“The existence of intersex people proves sex is on a spectrum,” say the Gender Activists. Not true. The vast majority of people labeled by the activists as “intersex” are unambiguously either male or female.
Understanding Intersex Conditions in a Scientific Context
You might have come across statements suggesting that intersex individuals make up 1-2% of the population, equating their prevalence to that of red-haired individuals. This claim has been widely circulated by various human rights organizations, activists, and even some scientists. The primary intention behind this claim is twofold:
- To normalize the existence of intersex individuals and promote societal acceptance. (good)
- To challenge traditional understandings of biological sex and suggest that male and female categories are social constructs or exist on a spectrum. (bad)
Origins of the 1.7% Statistic
The 1.7% figure originated from Anne Fausto-Sterling, a professor of biology and gender studies. In her work, she aimed to challenge the idea that human sexual anatomy is strictly dimorphic, meaning that all humans fit neatly into male or female categories. To arrive at the 1.7% figure, she and her colleagues defined an intersex person as someone who deviates from the “Platonic ideal” of physical dimorphism at various levels, including chromosomal, genital, gonadal, or hormonal.
Critique of the 1.7% Statistic
However, this definition has been critiqued for being overly broad. Dr. Leonard Sax, a physician and psychologist, pointed out that many conditions included in the 1.7% statistic, such as Klinefelter syndrome and Turner syndrome, are not considered intersex in a clinically relevant sense. In fact, the majority of the conditions that contribute to the 1.7% figure do not result in any sexual ambiguity.
For instance, late-onset adrenal hyperplasia (LOCAH) makes up a significant portion of this statistic (1.515%). Individuals with LOCAH have typical male or female genitalia at birth that align with their sex chromosomes. Therefore, labeling LOCAH as an intersex condition doesn’t align with common clinical definitions.
From a clinician’s perspective, however, LOCAH is not an intersex condition. The genitalia of these babies are normal at birth, and consonant with their chromosomes: XY males have normal male genitalia, and XX females have normal female genitalia.Dr. Leonard Sax
A More Precise Definition
When we define intersex conditions more narrowly, as conditions where chromosomal sex doesn’t align with phenotypic sex1Phenotypic sex refers to an individual’s sex as determined by their internal and external genitalia, expression of secondary sex characteristics, and behavior. It is the physical manifestation of sex, as opposed to genotypic sex, which refers to the genetic makeup of an individual. Phenotypic sex can be influenced by developmental processes, hormone treatment, and/or surgery. Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK10943/ or where the phenotype isn’t clearly male or female, the prevalence drops significantly. According to Dr. Sax, the true prevalence of intersex, when defined in this clinically relevant manner, is about 0.018%.
While the prevalence of intersex conditions, as defined in a clinically relevant sense, is relatively low, it’s crucial to understand the rights and treatment of individuals should not be based on their prevalence within a population.
But to use the unfortunate circumstances of 0.018% of the population to justify the belief that “sex is on a spectrum” or that “there are more than two sexes” is clearly a gross mischaracterization of the Truth, scientific or metaphysical.
Pass this info to others. Please.
Here is my take on DSD’s (Disorders of Sexual Development) which is what an Intersex person has, although not all DSD’s are Intersex.