Intersex is an identity term for people born with physical characteristics that do not fit traditional conceptions about male or female bodies. It does not describe a specific body type but rather can be used as an umbrella term for a broad range of conditions. For instance, variations may appear in a person’s chromosomes, hormones, genitals, or internal organs like testes or ovaries. Some intersex traits are identified at birth, while others may not be discovered until puberty or later in life. Intersex individuals may identify with any gender identity, including male, female, and non-binary.
It is estimated that as many as 1.7% of people are born with intersex traits.
Issues & Activism
Some issues faced by intersex people include:
- nonconsensual surgery on intersex infants and children
- discrimination in sports
- discrimination in employment and the workplace
Intersex activists address issues like these and more. In 1993, Cheryl Chase announced the founding of the Intersex Society of North America, initially a support group that developed into an advocacy group on intersex issues. Since then, other organizations have been founded such as InterACT, OII Europe, and IC4E.
The most commonly used intersex flag was created by Morgan Carpenter in 2013. Yellow and purple were chosen for the design, as alternatives to the strongly-gendered colors of blue and pink. The purple circle in the middle symbolizes "wholeness and completeness" as well as "the right to be who and how we want to be."
- InterACT: Intersex Definitions
- IC4E: What Is Intersex?
- InterACT: Intersex 101 [pdf]
- OII Europe: Intersex Issues - a short list
- InterACT: Ethics of Surgery and Decision Making
- InterACT: Discrimination in Sports
- InterACT: Workplace Discrimination and Intersex Employees
- What's the history behind the intersex rights movement?
- Intersex Human Rights Australia: An Intersex Flag
- Bigender flag