Intersex Hub




'Nightline' Dives Into the Life-Changing Consequences of Doctors Deciding the Gender of Intersex Children: VIDEO

SaifaWall

Roughly one in every 2,000 people is born intersex — with ambiguous genitalia. 

Generally, parents and doctors feel pressure to determine the child's sex and perform surgery as soon as possible. But often they get it wrong. 

SIgnIn "Intersex Children: A Journey Between Genders," ABC News' Nightline takes a look at two cases in which doctors decided that children were female, and castrated them. But the children grew up to identify as male.  

It's the reason why there's a movement to stop doctors and parents from making these decisions, and allow intersex children to eventually make them for themselves. 

In one of the cases examined by Nightline, a family is suing the hospital where doctors decided to remove their son's penis.

In another, a man born intersex, 35-year-old Saifa Wall, meets face to face more than 20 years later with the prominent doctor who wrongly decided he was female and removed his testicles. 

It's a fascinating segment about an underreported subject. And perhaps it should be required viewing for lawmakers who've filed bills that threaten to criminalize this already marginalized group for merely using the restroom. 

Watch it, AFTER THE JUMP ... 

Continue reading "'Nightline' Dives Into the Life-Changing Consequences of Doctors Deciding the Gender of Intersex Children: VIDEO" »


There Is a 1 in 100 Chance You Are Intersex

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The recent conversations about gender expression have rightfully supplanted the ways that we once conflated psychological and sexual variance. As a society, we’ve grown become more cognizant and accepting of the ways in which one’s gender identity is not always tied to one's body. Though we’ve grown more accustomed to thinking of gender as existing on a spectrum, it’s not often that we think the same of our biological sexes.

“The main problem with a strong dichotomy is that there are intermediate cases that push the limits and ask us to figure out exactly where the dividing line is between males and females,” Arthur Arnold, a biological sex research at UCLA explained to Nature magazine. “And that's often a very difficult problem, because sex can be defined a number of ways.”

The basic biology that we’re all brought up to believe in states that men and women can be differentiated by the presence or absence of the Y chromosome. While that logic holds true in the most general of senses, a closer look at chromosomal variance reveals a much more interesting and not immediately obvious truth: in many cases physiological sex can shift on a genetic level.

Differences of sex development (DSD) manifests itself in a number of different forms depending on which different specific genes are functioning in a variety of different ways. The sort of DSD that we’re most familiar with are those in which a person’s body demonstrably belies their assumed sex such as genetically female women who discover that their gonadal tissue developed into small testes rather than ovaries. These cases, Claire Ainsworth explains for Nature, occur 1 in about every 4,500 births. If we were to take more minute sex variation into account, however, 1 in every 100 people could consider themselves intersex.

“These discoveries do not sit well in a world in which sex is still defined in binary terms.” writes Ainsworth. “Few legal systems allow for any ambiguity in biological sex, and a person's legal rights and social status can be heavily influenced by whether their birth certificate says male or female.”

Recently Thailand, India, and Australia have made small inroads in allowing for a wider variety gender representation, but Ainsworth raises a valid point. The law, generally speaking, is no friend to those in the biological in-between.


Will South Africa Become a Roadblock To International LGBT Rights?

South Africa, which was once an essential nation to advancing LGBTI rights in international diplomacy, has since become a potential roadblock, according to Huffington Post.

South africaIn 2011, South Africa sponsored a resolution before the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) that, for the first time, recognized LGBTI rights as human rights. Supporters of the resolution believed that it required at least one prominent African backer in order to prevent it playing into the hands of LGBTI rights opponents in Africa and other parts of the world.

However, when an updated version of the resolution was tabled last week at a HRC meeting, South Africa’s name was not on it. With a vote expected this week, some LGBTI rights supporters are now concerned that South Africa  could turn against the resolution.

This comes following a move by South Africa’s ruling African National Congress party to block a parliamentary motion to condemn Uganda’s severe anti-gay laws - which have since been struck down.

According to Mmapeseka Steve Letsike, a lesbian activist who chairs the South African National AIDS Council’s Civil Society Forum:

“We currently have leadership that fails to represent the ethos of what the constitution says and the equality principles they have to uphold. We have leadership going out of this country putting their personal beliefs before its own people. We have leaders that fail to protect their own.”

MandelaSome South African activists regard these decisions to move away from supporting LGBTI rights internationally as part of a larger trend in the country’s leadership.

While Nelson Mandela and other leaders of the African National Congress embraced LGBTI rights, that commitment is not as strong among the younger generation of leaders, most notably President Jacob Zuma, who called same-sex marriage “a disgrace to the nation and to God” around the time the unions won legal recognition in the country.

The resolution’s supporters are optimistic that they will have the votes to pass the resolution and nobody believes it is possible that South Africa would vote against it on the final vote. It could abstain on a final vote or vote for a procedural motion that would kill the resolution by denying an up or down vote — exactly what it did to keep the inclusive language out of the Protection of the Family resolution in June.

The lack of support for the updated HRC resolution actually comes at a time that there is a new commitment from the government to fighting anti-LGBTI hate crimes inside the country, spurred by a series of horrific rapes and murders of black lesbians.


