Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Intertwined, Interrupt, Interfere, Intersex

I'm back and it's been less than two weeks! Who's proud of me?

I've been thinking about this post since I finished the last one and figured no time is better than the present! Sorry, Christmas puns are happening.

Anyway, I don't have much of a life update at this time (maybe soon, who knows?) other than Christmas fun times which included good food, only 2 houses instead of the usual 3 (or proposed 4), and some sweet gifts including some video games and two cute Link action figures! It was a bit sad celebrating without Sarah's parents who just moved to Florida after our wedding in September, but I don't think they were too upset about it considering it was gorgeous down there and they were wearing shorts while we were bundled up. Maybe next year we'll head down there for the week and I can be in a pool or hot tub on Christmas morning...

Enough daydreaming - let's get to some more knowledge! Last time I said I would go over a few terms, but to not confuse anyone I am going to go over Intersex in this post by itself, as it is not related to the other terms that I said I would review. Intersex is regarding someone's sex assigned at birth, not their gender identity or expression/presentation.

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Intersex: Someone who is born and does not fit within the traditional binary (male or female - remember this for later) classification either due to genital, chromosomal, or hormonal differences. Okay, but what does this mean in simplistic terms? Long story short, most of the time this occurs when a baby is born and the medical staff cannot determine based on first glance if the infant should be assigned male or female. This is commonly due to the infant's genitals not meeting certain criteria regarding length of the penis. If it's the "right" size upon birth, the infant is assigned male. If it's under a certain size, the infant is assigned female. However, there is a grey area which will usually be the basis of the determination/assumption that the child is intersex. I say usually, because, that is not always the case. There can be children who are born, assigned male or female, and not realize that they are truly intersex until puberty when hormonal changes begin to occur.

Many children who are born intersex are "treated" immediately at birth by means of surgery, hormones, and other methods to make the genitals appear more "normal" by societal definitions. This approach falls under the "concealment-centered model of care", and was developed out of Johns Hopkins University under the main guidance of a psychologist named John Money in the 1950s. For more information about this, check out this link. To go even further, you can also read a book called 'As Nature Made Him: The Boy who was Raised as a Girl' by John Colapinto which tells the true story of John Money's most infamous case of twin boys where one was raised as a girl to prove his method that gender can be taught. Have some tissues nearby, you'll be tearing up with this one.

Fact: Intersex is different than transgender, and is not related in any way to sexual or romantic attraction. Someone who is intersex can be Gay, Bi, Lesbian, Queer, etc. Again, how someone is assigned at birth, or how they identify, does not correlate in any way with whom someone is attracted to.

If you're interested in learning more about this topic, here are some great resources to check out - and as always, let me know if there's anything specific you'd like me to go over, or reach out with your questions!

What is Intersex?
How Common is Intersex?

Other sources:
Intersex Society of North America
Intersex Initiative

[ Next time: Androgynous, gender non-conforming, gender neutral, non-binary ]

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