A medical definition of intersexuality
which is applied to human beings is "conditions in which
chromosomal sex is inconsistent with phenotypic sex, or in
which the phenotype is not classifiable as either male or
female". Applying this precise definition, the true
prevalence of intersex is seen to be about
Intersex is not
The Heartbreak Of Not Having A Vagina
LGBT & Gender Non-Conforming (GNC) Girls Face in the CriminL Justicer System
Just one of hundreds of varients.
The current medical protocol calls for the surgical "reconstruction" of these different but healthy bodies to make them "normal," but this practice has become increasingly controversial as adults who went through the treatment report being physically, emotionally, and sexually harmed by such procedures. There is no single "intersex body"; it encompasses a wide variety of conditions that do not have anything in common except that they are deemed "abnormal" by the society. What makes intersex people similar is their experiences of medicalization, not biology. Intersex is not an identity. While some intersex people do reclaim it as part of their identity, it is not a freely chosen category of gender--it can only be reclaimed. Most intersex people identify as men or women, just like everybody
Are intersex people "third gender"?
Many people with intersex conditions identify solidly as a man or as a woman, like many non-intersex people. There are some who identify as a member of an alternative gender, like some non-intersex people. While we support everyone's right to define her or his own identities, we do not believe that people with intersex conditions should be expected to be gender-transgressive just because of their condition.
What is the difference between "hermaphrodite" and "intersex"?
In biology, "hermaphrodite" means an organism that has both "male" and "female" sets of reproductive organs (like snails and earthworms). In humans, there are no actual "hermaphrodites" in this sense, although doctors have called people with intersex conditions "hermaphrodites" because intersex bodies do not neatly comform to what doctors define as the "normal" male or female bodies. We find the word "hermaphrodite" misleading, mythologizing, and stigmatizing. Although some intersex activists do reclaim and use this term to describe themselves, it is not an appropriate term to refer to intersex people in general. In short, snails are the hermaphrodites; humans are not. Also, please avoid using the word "intersexual" as a noun; we prefer "intersex people" or "people with intersex conditions/experiences."
Are intersex conditions
Can't they just do a test to find
out babies' true sex?
Beside stopping cosmetic genital
surgeries, what are intersex activists working
What is the correct pronoun for
Is intersex part of the trans
prevalence of intersex depends on which definition is
What's so significant about October
It's great! How can I help?
What Intersex is
It is not "Hermanphroditism," as this is a complete set of femal and male reproductive organs, which is impossible in humans.
4 Dreger, Alice Domurat (1999). Intersex in the age of ethics (Ethics in Clinical Medicine Series ed.). Hagerstown, Md.: Univ. Publ. Group. ISBN 978-1555721008.
5.Jump up ^ "Is a person who is intersex a hermaphrodite?". Intersex Society of North America. Retrieved 2 October 2011.
6.Jump up ^ Herndon, April. "Getting
Rid of "Hermaphroditism" Once and For All". Intersex Society
of North America. Retrieved 2 October 2011.
The Heartache Of Having Two Vaginas
On the 1st of April 2015 a historic reform is taking place within the Maltese law code. With the Gender Identity, Gender Expression And Sex Characteristics Act, historic steps are being taken to bring forth an end to non-medically necessary, cosmetic genital surgeries on intersex infants driven by social expectations enforced by the binary sex model. A key factor of the new law pertaining to protection for intersex individuals can be found in article 15.1-15.2.
15. (1) It shall be not be lawful for medical practitioners or other professionals to conduct any sex assignment treatment and, or surgical intervention on the sex characteristics of a minor which treatment and, or intervention can be deferred until the person to be treated can provide informed consent.
(2) In exceptional circumstances treatment may be effected once there is an agreement between the Interdisciplinary Team and the persons exercising parental authority or tutor of the minor who is still unable to provide consent: Provided that medical intervention which is driven by social factors without the consent of the individual concerned will be in violation of this Act.
By making these procedures unlawful until the individual can provide informed consent Malta is taking vital steps to ensure that the individuals primary rights to self- determination, bodily integrity and personal dignity are respected. For the first time in history intersex individuals will no longer be forced to endure arbitrary surgical sex assignment based on sociological factor´s. The past has seen national, theoretical and personal attitudes towards gender, surgical limitations and best guesses guide the process of gender assignment, of intersex infants worldwide, with dire sociological consequences and a lifetime of physical health complications for many following socially driven surgical intervention. With research showing that parental decision making is influenced greatly by information provided, no adverse effects of non-surgical intervention being found, poor surgical outcomes and satisfaction rates and almost no real research substantiating surgical intervention this timely law reform is finally acknowledging that purely social factors are being used as the basis for surgical interventions.
