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Intersex Health Illustrations

There are two sexes, right? WRONG! At birth, a doctor assigns an infant a sex (and therefore, a gender) based on the appearance of the genitals: a “protrusion” less than 3/8″ is considered a clitoris (and therefore the child is a “female”) while a “protrusion” greater than 1″ is labeled as a phallus/penis (child is assigned “male.) Those whose external “protrusion” falls between these limits or those who have other “non-typical” genital or gonadal anatomy and/or non-XX/XY chromosomes are branded as having a “Disorder of Sex Development” (DSD), though many in this biocommunity prefer the term intersex, though this term as an identity label is in flux. There are over 40 natural variations of sex found in humans that affect the genitals, gonads, and/or genetics of a person and more than two sexes are commonly found throughout the animal kingdom. With rare exception, these differences are not life-threatening. Despite this, parents of intersex children are often pressured by physicians to submit their child to genital “normalization” surgeries, which are often kept as a secret from the child. Progress is slowly being made around the world to end these unnecessary procedures though many are hesitant to abandon the sex binary.

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