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Introduction

Determining the difference between sex and gender is a task that is more difficult than you may think. These terms have nowhere near the same definition and as a result cause a great deal of stress and tension to individuals whose gender and sex do not match. The sexual identity of an individual is the biological and anatomical sex of the body. The gender identity of an individual is the gender that one feels they inherently belong to. Until recently, I was under the impression that sex and gender were for the most part, the same thing and that the only choices were male and female. However, some individuals do not feel that their sexual identities match their gender identities and the public, for the most part, feel the need to classify individuals into one of the "two" gender categories; male or female. This categorization is called the gender binary and the confusion created by attempting to place people whose sex and gender are not the same into one of these two choices is the source of much anxiety and trepidation to individuals who fall outside it.

Sexual identity is the genetic and anatomic makeup of an individuals reproductive organs. They either have a penis, a vagina, or are intersexed. The sex of an individual is determined at birth by doctors and assigned based on the doctors determination of their sexual organs. However, just because a doctor determined that a individual is male, female, or intersexed, does not mean that that individuals gender will match the doctors assignment of sex.

Gender identity is the gender that a individual feels that they are from within. They feel that they are male, female, or a little bit of both. The gender of an individual is self-determined and comes from within. This determination is based on the feelings of the individual and do not always have to match the sex of the individual. A person whose sex is male may feel that they actually are female from within and therefore may identify with the female gender. The same could go for a person whose sexual identity is that of a woman yet feels as though they are more of a man and would identify with the male gender. The confusion between the terms sex and gender are the cause of much discrimination and harassment to individuals who identify with both male and female sex and genders. The ignorance of the general publics knowledge of the difference in the terms sex and gender is the source of much tension to individuals whose sex and gender do not match. The sexual identity and the gender identity of an individual can be different based on their genetic makeup and their outward appearance, this difference is the cause of many problems due to the public's general lack of knowledge of the dissimilarity in the terms.

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