Transgender people are people who experience a mismatch between their gender identity and their assigned sex. Transgender people are sometimes called transsexual if they desire medical assistance to transitionfrom one sex to another. Transgender is also an umbrella term: it may include people who are not exclusively masculine or feminine (people who are genderqueer, e.g. bigender, pangender, genderfluid, or agender), third gender, or cross-dressers.
Being transgender is independent of sexual orientation: transgender people may identify as heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, asexual, etc., or they may consider conventional sexual orientation labels inadequate or inapplicable.
The term “transgender” can also be distinguished from “intersex”. Intersex is a term that describes people born with physical sex characteristics “that do not fit the typical description of male or female bodies”.
The degree to which individuals feel genuine, authentic, and comfortable within their external appearance, and accept their genuine identity is called “transgender cong-ruence”.
Many transgender people experience “gender dysphoria”. Gender dysphoria is the medical term used to describe people who experience significant distress with the sex and gender they were assigned at birth. Some people with gender dysphoria seek medical treatments such as hormone replacement therapy, sex reassignment surgery, or psychotherapy. Not all transgender people desire these treatments, and some cannot undergo them for financial or medical reasons.
Transgender people face discrimination and unfair treatment in many cultures and situations.
So let’s talk about intersex! As an introduction; let’s discuss some embryology. Emryology is the science that studies the development of embryos and fetuses in the womb.
The external genitalia of males and females are undifferentiated at 4 and 6 weeks of pregnancy, and then start to differentiate at 10 weeks for males and 20 weeks for females. The final illustrations are the external genitalia at birth. It is important to realize that the same initial tissue makes up different structures in males and females.
Some people have different circumstances, that prevent them from developing along the same path that others do. The results of these developments may be “intersex individuals” who have sex characteristics of both males and females.
“Intersex” is 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.
Let’s have a look at some images by dr. Frank Netter. 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.
Though we speak of intersex as an inborn condition, intersex anatomy doesn’t always show up at birth. Sometimes a person isn’t found to have intersex anatomy until they reach the age of puberty, or find themselves infertile adults, or die of old age and are autopsied. Some people live and die with intersex anatomy without anyone (including themselves) ever knowing.
Which variations of sexual anatomy count as intersex?
In practice, different people have different answers to that question. Imagine the sex spectrum as the color spectrum. There are different wavelengths that translate into colors most of us see as red, blue, orange, yellow. In the same way, nature presents us with sex anatomy spectrums. Breasts, penises, clitorises, scrotums, labia, gonads—all of these vary in size and shape.
The “sex” chromosomes can vary a lot, too. But in human cultures, sex categories get simplified into male, female, and sometimes intersex, in order to simplify social interactions.
So, nature doesn’t decide where the category of “male”,“intersex”, and “female” begin and end. Humans decide. Humans decide whether a person with XXY chromosomes or XY chromosomes and androgen insensitivity will count as intersex.
There is no evidence that children who grow up with intersex genitals are worse off psychologically, than those who are altered.
In fact, there is evidence that children who grow up with intersex genitals do well psychologically. In other words, these surgeries happen before the age of assent or consent, are unnecessary. Parents often ask for these operations because they fear discrimination against their children.
“Ambiguous” genitalia are not diseased, nor do they cause disease; they just look “funny” to some uninformed people. And this no reason to cut a child’s body parts off. A better solution would be to increase the society’s awareness about intersex.
There is substantial evidence that people who have been treated under the “optimum gender of rearing” model have suffered harm, psychological and physical.
And parents consenting to intersex surgeries do not appear to be fully informed about the available evidence, about
1-alternatives available to them;
2-about the risks associated with surgeries,
3-or about the theoretical problems underlying the “optimum gender of rearing” approach.
For example, they are typically not told the evidence that gender identity may emerge to an important degree from prenatal hormonal actions on the brain—and thus, that you can’t “make” a child a maintain a particular gender identity in the long term by doing surgery on him or her in infancy.
The best way to be a better human is to learn something new about science every day. If we all accept each other with all our differnces, the world will be a much better place. Wishing you the best of health.