Trans & Intersex

Transgender and intersex issues are closely related and we have much to learn as to understanding the etiologies of sex and gender diversity.  Typically, scientists define male and female as those that produce sperm and eggs respectively.  For men and women, this means “normally” having XY and XX chromosomes respectively. But this is a narrow definition of what sex is and we find science does not support two sexes.  But we have a hard time escaping the gender binary of all of us having a mom and a dad.

Medline Plus has a nice simple review of intersex issues.  They neatly divide intersex into four areas as follows (verbatim):

  • 46, XX Intersex. The person has the chromosomes of a woman, the ovaries of a woman, but external (outside) genitals that appear male.
  • 46, XY Intersex. The person has the chromosomes of a man, but the external genitals are incompletely formed, ambiguous, or clearly female. Internally, testes may be normal, malformed, or absent.
  • True Gonadal Intersex. Here the person must have both ovarian and testicular tissue. This may be in the same gonad (an ovotestis), or the person might have one ovary and one testis. The person may have XX chromosomes, XY chromosomes, or both.
  • Complex or Undetermined Intersex Disorders of Sexual Development. Many chromosome configurations other than simple 46, XX or 46, XY can result in disorders of sex development.

Some resources for further exploration are given below.