Cooke

Introduction

You get home at the end of the day. Maybe you had a long day at work or school. Maybe you’re returning from an epic adventure that you had out on a hike or speeding down the ski slopes. You come inside, scarf down some food, and decide its time to hit the hay. You head to the bathroom and as you brush those pearly whites, you stare into the mirror and see somebody staring right back at you. If you’re anything like me, sometimes that person is an exact replica of you; a backwards version of that good lookin’ self you remember. Other times though, you see some stranger ogling back. This person doesn’t look like you at all. There are wrinkles, receding hairlines, the wrong hair color, the wrong eye color, the wrong image, the wrong person. Now imagine what it would feel like if every single time you looked into that mirror that wrong person was staring back. You just could not find a way to relate to that reflection. For individuals who have experienced an intersexed birth, or are transgendered, this is exactly how they can feel every single day.

Our gender binary has caused us as a society to believe that there are two genders, male and female. Almost every part of our culture has separated things between the two. Things are either masculine or feminine. For a majority of the population, we except this system and don’t think twice about it. What that majority doesn’t realize is that there is the possibility to be neither male nor female or both male and female and all other mixtures. One of these categories of people that do not fall into the gender binary those who are born intersexed.

When born, we are immediately categorized as either male or female. But there is a large percentage (1 in 1000) that has genitalia that can neither be called male nor female. These individuals are known as intersexed. Developmental issues cause for the genitalia to form incorrectly. Most of the time, this is due to chromosomal disorders that can cause someone from being the normal XX or XY chromosomal pattern to something like XXY. Issues then arise in producing the proportional amount of hormones needed to produce biologically normal genitalia. At birth, legally the doctor must decide whether a new born is either male or female. When there is question, the standard procedure has been to perform surgery in order to create a more normal looking genitalia. The child is then raised as that sex when really, they have hormones, chromosomes, and so on that contains a mixture of both sexes. As life continues on, many of these individuals begin to realize that there s something different about them; that they don’t feel like the gender they are being raised. Because these individuals do not fall into either category of the gender binary, male or female, it becomes problematic due to the anxiety involved.

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