The Third Sex: The Truth About Gender Ambiguity

A fascinating article in the Independent of London:

Neither wholly male nor entirely female, there are more than 30,000 ‘intersexed’ individuals living in Britain today. Here, they talk about their lives…

“The greek scholar Diodorus Siculus wrote of the mythical double-sexed Hermaphroditus: “Some say [he] is a god and ... has a body which is beautiful and delicate like that of a woman, but has the masculine quality and vigour of a man. But there are some who declare that such creatures of two sexes are monstrosities, and coming rarely into the world as they do, have the quality of presaging the future, sometimes for evil and sometimes for good.”


“As the writer and psychotherapist Amy Bloom sums up: “Not monsters, nor marvels, nor battering rams for gender theory, people born intersexed have given the rest of the world an opportunity to think more about the odd significance we give to gender, about the elusive nature of truth, about the understandable, sometimes dangerous human yearning for simplicity – and we might, in return offer them medical care only when they need it, and a little common sense and civilised embrace when they don’t.”

Or, in the simple, succinct words of Dr Milton Diamond: “Let’s see if we can change society, not nature.”

Click to read the rest of the article

3 thoughts on “The Third Sex: The Truth About Gender Ambiguity

  1. Hi Helen I have a question about this article. I don’t want to come off as defensive so please understand I am genuinely curious. I have a little girl that was born with salt wasting congenital adrenal hyperlasia. She had an enlarged clitoris and the opening to her vagina was very very small. She also had issues with her urinary tract. Her karyotype is 46 XX, she has ovaries, and has a uterus. She doesn’t have any testicular tissue. She currently takes medicine every day to help her body retain salt and to replace an enzyme.

    I have heard many articles refer to kids like mine as intersex. What I would define intersex is a child who has traits of both sexes. Like a child with XXY or other than the normal xx or xy. I see my child as a girl because her blood work says it, her insides say it, there is nothing in her that would suggest she is inbetween being a boy and a girl. What do you define as intersex or what is the official definition?? Thank you.

    • Hi Audra,

      I agree with you. There is nothing to indicate she is intersex. She might have a congenital abnormality, but that does not in itself mean she is intersex. You are correct that the genitals would have to be not clearly defined as male or female, and, perhaps, not functioning well either. She sounds like she is doing fine. The real proof is how does she see herself? As the article states, “sex is between the legs, while gender is between the ears.” How does she perceive herself is the real question. Only 1 in 2000 is truly intersexed where the anatomy and the brain don’t match. It sounds like your daughter is doing just fine! And you sound like a great mom! h.

  2. Hi,
    I am 70 years old now. I have lived all my life outwardly presenting as male, knowing that my male personna is 180 degrees opposite to what I wish to be. My erotic response is absolutely female. The suprise is that the response is to a real male.
    I would venture to guess that anyone so conflicted would spend a lot of time arguing with God about their predicament. And I have done that indeed. I have come to believe that I am the derivative of spirits of my father who loved my mother and they conceived that love in my body. That the original conception remembers the ecstacy of the moment and will not let go of it.
    As such, the free child in me may choose whatever sex I like to be. As I had no choice in their sexuality prior to my being, But I now have the absolute right to choose within myself my own sexuality. Granted their influence has been strong in guiding me to take my place in the world as a man. It has had no effect in guiding my inner world. Anything male I may have constructed, was a mere facade, just to protect this inner female real self.
    As a person of the 3rd sex, or 2 spirit it is said of us that we may have special insight into the future. I am interested in what others my think will be the outcome based on any such insights?

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