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Intersex People Exist, Here’s Some Things That You Should Know About Them

President Trump wants to redefine gender and sex as “either male or female, unchangeable, and determined by the genitals that a person is born with.” That’s genuinely wrong! I’m not even talking about how that erases people with transgender identities (though it does, which is awful!). Saying that a person is male or female based off the genitals they were born with is biologically wrong. Here’s what you can say at Thanksgiving to your transphobic family member who thinks redefining gender is a good idea.


Intersex people exist! Not only do they exist, but they aren’t some rare condition either. About 1 in 2,000 babies in the U.S. are born intersex with clear variations in genitals. That is just a fact, and for some context about 3,945,875 babies are born in the U.S. each year. First things first: to talk about intersex conditions I am going to be using a lot of biological terms such as penis, vagina, clitoris, etc. because they are just words. It’s honestly confusing and transphobic to use “girl parts” and “guy parts” as an adult. Just a warning!


What is intersexuality? An intersex person is someone whose biology does not “fit” as soley male or female. This can mean many things. An intersex person may have ambiguous genitals, chromosomes that don’t match their genitals or hormone balances that aren’t typical. That’s a pretty broad definition, and that’s on purpose because intersex means so many different things. Someone once asked me, “Okay, so why don’t we have three sexes and three genders? It could be male, female and intersex.” Why do we not do that if it seems so simple? Well it’s not actually that simple at all because every single intersex person is different.


Here are some of the many examples of intersex people. An intersex person might have been born with an enlarged clitorus that doctors are unsure as to whether it’s a small penis or large clitorus. A different intersex person might have been born with a small penis and behind it they have the beginnings of labia. A third intersex person might have mostly female genitals, but internal testicals. Another intersex person could have seemingly male genitals, but later in life find out that they have XX chromosomes (the female chromosomes). This small list is absolutely not the entire list of ways a person can be born intersex! So why can’t there just be three sexes? Because all intersex people are completely different!


Here’s an even more complex question. Why can’t there just be three genders? To start off my answer to this question, I have to say that sex and gender are not the same thing. The gory details of sex and gender being different are something that deserves its own article, but what you need to know for this one is that sex is our biology and gender is your psychological knowledge of your own gender. That’s pretty hard to digest, but like I said, it needs its own article. So why can’t intersex just be the third gender? Because intersex people have genders already! Regardless of their biology, intersex people identify with genders. Some intersex people are women, some are men, some are transgender, some are nonbinary, some are genderqueer and the list goes on! This is just like people who aren’t intersex!


So President Trump is 100 percent wrong to say that everyone’s sex (not even including gender just for your transphobic family member so they can take baby steps) is either male or female based off the genitals they are born with. That is just plain false. The fact that our president doesn’t even know what intersexuality is is pretty concerning. This is just more proof that Trump says and does whatever he wants to do even if he has no clue what he’s talking about. No matter where you fall on the political spectrum, you can’t deny that intersex people exist. Even if it complicates our traditional understanding of sex and biology! It’s time to stop ignoring that intersex people are a part of our society.


This isn’t the last thing that you should read on intersex people. This should just be the beginning of what you learn about intersex people! For example, you should do some research on the horrible fact that a lot of intersex people are given “normalizing” surgery on their genitals at birth for unnecessary and completely cosmetic reasons. You should also learn things such as “hermaphrodite,” which is an incredibly offensive term and shouldn’t be used anymore. So please don’t stop your education of intersex people here!


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Hannah Fahy

Geneseo '20

Hannah Fahy is a junior English secondary education major at SUNY Geneseo. She is very involved on campus as the secretary of Circus Club and a general member of Musical Theater Club. She is also the social media coordinator of the Geneseo Her Campus chapter! She is an aspiring unicyclist who enjoys reading, donating blood, and knitting. She is always learning a new skill because she believes that you should never stop learning.
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