How come many people have never heard of intersex?

For decades, doctors have thought it necessary to treat intersex with a concealment-centered approach, one that features downplaying intersex as much as possible, even to the point of lying to patients about their conditions. A lot of people in our culture also had no interest in hearing that sex doesn’t come in two simple flavors.

But that has been changing since Cheryl Chase founded ISNA in 1993. For over a decade we at ISNA have been successfully working to de-stigmatize intersex and to let people know that folks with intersex are all around. ISNA representatives have appeared in dozens of local, national, and international television and radio programs, and in virtually all major newspapers and magazines. We estimate conservatively that we’ve reached 30 million people since 1993.

People who are intersex will tell you that the primary thing they’ve been harmed by is induced shame about their intersex. The best way to reduce shame (and thereby reduce harm to individuals and families coping with intersex) is to talk openly and honestly about intersex. If you’ve learned something new at our site today, tell someone else about it.

If you are a journalist looking to speak with an ISNA representative, please contact us and let us know your needs. By the way, we’d really appreciate it if you would look at all our FAQ’s to get your basic questions answered that way first. Thanks very much!