Intersexuality and What Being Intersexual Means
I don't pretend to understand what it's like to be intersexual. Most of the autobiographical stories, written by intersexuals, that I've read online talk about years of living with pain, shame, confusion, embarrassment and depression. (Read Dr. Croft's blog post: What is Intersexuality?)
For those not familiar with the term intersexual, the Intersex Society of North America defines it as:
"a general term used for a variety of conditions in which a person is born with a reproductive or sexual anatomy that doesn’t seem to fit the typical definitions of female or male. For example, a person might be born appearing to be female on the outside, but having mostly male-typical anatomy on the inside. Or a person may be born with genitals that seem to be in-between the usual male and female types—for example, a girl may be born with a noticeably large clitoris, or lacking a vaginal opening, or a boy may be born with a notably small penis, or with a scrotum that is divided so that it has formed more like labia. Or a person may be born with mosaic genetics, so that some of her cells have XX chromosomes and some of them have XY."
A vast majority of the time, doctors make a decision as to what sexual identity the child will have. Some intersexuals undergo surgery to “normalize” genital appearance. Other parents of an intersex child are told, raise your baby as a "boy" or "girl."
Your Baby is an Intersexual
As a parent, it's a traumatic experience and confusing to say the least and most are not prepared in any way for the birth of an intersexed child. Thus they rely on the doctor's advice...and from what I've read, it varies widely, from doctor-to-doctor.
For the intersexed child, there are years of doctors visits, not understanding your condition, feeling disconnected from your body, knowing that you are not like everyone else of your gender and the shame of living with that, being socially isolated, plus feeling your parent's feelings about you being an intersexual.
Kailana, Intersexed, Endured a Lot for Little Gain
Kailana is 39 years old.
"When I first realized I was different is a very hard question to answer mostly because my early medical life as a young kid was confusing. Too many doctors appointments out of town and out of state that I look back on and only remember crappy memories. Too many physical examinations and odd comments and questions.
I ended up with a life as a kid and teen only being confused about what I was because doctors and parents kept asking me one question over and over, "are you happy as a boy?"
"The answer was simple, I am not a boy and apparently no one understood what those few words meant. I ended up being ignored and while I looked like a boy, sort of, I did not feel it."
In 1993, Kailana received an official diagnosis of "intersexual." She says "the diagnosis pretty much destroyed what little life I had held onto."
We'll be discussing the various psychological and emotional aspects of "being intersexual" (read Kailana's blog post - Intersexual: Raised the Wrong Sex) plus a common question that spans all of mental health: How do you deal with a trauma or traumatic event that is beyond your control? Watch the video on intersexuality.
Share Your Experiences on Intersexuality
We also invite you to share your experience - whether as an intersexual, a parent or loved one, or a medical professional. Leave your comments below.
Amanda_HP (2009, November 15). Intersexuality and What Being Intersexual Means, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2023, September 27 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/tvshowblog/2009/11/intersexual-intersexuality-and-what-that-entails-nov-17