What is sexual identity?

What is sexual identity?

When a child is born, their biological sexuality is normally of concern to the society. Depending on their sexuality, the society has predetermined how the child should behave as they grow up. However, there is a group of people who as they grow up, realize that their biological sexuality and their gender identity are in conflict, feeling more comfortable in the other gender. Due to the society’s expectation of how they should behave and the conflict within themselves not to behave so, this causes distress within them leading to this disorder.

In the recent past, we have seen this group of persons come out to create an awareness against the prejudice and discrimination they face due to not being ‘normal’. This has reduced the discrimination by a small margin. There is still a lot thought that needs to be done to create a space to allow this group of people express themselves comfortably.

What causes Sexual Identity disorder?

Some researchers argue that the disorder is hereditary, thus pointing to biological factors. Others argue that there would never be such a disorder if the society was welcoming to this group hence pointing to victimization and discrimination as the cause.


Most people with this disorder will always feel a mismatch between their biological sex and their gender identity since childhood. As they grow, they may try to suppress their feelings so as to be acceptable to the society.

Behaviours exhibited in childhood

  • They may insist they are of the opposite sex.
  • They believe they will grow to become the opposite sex.
  • A preference to play with members of the opposite sex.
  • A preference to engage in activities and games of the other gender and a lack of interest in activities of their own gender.
  • Refusal to wear clothes worn by their gender but wearing and being comfortable in clothes worn by the opposite gender.
  • Isolation and being shy

Although these behaviours may be exhibited, it may not necessarily mean that the child has been affected. As they grow up, children tend to role play and so a boy wearing his mother’s shoes may not mean he is transsexual. However for affected children this behaviours persists to teenage.

Behaviours exhibited in adulthood and teenage
In these stages one is usually without doubt and fully aware of the conflict within them and at this point, they may start to look for ways to deal with the disorder.

General behaviours are:

  • A strong distress in teenagers as they approach puberty due to the resulting biological changes which they feel shouldn’t be part of them.
  • A desire to hide some of their physical signs pointing to their biological sex, for example, body hair
  • A strong desire to change their sex
  • Being comfortable only in the company of their preferred gender
  • Social withdrawal

Suppressing feelings on this disorder is largely due to fear of how one may be perceived after coming out. This causes a huge distress since the conflict within this person is not yet resolved and may lead to mental health issues such as depression, intense anxiety and suicidal thoughts,


The confusion and feelings of self-doubt, shame and guilt which arise as a result of one not understanding their own gender needs to be dealt with. Counselling should be a joyful and helpful experience and so it is critical to seek for counsellors who have extra training and expertise in sexual identity disorder issues and other sexuality and gender related issues to help you decide what would be the best course of action to take.

However this can only happen in a safe environment where the affected person doesn’t feel judged. At Mind Space we provide a safe and nonjudgmental environment where you can talk about your experiences and feelings. We have professionals who have a vast experience in mental health issues and provide tools to help you gain back your self-esteem and confidence. We take you through a journey of understanding the implications of gender transition to open you to what options you may consider. Our counselling space also helps you explore what other options other than gender transition are available. Our greatest joy is to offer you the support needed to go on with life in your authentic self and we offer an ongoing support as long as you need it.

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