Society has created 2 genders that are believed to be the two true sexes and the most natural, male and female. These two genders mold every activity and our interactions throughout each day. Our very identities are shaped from birth based on the gender we are assigned. Every choice we make, every action we take has been molded since that moment based on gender appropriate behavior. This is the gender binary; two genders believed to be absolute with no consideration for a third or fourth gender. What happens when a child is born who biologically doesn’t fit into male or female? One must consider the ramifications to that child because of the heavy influence the gender binary has within our society and the place it has on molding the foundations of our identity.
Intersex individuals are born with neither male nor female genitalia, but with genitalia that are somewhere in-between. Because they don’t have definitive genitalia their gender is in question throughout their lives especially at birth. When doctors encounter ambiguous genitalia they are pressured to either assign the child male or female and as a result are forced to pick a gender for the child. When a gender is chose the doctor conducts procedures to “correct” the ambiguous genitalia to make it appear closer to the assigned gender. Because the children exhibit characteristics of both body parts, they are mutilating the child to preserve the gender binary. A child who fits into neither male nor female is left with a lifetime of repercussions for a doctors momentary decision.
Because intersex individuals are thought of as “mythical beasts” from legends of old; there are very few resources available for an intersex individual to discover their identity and seek support. In a society where the gender binary infects every aspect of our life, anything that is outside is labeled as abnormal. This stigma is forced upon intersex individuals to such an extent that they spend their lives trying to mold themselves to one or another gender. This denies their true identity and their freedom to express themselves as whatever gender they choose. The gender binary is a harmful social condition that targets intersex people as being abnormal and forcing them into a gender, which defies their biological nature.