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

Tinca J.C. Polderman, Baudewijntje P.C. Kreukels, Michael S. Irwig, Lauren Beach, Yee Ming Chan, Eske M. Derks, Isabel Esteva, Jesse Ehrenfeld, Martin Den Heijer, Danielle Posthuma, Lewis Raynor, Amy Tishelman, Lea K. Davis

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review


© 2018, Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature. 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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)95-108
Number of pages14
JournalBehavior Genetics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2018

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