INTERSEX Rights – Whose Life is it, Anyways
Intersex, in humans and other animals, is a variation in sex characteristics including chromosomes, gonads, or genitals that do not allow an individual to be distinctly identified as male or female. Such variation may involve genital ambiguity, and combinations of chromosomal genotype and sexual phenotype other than XY-male and XX-female.
Intersex infants with ambiguous outer genitalia may be surgically ‘corrected’ to more easily fit into a socially accepted sex category. Others may opt, in adulthood, for surgical procedures in order to align their physical sex characteristics with their gender identity or the sex category to which they were assigned at birth.
From the NEW YORKER this week….
Jim Ambrose was born in 1976, with, he wrote last year, “genitals that
frightened my parents and caregivers.” He had one X and one Y
chromosome, but his sex organs were ambiguous, resembling a large
clitoris or a small penis. Doctors have an easier time eliminating
tissue than adding it, and so they decided to surgically remove the
organ and the nearby testes. The baby was raised as a girl, named Kristi
When Ambrose was twelve years old, he began to take female hormones. At
eighteen, he prepared to undergo a vaginoplasty, the surgical
reconstruction of the vagina. Suffering from depression, Ambrose
contemplated suicide. “I knew that I wasn’t a girl,” he later told a reporter.
The following year, Ambrose obtained his medical records, and
discovered what had happened to him as an infant: “I was sterilized at
birth—and no one ever told me.” Ambrose was born with a condition that
inhibited testosterone production; after adolescence, he began to take
testosterone shots, and had surgery to remove his breasts.