Gender heterogeneity focuses on mental health consequences and practices around how people are able to identify and be identified.

The alphabet soup of LGB—lesbian, gay, bisexual—has, bit by bit, broadened, first to include “T” for transgender, and, more recently, to become the unwieldy LGBTQQIAA, which includes people who identify as queer, questioning, intersex, asexual, and ally. Transgender, usually used broadly to encompass a range of gender-variant people (including transsexuals, the word traditionally used to describe people who make a full medical change to the “opposite” sex), is bursting at the seams as 21st-century gender identities proliferate. There are people who identify as genderqueer, bi-gender, agender, Two Spirit. There are trans people who choose surgery but no hormones, hormones but no surgery, or no medical interventions at all.

Two questions arise for me:
1. Can we envisage health consequences at the population level (akin to consequences of socio-economic status in its heterogeneous complexity, Davey-Smith 2000) that would flow from the not-yet-well-elucicated dynamics of biological and social development of heterogeneous genderedness?
2. How do professionals engage with these dynamics in a respons-ible way, taking into account that the dynamics are changing as the “external” social context is evolving, in part through changes in practices around how people are able to identify and be identified.

Reference: Davey-Smith, G. (2000). “Learning to live with complexity: Ethnicity, socioeconomic position, and health in Britain and the United States.” American Journal of Public Health 90: 1694-1698.

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