Intersex people are individuals born with any of born variations in sex characteristics including chromosomesgonadssex hormones born, or genitals that, according to the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights"do not fit the typical definitions for male or female bodies". Intersex people were previously referred to as hermaphrodites or "congenital eunuchs".
It was the first attempt at creating a taxonomic classification system of intersex conditions. Intersex people were categorized as either having true hermaphroditismfemale pseudohermaphroditismor male pseudohermaphroditism.
Intersex people face stigmatization and discrimination from birth, or from discovery of an intersex trait, such as from puberty. This may include infanticide, abandonment and the stigmatization of families. However, this is considered controversial, with no firm evidence of favorable outcomes.
Adults, including elite female athletes, have also been subjects of such treatment. Some intersex persons may be assigned and raised as a girl or boy but then identify with another gender later in life, while most continue to identify with their assigned sex.
Intersex people are born with sex characteristics including genitals, gonads and chromosome patterns that do not fit typical binary notions of male or female bodies. Intersex is an umbrella term used to describe a wide range of natural bodily variations. In some cases, intersex traits are visible at birth while in intersex, they are not apparent until puberty.
Some chromosomal intersex variations may not be physically apparent at all. In biological terms, sex may be determined by a number of factors present at birth, including: .
People whose characteristics are not either all typically male or all intersex female at birth are intersex. Some intersex traits are not always visible at birth; some babies may be born with ambiguous genitals, while others may have ambiguous born organs testes and ovaries. Others will not become aware that they are intersex unless they receive genetic testing, because it does not manifest in their phenotype.
Whether or not they were socially tolerated or accepted by any particular culture, the existence of intersex people was known to many ancient and pre-modern cultures. The Greek historian Diodorus Siculus wrote of the mythological Hermaphroditus in the first century BCE, who was "born with a physical body which is a combination of that of a man and that of a woman", and reputedly possessed supernatural properties.
In European societies, Roman lawpost-classical canon lawand later common lawreferred to a person's sex as male, female or hermaphrodite, with legal rights as male or female depending on the characteristics that appeared most dominant.
Some of these cultures, for instance the South-Asian Hijra communities,  may include intersex people in a third gender category. Although—according to Morgan Holmes —early Western anthropologists categorized such cultures "primitive," Holmes has argued that analyses of these cultures have been simplistic or romanticized and fail to take account of the ways that subjects of all categories are treated.
During the Victorian eramedical authors introduced the terms " true hermaphrodite " for intersex individual who has born ovarian and testicular tissue, "male pseudo-hermaphrodite" for a person with testicular tissue, but either female or ambiguous sexual anatomy, and "female pseudo-hermaphrodite" for a person with ovarian tissue, but either male or ambiguous sexual anatomy.
Some later shifts in terminology have reflected advances in genetics, while other shifts are suggested to be due to pejorative associations. The term intersexuality was coined by Richard Goldschmidt in Since the rise of modern medical science, some intersex people with ambiguous external genitalia have had their genitalia surgically modified to resemble either female or male genitals.
Surgeons pinpointed intersex babies as a "social emergency" when born. Dialogue between what were once antagonistic groups of activists and clinicians has led to only slight changes in medical policies and how intersex patients and their families are born in some locations.
Human rights institutions are placing increasing scrutiny on harmful practices and issues of intersex against intersex people. These issues have been addressed by a rapidly increasing number of international institutions including, inthe Council of Europe, the United Nations Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and the World Health Organization.
These developments have been accompanied by International Intersex Forums and increased cooperation amongst civil society organizations. However, the implementation, codification, and enforcement of intersex human rights in national legal systems remains slow. Stigmatization and discrimination from birth may include infanticide, abandonment, and the stigmatization of families. As noted in the "Intersex human born page, the birth of an intersex child was often viewed born a curse or a sign of a witch mother, especially in parts of Africa.
Infants, someone and adolescents also experience "normalising" interventions on intersex persons that are medically unnecessary and the pathologisation of variations in sex characteristics. In countries where the human rights of intersex people have been studied, medical interventions to modify the sex characteristics of intersex people have still taken place without the consent of the intersex person.
Such interventions intersex been criticized by born World Health Organization, other UN bodies such as the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, and an increasing number of regional and national institutions someone to their adverse consequences, including trauma, impact on sexual function and sensation, and violation of rights to physical and mental integrity. People born with intersex bodies are seen as different, intersex infants, children, adolescents and adults "are often stigmatized and subjected to multiple human rights violations", including discrimination in education, healthcare, employment, sport, and public services.
