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Behav Genet. 2018 Mar;48(2):95-108. doi: 10.1007/s10519-018-9889-z. Epub 2018 Feb 19.

The Biological Contributions to Gender Identity and Gender Diversity: Bringing Data to the Table.

Author information

1
Department of Complex Trait Genetics, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
2
Center for Neurogenomics and Cognitive Research, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
3
Department of Medical Psychology, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
4
Center of Expertise on Gender Dysphoria, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
5
Division of Endocrinology, Center for Andrology, George Washington University, Washington, DC, USA.
6
Program for LGBTI Health, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, TN, USA.
7
Division of Nephrology & Hypertension, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, TN, USA.
8
Division of Endocrinology, Department of Medicine, Boston Children's Hospital, Boston, MA, USA.
9
Department of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.
10
Translational Neurogenomics Group, QIMR Berghofer, Brisbane, QLD, Australia.
11
Department of Endocrinology and Gender Identity Unit, University Regional Hospital of Malaga, Malaga, Spain.
12
Foundation Institute of Biomedical Research in Malaga (FIMABIS-IBIMA), Malaga, Spain.
13
Department of Anesthesiology, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, TN, USA.
14
Department of Surgery, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, TN, USA.
15
Department of Biomedical Informatics, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, TN, USA.
16
Department of Health Policy, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, TN, USA.
17
Department of Internal Medicine, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
18
Department of Research, OCHIN, Inc., Portland, OR, USA.
19
Divisions of Endocrinology and Psychiatry, Boston Children's Hospital, Boston, MA, USA.
20
Program for LGBTI Health, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, TN, USA. lea.k.davis@vanderbilt.edu.
21
Division of Genetic Medicine, Department of Medicine, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, TN, USA. lea.k.davis@vanderbilt.edu.
22
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, TN, USA. lea.k.davis@vanderbilt.edu.
23
Vanderbilt Genetics Institute, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, TN, USA. lea.k.davis@vanderbilt.edu.
24
23Vanderbilt University, 511-A Light Hall, 2215 Garland Ave, Nashville, TN, 37232, USA. lea.k.davis@vanderbilt.edu.

Abstract

The American Psychological Association defines gender identity as, "A person's deeply-felt, inherent sense of being a boy, a man, or a male; a girl, a woman, or a female; or an alternative gender (e.g., genderqueer, gender nonconforming, gender neutral) that may or may not correspond to a person's sex assigned at birth or to a person's primary or secondary sex characteristics" (American Psychological Association, Am Psychol 70(9):832-864, 2015). Here we review the evidence that gender identity and related socially defined gender constructs are influenced in part by innate factors including genes. Based on the data reviewed, we hypothesize that gender identity is a multifactorial complex trait with a heritable polygenic component. We argue that increasing the awareness of the biological diversity underlying gender identity development is relevant to all domains of social, medical, and neuroscience research and foundational for reducing health disparities and promoting human-rights protections for gender minorities.

KEYWORDS:

Gender dysphoria; Gender identity; Genetics; Heritability; Transgender; Twin studies

PMID:
29460079
DOI:
10.1007/s10519-018-9889-z
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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