- Physical sex refers to which secondary sex characteristics a person has. The binary nature of the system creates problems when someone has a reproductive system that is not fully female or male.
- Genetic sex refers to the compliment of sex chromosomes (X and Y) present in a person. Ususally, a someone with a female physical sex is XX and a male physical sex is XY - but this cannot be determined without medical testing AND is not always true.
- Our sexual characteristics are determined by hormonal cascades during early embryonic development. These cascade generally produce female and male people, but can "misfire" and create individuals that have incomplete reproductive systems.
Gender identity is the sex that a person's brain identifies itself as. For the majority of people, their gender identity matches their physical sex. For a minority of people (~0.01%), they identify mentally with the opposite physical sex. The biological underpinnings of gender identity are less understood than physical sex development, but a variety of studies have shown that there seems to be a combination of genetic and early embryonic hormonal exposures involved.
Having a gender identity that is different from physical sex is not disturbing to all people. If the difference is causing distress to the person, the DMV-V has named the disorder gender dysphoria. The previous name - Gender Identity Disorder - was criticized for reinforcing the binary classification of gender identity and physical sex. The treatments for gender dysphoria vary from individual to individual. Some people may benefit from psychological help to determine the best method to live within their gender identity. Some people transition to their gender identity without changing their physical secondary sex characteristics. For some people, biological treatments like receiving hormones develop secondary sex characteristics that match their gender identity is beneficial. Surgery to change the person's external genitalia to match their gender identity is also a treatment option, although problematic since current surgical techniques can lead to reduced sensation in the genitalia and infertility.
For people who are adults with gender dysphoria, it is unlikely that the CP solution of adhering to strict gender stereotypes will do anything except make the person even more miserable than the standard CP misery.
Since normal childhood experimentation with gender identity is viewed as pathological in CP, a child with gender dysphoria faces an especially hard life. (Bluntly, I was a tomboy from age 6 to about 14. I would own one summer dress and one winter dress and wear each about twice a year for major holidays. My parents were fine with my clothing choices. God only knows how I would have reacted to being required to wear a dress. My little brother also had a pink girl's swimsuit for one summer when he was a toddler.)
Gender is the culturally assigned roles and values that defined as masculine and feminine. The best examples I've seen have been in pre-school kids I saw when being substitute teaching. In wealthy mostly Caucasian school districts, the little boys didn't wear the necklaces in the dress-up corner. In areas that had large Asian or Hispanic populations where adult men frequently wore gold necklaces, the little boys would pile on the necklaces.
Now, CP/QF prides themselves on rigid gender roles. The tricky bit is that the sub-culture is young enough that some questions are still being hammered out. Examples:
- Should girls be taught traditionally masculine skills like carpentry or plumbing? Many bloggers seem to avoid skills like that for their daughters (see Raising Olives) but Debi Pearl seems to think girls should.
- Do girls always have to wear skirts?
- Even infants? Do the rules change before and after puberty?
- At home?
- While white-water rafting?
- Is it better for girls to wear modest pants when doing tasks that are dangerous in a skirt, to not do the tasks, or to risk severe injury? ( I have nightmares about pictures I've seen of Genevieve de Deugd wandering around a junk yard in a cute skirt and flats. Plus, her hair is SO long I hope she puts it in a tight bun when she's working with lathes or welding.)
- What jobs are allowed for unmarried daughters? Should young wives work outside the house? How about women whose children are grown?
- What amount of interaction should men have with their young children? Do dads change diapers, get up with a crying infant or help with potty training?
- Are men allowed to work in traditionally female jobs? Can a married father work as a nurse? How about an administrative assistant?
- In terms of food production, what is a masculine or feminine job?
- Is a family vegetable garden supposed to be run by a man or a woman?
- What if the garden produces excess vegetables that are sold at a farmer's market?
- What if the garden is scaled for wholesale to a retailer?
- How many livestock fit between male and female roles?
- What about grain production?
- Who is responsible for putting up food for long-term storage?
- Are there any areas that are a woman's sphere of influence?
- Does the mom who is home-schooling get to choose curriculum or is that overridden by the father?