Monday, September 21, 2009

homosexuality and intersex

Intersexuality has a long and unusual relationship with homosexuality. As intersex awareness increases more LGBT organizations recognize that intersex is another form of queer (any variation in sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression that deviates from the "norm"). This queer inclusiveness has lead to organizations adding some of the various letters including I (intersex), Q (queer), Q or ? (questioning), U (unsure), TS or 2 (two-spirit), A or SA (straight ally), A (asexual), P (pansexual or polyamorous), and O (omnisexual). Obviously some intersexuals, especially those who identify as straight and live in different gender relationships, are opposed to being lumped together with other sexual minorities, and see themselves as having a birth defect, not queer. I think this is silly, seeing as intersexuals, by nature, are unique, and that difference should be celebrated, and as I mentioned earlier, the very existence of homosexuality has shaped the treatment of intersexuals.

Homophobia has been a driving force in the "correction" of intersexuals. For example, when feminizing surgery was first done on girls with congenital adrenal hyperplasia, two reasons cited for preforming the surgery was to prevent excessive masturbation and to keep them from becoming lesbians (jokes on the surgeons though, CAH girls end up gay in much higher percentages then "normal" women). The current medical policy of genital surgery is heteronormative in that it presumes genitals incapable of heterosexual intercourse are not normal and no one could develop into 'normal' or even happy person without such things. It also presumes that heterosexual sex is something everyone wants, which is simply not the case.

Whether because of intersex psychobiology, or because gays are more accepting of gender variation, a disproportionate number of intersexuals live in same gender relationships. This is also why the relationship between intersexuals and the gay rights movement are so strong, many intersexuals identify as gays. I realize many intersexuals see themselves as straight, and many also live celibate, often due to the surgery (the outcome is never good), however we should embrace this affiliation with homosexuals, since many of us identify as such, and until the largest category of sexual minorities gain their full human rights, there will be no hope for the rest of us.


  1. As a mother of an Intersexual, I feel the need to help people understand that today and over 2 decades ago, people's sexuality was not as openly discussed, and there weren't many options for research about Intersexuality. There wasn't an internet, the information that we were given by medical professionals and what I researched was stored way at the back of a medical library on a large campus, and very outdated. My husband and I decided to modify our child's appearance to enable a stronger acceptance in society. Today many don't understand that sexuality is a continum not two dots, male and female, but a line between those dots. There are few mixed gender sports teams, scout troops, bathrooms,etc. Unfortunatly, we had to choose one of two genders for our child, to ensure society's, and our extended family's acceptance of our child. Was it right? Would I do it the same today? While my intelligence says there was nothing wrong with our child at birth, my emotions say that I should protect our child at all costs, that means physical modification. I think that adult Intersexuals can handle whatever the world throws at them, but children may not be able to. I don't know what I would do today? I do know that my child is frustrated with our decision and would have liked a say in what was done in the very early childhood. I would ask all parents with small intersexual children to strongly think about their child's future and maybe wait to make decisions for their child. We need to work towards changing society not our children.

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