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Intersexuality

Aside from male and female, humans are also born intersex. Approximately 1 in 2,000 live births results in anatomies with both traditionally male and female sex characteristics, such as genitals, hormones, chromosomes, and gonads. Intersexuality threatens the longstanding sex binary model and causes anxiety among physicians, who cannot easily categorize them. Medical interventions routinely occur to “normalize” atypical bodies, despite opposition from intersex activists since the 1990s. An increase in intersex awareness has broadened discourses about bodily autonomy, representation, and recognition, and intersexuality continues to expand the concept of sex in the 21st century. This entry begins with definitions of key terms that occur within the discourse of intersexuality, then continues with an extended discussion of the process of medicalization that led, in the second ...

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