The biologic character or quality that distinguishes male, female and intersex from each other as expressed by analysis of the person’s gonadal, morphologic (internal and external), chromosomal, and hormonal characteristics.
Biological Sex and Anatomical Sex. Also often shorted to just “Sex”: It is typically assigned, at birth, by the “authorities”, based on the appearance of our external genitals, gonads, sex chromosomes, and sex hormones. Our gender, gender expression, and sexual orientation are often assumed by these two things; even though our gender has nothing to do with our genitals, hormones, or chromosomes. This strict division of male and female is often referred to as the “binary”. The reality is, there are many different types of bodies out there, other than the typical male or the typical female body. Please see the definition of gender (below) to understand this one better.
Male: Is the physiological sex that produces sperm. Most male mammals, including male humans, have one Y and one X chromosomes. I like to say “Endosex Male”.
Female: Is the sex of an organism, or a part of an organism, that produces non-mobile ova (egg cells). Most female mammals, including most female humans, have two X chromosomes. I like to say “Endosex Female”.
Endosex: Is also a word used to describe someone who is not born intersex. It is preferred over “dyadic”, due to it not reinforcing a binary system, which erases intersex existence.
Dyadic: A word used to describe someone who is not born intersex. Dyadic people are born with sex characteristics which could be categorized them either as typical anatomical female or typical anatomical male. Dyadic people can have any gender identity (including transgender and all the rest of the genders described below), sexual orientation, or gender expression. It is sometimes not preferred, due to reinforcing a binary system.
INTERSEX: Is a general term used for bodily, hormonal, or chromosomal, variations in which a person is born with a reproductive or sexual anatomy that doesn’t seem to fit the typical definitions of female or male. All intersex variations are typical for an intersex person.
Some forms of intersex occur after birth and later in life, however, many of these are naturally occurring bodily variations too. In humans, it is a variation in sex characteristics, including chromosomes, hormones, gonads, or genitals that do not allow an individual to be distinctly identified as male or female. That is because they were born an intersex person. If you are not born into an endosex/dyadic body, you would have a naturally occurring intersex body.
Just like anyone else, an intersex person can have any gender, sexual orientation, or gender expression. The “rules” of the heteronormative binary, male and female, often do not work for intersex people. Since intersex is a way to describe a person’s biological sex, it should not be confused as a gender identity.
Note: In the past, and in some countries, the term “hermaphrodite” is used to describe people born intersex. Depending on the country or the person, this can be considered offensive. Always ask, to make sure it is ok to use the word hermaphrodite. Please always ask if it is ok to say in your country. Some accept it, and some do not now.
Please visit the United Nations Intersex Fact Sheet PDF.
This is the Intersex Flag in Australia and is slowly being accepted everywhere.
Intersex Flag of Brazil
This is sometimes recognized as the Intersex flag, but it is also known as the Bi-gender Flag too. (Note: please do not mix up intersex (biological sex and sex characteristics), with Gender or Gender Identity An intersex person can have any definition of gender, and not all insert people are “bi-gender”.) Many intersex people are very conforming as one gender identity or the other and this flag does not include them.
A Hermaphrodite or Intersex (Third Gender) Flag used in Germany.
Altersex: a catch-all term consisting of alter, meant here as “different” or “another possibility,” and sex, referring to physiological primary and secondary sex characteristics. Altersex is meant to be used largely, but not exclusively, for fictional characters, describing body plans that are not found naturally in homo sapiens, or, in the case of real individuals using this as an identifier, those who have a mental body plan/view of their “true” self that has a body that fits under altersex. Altersex can also refer to -possible- sexes that are neither endosex nor intersex, in the cases of those who go through HRT or sexual reassignment surgery of some sort, since those people definitely shouldn’t use intersex if they were not born intersex.
LGBTQIA+ Definitions with Flags and Human Sexuality
Blogs about my personal thoughts about the male/female binary:
- Five ways I show that the Male/Female Binary is a Myth, and a Social Construct. Nature has always Created Sexual Variety and Diversity.
- The Difference Between my Biological Sex and My Gender.
- My thoughts about the Third Gender Box and Gender X
- Why I don’t like saying “non-binary gender” anymore.
- A Male/Female Mosaic Brain Proves We Need the Self-Determination of Gender