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Intersexuality is as Natural as Oatmeal

 
Anonymous Coward
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Canada
03/26/2011 05:57 PM
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Intersexuality is as Natural as Oatmeal
Excerpts from an essay in the works, by Anonymous, first written in 1998, entitled "Intersexism in Sports."

Prevalence:

Ferguson-Smith et al documents that 1 in every 504 (0.00198%) elite female athletes, between 1972 and 1990, were found to be ineligible as a result of sex chromatin testing. Yet not one has ever been found to be male (1991). According to Serrat et al, using PCR analysis, a much more advanced technique, 15 of some 2000 (0.0075%) or more woman were found to have abnormal tests at the 1992 Barcelona games. 8 women were also found positive at the Atlanta games, 7 of whom had androgen insensitivity syndrome, and 1 of whom had 5-alpha-reductase deficiency (2008).

These figures match closely with Sax’s argument that intersex disorders approximate 0.018% of the population. Anne Fausto-Sterling suggest quite differently, on the other hand, estimating the intersex population at 1.7% (2000). Excluding those who live as men, and those with andromorphous conditions who would not likely compete in female sports, Sax‘s estimate is a closer approximation for the prevalence of intersex bodies in female athletics, giving credence to the idea that the total intersex population is most likely much higher, around 1.7%.

1.7% is therefore the figure coaches and the less organized frontiers of sports, should pay close attention to. In a very small city of 30,000 people, for example, that would approximate 54 people, who at some point in their life, may be discriminated against for having an intersex body when competing in female athletic competitions. In that same population, 510 people may indeed have some intersex condition across all venues, regardless of gender. Less will identify as having an intersex body. In fact, many will be unaware, or show no symptoms, as their condition may be as asymptomatic and abstract to an individuals life as having differing sex chromatin. Some people with Klinefelter’s syndrome, for example, have few if any symptoms. Yet many will show life-long symptoms, and may be unable to be competitive in male sports if not intervened with hormonally as boys.

Olyslager et all argues that the statistics available for transsexuality are between 1 in 4,500 (0.000222%) asigned males, and 1 in 8,000 (0.000125%) asigned females. They also present evidence that transsexuality may be as high as 1 in 500 births (0.002%). Yet the actual number for transsexuals in sports in currently unknown, and most likely much less, due to the social barriers transsexuals face. Clearly speaking, transsexuals make up the minority.

Overlooked, is also the possibility that those who are considered transsexual, often have intersex conditions which medical practioners often do now acknowledge, such as Klinefelter’s syndrome, and so forth. Caroline Cossey, a former actor in the U.K. who stared in a James Bond film, is just such an example. Her case is not exceptional. The overlap between these statistics, therefore, between intersexuals and transsexuals, becomes redundant.

The notion of even considering transsexuality a mere social phenomenon, without any organic basis in the brain, not somehow classified as an intersex state, escapes into the realm of social values, departing from what I would argue to be both social and scientific progress. As a condition, transsexuality does not vary statistically from those who are born intersex. Furthermore, the brains of both male and female transsexuals have been found to have BSTc regions of the hypothalamus, equivalent to the number of neurons found in the opposite sex, which lends support to the idea, that transsexuality maybe an intersex disorder of prenatal origin (Kruijver, 2000). Although this is not proof, with a 0.5% chance according to their study that they are incorrect statistically, I have no problems equating transsexuality with intersexuality, and well beyond any sense of social and sexual dimorphism. Though I do not give credence to biological determinism as an end-all explanation for gender differences, I do extend those boundaries through social constructionist arguments, where individuals can define for themselves who and what their genders aught to be. The impact of biology upon gender, however, should not be underestimated.

Arguments Surrounding the Definitions of Intersexuality:


There is debate surrounding intersexuality being as high as 1.7%, as many clinicians are said to not recognize Klinefelter’s syndrome, Tuner’s syndrome, and and late on-set adrenal hyperplasia. Yet I would argue that the 1.7% statistic for intersexuality is not high enough, as many other conditions have not been included, such as congenital Peyronie’s disease and bladder exstrophy.

Anne Fausto-Sterling, to be redundant estimates the value at 1.7%, while Sax estimates the prevalence at 0.018%. This prevalence of those found with intersex bodies in sports proves Fausto-Sterling’s 1.7% statistic correct, as women with intersex disorder alone account for 0.019% of females found in elite athletic competitions between 1972 and 1990. Hence I argue that the figure is actually higher, in favour of including other etiologies that both authors fail to define.

Needless to say, few people have ever donated their lives to studying intersexuality along a biological framework. Claus Overzier, however, has written the only textbook ever published on this topic, entitled Intersexuality (1963), and it is still the most informative books ever written to this day. In his book he approximates as many intersex conditions as Fausto-Sterling includes.

More importantly, I believe it is fundamental to human right that individuals self-define their bodies, without medical authorities rendering this process inert. Queer people, for example, should not be forced to seek medical intervention to “come out” as gay, or to validate their experiences. This is not to say that the medical community may not have a valuable role to play in promoting healthy relationships; but its sense of authority should never dictate to others how that identity is resolved. In the same manner, people should be able to self-define for themselves whether or not they have transgendered, transsexual and/or intersexual experiences, or whether or not they have corresponding identities. Any clinician who feels that this process belongs to the exlusive domain of one’s own profession is doing nothing more than robbing others of any sense of self-empowerment.
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 1276298
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03/26/2011 06:00 PM
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Re: Intersexuality is as Natural as Oatmeal
I agree! You ever seen black female bodybuilders "hoo hoos" up close? Looks like they have a pinky where there special spot should be!!!
Anonymous Coward (OP)
User ID: 1212870
Canada
03/26/2011 06:09 PM
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Re: Intersexuality is as Natural as Oatmeal
I agree! You ever seen black female bodybuilders "hoo hoos" up close? Looks like they have a pinky where there special spot should be!!!
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 1276298


bodybuilders are a different breed. Their clitorus can grow very long with the administration of exogenous testosterone, permanently. In such a case, this might have nothing to do with intersexuality.