What is intersex?

Intersex is an umbrella term that describes bodies that fall outside the strict male/female binary. There are lots of ways someone can be intersex.

Intersex is a general term used for a variety of situations in which a person is born with reproductive or sexual anatomy that doesn’t fit the boxes of “female” or “male.” Sometimes doctors do surgeries on intersex babies and children to make their bodies fit binary ideas of “male” or “female”. Doctors always assign intersex babies a legal sex (male or female, in most states), but, just like with non-intersex people, that doesn’t mean that’s the gender identity they’ll grow up to have. This brings up questions about whether or not it’s acceptable to do medical procedures on children’s bodies when it’s not needed for their health.

Miriam van der Haave gives us another perspective: “Intersex refers to the lived experience of the socio-cultural consequences of being born with a body that does not fit within the normative definitions of "man" and "woman." In short, it is about our experiences and not a medical diagnosis.”

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