Gender Wiki
Gender Wiki

This page is the hub of the theory of gender identity; how a person acquires a gender identity, what is a gender identity, etc. Unlike gender roles, gender stereotypes, and gender expression (which are explained nicely by current social learning theories), gender identity is a different beast altogether, hence this page.

Theories of the origin of gender identity

In this section, we will focus on theories about the personal acquisition of gender identity. That is, how each of us gets a gender identity.


One of the earliest theories was that a child is a blank slate and a child could be raised as either gender. This theory was put to the test in the case of David Reimer. In short, David Reimer (who was born a boy) was raised as a girl. He was never happy as a girl and transitioned back to being a man later in life.

See also:


This theory is simple. It asserts that gender identity is either set at birth or learned in early childhood and resists change afterward.

Unconscious Control Only

Main article: Unconscious Control theory 

This theory posits that gender identity is under the control of the unconscious mind, with a minimum (if any) control from the conscious mind. The advantage of this theory is that it gracefully handles genderfluid identities. It asserts that genderfluid individuals unconsciously change their mind about which gender they are.

Identity Evolution Theory

Main article: Identity evolution theory

Identity evolution theory posits that a cycle occurs wherein an individual identifies with a label, then molds the self to the label, which leads to increased identification with the label. An example of this cycle would be a child identifying as a boy and hence rejecting anything non-masculine. Afterward, he would identify more strongly as a boy. This cycle is self-reinforcing.

Under this theory, the reason we don't become stereotypical boys or girls is because there are also other social and behavioral forces affecting the formation of identity.

Theories of gender/gender identity

The Transphobic Binary System

This theory asserts that gender is binary and informed through biological sex and social treatment based on sex.

The Trans Binary System

gender is binary but there can be mismatch between the body and the brain

Classic Feminist Gender Theory

Main article: Classic Feminist Gender Theory

This theory asserts that there is no such thing as gender identity. It also asserts that gender roles, stereotypes, and hierarchies exist, all of which should be deconstructed and erased.

A Single Continuum

This theory asserts that gender is a continuum of entirely male to entirely female, and that an individual person can exist anywhere on the continuum.

2D Graph Theory

Main article: 2D graph theory(gender Theory)

This theory puts male and female on different axes of a graph, with agender at the origin and bigender at maximum X and Y position.

The N-dimensional Gender Space

Main article: the N-dimensional gender space

This theory extends the previous graph theory with the idea that there are other genders not related to male or female (sometimes called Aporagenders).

Gender Graph theory

Main article: Gender Graph theory

Gender can be connected to each other but don't nicely form a space

Gender Set Theory

Main article: Gender set theory

Gender set theory asserts that each so-called "gender" is actually a set of related genders and hence they are all umbrella terms. Therefore, "man", "male", etc. are not a gender, but rather they are set of all male genders and when we talk about "man", "male", etc., we are actually talking about what those genders share in common.

Gender Field theory

Main article: Gender Field theory

This theory is a combination of the dimensional models (A Single Continuum, 2D Graph Theory, and The N-dimensional Gender Space) with Gender Set Theory and scalar fields defined in mathematics. Under this theory, your gender is a field that either collapses when observed like in Quantum field theory or doesn't.

See Also