Our books lied to us. It made us unaware, uneducated, similar, inhumane, and unsympathetic. These adjectives describe how I feel about my secondary school biology class. Biology only taught me about two sexes: Male and Female; who possess unique chromosomes – XX (Females) and XY (Males). It, however, failed to educate me on individuals who possess both male and female chromosomes. These individuals are called intersexes.

Anne Fausto-Sterling explains that

The concept of intersexuality is rooted in the very ideas of male and female. In the idealized, Platonic, biological world, human beings are divided into two kinds: a perfectly dimorphic species. Males have an X and a Y chromosome, testes, a penis and all of the appropriate internal plumbing for delivering urine and semen to the outside world. They also have well-known secondary sexual characteristics, including a muscular build and facial hair. Women have two X chromosomes, ovaries, all of the internal plumbing to transport urine and ova to the outside world, a system to support pregnancy and fetal development, as well as a variety of recognizable secondary sexual characteristics. That idealized story papers over many obvious caveats: some women have facial hair, some men have none; some women speak with deep voices, some men veritably squeak. Less well known is the fact that, on close inspection, absolute dimorphism disintegrates even at the level of basic biology. Chromosomes, hormones, the internal sex structures, the gonads, and the external genitalia all vary more than most people realize. Those born outside of the Platonic dimorphic mold are called intersexuals. (19-20)

Thus, intersexes are individuals who do not conform to the general biological gender designation. As a result, we see them as abnormal beings. These humans’ gender construction faults biology and questions the veracity of biology’s gender categorization.

Nonetheless, the biological classification of gender still remains accepted, consistent, and unchanged in medicine and medical books. We are yet left with the heterosexual structured society that fails to give voice to the rights and identity of intersexes. Intersexes are unsung minorities who are left out of the gender spectrum. No wonder, many of us do not know who they are. They are the unrecognized and unfamiliar members of society. They are close relatives who we stigmatize and call names. Am I guilty? Yes, I am. But I do not want to continue playing ignorance either do I want you to continue to play ignorance.

Therefore, the fact that you see an individual who possesses unique characteristics that are different from what you are familiar with does not give you the right to call them names or dissociate from them. They are humans like you, and they should be treated as humans. Also,  remember that the two gender spectrums: male and female do not describe everyone.


BBC Pidgin interview with intersex individuals.


Reference: Anne Fausto-Sterling, The Five Sexes, Revisited, https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/21a4/4d10b40354a974c8d1d3a9a0e66fef731e75.pdf

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