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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Gender Issues » another confusing question

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Author Topic: another confusing question
magpie
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I just got done reading the post on pansexuallity, and it led me to another question. Do you think there are more than 2 genders? Some researchers say there are as many as 6 or more while others say there are only 2, as does common society. I personally think there are sub-genders. (there are some exceptions, like people who only have one sex chromosome and stuff like that) There are two "sets" of reproductive organs. Then in those groups, I think there are different "genders."

So what do you guys think?

PS Miz S. ~ Thanks for adding the new topics. It makes it much easier to decide where to post certian stuff.


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Confused boy
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This all seems a bit pedantic to me. Now I know that the official Scarleteen line is not exactly this but lets just admit for the moment that nearly everyone is either female or male. I feel we dont need to get to much more complicated than that. However, within these groups there is a massive area for different people. Now these are not different genders, just individuals. I dont understand why there is this need to rigourously categorise everyone perfectly. I am my own person and no one is like me: Confused Boy (Confusius Puer).
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Heather
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If Intersexuality is pedantic, than so are conditions like cystic fibrosis or toxic shock syndrome, which are FAR more rare.

What we know right now is that about 1 in every 2,000 people is intersexed or has reproductive organs which make their gender indeterminate. Ignoring that, or saying it isn't impoirtant, would be like dismissing the 1 in 2000 women who have a hymen that requires surgery because it will not erode.

While not all intergerdered folks need medical care for that condtion, many do. And making that group of people invisible, or telling them to just "pick a gender" is a bit like telling a mixed-race person to just "picK a race."

Magpie, if you're interested, I highly recommend Dr. Anne Fausto-Sterling's "Sexing the Body."

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Heather Corinna
Editor and Founder, Scarleteen

My epitaph should read: "She worked herself into this ground."
-- Kay Bailey Hutchinson


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Confused boy
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Maybe I'm slightly out of my league here as I'm not too well versed in these medical problems. Were you saying that one intergendered syndrome is a hymen that doesnt erode or were you just giving that as another example of a problem being ignored? If you are saying that a common intergendered problem is that a non eroding hymen then you just said yourself that an intergendered group were women! "Ignoring that, or saying it isn't impoirtant, would be like dismissing the 1 in 2000 women who have a hymen that requires surgery because it will not erode."

Maybe Im misunderstanding but it appears you just admitted yourself that an intergendered group could be classified as women. So why cant we call this particular group of people "women" but just say they have a genetic characteristic that affects their hymen. What other characteristics do these people tend to have that bring their gender into question?

In general though, your argument has persuaded me that there will be other genetic characteristic that cause a person to be less easily determined as one of two genders.


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alaska
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Confused, Heather was comparing the numbers of people affected by some form of being intersexed to the number of women who have a resilient hymen.

The general purpose of that comparison was to show that a lot more people are intersexed than you expect.

[This message has been edited by Alaska (edited 06-17-2001).]


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alaska
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Confused, if you are interested in more on intersexuality, and how many different kinds actually exist, check out one of these resources:

http://www.isna.org/ (Intersex Society of North America)
http://www.isna.org/faq.html (ISNA frequently asked questions)

http://www.isna.org/links.html (Link site of the ISNA)

http://www.ukia.co.uk/ (UK Intersex Association)

[This message has been edited by Alaska (edited 06-17-2001).]


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alaska
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Here are some statistics on the frequency of intersexuality (causing conditions) from the ISNA http://www.isna.org/frequency.html


Not XX and not XY - one in 1,666 births

Klinefelter (XXY) - one in 1,000 births

Androgen insensitivity syndrome - one in 13,000 births

Partial androgen insensitivity syndrome - one in 130,000 births

Classical congenital adrenal hyperplasia - one in 13,000 births

Late onset adrenal hyperplasia - one in 66 individuals

Vaginal agenesis (i.e. no or incomplete vagina) - one in 6,000 births

Ovotestes - one in 83,000 births

Idiopathic (no discernable medical cause) - one in 110,000 births

Hypospadias (urethral opening in perineum or along penile shaft) - one in 2,000 births

Hypospadias (urethral opening between corona and tip of glans penis) - one in 770 births

Total number of people whose bodies differ from standard male or female - one in 100 births

Total number of people receiving surgery to "normalize" genital appearance - one or two in 1,000 births

Far more than you expected, I assume. And more than enough of a reason to not throw people into "male" and "female" boxes only.

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Caro
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"We must become the change we want to see."
Mahatma Gandhi


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Gaffer
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All I can say is yay for being different. Even if more people are different than you'd expect. Okay, okay, so everyone is different.

I do think there is a difference between being an individual who has his own unique differences from the absolute male(I'm just going along with the whole shadow cave theory--there is a cookie cutter guy somewhere and all the guys that exist in this world are cookies made from the mold--not all of them turned out the same, apparently), and an individual who has something vastly differentiating, like Kleinefelters or ovotestes. I kind of like the whole more than two genders idea, it makes the world much more fun and interesting.


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Rizzo
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Miz Scarlet, I love your anology between interracial and intersexed people. Can you imagine the uproar if, at birth, we bleached the skin of interracial children?
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Heather
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Absolutely, Rizzo.

You know, the sad part is that there are people up there who were born intergendered, had a procedure done genitally (and when it comes to external genitals, much of that surgery is not necessary), and were never told as children, and only found out their status as adults.

