This article was published on October 26th, 2022
Intersex is a general phrase that refers to differences between the traditional sex traits that are medically and socially connected with “male” and “female.”
Diversity in sex traits is a natural and expected aspect of human life, and society’s and the health community’s fixation on categorizing people into two separate groups are primarily to blame for the oppression experienced by persons who are intersex. The more society peels back and delve into the issues affecting these groups, the better we will all be to go on as a society that truly is for everyone.
Intersex Awareness Day is an internationally observed awareness day each October 26, designed to highlight human rights issues faced by intersex people.
Classifying The Term Intersex
A classification of intersex (also referred to as Disorders/Differences of Sexual Development by the medical profession) can arise at birth, during puberty, later in life, or occasionally go undetected. Differences can impact any sexual feature. Contrary to popular belief, the number of persons born intersex is estimated to be 1.7% of the world’s population, roughly equal to the percentage of people born with red hair. When you look at it from an angle like this, it is easier to understand that it affects a lot more people than many would like to realize.
Trauma Faced by People Born Intersex
When intersex persons have procedures to “normalize” their sex traits before they are old enough to provide informed permission, they frequently experience trauma. Instead of being performed for life-saving reasons, these procedures are performed for aesthetic reasons to better visibly of conforming individuals to the norms of cisgender males and women.
People who identify as intersex frequently express sentiments of shame and hide their sexuality from the people around them. Social solid expectations on how we should present our bodies can lead to mental health issues, including anxiety and sadness in those whose bodies don’t fit the “standard.”
Mindfulness In Understanding Intersex People
It’s vital to be mindful of our terminology, not further stigmatize those who are intersex. Intersex persons may identify as male, female, or neither. Due to their gender identity, sexual orientation, or shared interest in human rights action, some people may identify with the LGBT+ community while others do not. It is best to address inquiries politely and utilize terminology like that individual while dealing with any marginalized identity.
The key ingredient to understanding intersex people and the struggle they face is to have an open mind, an open heart, and the ability to empathize. These are the first steps we all can take towards more awareness for intersex people that also live under the LGBTQIA umbrella.