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The Lady of Charleston?

A Case of Wrongful Gender Assignment?


Author(s)

Kim R. Finer
Department of Biological Sciences
Kent State University at Stark
kfiner@kent.edu

Abstract

This case uses the real story of Dawn Langley Simmons, who may have been misidentified as male at birth, to illustrate the developmental basis of human sexual dimorphism and how gender misidentification may occur. Students also consider the emotional, legal, and societal implications of gender misassignment and reassignment. Designed for a junior-level human genetics course for allied health students, the case could be used in a number of other courses including physiology, endocrinology, developmental biology, general biology, and psychology.


Objectives

  • To understand the biological basis for sexual dimorphism in humans, including understanding the role of the SRY gene in determining the male developmental pathway.
  • To discuss the events during embryogenesis that determine sex at the chromosomal, gonadal, and phenotypic levels.
  • To become familiar with various genetic defects, which can lead to a lack of sexual concordance.
  • To recognize syndromes that may involve gender misassignment.

Keywords

Sexual dimorphism; gender; gender assignment; sex determination; SRY gene; embryogenesis; Dawn Langley Simmons; Gordon Langley Hall

Topical Areas

Legal issues, Social issues

Educational Level

Undergraduate lower division, Undergraduate upper division

Format

PDF

Type / Methods

Discussion

Language

English

Subject Headings

Genetics / Heredity  |   Cell Biology  |   Physiology  |   Biology (General)  |   Psychology  |   Sociology  |   Developmental Biology  |  


Date Posted

03/27/01

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