Bridge Building, Cultural Dysphoria, Human Rights Violations, Intersex Awareness, Intersex People, Intersex Phobia, Prejudice, Self-Determination, Transphobia, United Nations

Cultural Dysphoria: Stop conflating anatomical sex with gender identity.



My thoughts today and the way I see it.

(Revised July 23rd, 2019)

I feel that one of the biggest problems society has right now, with the confusion of sex and gender, is that most people conflate anatomical sex with gender identity.   After the medical invention of sex in the late 1800s, anyone who did not abide by their sex matching their gender was now defined by the medical complex and government as having a disorder or a mental condition.

Most do not know this, but anatomical sex and gender identity do not always match.  Some of the worst human rights violations are happening due to intersex children being forced through nonconsenting genital corrective surgeries to match their genitals surgically to what this world feels equals a boy or a girl. If the world population is 7.6 billion, this means 129 million intersex people are being born.  If we add transgender, non-binary, and non-conforming gender identity people to this number we would easily have over 200 million people with the potential of being assigned wrong at birth.  All of these people are possibly facing surgery to match their genitals to the expectations of this gender binary.  My blog: How Many People Are Assigned Wrong At Birth?


Anatomical sex has to do with genitals, chromosomes, hormones and our reproductive system. We have endosex bodies and endosex variations which abide by the specifications of what supposedly belongs to a typical male or female body.  Then we also have all the various intersex bodily variations.  An intersex person can have chromosomes, genitals, reproductive system, or hormones that are a mix of male and female in some way.  Let me add a third way to define sex:  Altersex;  a term that can be used to describe oneself if they have had surgery or taken hormones to change their sex. Many people who are transgender might call themselves altersex if they wanted to.  Of course, all these labels have to be self-determined as appropriate.

I feel that all these heteronormative, cisgender, endosex rules are a human-made social construct that claims what body parts and chromosomes belong and should not belong to certain types of human bodies.

In reality and in nature, different variations happen and do not abide by this social construct.  You see, endosex,  intersex born, and altersex people can grow up to become any gender identity:  man/boy, woman/girl, both or neither and their chromosomes and body parts do not always agree to societies rules.  This means there are going to be millions of people assigned wrong at birth if we continue to abide by this fallacy.  With intersex birth certificates and Non-binary birth certificates becoming more popular people who break the binary will become more visible too; proving it is time to change!

Our anatomical sex and gender identity do not always match.

As we can see with some intersex, non-binary, and transgender people our anatomical sex and gender identity do not always match.  Thus here lies the problems with most birth certificates and forms in our country/world right now:  forms conflate anatomical sex with gender identity.

Most are taught that XX is always female and XY is always male.  This is not true.  In truth, nature makes XX males and XY females, and a Y chromosome doesn’t always make a boy.   Nature also proves that a penis doesn’t always make a boy, nor a vagina a girl.  It is this fallacy and cultural construct of sex and gender needing to always match this man-made ideal that has created this bias and erases the existence of millions of transgender, non-binary gender, non-conforming gender, and intersex bodied people.  Some of the worse human rights violations are happening on this planet right now due to this fallacy and cultural construct of gender and the medical invention of sex.

When we do not match we are the ones who are often diagnosed or labeled with gender dysphoria. , and sometimes counseled to have surgery as adults;  or worse, when we do not match nonconsenting innocent intersex children are forced into these cosmetic surgeries when they are not medically necessary.  Gender dysphoria is a diagnosis that happens when a person has a mismatch between their anatomical sex and gender identity.   Sometimes this can cause the person to feel like they are in the wrong body.  Gender dysphoria is sometimes known as gender identity disorder (GID), gender incongruence or transgenderism. At this time, anatomical sex is assigned at birth, depending on the appearance of the genitals.

Instead of calling this gender dysphoria, I would like to call this cultural dysphoria.  

This cultural dysphoria and lack of education is leading to transphobia, intersex phobia, queerphobia, homophobia, nonconsenting intersex surgeries on children, surgery regret with some transgender people, and intolerance of nonbinary/nonconforming human diversity.

How do we change all this?

First of all, I believe it is important to stop calling intersex a condition, disorder or syndrome and stop diagnosing every single person who goes against their birth certificate with gender dysphoria.  I know that some of us intersex people do not feel like we have a medical condition, and I know that not all transgender, non-binary, and gender non-conforming people have gender dysphoria.

I feel it is very important that we stop agreeing with the pathologizing language that the medical complex uses regarding intersex variations and people that go against their birth assignment.  With intersex people, I think it is very important to stop saying “conditions”, “disorders”, “syndrome” and “defects”. Instead, please say: “Intersex Bodily Variations”.  This way we have a powerful impact on changing our culture with the truth.

By saying “intersex bodily variations” this helps us as intersex adults and children to feel more accepted and not so judged as broken or something to be fixed or set apart.  One would never say they have the “condition” of being an endosex female or endosex male. We should not be saying it for intersex children either.  Note again: Endosex is what you are if you are not born with an intersex variation.

Although some transgender and intersex people truly do have gender dysphoria and would greatly benefit from surgeries and a full transition to match typical endosex male and endosex female bodily notations, not all people who go against their birth assignment have gender dysphoria, and not all transgender, intersex born, or non-conforming gender identity people want surgery or hormones to match these conforming binary notions.

The problem: Non-binary and Non-conforming choices to exist are not given by the medical complex or gender experts.

The way I see it, here lies a big problem:  Few councilors, endocrinologists, and surgeons give information about all these nonconforming bodily choices.  Professionals do not even tell the parents of intersex children or adults seeking transition, that non-binary and nonconforming hormones, anatomical bodies, and gender identity is even an option.  This problem with informed consent is happening to adults too, not just intersex children.  Surgery regret happens with transgender people too, not just nonconsenting intersex children.

I believe informed consent should be everybody’s right   This is a human rights violation when people are not given options.  It is time to end cultural dysphoria and give nonbinary and nonconforming bodily choices.  I feel genital integrity is for every human.   The female penis and male vagina exist.  XX men exist, and XY women exist too.  Help me to end cultural dysphoria.

Source:  Here are two PDF files that can be printed to educate that uses the right language for intersex people.

1) The United Nations’ Intersex Fact Sheet:
2) Brief Guidelines for Intersex Allies By Claudia Marie Astorino and Hida Viloria

My Other Educational Blogs:

Seven Names for the SAME thing: Penis, Phallus, Clitoris, Phalloclitoris, Micropenis, Microphalus, and Clitoromegaly.

My idea: How medical forms could respect everyone.

Gender Etiquette 101 Sex and Gender Boxes 2

It evolved into this below: 

Screen Shot 2019-08-20 at 10.05.58 PMHere is my: TEDx Video: Born Intersex: we are human!


20 thoughts on “Cultural Dysphoria: Stop conflating anatomical sex with gender identity.”

  1. Hi. I really love your idea of cultural dysphoria. Are aware of the social model of disability , which effectively turns the idea of (everyone’s) brokenness on its head too/already. I really think an awareness of it would add something to development of your theory. 🙂


    1. Thank you for the compliment. I am not sure what you are meaning. If my biological sex is now legally recognized as intersex. I am not sure how the social model of disability would work. My biological sex is not a disability, nor more than being biologically male or female would be. However, thank you for your insight. It is my hope that people of all differences be better accommodated, and then their “disabilities” are not even an issue anymore to succeed in this world. Feel free to send me links.


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