Meaning of Intersex
What is Intersexual:
Intersex is the person who has a natural variation that affects their sexual organs, genetic and anatomical characteristics, so they can have, to different degrees, both male and female characteristics combined.
When a baby is born with intersex genitalia, it becomes difficult for doctors to assign a sex to him. For example, it can be mentioned when a baby is born with female sexual organs, but the ovaries or uterus were not formed inside.
It can also happen that the newborn shows a sexual organ, whose size and shape is mistaken for a clitoris or penis that has not been fully developed.
In this sense, intersex people were born without their male or female physical traits having been fully defined, which may or may not coincide with their internal sexual organs.
For this reason, many do not know that they are intersex until puberty begins and the secretion of male or female hormones begins, although their sexual organs seem to correspond to the opposite genes. There are those who can reach adulthood without knowing that they are intersex.
Therefore, intersex affects the formation of sexual organs, genitalia, hormonal segregation, musculature, as well as other male and female traits.
It is important to know that the term hermaphrodite should not be used as a synonym for intersex, which corresponds to a characteristic of the organisms that have both genders, that is, both male and female.
Scientists and specialists have also begun to call these sexual variations as Disorders of Sexual Development, in English Disorders of Sex Development, known by the acronym DSD.
Intersex is more common than you think. There are four intersex states that affect both the genotype and the phenotype of individuals and can be grouped into four categories.
46, XY Intersex
46, XY intersex or testicular feminization occurs in men. It is characterized by the presence of male chromosomes and the presence of female genitalia, therefore the male phenotype does not develop completely and inhibits the female phenotype.
It can have various causes, among which the androgen insensitivity syndrome stands out, a type of resistance to the functioning of male hormones. Other causes are malformation of the testicles and reduced testosterone production.
Intersex 46, XX
XX, female intersex occurs when an individual has female chromosomes, but their external genitalia are male in appearance.
It occurs during the formation of the female fetus, in these cases there is a high exposure to male hormones, the uterus and ovaries are formed, but the vagina and clitoris have a masculine appearance and similar to a penis.
Its causes include congenital adrenal hyperplasia, which causes excessive androgen secretion and a high cortisol deficit.
The intersex individual has both ovarian and testicular tissue. That is, under a testicle there may be a complete or incomplete ovary. Also, both gonads can share tissue derived from an ovary and a testis called ovotestis.
In this sense, a person can have XX, XY or both chromosomes. Hence, the external genitalia cannot be defined as female or male. Its causes are unknown.
Complex or indeterminate intersex
In these cases, the intersex person has a chromosome configuration other than 46, XX or 46, XY. For instance:
- 45, XO: total or partial absence of an X chromosome, affects women.
- 47, XXY: chromosomal mutation in which there is an extra X chromosome, affects males.
- 47, XXX: chromosomal mutation in which there is an extra X chromosome, affects males.