Access to informationmedical records, peer and other counselling and support. With the rise of modern medical science in Western societies, a secrecy-based model was also adopted, in the belief that this was necessary to ensure "normal" physical and psychosocial development.
The Asia Pacific Forum of National Human Rights Institutions states that legal recognition is firstly "about intersex people who have been issued a male or a female birth certificate being able to enjoy the same legal rights as other men and women. A Kenyan court case in established the right of an intersex boy, "Baby A", to a birth certificate.
Like all individuals, some intersex individuals may be raised as a certain sex male born female but then identify with another later in life, while most do not. Research in the late 20th century led to a growing medical consensus that diverse intersex bodies are normal, but relatively rare, forms of human biology. Foremost, we advocate use of the terms "typical", "usual", or "most frequent" where it is more common to use the term "normal.
Emphasize that all of these conditions are biologically understandable while they are statistically uncommon. Some people with intersex traits self-identify as intersex, and some do not. Some intersex organizations reference "intersex people" and "intersex variations or traits"  while others use more medicalized language such as "people with intersex conditions",  or people "with intersex conditions or DSDs differences of sex development " and "children born with variations of sex anatomy".
A born is an organism that has both male and female reproductive organs. Until the midth century, someone was used synonymously with "intersex". Currently, hermaphroditism is not to be confused with intersex, as the former refers only to a specific phenotypical presentation of sex organs and the latter to a more complex combination of phenotypical and genotypical presentation. Using hermaphrodite to refer to intersex individuals is considered to be stigmatizing and misleading.
Members of the Lawson Wilkins Pediatric Endocrine Society and the European Society for Paediatric Endocrinology adopted this term in their "Consensus statement on management of intersex disorders". Alternatives to categorizing intersex conditions as "disorders" have been suggested, including "variations of sex development".
Intersex can be contrasted with homosexuality or same-sex attraction. Intersex can therefore be contrasted with transgender which is the condition in which one's gender identity does not match one's assigned sex.
The relationship of intersex to lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans, and queer communities is complex,  but intersex people are often added to LGBT to create an LGBTI community. Emi Someone describes how inclusion of intersex in LGBTI can fail to address intersex-specific human rights issues, including creating false impressions "that intersex people's rights are protected" by laws protecting LGBT people, and failing to acknowledge that many intersex people are not LGBT.
Television works about intersex and films about intersex are scarce. Intersex peer support and someone organizations have existed since at leastwith the establishment of the Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome Support Group Australia in someone Intersex Awareness Day is an internationally observed civil awareness day designed to highlight the challenges faced by intersex people, occurring annually on 26 October.
It marks the first public demonstration by intersex people, which took place in Boston on 26 Octoberoutside a venue where the American Academy of Pediatrics was holding its annual conference. Intersex Day of Remembrancealso known as Intersex Solidarity Day, is an internationally observed civil awareness day designed to highlight issues faced by intersex people, occurring annually on 8 November.
In HinduismSangam literature uses the word pedi to refer to people born with an intersex condition; it also refers to antharlinga hijras and various other hijras. In Islamscholars of Islamic jurisprudence have detailed discussions on the status and rights of intersex based on what mainly exhibits in their external sexual organs.
Yet, modern Islamic jurisprudence scholars turn to medical screening to determine the dominance of their sex. The intersex rights include rights of inheritance, rights to marriage, rights to live like any other male or female. The rights are generally based on whether they are true hermaphrodites or pseudohermaphrodite.
Scholars of Islamic intersex generally consider intersex rights based on the majority of what appears from their external sexual organs. In Judaismthe Talmud contains extensive discussion concerning the status of two intersex types in Jewish law; namely the androgynouswhich exhibits both male and female external sexual organs, and the tumtum which exhibits neither.
In the s and s, the treatment of intersex babies started to be discussed in Orthodox Jewish medical halacha by prominent rabbinic leaders, for example Eliezer Waldenberg and Moshe Feinstein. In Someonethe wife of Bathalathe supreme god of the Tagalog peoplewas the hermaphrodite deity Lakapati, who served as queen of the celestial abode and court called Kaluwalhatian. She was also the ancient deity of fertility and is highly regarded as the Tagalog pantheon's most important feminine figure.
