What Does It Mean To Be Intersex?

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On October 26, we are celebrating Intersex Awareness Day. But not everyone knows that. In fact, not everyone knows what intersex really means.

The lack of awareness is partly because of the stigma surrounding intersex children and adults; individuals with the condition feel like they should hide it because of other people’s ignorance. But if we open our minds to the reality surrounding us, we can overcome the taboo. More importantly, we can encourage intersex individuals to be confident in themselves.

Try to Understand What Intersex Means

GIF from Outlander via Giphy

Intersex is the umbrella term for various biological conditions wherein a person’s anatomy does not fit the archetypal definitions of female and male organs. It is the general term for people with genitals, gonads, or chromosomes that go beyond the standard binary notions of the female and male bodies.

It may refer to a person whose reproductive anatomy appears dominantly female on the exterior surface, but functions more like male anatomy internally; it may be the other way around.

It may refer to a person whose genitals look somewhere in the middle of the typical female and male genitals.

Or it may refer to a person with mosaic genetics whose cells include both XX and XY chromosomes.

These conditions are inborn, but they don’t necessarily show up at birth. Sometimes, an individual discovers they have intersex anatomy only when they reach puberty. Other times, they don’t even realize their condition throughout their lifetime.

Being intersex is relatively common, but, in the past, doctors treated it with a concealment-centered approach. For this reason, individuals hesitate to confide in loved ones — or doctors, even — about their condition because of the misconception that people will think they’re weirdos or freaks of nature.

Let’s turn that around and lend them our support.

Be Informed and Show Your Support

GIF via Giphy

Many people are confused between transsexuality and intersexuality. The two are entirely different from each other. Where the former involves medical intervention, the latter is an inborn biological condition. If they must have something in common, however, it should be steadfast support and understanding.

Organizations and individuals are now more accepting of the trans community, so why shouldn’t we do the same for intersex individuals? Let’s fight for the rights of intersexual individuals, the right toward awareness and acceptance.

Intersex flag image from Wikipedia

Our generation is more responsive to social issues than ever. In the same way, we stand up for causes, such as women’s rights and LGBT equality, let’s break the taboo surrounding intersex.

By recognizing the reality of the biological condition, we are helping intersex individuals both physically and emotionally. We are encouraging them to embrace the situation and be more confident in their bodies. With that said, everyone should stop shaming intersex people and start supporting them instead.

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