Remember sex education? When they’d wheel in the overhead projector and show you slides of penises and vaginas — no giggling, please! Well, there’s one slide they didn’t show you…
Sometimes nature gets a little creative.
As you well know, sex isn’t just physical genitalia. It also involves chromosomes to teach the body how to create itself and hormones to regulate the system. But they’re not always reliable.
And that’s where you get intersex. These are people who just don’t conform to the male or female anatomy that many of us have learned during sex education.
And no, Johnny, they are not hermaphrodites!
In fact, a hermaphrodite is an organism that is both fully male and fully female—like the seahorse — whereas intersex people fall somewhere in between. Which means they may either have mixed genitals, variant chromosomes or quirky hormones, or a shakeup of all three!
Also, they are not transgender. Transgender is more to do with the way a person feels about their biological sex and wants to transition to the opposite, while intersex people are just born that way.
Some Men Have Vaginas
Considering all this giggling going on, it’s quite clear that too many of you are conservative in your pornographic adventures! But the fact is, some men have vaginas.
How’s that for a dinner conversation?
But let me explain why: They are men thanks to their chromosomal makeup as well as their hormonal structure. They produce testosterone, they will develop pecs instead of breasts and they get very hairy. And despite all that, they have a vagina.
On the flip side, some women have dicks. And they can thank nature for their perfectly natural anomaly.
But what’s interesting is how they find out they are different. Because it’s usually never ascertained at birth. The doctor sees the vagina and thinks, “wonderful! It’s a girl!” And lo and behold, thirteen years later the baby girl starts growing chest hair. What a surprising turn of events!
But… not really…
Many intersex people who fall into this category are usually not so surprised. And this is mostly thanks to the gender roles that we drill into our children from birth. Boys wear shirts and jeans, girls wear dresses, boys play in the mud, girls braid each others hair. Eventually, the intersex baby will begin to realise something isn’t right.
Genitals, chromosomes and hormones aren’t predictors for femininity and masculinity. They just predict how your body looks and develops.
Unfortunately, far too many doctors still see it as a disorder. In fact, they usually term it as Disorders of Sex Development. But intersex people want you to know that it’s not a disorder or a syndrome or even a problem.
However, because of the terminology, doctors around the world consider it an issue and decide to prescribe hormones to regulate the problem. They’re fixing a problem that is just not there.
Medically, if the body runs smoothly and the person isn’t dying or on the verge of dying, then the person is actually healthy. The problem is, far too many of us consider intersex as abnormal. And it may be true in the fact that they have different sex characteristics than the rest of the world, but they are still human beings. They still have hearts, stomachs, livers, digestive tracts and nervous systems just like everyone else.
Hell, some of them may have small minds just like some of you who are still fucking giggling!
Maybe She’s Born With It…
Of course, sex characteristics below the skin are not always the case. Sometimes the baby comes out and has an interesting blend of genitals. Or even internal organs. (I’m not going to satisfy your curiosities here with pictures. You can do that in your own time.)
But it is a bit of a conundrum for many doctors who grew up in a world where there are only two sexes. And if the parents don’t know any better, their intersex baby is nipped and tucked to conform to a particular sex.
And this never ends well.
Look, unless it’s not working properly, there is no reason to put a scalpel to a baby’s genitals. And even if it’s not, that doesn’t mean you should alter the whole thing to make it conform to male or female. You can’t fix something if it’s not broken. You can only alter it to fit your ideals. And that’s just selfish and stupid.
If they get older and feel like changing it, then at least they can do it on their own terms. But not all of them will.
In fact, most intersex people prefer to keep the genitalia they have, as is. Because they realise that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. On the outside, they may conform to gender roles to suit society— and that’s not because they feel more female or more male, but because they feel the need to fit in.
It’s a sad reality, but that’s the way we’ve constructed society.
The Future Of Sex Education
Obviously you wouldn’t want to learn about cars if you’re not a fan of them. So why would you want to learn about intersex? Well, if you drive a car, it’s probably best to have some sort of knowledge about how it runs.
The fact is, you don’t really need to learn everything about intersex people, but for their sake, it’s good if you at least have an understanding that they are there and that it’s natural.
Because this bit of knowledge will help future doctors who birth a baby with mixed genitalia and will also help the parents know the truth when a doctor decides to coerce them into fixing their baby’s genitals.
What you’ve read here is probably more than enough to save at least one intersex child from unnecessary genital mutilation. But perhaps it’s best to teach this truth during sex education.
Because saving one is not enough.
Feature Image: Michael Prewett via Unsplash