- What is intersex?
- How common is intersex?
- Intersex conditions
- What does ISNA recommend for children with intersex?
- Does ISNA think children with intersex should be raised without a gender, or in a third gender?
- What's wrong with the way intersex has traditionally been treated?
- What do doctors do now when they encounter a patient with intersex?
- Questions about Intersex Society of North America
- How come many people have never heard of intersex?
- Is a person who is intersex a hermaphrodite?
- Does having a Y chromosome make someone a man?
- Is intersex the same as "ambiguous genitalia"?
- Show me how intersex anatomy develops
- What is the current policy of the American Academy of Pediatrics on surgery?
- What's the difference between being transgender or transsexual and having an intersex condition?
- Why Doesn't ISNA Want to Eradicate Gender?
- How can you assign a gender (boy or girl) without surgery?
- What evidence is there that you can grow up psychologically healthy with intersex genitals (without "normalizing" surgeries)?
- Does ISNA advocate doing nothing when a child is born with intersex?
- What's ISNA's position on surgery?
- Are there medical risks associated with intersex conditions?
- How can I get my old medical records?
- What do intersex and the same-sex marriage debate have to do with each other?
- Who was David Reimer (also, sadly, known as "John/Joan")?
- What's the history behind the intersex rights movement?
Does ISNA think children with intersex should be raised without a gender, or in a third gender?
No, and for the record, we’ve never advocated this. We certainly would like to see people become less freaked-out by people who don’t fit sex and gender cultural norms. But there are at least two problems with trying to raise kids in a “third gender.”
First, how would we decide who would count in the “third gender”? How would we decide where to cut off the category of male and begin the category of intersex, or, on the other side of the spectrum, where to cut off the category of intersex to begin the category of female? (To read more about how intersex is not a discrete category, go to our FAQ called What is intersex?)
Second, and much more importantly, we are trying to make the world a safe place for intersex kids, and we don’t think labeling them with a gender category that in essence doesn’t exist would help them. (Duh, huh?)
ISNA recognizes that it can be damned hard to be intersex, or to have an intersex child. That’s why we exist. That’s why we don’t advocate doing nothing. What we do advocate is providing parents of intersex newborns—and within a couple of years, intersex children themselves—honest and accurate information about intersex, psychological counseling by professionals who are not intersex-phobic, medical help for any real medical problems, and especially referrals to other people dealing with the same issues. Time and again researchers have found that, no matter what the condition—being gay, dealing with a serious disease—peer support, even if informal, saves families and lives.
To read more about our recommendations for dealing with intersex, check out our FAQ What does ISNA recommend?
To read about how you assign a gender of boy or girl to a child with intersex, take a look at our FAQ How can you assign a gender without surgery?