The "absolute male" Confised? Yowza. Who's that?

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Heather Corinna
Editor and Founder, Scarleteen

My epitaph should read: "She worked herself into this ground."
-- Kay Bailey Hutchinson


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Gaffer
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Don't know my philosophers well enough, note to self:reread Sophie's World. Umh, yeah, either Aristotle or Plato has this allegory about people in a cave who see shadow of the real world and then goes on to say the real world is shadows of an even realer world and that's where the cookie cutter comes in. Basically this whole allegory implies that the things we see are shadows of the real thing, so the what we see are the cookies made from the cookie cutter(the real thing). Now that I think of it this has nothing to do with what we're talking about.

Okay, silly Gaffer. When I said absolute male I meant the embodyment of the whole general concept of maleness(I think that's where the allegory comes in)--I don't even think anyone like that exists. It sounds silly, but that's only 'cause it is. Yeah, okay then, Gaffer's two cents made absolutely no sense. 8^)


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Heather
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Actually, the Allegory of the Caves is always worth brining up.

But I think if we really try and come up with it, the closest we can get to "absolutes" in terms of gender aren't in people, but in chromosomes: X and Y.

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Heather Corinna
Editor and Founder, Scarleteen

My epitaph should read: "She worked herself into this ground."
-- Kay Bailey Hutchinson


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Gaffer
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THAT'S IT! That's what I was fumbling for! Thanks.
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Confused boy
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Very well, I have had a look at some of those web addresses and I see now there are examples of intergendered people that cannot be indentified as male or female. However there were still a couple of things I dont completely agree with on the site. For example one of the first things I came across at http://www.isna.org/faq.html#anchor637790 was as follows:-

"Since genetic testing was instituted for women in the Olympic Games, a number of women have been disqualified as "not women," after winning. However, none of the disqualified women is a man; all have atypical karyotypes, and one gave birth to a healthy child after having been disqualified."

Now I only learnt about this very recently in Biology but I thought that the genotype (the sets of chromosones you have) are not necessarily expressed in the phenotype (the characteristics of the person). Would this not suggest that just having an atypical genotype would not necessarily classify someone as intergendered. Naturally, if someone has sexual organs that are neither (or both) female or/and male then it is more complicated. However, particularly in the case of a "non-woman" being able to give birth, it seems clear to me that some people could be considered a gender based on what they are rather than what their genetics say they are.

I got the impression that cases where it was very hard to determine someones gender at all were significantly rarer than 1 in 2000.


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Heather
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Thing is that gender is only defined by the appearance of external genitalia not as a final means, but as a cursory and simple means.

It is not the be-all end-all of gender defintion.

And ultimately, there are a LOT of intergdendered and transgendered folks in the world. And if they -- not you, not me -- feel they need a means of defining themselves that is clear, and that defines them well, then that should be the golden rule, again, much as we do not tell a mixed-race person that they need choose one type because that's just how the cookie crumbles.

Perhaps it's easier for someone who DOES fit neatly into a box to wonder what the big deal is, eh?

And modern science and genetics support this.

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Heather Corinna
Editor and Founder, Scarleteen

My epitaph should read: "She worked herself into this ground."
-- Kay Bailey Hutchinson


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PoetgirlNY
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What is late onset adrenal hyperplasia?

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*Limes Are Sublime*


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alaska
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Poetgirl, the only explanation that was not full of endocrionogical stuff was this bit from WebMD:

quote:
In a condition called late onset congenital adrenal hyperplasia, the adrenal glands begin to overproduce male hormones -- which can, in turn, cause the clitoris to grow and potentially become uncomfortable. Women with this condition notice many male hormonal changes in their bodies, including excess hair growth, acne, weight gain, and lowering of the voice. Ovarian tumors can produce similar symptoms. Blood tests can be done to measure male hormone levels and treatments can be prescribed.

A very scientific report on the other (not late onset variety) of andrenal hyperplasia is this one (more specifically, this about a vairant within the early detectable variant): C-17 Hydroxylase Deficiency
- 17-alpha hydroxylase deficiency, variant of congenital adrenal hyperplasia
.

I'll keep looking though (and ask my clever almost last year med student partner).

[This message has been edited by Alaska (edited 06-18-2001).]


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Confused boy
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I think I agree with that, Miz Scarlet. There should neither be a demand to categorise intergendered people as male or female or a demand to seperate them off into their own groups if they do not wish that.

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'An Anarchist is a Liberal with a bomb' Trotsky


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grannylamp7
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Ok, I just posted a longer reply in the topic "I'm neither" which is along the same lines as what I'm gonna say now but more involved. Ok first of all, I don't understand people who don't know what they are in terms of sexuality...and I really wish someone could explain it to me so I can be more open-minded about it.....I DON'T think that there are more than two sexes. I know there are people who have both male and female parts, but I think that they can only truly feel either male or female. I also think this whole bisexual thing is just a crock because deep down everyone is either one or the other, and it doesn't make sense to me how people can't know! I think bi people are either just out to have some fun or are really psycologically messed up, making them unable to understand their true feelings. I understand my point of view is coming from a heterosexual female,and I'm pretty open to a lot of things. The whole gay/lesbian idea makes sense to me cuz at least those people are chosing one sexual identity and staying with it, but wil somebody please explain to me the whole bi, transexual, or whatever else inbetween-sexual thing, cuz I don't understand how there can be more than two sexes.
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