Re: Intersexuality (was: BOOK: Gender Shock)

Kathryn Aegis (
Mon, 13 Apr 1998 17:27:27 +0000

Erik Moeller:
>Heterosexuality is a very important concept, both for reproduction and
>socialization. Zoophilia, homosexuality, pedophilia, all these are
>likely to have evolutionary origins, but I cannot see a possible use
>for intersexuality.

I wouldn't equate biological genital forms with philias--clinically,
the two don't relate to each other.

>I think you take the word 'evolution' to literally here. It seems to
>be used a lot on this list instead of the dreaded and passe 'progress'
>or 'development'.

I did mean evolution! I don't have to go too far to project
'evolution' in the biological sense (chromosomal) or in the
transhumanist sense (biological change aided by technology) in the
case of intersexual humans. Due to the vast progress made in
reproductive technologies, intersexual humans are now able to pass on
their genetic structures to their offspring. A recent study has
claimed that a group of non-mosaic Kleinfelter's males were able to
procreate through an advanced method of in vitro. This means that,
for the very first time, their chromosomal structure is passed on to
offspring. And when cloning is honed to the point of feasibility for
humans, any human can at least replicate. This is why the topic of
gender continues to fascinate me--it is an arena in which evolution
takes place before our very eyes.

>I would rather say intersexuals might be important since their
>existence undermines the traditional (and IMHO unhealthy) binary view
>of gender.

And that would constitute the sociobiological aspects. We can
reasonably project that, given absolute freedom to choose, many
intersexual humans would prefer to retain the biological form they
were born with. The increasing existence of humans that cannot be
classified physically at either polarity is going to force many
societies to reconsider the custom of segregating humans by gender
in various spheres of activity. It will also call into serious
question the notion that biology determines life roles or
personality. I like to think of that as socio-evolution, but
it's just a useful metaphor.

> OK, so you believe that the kid's identity is impaired after
> "fixing" his sexuality. Are there any psychological studies supporting
> this view?

Not a case of belief, but of mounting evidence. In addition to the
one Anders cited, a longitudinal study is in progress at Johns