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Photo of Chaz Bono in a suit and tie
Chaz Bono is the transgender son of Cher and Sonny Bono. While he was born female, he considers himself male. Being transgender is not about clothing or hairstyles; it is about self-perception. (Photo courtesy of Greg Hernandez/flickr)

Summary

The terms “sex” and “gender” refer to two different identifiers. Sex denotes biological characteristics differentiating males and females, while gender denotes social and cultural characteristics of masculine and feminine behavior. Sex and gender are not always synchronous. Individuals who strongly identify with the opposing gender are considered transgender.

Short answer

Why do sociologists find it important to differentiate between sex and gender? What importance does the differentiation have in modern society?

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How is children’s play influenced by gender roles? Think back to your childhood. How “gendered” were the toys and activities available to you? Do you remember gender expectations being conveyed through the approval or disapproval of your playtime choices?

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Further research

For more information on gender identity and advocacy for transgender individuals see the Global Action for Trans Equality web site at (External Link) .

References

American Psychological Association (APA). 2008. “Answers to Your Questions: For a Better Understanding of Sexual Orientation and Homosexuality.” Washington, DC. Retrieved January 10, 2012 ( (External Link) ).

American Psychiatric Association. 2013. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th ed.). Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association.

Caldera, Yvonne, Aletha Huston, and Marion O’Brien. 1998. “Social Interactions and Play Patterns of Parents and Toddlers with Feminine, Masculine, and Neutral Toys.” Child Development 60(1):70–76.

Case, M.A. 1995. "Disaggregating Gender from Sex and Sexual Orientation: The Effeminate Man in the Law and Feminist Jurisprudence." Yale Law Journal 105(1):1–105.

Drescher, J. 2010. “Queer diagnoses: Parallels and contrasts in the history of homosexuality, gender variance, and the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual. Archives of Sexual Behavior.” 39: 427–460.

Freedom to Marry, Inc. 2014. "History and Timeline of the Freedom to Marry in the United States | Freedom to Marry.” Retrieved November 11, 2014 ( (External Link) ).

Giovanniello, Sarah. 2013. "NCAVP Report: 2012 Hate Violence Disproportionately Target Transgender Women of Color." GLAAD. N.p., Retrieved October 10, 2014 ( (External Link) ).

Herek, G. M. 1990. “The Context of Anti-Gay Violence: Notes on Cultural and Psychological Heterosexism." Journal of Interpersonal Violence . 5: 316–333.

Jacobs, Sue-Ellen, Wesley Thomas, and Sabine Lang. 1997. Two Spirit People: Native American Gender Identity, Sexuality, and Spirituality . Champaign, IL: University of Illinois Press.

J.E.B. v. Alabama , 144 S. Ct. 1436 (1994).

Kinsey, Alfred C. et al. 1998 [1948]. Sexual Behavior in the Human Male . Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press.

Moi, T. 2005. Sex, Gender and the Body . New York: Oxford University Press.

National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs. 2010. “Hate Violence Against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and HIV-Affected Communities in the United States.” Retrieved January 10, 2012 ( (External Link) ).

Poasa, Kris. 1992. “The Samoan Fa’afafine: One Case Study and Discussion of Transsexualism.” Journal of Psychology&Human Sexuality 5(3):39–51.

Ryle, Robyn. 2011. Questioning Gender: A Sociological Exploration. Thousand Oaks, CA: Pine Forge Press.

Sears, Brad and Christy Mallory. 2011. "Documented Evidence of Employment Discrimination&Its Effects on LGBT People." Los Angeles, CA: The Williams Institute. Retrieved December 12, 2014 ( (External Link) )

Sedgwick, Eve. 1985. Between Men: English Literature and Male Homosocial Desire . New York: Columbia University Press.

Questions & Answers

what's sociology?
Amos Reply
Sociology is a social science that studies the society, social institutions and all what pertains the making of a society.
Victor
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Abid
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Sihab
sociology is intrecation between two persons or group which perform some rules
Abid
sociology means socio
Abid
Sociology is the study of human socialrelationships and institutions. ... At the personal level, sociology investigates thesocial causes and consequences of such things as romantic love, racial and gender identity, family conflict, deviant behavior, aging, and religious faith.
Abid
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Chakra
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Importance of the study of culture and society
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Abid
democratic principles and national values have to be grounded in cultural understanding of the society, which can enhance the developmental decisions and harmonious relationship with social groups.
Sourabh
technology and culture have an intimate exchange of acceptance and rejection. the possible emergence of bad elements when there is an introduction of new technology in a relatively stagnant society can be recognised through a clear understanding of cultural values.
Sourabh
sociology itself emerged when there was a technological change (the industrial revolution) and the society with its contemporary culture faced numerous challenges
Sourabh
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In modern definition of sociology is" The systematic study of human behaviour ,social interaction,social institution and society is called sociology."
Yashzada
how country is best in education
Limbadiya Reply
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Raja Reply
what are the values espoused by religion
Karen Reply
Altruism is an often neglected value. Especially, when it takes the form of Altruistic donation in form of cash or material. Social Control is exercised within a religious community through the tenets or religious texts. Max Weber also analysed the relation between Protestant ethic and Capitalism
Sourabh
what is imperialism
ogie Reply
a country ruled by royalty.?
Renae
a policy of extending a country's power and influence through diplomacy or military force.
Renae
a political system in which a rich a rich and powerful country control other countries which are not powerful and rich as itself
Manoj
act of assisting or making easier the progress or improvement of somthing is referd to.. Brainstormig mobilization priorittization facilitaion answer needed
Sayed
can sociology study farming and in what way?
John Reply
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how?
John
how i did not understand
Manoj
I would like to see my chapter test answer results and a better list review at the end of the chapter for the vocabulary
Tiffany Reply
what are five implications of sociology to an extension worker
John Reply
Gender roles in a community - messages by male workers in Indian rural areas are not accepted as the same by female workers. And there is a minority of female extension workers Weberian 'Charismatic' leader needed, who can work within administrative and political framework of state.
Sourabh
Act as change agents, Hence, deep connection with the social group is needed. This entails an 'interpretative' understanding of the community and an 'objective' analysis through positivist approach as to the results of state policies with the social behaviour prevalent in the area since years.
Sourabh
What policies does US need in countering structural racism ?
Sourabh Reply
what is a sociological perspective ? How to analyse a issue from sociological angles ? what should be addressed in sociological understanding ?
Sourabh
how is social status spatially and socially specific
John Reply
Spatially, because of unequal distribution of natural resources which promotes industrial growth in few areas, leading to better economic situation. Income and wealth derived from this improvement in economic situation leads to higher social status.
Sourabh
Socially specific because usually the control over the resources like land for example are a result of cultural and social history. In India, certain castes had more land under control, when Industrialization and came knocking, their situation improved specifically because of their social standing.
Sourabh
spatially in terms of higher distribution of natural resources in some areas which brings about growth and development to that particular environment and leads to accumulation of wealth and better living standard for individuals in such environment, which I n turn determines the social activities
Amoo
reasons for the population growth since 18th century
Lucy Reply
influential model for chlid
Mr Reply
features of social control agent
Lucy Reply
Social control agents such as religion, family, relatives, castes control the people of the society… helpless in preventing them from doing bad deeds.
Ritu
Mentally and physically also control both ways
Ritu
And no human being against social control can live in society
Ritu
What about subcultures? perpetrators always exist in almost every society
Nyasha
what policy values racial, ethnic, national, and linguistic backgrounds
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Source:  OpenStax, Introduction to sociology 2e. OpenStax CNX. Jan 20, 2016 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11762/1.6
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