Gender Identity: From birth to adulthood

An intellectual discussion on gender identity and the process of recognition, and acceptance of gender. The lecture was more oriented towards research in biology than in social science, which I’d look forward to. But, the knowledge came handy and beneficial. Having to discover this topic from a completely different academic field further made it thoroughly formative. Audio version to follow in subsequent posts.

Lecture Topic: Acquiring Gender: From Baby in the yellow hat to gender identity and expression

Location: Nador u. 9, Faculty Tower; Old Auditorium, Department of Gender Studies, Central European University, Budapest, Hungary.

Speaker: Dr Anne Fausto Sterling

Date & Time: 16th November 2016 – 5:30pm


Neurobiological and empirical psychoanalysis are linked by memory.

Three aspects of neurobiological in gender identity:

  1. The infant brains makes connections.
  2. Connections depends on patterns of experience (such as Myelination).
  3. Identity development starts in early infancy.

Three aspects of Memory:

  1. Young babies have complex


  2. Long term infant memory associates objects and contexts.
  3. Memory formation involves anatomical change.

Three aspects of Empirical Psychoanalysis:

  1. Infants develop pre-symbolic representation of self and other 2-way interaction.
  2. Self & identity emerge from recurrent patterns.
    1. Time dimension
    2. Space dimension
    3. Facial affect dimension
    4. Associated arousal pattern
  3. Dyads structure their interactions via,
    1. State transformations
    2. Facial mirroring
    3. Interpersonal timing
    4. Disruptions & repair



  • PreNat – to 12 months = Pre-symbolic embodiment
  • 12 months to 24 months = Links to symbolic gender
  • 24 months to years  = Gender identity [Expressed as strongly hold beliefs on pleasure,  clothing, colour, toys, et cetera.


Overall and in conclusion, from infancy to adulthood, the stages of gender identification are as followed,

  1. Passive
  2. Assertive
  3. Connection to symbols
  4. Connection to genitalia, and,
  5. Permanence recognition.