On a third sex

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On a third sex

THE idea of creating a new sex category to be designated “intersex” poses several problems.

First of all, how do we define intersex? OII believes that there will be never a clear definition and at the same time, that it is not necessary to have a legal definition for intersex. We have no clear definitions for what a woman is or a man is. We only assume this to be the case.

The purpose of OII is to work in favour of human rights for  intersex by helping people to understand that there are not just two pre-existing sexes. There is an infinite combination of possibilities on the spectrum of sex and gender.

The creation of a specific category for  intersex risks even more marginalization of a group which is poorly understood. We base our legal arguments on the right of every person to determine her/his own identity in the binary system in the hope that eventually there would be no attempt to impose legal sex categories on anyone.

On health care

OUR societies have accepted a binary construct between male and female which does not reflect Nature and the enormous variety of possible sexes which overlap one another in various gradations on a spectrum with male at one end and female at the other.

The arbitrary division of biological sex into only two categories makes all sex assignments of an individual problematic.

Neither the genitalia, nor the chromosomes help one determine the “true” sex of an infant.

The gonads, hormones and the internal reproductive organs of the infant are also not reliable indicators for determining conclusively the sex of a child.

Each child is born with a unique combination of all these factors and the different possible combinations are very numerous, making all sex assignments of infants a mere conjecture.

We campaign against all non-consensual normalization treatments of infants that are not medically necessary and favour the right of all intersex children to determine their own sex identity once they are capable of communicating it to us.

Furthermore we advise parents to respect the sex identity of their children and to do all that is necessary so that their children can live according to their choice.

Once the child has communicated clearly their own sex identity, it is crucial that the child’s identity be respected both by the parents, physicians and therapists who are caring for the child.

All steps should be taken to respect the child’s own sense of self by being given access to all health care necessary to facilitate life in the sex the child considers most appropriate.

Therefore, we are campaigning in favour of changing the current medical paradigm concerning non-consensual normalization treatments and against the diagnosis of gender dysphoria or GID in intersex individuals who feel they were assigned the wrong sex.

OII affirms that the true sex of the child is determined by their own inner psychological perceptions and that the right of individual intersex persons to affirm their own sex without medical or governmental interference should be a basic human right.

On diagnoses and medical information

OII is very sensitive to the individual’s right to privacy concerning medical information and does not require any release of medical information or any diagnosis to be a member of our support groups.

OII members are instructed not to ask for a medical diagnosis from any member, leaving each member free to volunteer such information and share that information with others as they feel fit.  There are many reasons for this.

Intersex is a sensitive issue and many people may wish to have support without sharing private information about their bodies and medical histories.

  • Many intersex people do not have an actual medical diagnosis because many intersex people are born with intersex variations for which there are no current explanations or diagnoses.
  • Some intersex people do not have a medical diagnosis because many intersex people were raised in ignorance without medical disclosure about their variation, with signs of their variation having been re-engineered and their medical records destroyed before adulthood.
  • Many people do not have the money to pay for the tests involved to get an accurate diagnosis.
  • OII does not consider intersex an illness and therefore no diagnosis is needed.
  • OII considers intersex to be anyone who is born with a body that is not considered typical according to the norms in effect for standard male or female.

Also, OII considers it unethical, especially for those who are medical experts or employed within medical institutions to speak about diagnoses of the members of this group without their consent.

Speaking about the diagnoses of people on OII’s board without access to personal medical records and/or their consent is not only unethical, it is a violation of their right to privacy of medical information, especially when such information is disseminated by medical experts and other staff of medical institutions.