure to support your responses with specific references to the resources. If you are using additional articles, be sure to provide full APA-formatted citations for your references.

Post 1

Gender identity is how a person identifies him/herself in terms of gender and might be the same or different from assigned sex at birth.

Researches provide evidence of a genetic component in male and female sexual orientation (Burri, A., Cherkas, L., Spector, T., & Rahman, Q. 2011). According to these studies maternal inherited factors may be involved in the sexual orientation, but the theme is controversial.

The studies suggest that the childhood gender typicality (CGT), and gender identity influences sexual orientation and are correlated with adult homosexuality. The childhood gender typicality (CGT), includes atypical sex-types behavior, activities, and interest for biological sex during childhood. 

A strategy to use to apply my understanding of gender identity development to social work practice is to study and constantly search for updated information and new research about sexuality, gender identity, and sexual orientation. This information will be useful for me to understand more LGBTQ clients and offer them appropriated assistance.


Burri, A., Cherkas, L., Spector, T., & Rahman, Q. (2011). Genetic and environmental influences on female sexual orientation, childhood gender typicality and adult gender identity.

Post 2

I now understand that sexual orientation identity and gender identity are not the same. Sexual orientation identity is “self-identified” orientation and the outward appearance; i.e. gay, lesbian, bisexual (Brewster & Moradi. 2010).Gender identity is a “person’s internal psychological self-concept of being either male or female, or possibly a combination of both”, i.e. male, female, or intersex (Zastrow & Kirst-Ashman. 2016). 

Colapinto’s story of John. His biological gender was male but due to an accident, his parents made a decision to surgically, change his biological gender to female. John became known as Joan. Joan’s development into a female did not go well. She did not feel like a female. Joan felt “different”.  She was teased, called names, and presumably a social outcast. Puberty arrived and although her name was Joan, she was physically becoming a man.  Joan/John was told about the surgical change and although John was relieved that there was an explanation of this gender betrayal, he remained “different”. John was ashamed of inability to function sexually. He talked about how “devastating difficult”, his life had been.  He committed suicide at age 38. (Zastrow & Kirst-Ashman. 2016. pp. 425-428).

I would apply these very important ethical principles/standards to set the tone, (1)…respect the inherent dignity and worth of the person and (2)…respect and promote the right of clients to self-determination (NASW.2018).  I would use to education and empowerment to understand help my client understand his/her gender identity. I will always encourage my client(s) to be fully honest about their feelings; make them aware of the positive and negative consequences of their choice of gender identity; educate them on all available resources so that they can make informed decisions; provide counseling and support through each stage of change.


Melanie E. Brewster & Bonnie Moradi (2010) Personal, Relational and Community Aspects of Bisexual Identity in Emerging, Early and Middle Adult Cohorts, Journal of Bisexuality, 10:4, 404-428, DOI: 10.1080/15299716.2010.521056

NASW. (2018) Retreived from: https://www.socialworkers.org/About/Ethics/Code-of-Ethics/Code-of-Ethics-English

Zastrow, C. H., & Kirst-Ashman, K. K. (2016). Understanding human behavior and the social environment (10th ed.). Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.

Chapter 19, “Gender, Gender Identity, Gender Expression, and Sexism” (pp. 423-468)

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