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Gender questions

Retrato sonriente

Gender issues are a crucial area of study and concern in the field of psychology. Scientific understanding of how gender influences human development, gender differences in mental health, and the ways in which gender inequalities are perpetuated, are fundamental to addressing these problems from a psychological perspective.

The contemporary scientific perspective considers gender as a social and cultural construction, beyond a simple binary categorization. It is recognized that gender norms and societal expectations can have a significant impact on people’s development and identity. Psychologists are called to challenge stereotypical gender roles and work towards greater inclusion and diversity in understanding gender.

Research has identified gender differences in the prevalence and manifestation of certain mental health disorders. For example, women are more likely to experience anxiety and depression disorders, while men may show a greater tendency toward behavioral problems and substance abuse. These differences may be the result of a combination of biological, social and cultural factors, and psychologists consider these differences in providing appropriate and gender-sensitive treatment.

Gender-based violence is a serious and widespread concern in our society. Psychologists play a crucial role in treating victims of gender-based violence, providing emotional support, therapeutic intervention and assisting in the recovery and empowerment of affected people. In addition, it is important to challenge restrictive gender roles, encourage self-acceptance and empowerment, and promote equity in interpersonal relationships. Besides, psychologists work on the prevention of gender violence through education, the promotion of gender equality and the promotion of healthy and respectful relationships.

From the psychological point of view, as already mentioned, it is recognized that gender is a social and cultural construct that goes beyond the traditional binary categories of man and woman. As our understanding of gender evolves, different types of gender are recognized that reflect the diversity and multiplicity of gender identities. Some of the types of gender that are psychologically explored include:

  • Cis. Persons whose gender identity is aligned with the sex assigned at birth. For example, someone who is born with a male biological sex and identifies as a man.

  • Trans. Persons whose gender identity differs from the sex assigned at birth. For example, someone who is born with a female biological sex and identifies as a man. Transgender people can seek a gender transition to align with their gender identity.  

  • Non-binary. People who do not identify exclusively as male or female. They can identify with a combination of genres, with none in particular, or they can experience their gender in a fluid or fluctuating way.

  • Fluid. People whose gender identity may change or fluctuate over time. They may experience different gender expressions at different times or in different contexts.  

  • Queer. A broad term to describe gender identities that do not conform to traditional gender norms. Queer people can experience a wide range of gender identities and expressions.  

  • Pan. Gender identity in which a person feels identified with all or a wide range of genders. Pangender people can experience a connection and understanding of multiple gender identities simultaneously, not limited to a single category or gender expression.  

  • Intersex. Persons whose physical, biological, genetic or hormonal characteristics do not allow them to be classified as female or male.

  • Agender. People who do not identify with any particular gender or who do not feel a personal connection with traditional concepts of masculinity or femininity. Agender people may experience a gender absence or may have a neutral gender identity.  

  • Intergender. Gender identity that is situated between or combines characteristics of the genders traditionally considered masculine and feminine. It’s a middle ground between the two.


Importantly, these types of gender are just some of the many ways people can experience and express their gender identity. Each individual has a unique and personal experience of their gender, and it is essential to respect and validate each person’s gender identity. Psychology seeks to understand and support gender diversity, promoting well-being and inclusion for all people, regardless of their gender identity.

Disorders characterized by an incongruity between a person’s gender identity and the sex assigned at birth are known, which can generate significant discomfort and difficulties in everyday life, such as:

  • Gender dysphoria: It is a disorder in which a person experiences deep discomfort due to the mismatch between their gender identity and their assigned sex at birth. Gender dysphoria can manifest itself in a variety of ways, including body discomfort, anxiety, depression, and difficulty in interpersonal relationships.

  • Childhood gender identity disorder: This disorder is characterized by a marked inconsistency between the gender identity experienced by a child and the sex assigned at birth. Children with this disorder may express their desire to be of the opposite gender, reject the roles and activities typical of their assigned sex, and show significant distress related to their gender identity.

Unfortunately, our society is far from perfect and many people around make life difficult for people who are not cis heterosexual. However, the understanding and approach towards gender-related issues are constantly evolving. Efforts are being made to depathologize and destigmatize the experiences of transgender people, and promote a more focused approach on gender identity, respect and inclusion of people rather than focusing on the pathologization of their experiences. On the one hand, those who suffered abuse need support and help. Besides, perpetrators need to receive sufficient information about gender diversity, broaden the perspective and increase their tolerance and acceptance of people who are different from them. Acceptance and understanding of the diversity of gender identities contribute to creating more inclusive and respectful environments for all people.

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