Friday, August 27, 2010

What does it mean to be intersexed? - Organisation Intersex International - United States (OII–USA)

Q1 - What does it mean to be intersexed?

An intersexed person is an individual whose internal and/or external sexual morphology has characteristics not specific to just one of the official sexes, but rather a combination of what is considered “normal” for “female” or “male”.  The former terms used were “hermaphrodite”, “pseudo-hermaphrodite”, “androgyne”, etc. There are many different intersex variations. Viewing these variations as a medical illness creates a special medical category which includes an extremely large group of “disorders” which have nothing in common from a medical point of view except that the person is of intermediate sex as established by current norms.  Intersex people need health care just as everyone else does but each intersex variation has its specific health needs which will be overlooked when placed in a catch-all umbrella term such as DSD (Disorders of Sex Development) and will make  “gender” normalisation the main issue because that is the only factor that all these “disorders” have in common. This is why the term “intersex” is preferable since it includes all the different variations without implying that they have any medical condition in common which they do not.  What we have in common is that we are of “intermediate” sex as defined by current norms for male or female.

Intersex is not as rare as often believed and many people are intersexed, although it may not be visible at birth. Some intersexed persons are easily recognised as intersex at birth, with others only recognised later, especially during adolescence. Many people whose intersexuality is obvious are treated medically and are considered to have anomalies which need to be "corrected" by surgery and hormone replacement therapy. OII opposes these procedures when performed without the informed consent of the individual.

Q2 - Is there a clear biological boundary between male and female?

Q3 - Are the intersexed part of what certain groups and the media call the third sex?

Q4 - Are intersexed people transsexual?

Q5: Do they surgically assign most intersex people as girls when they are born and is this not therefore a feminist issue?

Q6 - Why do you claim that "normalisation" of intersexed infants is a crime against humanity when the official Human Rights organisations and their agencies do not denounce these practices as serious crimes?

Q7 - Presently, what happens when an intersex child is born? What depends on the parents and what is imposed on them?

Q8 - What are the sexual orientations of the intersexed?

Q9 - What special methods can be used to raise the consciousness of intersex issues?

OII-USA: Intersex and proud of it!

OII–USA is the United States affiliate of the Organisation Intersex International, a non-profit organisation incorporated in the Province of Quebec, Canada. We have members throughout the United States. OII–USA resists all efforts to make intersex invisible, including genital mutilation, medicalization and normalization without consent and offers another face to intersex lives and experience by highlighting the richness and diversity of intersex identities and culture.

OII is the largest intersex organisation in the world with members representing almost all known intersex variations.  It has members in Africa, Asia, Europe and North and South America.

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