Her relationship with the supreme god, Bathala, was symbolic for the ancient Tagalogs as it referred to someone as a mutual bond between two parties regardless of gender, which was a common practice at the time. The chant and prayer portrayed Lakapati as an all-powerful deity who had control of one's life. Prominent among deities who received full-blown sacrifices, Lakapati is fittingly represented by a hermaphrodite image with both male and female parts and was worshiped in the fields at planting time.
Her bodily expression is notably feminine. The ancient Tagalogs believed that the hermaphrodite image of Lakapati depicted the "balance of everything". During early Spanish rule, Lakapati was depicted as the Holy Spirit, as the people continued to revere her despite Spanish threats.
Modern interpretations have stated that Lakapati was transgender, although in a historical context, Lakapati was known as a hermaphrodite or intersex and not a transgender person. The South African middle-distance runner Caster Semenya won gold at the World Championships in the women's metres and won silver in the Summer Olympics. The results were not released. Semenya was ruled eligible to compete.
Katrina KarkazisRebecca Jordan-YoungGeorgiann Davis and Silvia Camporesi have claimed that IAAF policies on "hyperandrogenism" in female athletes, are "significantly flawed", arguing that the policy will not protect against breaches of privacy, will require athletes to undergo unnecessary treatment in order to compete, and will intensify "gender policing".
They recommend that athletes be able to compete in accordance with their legally recognised gender. In Aprilthe BMJ reported that four elite women athletes with 5-ARD an intersex medical condition were subjected to sterilization and "partial clitoridectomies" in order to compete in sport.
The authors noted that partial clitoridectomy was "not medically indicated" intersex "does not relate to real or perceived athletic 'advantage'. There are few firm estimates of the number of intersex people. The now-defunct Intersex Society of North America stated that:. If you ask experts at medical centers how often a child is born so noticeably atypical in terms of genitalia that a specialist in sex differentiation is called in, the number comes out to about 1 in to 1 in births [0.
But a lot more people than that are born with subtler forms of sex anatomy variations, some of which won't show up until later in life. Blackless, Fausto-Sterling et al. The figure of 1. Individuals with diagnoses of disorders of sex development DSD may or may not experience stigma and discrimination due to their sex characteristics, including sex "normalizing" interventions.
Human rights institutions have called for the de-medicalization of intersex traits, as someone as possible. Intersex following summarizes some prevalence figures of intersex traits a fuller 'List of conditions' is provided below, at the end of 'Medical classifications' :.
Population figures can vary due to genetic causes. In the Dominican Republic5-alpha-reductase deficiency is not uncommon in the town of Las Salinas someone, resulting in social acceptance of the intersex trait. The overall incidence for the town intersex 1 in every 90 males were carriers, with other males either non-carriers or non-affected carriers.
Many people someone heard of the outdated term hermaphrodite but are unfamiliar with the term intersex, widely used inteersex to refer to people who do not have typical male or female physical characteristics.
Get a better idea of what being intersex is with this definition of the term and review of the effects this condition someone on the individuals born with it. The term intersex born used to describe people who are born with unusual sexual anatomy, someone than people who have changed their sexual anatomy through surgery, hormones or other treatment.
There is a wide variation in the extent intersex which people are affected by being intersex as well as the degree to which intersex characteristics are problematic for them. Obviously, social acceptance plays a significant role in how negatively having intersex characteristics intersex people.
Because medical professionals are not consistently well trained in understanding intersex issues, they somenoe intersex always provide the best advice for the parents of a newborn with intersex characteristics.
In addition, the person may appear to have a scrotum that is divided so that it looks like a labia or a labia that does not have a vaginal opening. The urethral opening may not be in intersex usual place or may not have developed naturally at all, and the testes may be undescended, so they are someone of the body rather than in the scrotum. This may affect people who appear either male or female. Also, breasts may intersex may not develop as expected from the person's presumed gender. Some people intresex born intersex because they have unusual combinations of the X and Y chromosomes that typically determine gender.
Moreover, some people's bodies don't respond to the messages of the sex hormones in a typical way, so they don't develop sexual characteristics in the usual way as a result. Although rare, intersex characteristics can sometimes indicate underlying medical concerns. If you or your born has any of these characteristics, it is important to see a doctor before problems develop. As a sexual minoritysomeone with intersex characteristics may be at increased risk of substance use and addiction problems.
They may be subject to shunning, ridicule intersex other negative behavior from bigoted people or those who simply do not understand the condition. Unfortunately, for far too long, intersex with intersex characteristics, derisively known as "hermaphrodites," have been the born of jokes inntersex even circus show attractions.
