intersex

innate variations in sex characteristics such that individuals differ from norms for male or female bodies

Intersex people are individuals born with any of several variations in sex characteristics including chromosomes, gonads, sex hormones or genitals that, according to the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, "do not fit the typical definitions for male or female bodies". This range of atypical variation may be physically obvious from birth – babies may have ambiguous reproductive organs, or at the other extreme range it is not obvious and may remain unknown to people all their lives.Intersex people were previously referred to as hermaphrodites or "congenital eunuchs". In the 19th and 20th centuries, some members of the medical literary community devised new nomenclature in an attempt to classify the characteristics that they had observed. It was the first attempt at creating a taxonomic classification system of intersex conditions. Intersex people were categorized as either having true hermaphroditism, female pseudohermaphroditism, or male pseudohermaphroditism. These terms are no longer used: terms including the word "hermaphrodite" are considered to be misleading, stigmatizing, and scientifically specious in reference to humans. A hermaphrodite is now defined as "an animal or plant having both male and female reproductive organs". In 1917, Richard Goldschmidt created the term intersexuality to refer to a variety of physical sex ambiguities. In clinical settings, the term "disorders of sex development" (DSD) has been used since 2006. This shift has been controversial since the label was introduced.Intersex people face stigmatization and discrimination from birth, or from discovery of an intersex trait, such as from puberty. This may include infanticide, abandonment and the stigmatization of families. Globally, some intersex infants and children, such as those with ambiguous outer genitalia, are surgically or hormonally altered to create more socially acceptable sex characteristics. However, this is considered controversial, with no firm evidence of favorable outcomes. Such treatments may involve sterilization. Adults, including elite female athletes, have also been subjects of such treatment. Increasingly, these issues are considered human rights abuses, with statements from international and national human rights and ethics institutions (see intersex human rights). Intersex organizations have also issued statements about human rights violations, including the 2013 Malta declaration of the third International Intersex Forum. Some intersex persons may be assigned and raised as a girl or boy but then identify with another gender later in life, while most continue to identify with their assigned sex. In 2011, Christiane Völling became the first intersex person known to have successfully sued for damages in a case brought for non-consensual surgical intervention. In April 2015, Malta became the first country to outlaw non-consensual medical interventions to modify sex anatomy, including that of intersex people.
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