The Instigator
Pro (for)
The Contender
Con (against)

Gender Identity is determined primarily by nurture, rather than nature.

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Time Remaining
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/19/2017 Category: Society
Updated: 7 months ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 468 times Debate No: 105174
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (3)
Votes (0)




52% of teenagers do not identify as exclusively heterosexual. (according to a report by the J. Walter Thompson Innovation Group) 35% of Millennials fall in the same category, and the percentage keeps declining as you move to older generations. This is because gender identity is not primarily caused by nature, but by things like upbringing, your environment, and your education. I stand in affirmation of the following resolution: Gender identity is caused more by nurture rather than nature. We will argue this case with the following two contentions:
Contention 1: Gender identity is formed through learned behavior.
Contention 2: Gender identity and norms in society are always changing.
I present the following framework to begin, gender identity: a person's perception of having a particular gender, which may or may not correspond with their birth sex. Nature: inborn or hereditary characteristics as an influence on or determinant of personality. And finally nurture: upbringing, education, and environment, as an influence on or determinant of personality.

Gender identity is formed through learned behavior. It is important a critical distinction be made; gender identity and biological gender are two different things. To put it very simply, gender identity is how one identifies, while biological gender is dependent on the sex organs one has. The contention that gender identity is formed through learned behavior is purely scientific. Countless studies, such as the comprehensive breakdown published in the journal of Nature, ( for just one example,) show that learned behavior does in fact play a substantial role in gender. From the day a baby leaves their mother's womb, they are given objects and put in scenarios which almost wholly shape their gender identity. Think of a little girl who is given dolls and make up, as well as pink clothes and accessories from the time she is just a child. On the other side, boys are assigned the color blue from young, and instead of playing with makeup and dolls they play with trucks and guns. I can"t speak for my opponent, but I believe there is a consensus that there is no gene, which invokes boys to like trucks and girls to like dolls. That is because these characteristics expressed through their gender identity are primarily learned behavior and basic social cues.

Gender identity and norms in society are always changing. Before this debate it is important to ask yourself, what are certain forms of identities that are undoubtedly caused by nature? For a second take into consideration physical identity, or possibly human identity. Identifying with one's own physical traits or type of species is clearly caused primarily by nature. Gender identity is different. Gender identity changes as your mind learns and develops. Developments which are caused by you observing and learning from your environment. If gender identity truly is caused primarily by nature, then we would not see the change in gender norms that we do today. Woman deciding to join the labor force have risen from 26.9% to 46.6% from 1950 to 2000 as reported by The US Labor Force. Furthermore gender identification also changes over time and age. As I stated in my introduction, older generations identify far more of the time With being heterosexual, than younger generations. It is clear that by recognizing gender roles, and how they change, we are helping minimize the negative stigma that comes along in communities when the change of gender identity and norms occur.

In conclusion, there is no for sure answer when it comes to the question if gender identity is caused primarily by nurture or nature. That is something both my opponent and I can on. The resolution is unfalsifiable to some extent on both ends. However I believe with the evidence, stats, and logical reasoning, I have presented in my two contentions, I have strongly supported the resolution that gender identity is caused more by nurture rather than nature. You ought to care about the resolution set forth because understanding gender identity is a crucial part in the flourishing of an innovative society. Also many credible medical and scientific organizations have conceded that gender identity is caused more by nurture rather than nature. By voting pro you are not only on the right side of history, but also of science. Thank you.


The report done by the Innovation Group? It was a poll of less than 1000 people. And the questions they used to determine their numbers? They asked less about a person's sexual standpoint than what they saw about current trends. One such question: "Gender doesn't define a person as much as it used to". Or how about: "People are exploring their gender identity/sexuality more than in the past." A more reliable survey would be the National Survey of Family Growth conducted by the CDC in 2006, where they found that 95% of Americans identified themselves as exclusively heterosexual. Now although this number probably isn't proportional to teen statistics, it is clear proof that the numbers provided by the J Walter Thompson innovation group are incorrect. But why are we wasting time talking about sexual orientation? This debate is about gender identity.

The problem with this concept of gender identity is that it promotes the idea that you are what you feel, and that you can be anything you think you are. But just because you think you are something doesn't mean you are that thing. Like a very popular meme says, can I sexually identify as an attack helicopter? The studies that say that your nurturing and upbringing determine what you think you are, ARE TRUE! If you are brought up thinking you are a dog, you will think you are a dog. But are you a dog? No! (Assuming you're a human reading this). Now, assuming gender is flexible, why can't racial identity be a thing? Can I change my ethnicity just because I think I'm of another ethnicity? No, race is not exclusive of nature. In the same way, gender is not exclusive of nature.

Just to be clear, if your debating statement is equivalent to this statement, "What you think is determined by nurture rather than nature," then there is no debate. You say gender identity is about "a person's perception", so is the statement I just gave the same as your statement? Otherwise I am making a case against gender being separated from one's sex.
Debate Round No. 1


It is very hard to find reliable statistics on gender identity, I will concede that, however it is not up for argument that the amount of people who identify as heterosexual, is different between generations and demographics, as well as over time. Why do people of different demographics and ages identify differently? Are genetics mutating more rapidly? Are babies exposed to more toxins in the womb, than before? I argue the change in the percentage of population identifying as heterosexual is because of the effects of peoples upbringings, environment, and education. All attributes of nurture. To address your question of why I used sexuality in my contention, it is because gender identity and sexuality are different, however mutually inclusive. Thus if gender identity is primarily determined by nature, then sexuality would surely be to.

In your last contention, you go on to state "The problem with this concept of gender identity is that it promotes the idea that you are what you feel, and that you can be anything you think you are." However this, and your whole contention have no relevance to the debate. One does not have to concede that nature is more of a determinant in gender identity, to agree that just because one identifies as a certain gender, does not mean they are that gender. This debate is not on the validity of ones identification, but on the causes of why they choose to identify by that.

Many teenagers choose to identify as a different gender or sexuality because it is cool, or they have had sexual abuse happen to them in the past, or they are just confused. All of these reasons, and any other ones, are primarily caused by nurture rather than nature.
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Debate Round No. 2
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Debate Round No. 3
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by nobleislandbag 7 months ago
Dang it I didn't know the time limit was so short. So very sorry
Posted by Shad0wXx 8 months ago
"Gender Identity" is an... unintelligent concept. If I call myself a banana, does that make me an actual banana? No.
Posted by lIlIlIllIIIIllIlI 8 months ago
+!, a good case
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