Why are some people born intersex

The queer lexicon : What is intersex?

Intersex people have innate sexual characteristics that are not accepted as unambiguous by the prevailing social and medical norm, i.e. they do not fit into the male or female categories, be it genetic, hormonal and / or anatomical. Some intersex people also refer to themselves as hermaphrodites or hermaphrodites. There are different estimates of the number of intersex people: The Verein Intersexuelle Menschen e.V. reports scientific estimates for Germany of 80,000 to 120,000 intersex people. But there are 4,000 physical variants in this circle. Many people do not notice their intersexuality until puberty.

Some intersex people feel politically absorbed by gay or trans activists

Since intersex people, like homosexuals or trans people, deviate from the norm of the heterosexual majority society, political alliances are ideal. However, not all intersexuals feel adequately represented by gay activists: The association Zwischengeschlecht.org criticizes that some gay and transactivists use intersexuals for their own purposes, for example with the political goal of deconstructing gender.

In the case of intersex people, however, it is not about “ways of life” and “orientations”. In the face of forced operations, they often suffer physical and mental pain. Accordingly, they also have their own political demands.

Above all, intersex people are calling for operations on infants and children to be banned

Intersex people in Germany are calling for a ban on operations or hormone treatments on infants or toddlers with ambiguous genitals. At the earliest, when a person has reached adolescence and can assess the scope of the interventions, they should be able to make up their minds to do so.

Because if medicine continues to pathologize intersexuality as a "disorder", intersex people usually do not have any health problems that need to be remedied surgically. Most of the time, the doctors only operate to adjust the genitals to the norm. It is accepted that the fertility of the operated person can be destroyed or the feeling of pleasure can be impaired. Many intersex people later feel mutilated and alienated from their actual gender identity. They suffer lifelong from the psychological and physical consequences, and they often have to bear the financial costs of therapies themselves.

The third gender option was introduced in Germany

At least there is progress in Germany. Since the Civil Status Act was changed in 2013, the sex of intersex infants no longer has to be entered in the birth register. In any case, there is no longer any legal reason for forced operations on babies. After a groundbreaking Federal Constitutional Court ruling, a third gender option for intersex people was even introduced in 2018.

The European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights has also criticized the fact that the fundamental rights of intersex people are being violated in many European countries. Many states also require that the gender be specified as “male” or “female” at birth and thus force operations. Only Malta is considered to be really progressive, as the only EU country to declare interference with intersex people illegal without their consent.

Parents feel pressured

In any case, it remains a major challenge for parents of intersex children not to bow to social pressure to adapt to the norm. After all, they want to protect their child from marginalization. Only competent advice can help here.

The Argentine film "XXY" (2007, director: Lucia Puenzo) sends an optimistic signal. It shows how the teenage boy Alex, born with ambiguous genitals but not operated on, finds his / her identity by accepting himself / herself for who he / she is.

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