ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Gender and Relationships»
  • Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual & Transgender

Being Intersex : A Third Gender?

Updated on July 17, 2017
Mikal Christine profile image

Mikal is a Kenyan law student. She enjoys researching the most intriguing bits of the major legal systems in the world.

Left at Crossroads

In a world that recognizes only two genders: male and female, many people born with physical features of both genders are left at cross roads. From birth, their parents feel compelled to give them a name, an identity and to socialize them as either male or female; a decision that is informed by various factors, but unfortunately; it is not always a wise choice.

Take an example of "Mike" who, socialized from birth as a boy despite having both male and female reproductive organs, is so shocked to start menstruating, growing breasts and experiencing other feminine changes at puberty. It is a traumatizing experience as most parents do not bring up the gender subject with such children. The child has no idea what it means to be intersex as they grow up conforming to the society's expectation of the particular gender their parents told them to belong to. A question arises as to whether the law in itself discriminates against these individuals on the basis of their sex. In most countries, the law recognizes only two genders. In national identity cards and other documents, one can only be male or female. The law is silent on what one is to do in the event one is born intersex. The effect of this is that such people lack proper access to their basic human rights.

This challenge is mostly experienced in institutional frameworks. The systems are meant to cater for either of the two recognized genders and not anything in between. There have been several cases where these people get harassed by inmates when placed in prison cells upon discovery that they are transgender. An example is a case reported in Kenya where an intersex individual was suspected of theft and arrested. He had grown up identifying himself as a man. Upon being arraigned in court, the magistrate was compelled to acquit him on the ground of violation of his human rights. He had been placed in a police cell together with men who forced him to strip when they suspected that he was not a man in every sense of the word.

The only organization that attempts to champion for their rights is the Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender organization(LGBT.) This organization's major focus is on the other categories and the issue of being intersex is not given much importance. The organization is challenged by lack of legal backing and ignorance in the society on the implications of being an intersex individual and the struggle that comes with it.

Another case in point, recently, a baby we may call "Joyce", filed a suit in the High Court of Nairobi, Kenya through its advocate. The question for determination was whether the baby should be allowed to grow up first then choose its own gender or whether to remain as it was born intersex as opposed to the parents choosing a gender and going ahead to have corrective surgery performed on the baby. A church organization came out strongly to oppose the case and cited as a reason for the opposition that it was against the bible for one to choose one's own gender or to even introduce a third gender. The organization also argued that from creation God created human beings as only male and female and that it would be against the order of nature to attempt to produce a third gender or to even choose one's own gender.

A Third Gender Exists!

Some human rights activists have countered the position of the church by arguing that it is the same God who created that person intersex. Would having them undergo corrective surgery without their consent be challenging nature?

Most jurisdictions have found a way to go about it while at the same time protecting the rights of these individuals. The Supreme Court of India on the15th day of April 2014 made a landmark decision in this area in the case of National Legal Services Authority versus Union of India and others. The case was filed by an organisation that was fighting for the rights of the intersex community who felt that they were deprived of their rights and privileges enjoyed by all the other citizens. The issues of determination were that they should be allowed to decide their own gender or to be recognized as a third gender. The court held that the determination of gender was to be left to the individual and also recognized the existence of a third gender.

A person born intersex should have the freedom to decide whether to have corrective surgery and to identify with a particular gender or to remain intersex and be recognized as such and have their rights protected.

This is a wake up call to society to stop shunning intersex people, and like any other minority group, protect them and help them embrace and appreciate what nature has offered them.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)