One Year On: The United Nations LGBT Advocacy Campaign 'Free And Equal' - VIDEO

The welcome UN Human Rights LGBT campaign

On July 26th, 2013, the United Nations Human Rights office launched "Free and Equal," an unprecedented global public education campaign aiming to combat violence and discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people around the world.

Free&equalThe campaign has included a Bollywood gay marriage video The Welcome and the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia.

What's happened since the campaign's launch?

Watch the video to find out, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "One Year On: The United Nations LGBT Advocacy Campaign 'Free And Equal' - VIDEO" »


Female Indian Sprinter Fails 'Gender Test', Disqualified From Commonwealth Games

Dutee Chand

Dutee Chand, representing India, was disqualified last month from the 2014 Commonwealth Games after failing a gender test, reports Bustle. The test showed that 18-year-old Chand’s testosterone levels were above the range considered “normal” for female athletes.

In 2012, Chand became the 100-meter sprint national champion in the under-18 division.

After winning two gold medals for India during the 16th Asian Junior Championship in June, Sports Authority of India (SAI) officials subjected Chand to the test which ultimately ruled her ineligible to represent the country this month in Glasgow.

Chand said that she is "completely shattered" by the result.

In a press release, SAI said:

“Preliminary investigations indicate that the athlete is not fit for participation in a female event due to female hyperandrogenism. The athlete will still be able to compete in the female category in future if she takes proper medical help and lowers her androgen level to the specified range. We reiterate that these test results do not determine her gender. The test simply tells us that she has excess androgen in her body and is therefore not eligible to compete in the female category.”

Hyperandrogenism, a medical condition in which an excessive amount of testosterone is produced by the body, is often the result of polycystic ovary syndrome and cal also manifest as a result of hyperactive adrenal glands or as the result of an intersex condition.

Bustle notes that although setting standards in sport is designed to eliminate “unfair” advantage, Chand is a woman who happens to naturally produce more testosterone than the average woman:

“If we are to believe that the advantages brought on by Chand’s naturally-produced hormones should be reason enough to disqualify her from competing against other women, where does this stop? If a women’s basketball player happens to be six inches taller than an arbitrary range of acceptable heights, should she be sent to play against men? Yes, that basketball player may be an outlier, and yes, Chand’s testosterone levels may make her an outlier, but isn’t that what professional athletes are? Isn’t that what makes watching sports so entertaining in the first place? The world’s greatest athletes aren’t average; they are outliers.

“It’s unfortunate that Chand, whose body chemistry may predispose her to athletic success, will need to take medication to curb her own gifts, and to return her to the 'normal' range. It’s unfortunate that in today’s world we have yet to realize that normal is subjective; that neither women nor men fall neatly into these arbitrarily-defined boxes of acceptable.

Writes Kalpana Sharma in The Hindu:

Our sport authorities need to be educated. Urgently. They need a crash course in understanding human biology, that there is no clear binary between male and female and that there are many conditions in-between.  But clearly, this knowledge, that has now become fairly commonplace, has failed to trickle down to those controlling Indian athletics.  They continue to believe that testing testosterone levels will conclusively establish whether a woman athlete is indeed a woman!

 So even as women athletes are bringing home medals from the Commonwealth Games, the Sports Authority of India (SAI) and the Athletics Federation if India (AFI) will be better remembered for denying, virtually at the last minute, the chance for one of our most promising runners to compete in these games in Glasgow.


Bulgarian MEP Calls Eurovision Winner Conchita Wurst ‘Genetically Modified Organism’ - VIDEO

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In an interview before his May election, Bulgarian Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Angel Dzhambazki described Eurovision winner Conchita Wurst as a “bearded creature.”

DzhambazkiIn the same interview, Dzhambazki said that recognition of the intersexed as a third gender is “absolutely an unacceptable targeting of humanity against nature.”

Speaking to One Europe, Dzhambazki said:

“A beard lady became a symbol of the Old continent a few days ago. This bearded creature, called with the European name Conchita Wurst is like genetically modified organism and won the Eurovision. And I wonder, if the vice of our time is that we tolerate the perversity. I don’t want such a song contest for my children.”

Yesterday, Dzhambazki was accepted into the Eurosceptic centre-right Conservative Party’s ECR group in the European Parliament, along with Irish MEP Brian Crowley.

Speaking to Pink News, English Liberal Democrat MEP Catherine Bearder said:

“The public deserves an explanation as to why Conservative MEPs have agreed to share a platform with this divisive and hateful figure who is so out of touch with British values of tolerance and compassion. By associating themselves with such an openly racist and homophobic politician the Tories are dancing with the devil.”

Dzhambazki, a member of the Bulgaria Without Censorship party which is aligned with the Bulgarian National Movement, has also been accused of inciting hatred against immigrants, calling on the citizens of Sofia to "clean up" Bulgaria's capital city and take “self-defence actions” by establishing “volunteer patrols and units”.

Check out Conchita Wurst's winning Eurovision performance, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Bulgarian MEP Calls Eurovision Winner Conchita Wurst ‘Genetically Modified Organism’ - VIDEO" »


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