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Stoller, R.J. (1964). A Contribution to the Study of Gender Identity. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 45:220-226.

(1964). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 45:220-226

A Contribution to the Study of Gender Identity

Robert J. Stoller

Gender identity is the sense of knowing to which sex one belongs, that is, the awareness 'I am a male' or 'I am a female'. This term gender identity' will be used in this paper rather than various other terms which have been employed in this regard, such as the term 'sexual identity'. 'Sexual identity' is ambiguous, since it may refer to one's sexual activities or fantasies, etc. The advantage of the phrase 'gender identity' lies in the fact that it clearly refers to one's self-image as regards belonging to a specific sex. Thus, of a patient who says: 'I am not a very masculine man', it is possible to say that his gender identity is male although he recognizes his lack of so-called masculinity. The term 'gender identity' was arrived at in joint discussions of a research project on this and allied problems by Greenson and Stoller during which many of the formulations in this paper were worked out.

Gender identity seems to be produced in normal human beings by the following elements: first, the anatomy and physiology of the external genital organs, by which is meant the appearance of and the sensations from the external, visible, and palpable genitalia; second, the attitudinal influences of parents, siblings, and peers. Whether these consider a child a boy or a girl will ordinarily play an extremely important part in establishing and confirming the gender identity. To these two determinants, those usually stressed when identity is discussed in terms of maleness or femaleness,

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