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Respond to this colleague in one or more of the following ways:

Add to your colleague’s explanation of how gender identity affects an individual’s life-span development.
Explain whether you might use your colleague’s strategy for applying the concept of gender identity to social work practice. Provide support for your position.

Having a good understanding of the range of gender identity is important. It is something that is very personal and is becoming more openly discussed. There are

several ways that young people can be supported while figuring out who they are and what their gender identity is going to look like. There are several studies

exploring gender identity, as it is slowly becoming a more common issue. Young and middle adulthood are a difficult time for people regardless, for those who struggle

with gender identity it becomes even more complicated.

Burri, Cherkas, Spector, & Rahman (2011) discuss studying gender identity in twins. Having a study that uses twins for this makes it easier to see what the differences

and commonalities are when it comes to gender identity. They went so far as to be able to pinpoint the possibility of gender identity being connected to genetics. This

is a great study for basing gender identity on a genetic phenotype. More research is needed, but opening the discussion is groundbreaking.

Nuttbrock, Bockting, Hwahng, Rosenblum, Mason, Macri & Becker (2009) and Pleak (2009) both further discussions about transgender identity formation and how that

develops as a young child. They both show that for most people, non-traditional gender behavior exhibited in young childhood does not necessarily continue into

adulthood. Having to transition as an adult can be extremely traumatic not only for the person trying to transition, but also for their support network.

Roasario, Schrinshaw, & Hunter (2011) talk about the isolation of children who do not show typically accepted heterosexual behavior. It begins at a very young age and

can easily continue well into adulthood. The implication is that adults who were isolated as children will have a more difficult time psychologically adjusting and

conforming to societal expectations than adults who were not.

Gender identity does affect how a young and middle adult adjusts to their individual lives and situations. It is a relatively new concept to not have to fight for the

right to be the person you feel you are instead of the sex you were ‘assigned’ as an infant. Whether or not that means physically or legally; it has been a daily fight

and slowly things are changing and gender identity is no longer necessarily an underground part of society. While still considered a fringe choice by many, those who

have a different gender identity do not have to worry as much about retaliation for any decision they make or action they complete.

Working with people who have different gender identities is something that I have been doing for over 10 years now. I am involved in local, state, and federal

movements for recognition and equal protection. Working with people who fall into this category is a passion for me, so working with them would be a privilege. By

participating openly in the movement one becomes recognized as a safe person to discuss gender identity openly and keeps social workers knowledgeable about current

legislation and social trends.


Burri, A., Cherkas, L., Spector, T., & Rahman, Q. (2011). Genetic and environmental influences on female sexual orientation, childhood gender typicality and adult

gender identity. PloS ONE, 6(7), 1–8. Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.

Nuttbrock, L. A., Bockting, W. O., Hwahng, S., Rosenblum, A., Mason, M., Macri, M., & Becker, J. (2009). Gender identity affirmation among male-to-female transgender

persons: A life course analysis across types of relationships and cultural/lifestyle factors. Sexual & Relationship Therapy, 24(2), 108–125. Retrieved from the Walden

Library databases.

Pleak, R. R. (2009). Formation of transgender Identities in adolescence. Journal of Gay & Lesbian Mental Health, 13(4), 282–291. Retrieved from the Walden Library


Rosario, M., Schrimshaw, E. W., & Hunter, J. (2011). Different patterns of sexual identity development over time: Implications for the psychological adjustment of

lesbian, gay, and bisexual youths. Journal of Sex Research, 48(1), 3–15. Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.


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