Student Affairs - Fostering Student Learning and Success

Primary tabs

Intersex

Intersex is a general term used to refer to individuals born with, or who develop naturally in puberty, biological sex characteristics which are not typically male or female.  That is, a person with an intersex condition is born with sex chromosomes, external genitalia, or an internal reproductive system that is not considered typical for a male or female.

Are people with intersex conditions "third gender"?
Many people with intersex conditions identify solidly as a man or as a woman, like many non-intersex people. There are some who identify as a member of an alternative gender.

Is intersex part of the "transgender" community?
While some people with intersex conditions also identify as transgender, they as a group have a unique set of needs and priorities besides those shared with trans people. Too often, their unique needs are made invisible or secondary when "intersex" becomes just another subcategory of "transgender."

Is intersex the same thing as a "hermaphrodite?"
The word "hermaphrodite" is a stigmatizing and misleading word. There is growing momentum to eliminate the word "hermaphrodite" from medical literature and to use the word "intersex" in its place. While some intersex people do reclaim the word "hermaphrodite" with pride to reference themselves (like words such as "dyke" and "queer" have been reclaimed by LGBTIQA+ people), it should be generally avoided except under specific circumstances.

For more information, click here.