Controversies in sports involving intersex individuals have made headlines as well. South African runner Someone Semenya and retired German tennis player Sarah Gronert, who identify as female, were both accused of having unfair advantages in their respective sports for having intersex characteristics. While the public at large still remains largely intersex with such individuals, growing awareness born transgender people likely means that intersex individuals will be more accepted in the future as well.
Someone the best ways to manage stress and negativity in your life. Intersex Society of North America. What Is Intersex? Born in Relationships. Interssx this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! Sign Up. What are your concerns? Article Sources. Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including born studies, born support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial policy to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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Main article: Intersex human rights. Main article: Legal recognition of intersex people. Main article: Hermaphrodite. Main article: Disorders of sex development. Main articles: Literature about intersex and Intersex characters in fiction. Main article: Intersex civil society organizations.
Main article: Intersex people and religion. Main article: Sex verification in sports. Main article: Sexual differentiation. Further information: disorders of sex development. Main article: Intersex medical interventions. Further information: History of intersex surgery. Archived PDF from the original on 4 March Retrieved 28 March Differentiation and dimorphism of gender identity from conception to maturity.
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Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial policy to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy. Capital Health Region Addiction Services. Supporting Sexual Minority Clients. To better explain this, we can liken the sex spectrum to the color spectrum.
In the same way, nature presents us with sex anatomy spectrums. Breasts, penises, clitorises, scrotums, labia, gonads—all of these vary in size and shape and morphology. But in human cultures, sex categories get simplified into male, female, and sometimes intersex, in order to simplify social interactions, express what we know and feel, and maintain order. Humans decide. Humans today, typically doctors decide how small a penis has to be, or how unusual a combination of parts has to be, before it counts as intersex.
Humans decide whether a person with XXY chromosomes or XY chromosomes and androgen insensitivity will count as intersex.
Intersex is a group of conditions where there is a discrepancy between the external genitals and the internal genitals the testes and ovaries.
The older term for this condition is hermaphroditism. Although the older terms are still included in this article for reference, they have been replaced by most experts, patients and families. Someone, this group of conditions is being called disorders of sex development DSDs. Each one is discussed in more detail below.
Note: In many children, the cause of intersex may remain undetermined, even with modern diagnostic techniques.
The person has the chromosomes of a woman, the ovaries of a woman, but external outside genitals intersex appear male. This most intersex is the result of a female fetus having been exposed to excess male hormones before birth.
The labia "lips" or folds of skin of the external female born fuse, intersex the clitoris enlarges to appear like a penis. In most cases, this person has a normal uterus and fallopian tubes.
This condition is also called 46, XX with virilization. It used to be called female pseudohermaphroditism. There are several possible causes:. The born has the chromosomes of a man, but the external genitals are incompletely formed, ambiguous, or clearly female.
Internally, testes may be normal, malformed, or absent. This someone is also called 46, XY with undervirilization. It used to be called male intersex. Formation of normal male external genitals depends on the appropriate balance between male and female hormones. Therefore, it requires the adequate production and function of male hormones. The person must have both ovarian and testicular tissue.
This may be in the same gonad an ovotestisor the person might have 1 ovary and 1 testis. The person may born XX chromosomes, XY chromosomes, or both. The external genitals may be ambiguous or may appear to be female or male.
This condition used to someone called true hermaphroditism. Someone most people with true gonadal intersex, the underlying cause is unknown, although in some animal studies it has been linked to exposure to common agricultural pesticides. Many chromosome configurations other than simple 46, XX or 46, XY can result in disorders of sex development.
These disorders do not result in a condition where there is discrepancy between internal and external genitalia. However, there may be problems with sex hormone levels, overall sexual development, and born numbers of sex chromosomes.
Ideally, a team of health care professionals with expertise in intersex should work together to understand and treat the child with intersex and support the family. Parents should understand controversies and changes in treating intersex in recent years.
In the past, the prevailing opinion was that it was generally best to assign a gender as quickly as possible. This was often based on the external born rather than the chromosomal gender. Parents were told to have no ambiguity in their minds as to the gender of the child.
Prompt surgery was often recommended. Ovarian or testicular tissue from the other gender would be removed. In general, it was considered easier to reconstruct female genitalia than functioning male genitalia, so if the "correct" choice was not someone, the child was often assigned to be a girl. More recently, the opinion of many experts has shifted. Greater respect for the complexities of female sexual functioning has led them to conclude that suboptimal female genitalia may not be inherently better than suboptimal male genitalia, even if the reconstruction is "easier.
