Adolescence Paper Essay

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Adolescence is a period of socialization where children develop relationships outside of the family. These relationships further fuel or enhance their perceptions of the world, their bonding with surrounding society members and their view of human interactions. In an environment where there is a distant mother or absent father, where the child is found to have problems acting socially normal with other people, the person is defined as a deviant. Not everyone who has been subjected to the above findings will go on to become a self-mutilator, but these types of adolescent girls are or have been defined by these terms.

It becomes apparent then, that early childhood development is essential to creating an identity and furthermore to creating a sound human being who is not prone to acts of aggression. In the theme of this paper, the concept of transgenderism will be discussed. Although the theory of socialization is a very strong indicator of moral values and actions, it does not indicate sexual disposition. The theories of biology are more aptly considered to be the reason for sexual persuasion, and in the argument for this paper, transgenderism will be proven to be biological, not psychological, or sociological.

The purpose in the role of a transgendered person is in the definition of identity. It is any person’s right to discover their true self and to present that self to society. The problem that society has with a transgendered person is that society is often times eluded by this identity. Anything or anyone who defies definition, that cannot be exactly categorized, becomes a ‘problem’ in society. However, where the discussion of this paper is concerned such a ‘problem’ is beyond its scope, thus, the issue of identity and the rejection of that identity by society will be discussed.

First, a transgendered person is a person who defies a specific gender role. Men are conditioned by society to not be a sissy, to be superior and tough. As Tucker-Ladd states in his book Psychological Self-Help, “And, what makes a woman a “great catch?” What makes women sexy? A pretty face and a great body! Women compete on the basis of their looks.

This may interfere with women’s motivation to achieve and be successful. Oprah recently asked young people which they would rather be: attractive or intelligent? An amazing percentage said attractive. What counts in this culture is how attractive you are, especially if you are a woman.” (2000). Thus, it would seem that a transgendered person would have the benefits of either gender, but this is not the case.

Going back to the idea of identity, a transgendered person is both genders. This does not however classify that person as a hermaphrodite which is being born with both sexes functional sexual organs. A transgendered person has attributes of either sex, as their biological make-up pertaining to psychological contexts designs behavior. Often times such an individual is a man who has, or who desires to be female, or vice versa.

Although society has many sexual deviants in its subcultures, a transgendered person is not a transsexual, which is a specified gender dressing in the other gender’s clothes. Instead, a transgendered identity pertains to defying or including to a smaller extent the gender assigned to them at birth. Thus, the dualistic nature and the confusion of this, is the make-up of the transgender definition.

Therefore, by the above stated definition of a transgendered person, they should be considered social deviants inasmuch as society fails to define this subculture. The thesis of this paper rests upon the fact that a transgendered person does not choose that they are transgendered but instead, their psychological make-up adheres to one sex’s societal role definition more than the biological make-up. Thus, although transgender is a defiance of biology, it is also a deviance of societal norms, as Sandy Stone states,

Transgender is a term whose exact meaning is still in dispute, and I consider that a very healthy sign. The most widely accepted definition is that transgender includes everything not covered by our culture’s narrow terms “man” and “woman”. A partial list of persons who might include themselves in such a definition includes transsexuals (pre, post, and no-op); transvestites; cross dressers; persons with ambiguous genitalia; persons who have chosen to perform ambiguous social genders; and persons who have chosen to perform no gender at all (Stone, paragraph One).

Against this idea that transgendered people are transgender due to psychology is the fact that often times the transgender definition includes (as stated by Stone) other social deviants whose identity is not guided by psychology but biology such as ambiguous genitals, or the people who choose a certain lifestyle.

The argument of this paper is that choice is not a factor in determining transgendered people. Instead, it is inherent in them, and is not under the guise of socialization, or biology. The concept of choice is one which defies the rules of constructed psychology. Along the same lines that a schizophrenic cannot choose their dementia or a serial killer their disposition to kill, so does the definition of a transgendered person escape choice.

Thus, although Stone’s definition of a transgendered person is inclusive, it should not be so inclusive as to apply to these various subgroups of social deviants. There is a difference between a transgendered person and a transsexual, transvestite, etc. While some have to do with choice (transsexual), others have to do with complete changing of their sex (as in a transsexual). A transgendered person is biologically one sex, and yet performs attitudes, functions, reactions and thoughts according to social definitions of the other gender’s role.

Although culture has implications on the role of gender, the technicalities of which cannot be aptly portrayed in this essay. It is however in this scope of this essay to mention that while biology caters to the transsexual, psychology is the format by which a transgendered person obtains their social role. Although some contest to the fact of biology being a main component in transgender identity as Stone states,

Social constructivists believe that both sex and gender arise in social interaction and have no existence independent of social interaction; i.e., they are not grounded in “nature”, the meaning of which is itself socially determined. The “constructedness” of sex and gender is made invisible by the normal workings of social life, so that they appear natural rather than artificial.

Recent constructivist theory also points out that the idea of two absolute chromosomal sexes is also a social construction. Recall the film Alien 3, in which the inhabitants of the prison colony are all double-Y chromosomal; thus although they possess many of the secondary sexual characteristics of males, genetically they are not male, nor are they any other category for which we currently have a socially understood name (Stone, paragraph Six).

The fact remains that a transgender person is born with appropriate body functions, and their chemical make-up is no different than other person’s with the same gender. Therefore the reliance on psychology, not the function of sociology and the socialization of gender through cultural awareness, but the psychological components which determine if a person is a genius, serial killer, etc. are the same for finding the reason behind transgendered people.

Work Cited

Stone, S. Transgender. Online. Accessed: May 11, 2007.


Tucker-Ladd, Clayton, E. Psychological Self-Help. 2000.