Intersex people are born with any of several variations in sex characteristics including chromosomes, gonads, sex hormones, or genitals that do not fit the typical definitions for male or female bodies. It is often confused with Third Gender.

Other terms

Androgyne: someone with both male and female sex anatomy. More specific terms are often used.

DiGeorge syndrome: a specific type of intersexual disorder. See more on the page.


The term for intersex people was once 'hermaphrodite'. This term has since been discontinued; it is considered misleading and stigmatising, because there are many types of intersexuality, not just one.

In 2011, Christiane Völling became the first intersex person known to have successfully sued for damages in a case brought for non-consensual surgical intervention.

In April 2015, Malta became the first country to outlaw non-consensual medical interventions to modify sex anatomy, including that of intersex people.

Stigmatization issues

Intersex people may face stigmatization and discrimination from birth or discovery of an intersex trait. In some countries, documented in parts of Africa and Asia, this may include infanticide, abandonment and the stigmatization of families.

Globally, some intersex infants and children, such as those with ambiguous outer genitalia, are surgically or hormonally altered to create more socially acceptable sex characteristics. However, this is considered controversial, with no firm evidence of good outcomes. A common 'treatment' for intersexuality is sterilisation.

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