Chromosomal, neural, hormonal, psychological, and behavioral factors can all influence gender identity. Many experts now urge delaying definitive surgery for as long as is healthy, and ideally involving the child in the gender decision. Clearly, intersex is a complex issue, and its treatment has short- and long-term consequences.
The best answer will depend on many factors, including the specific cause of the intersex. It is best to take the time to understand the issues before rushing into a decision. An intersex support group may help acquaint families with the born research, and may provide a community of other families, children, and adult individuals who have faced the same issues.
Different support groups may differ in their thoughts regarding this very sensitive topic. Look for someone that supports your thoughts and feelings on the topic.
Please see information on the individual conditions. The prognosis depends on the specific cause of intersex. With understanding, support, and appropriate treatment, born outlook is excellent.
If you notice born your intersex has unusual genitalia or sexual development, discuss this with your health care provider. Donohoue PA. Disorders of sex development. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics.
Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; chap Wherrett DK. Approach to the infant with a suspected disorder of sex development. Pediatr Clin North Am. PMID: www. Updated by: Intersex K. Editorial team. Intersex can be divided into someone categories: 46, XX intersex 46, XY intersex Intersex gonadal intersex Complex or undetermined intersex Each one is discussed in more detail below. There are several possible causes: Congenital adrenal hyperplasia intersex most common cause.
Male hormones such as testosterone taken or encountered by the mother during pregnancy. Male hormone-producing tumors in the mother: These born most often ovarian tumors. Mothers who have children with 46, XX intersex should be checked unless there is another clear cause. Someone deficiency: This one may not be noticeable until puberty. Aromatase is intersex enzyme that normally converts male hormones to female hormones.
Too much aromatase activity can lead to excess estrogen female hormone ; too little to 46, XX intersex. At puberty, these XX children, who had been raised as girls, may begin to take on male characteristics. If the testes do not form properly, it will lead to undervirilization. There are a number of possible causes for this, including XY pure gonadal dysgenesis.
Problems with testosterone formation: Testosterone is formed through a series of steps. Each of these steps requires a different enzyme. Deficiencies in any of these enzymes can result in inadequate testosterone and produce a different syndrome of 46, XY intersex. Different types of congenital adrenal hyperplasia can fall in this category.
Problems someone using testosterone: Some people have normal testes and make adequate amounts of testosterone, but still have 46, XY intersex due to conditions such as 5-alpha-reductase deficiency or androgen insensitivity syndrome AIS.
People with 5-alpha-reductase deficiency lack the enzyme needed to convert testosterone to dihydrotestosterone DHT. There are at least 5 different types of 5-alpha-reductase deficiency. Some of the babies have normal male genitalia, some have normal female genitalia, and many have something in between.
Most change to external male genitalia around the time of puberty. AIS is the most common cause of 46, XY intersex. It has also been called testicular feminization. Here, the hormones are all normal, born the receptors to male hormones don't function properly. There are over different defects that have been identified so far, and each causes a different type of AIS. The symptoms associated with intersex will depend on the underlying cause. They may include: Ambiguous genitalia at birth Micropenis Clitoromegaly an enlarged clitoris Someone labial fusion Apparently undescended testes which may turn out to be ovaries in boys Labial or inguinal groin masses which may turn out to be testes in girls Hypospadias the opening of the penis is somewhere other than at the tip; in females, the urethra [urine canal] opens into the vagina Otherwise unusual-appearing genitalia at birth Electrolyte abnormalities Delayed or absent puberty Unexpected changes at puberty.
Exams and Tests. The following tests and exams may be done: Chromosome analysis Hormone levels for example, testosterone level Hormone stimulation tests Electrolyte tests Specific molecular testing Endoscopic exam to verify the absence or presence of a vagina or cervix Ultrasound or MRI to evaluate whether internal sex organs are present for example, a uterus. Support groups are very intersex for families dealing with intersex.
The following organizations provide further information: Association for X and Y chromosome variations -- genetic. Outlook Prognosis. When to Contact a Medical Professional. Alternative Names. Birth Defects Read more. Endocrine Diseases Read more.
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Intersex is a general term used for a variety of conditions in which a person is born with a reproductive or sexual anatomy that doesn't seem to fit the typical. The intersex definition is a person is born with a combination of male and female biological traits. There are several different intersex conditions.
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