Malta´s express acknowledgement of the social factors driving the surgical intervention of intersex infant´s sex characteristic´s is to be applauded as a first, worldwide, in affording intersex infant´s protection from so called reparative therapies. However while leading the way in this form of reform Malta must careful to take great care to ensure that social attitudes towards atypical sex characteristics do not lead interventions aimed at fixing or repairing a child, thus flouting this law and discriminating against individuals on the basis of their sex characteristics not being found socially acceptable.
Simultaneously the new bill addressed gender identity and expression extensively and we are pleased that our Trans friends and allies are afforded greater protection, dignity and guaranteed a life of self-determination by the adoption of the reform found within the bill.
OII-Europe emphatically urges the governments of other nations, along with the European Parliament and other law making entities to look towards the Malta law reform and adopt similar reform within their own countries and areas, ending decades of abusive reparative and gender confirming surgical intervention, taking place worldwide.
OII Europe (Organisation Intersex International Europe) is the umbrella organisation of European human rights based intersex organisations. OII Europe was founded on Human Rights Day, 10 December, during the Second Intersex Forum at Stockholm in 2012.
OII Europe is an autonomous affiliate
of OII (Organisation Internationale des Intersexués),
a decentralised global network of intersex organisations,
which was founded in 2003 and has operated since then
through its national groups in every region of the
Sarah Gronert, a 22-year-old tennis pro from Germany who was born with both male and female genitalia, has chosen to compete against women, and that has some in the tennis community up in arms. "There is no girl who can hit serves like that, not even Venus Williams," says the coach of an opponent Gronert recently beat. The coach, Schlomo Tzoref, also claims, "This is not a woman, it's a man." Is Tzoref just a disgruntled coach, trying to stir up controversy, or is there any validity to his claim? What makes a man a man, and what makes a woman a woman -- and how does being either affect one's ability to win?
The Olympics has one answer; the WTA
has another; across the board at national and international
levels there seems to be a free-for-all in deciding how to
allow players who do not fit into the binary division of
traditionally defined female and male to compete. Meanwhile,
science has its own explanations and advice for the sports
Going beyond X
and Y (Scientific American)
Parents sue South
Carolina for surgically making child female
The surgery took place when the child was 16 months old and a ward of the state, according to a lawsuit filed by the parents against three doctors and several members of the South Carolina Department of Social Services.
The child's biological mother was deemed unfit, and the biological father had apparently abandoned him, according to the suit. So others made the decision.
The child, now 8 years old, feels more like a boy and "wants to be a normal boy," said Pamela Crawford, the boy's adoptive mother.
"It's become more and more difficult, just as his identity has become more clearly male, the idea that mutilation was done to him had become more and more real," she said in a video released by the Southern Poverty Law Center, which is assisting in the case.
"There was no medical reason that this decision had to be made at this time."
Marilyn Matheus, a spokeswoman for the South Carolina Department of Social Services, said the agency does not have any comment on the pending litigation.
The defendants named in the suit also include doctors from Medical University of South Carolina and Greenville Memorial Hospital.
Sandy Dees, a spokeswoman for the
Greenville Health System, said she could not comment because
of the litigation.
Assigned to be a
girl, but identifying as a boy
"We just let him follow his instincts as much as we can," his adoptive father, John Mark Crawford, said in the video.
Pamela Crawford said performing gender assignment surgery on a baby robbed her child of the ability to make the decision for himself.
"I would have never made the decision to choose the gender either way," she said. "What I would have been working with is how do we preserve as much functioning in either direction because we can't know what this child's gender identity is going to be."
The lawsuit claims doctors at a state hospital and Department of Social Services workers "decided to remove M.C.'s healthy genital tissue and radically restructure his reproductive organs in order to make his body appear to be female."
The suit says the surgery violated the 14th Amendment, which says that no state shall "deprive any person of life, liberty, or property without due process of law."
The suit also asks for "compensatory damages in an amount to be determined at trial."
But the adoptive father said the real intent of the lawsuit "is just to uphold these constitutional principles -- integrity of a person's body, and some kind of due process for infants where people around them in power are considering doing surgeries like this."
Pamela Crawford agreed. "I would give
anything for this to not have been done to our child," she
said. "I don't want it to happen to any more kids."
