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Intersex refers to people born with reproductive or sexual anatomy that doesn't strictly fit the categories of "male" or "female." It's an umbrella term encompassing a variety of natural variations in sex characteristics.

Here's a deeper look:

  • Variations: These variations can involve chromosomes, hormones, gonads (ovaries/testes), or genitals. Someone might have external genitals that appear partially male and partially female, or internal reproductive organs that differ from typical male or female anatomy.
  • Discovery: Intersex traits can be evident at birth, during puberty, or even later in life. Sometimes, they're only discovered through medical testing.
  • Not a Disorder: Being intersex isn't a medical condition. It's a natural variation in human biology.
  • Terminology: In the past, it was called a "disorder of sex development" (DSD), but that term is being replaced as it can be seen as pathologizing a natural variation.

Important Considerations:

  • Medical Intervention: Historically, some intersex babies have undergone surgeries to make their genitals conform to binary expectations. This is a controversial practice, and many argue it should only be done when medically necessary and with the informed consent of the person when they're old enough to decide.
  • Identity: Intersex is a biological variation, whereas gender identity is a person's internal sense of being male, female, or something else. The two are separate, though sometimes they can overlap.

In essence, intersex celebrates the natural diversity of human bodies and challenges the idea that sex is a simple binary.

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