Let me say upfront that I consider Megan to be a friend. We dont know each other very well, but our interactions have been both engaging and humanizing. Megan is a very kind person and its clear that shes passionate about Jesus and his kingdom. And Im very honored that she wrote a gracious endorsement for my forthcoming book People to Be Loved, even though we come to different conclusions on several interpretive issues related to homosexuality.
I also want to acknowledge that Megans book interacts with a large body of research that Ive yet to engage. In many ways, I dont feel very qualified to interact with her booklike Dusty Bottoms when he was handed that massive pistola at El Guapos birthday party in The Three Amigos. But I still want to interact with her book. In fact, I need to. Her arguments are quite compelling and her claims so significant that it would be irresponsible for me not to interact with to her work. But as I do, Im going to be completely open and honest about my ignorance with many things she discusses. Hopefully I can learn more about her perspective, because there were several places where I found myself scratching my head thinking, I dont know; this just doesnt seem right.
Dr. Megan DeFranza
As the title suggests, Megan (pronounced MEE-gan, BTW) explores the significance of sex-difference in Christian theology in light of the presence of intersex persons. Intersex is a newer term that has replaced the older term hermaphrodite. Intersex persons are born with some sort of ambiguous biological sex. They dont fit neatly into the categories of male or female. For instance, some people are born with XY (male) chromosomes, but have external female genitalia. Or they are born with ambiguous male or female genitalia. Or in some cases, their genitalia appears to be male (or female) at birth, but after puberty they begin to experience hormonal changes typical of the opposite sex. A boy who looks like a boy and experiences life as a boy during childhood may develop some female biological traits upon puberty (see Sex Difference ch. 1 for more details).
This certainly challenges my assumptions about sexuality. Do we determine someones biological sex based on chromosomes or genitalia? What if a baby has gonads and a uterus? Is it a boy or girl? In the case of genital ambiguity, who gets to decide what sex the baby is? Could it be that some people are born neither male or female?
Megan spends more than 40 pages exploring all the different intersex conditions; theres no way I can do justice to the complexity in this short blog. Her discussion is super helpful and delves into some complicated issues without being overly technical. What I love most about her approachsomething thats woven throughout the entire bookis her compassion and empathy for intersex people. She doesnt treat them like some issue, and she avoids using intersex people as evidence for her larger argument about human sexuality. She treats them like they deserve to be treated: like real people created in Gods beautiful image. I love that she includes testimonies of people who are intersex throughout the book, letting their voices shape our heart and mind on the question of sexuality.
Megans overarching point is that the presence of intersex people challenges the common binary model of sexuality. Not everyone is either male or female. The simplistic binary model is no longer sufficient, Megan says. It is dishonest to the diversity of persons created in the image of God (p. 67). Now you may think that this goes against Christian teaching. The Bible clearly says that people are either male or female. But Megan spends a good deal of time looking at what the Bible says about Eunuchs (Isa 56)especially naturally born Eunuchs (Matt 19)as a lens to explore the possibility that some people are neither male nor female. By recovering the concept of the eunuch, theologians will find fresh avenues for rethinking the meanings of sex and gender for theological anthropology (p. 67).
The rest of Megans book digs into history, theology, biblical studies, sociology, and various other relevant fields in order to challenge the simplistic binary model of human sexuality that most Christians assume to be true. Theres no way I can sum up everything she says. Youve got to read this book for yourself. But be warned: It will take you a while to digest it. The book is nearly 300 pages of thick research. Yet in my opinion, itll be time very spent.
In short, Megan argues that we have wrongly forced sexual others into a male/female binary system. Society has done this. Christians have done this. And yet the Bible itself celebrates sexual others (e.g. Eunuchs) as possessing Gods image and becoming full participants in Gods kingdomwithout being forced to identify as male or female.
If Megan is right, then her conclusions will have massive consequences for how we think about sex difference, sexuality, gender, homosexuality, and other related topics. Are male and female the only two sexes? If sex difference is necessary for marriage, then who should intersex persons marry when sex differences arent clear? Does the presence of intersex persons validate those who identity as gender fluid or non-binary transgender (i.e. they dont identify as male or female)?
Christians cant just shove their
fingers in their ears and say, No! No!
We need to interact with these
questions in order to cultivate a robust Christian
anthropology. Megan has done the church a great service in
raising many good questions that most of us have never
Films (Available through available from ISNA)