Believe us, we’ve been there. We know you may be a little overwhelmed and you have lots of questions. The good news is you’ve come to the right place. You’ll find resources, member stories and access to peer support groups below.
Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions we receive from adults when first learning about being intersex.
What does intersex mean?
Intersex is an umbrella term used for a person born with reproductive anatomy or chromosomes that challenge the typical definitions of female or male. Although being intersex is considered atypical, it is not abnormal. Intersex traits are estimated to occur in 1 out of 2,000 people, which is about as common as natural red hair. Intersex people, both real and mythologized, are present throughout recorded history.
Am I really still male or female?
Sex chromosomes are just one piece of who you are, and they don’t determine your gender identity. You are still the person you have always been, with the added benefit of knowing more about your body. While your physical appearance, your gender identity, and your attractions are all three different things, they still come together beautifully as part of who you are. As before, the choice to identify as male, female, or none of the above is yours alone to decide. Check out the Gender Unicorn for more information.
What do I tell my partner, family, and friends?
We suggest that before sharing, you become informed, do your best to process it and make peace with yourself. You can then decide how to share when you’re ready. We are happy to share our experiences with you and help you prepare for these conversations.
Where can I go for support? Medical questions? Counseling?
Contact us and we’ll help you through your journey. Involve yourself as much as you feel comfortable. We are big fans of all kinds of counseling, and understand the potential trauma of learning you are intersex. Every step, no matter how small, is important and valuable. We are here for you.
What decisions do I need to make today?
Just take your time and allow yourself to absorb the information at your own pace. If you haven’t already done so, seek the best medical care you can find and learn about any possible treatment options. Most intersex variations are not life threatening, so there is no need to rush into any decisions. We’ve compiled questions to ask your doctor here.
Do I need to have surgery right away?
Surgery may or may not be the right decision. It is important to remember that any “normalizing” surgery can cause more harm than good. Surgery is irreversible and leaves scar tissue that can make things more difficult in the long run.
InterConnect is not intended to be a medical adviser, so we recommend seeking the advice of a trusted physician, connecting with other intersex people, and certainly getting a second or third opinion before agreeing to any medical intervention. It can be difficult to find a caring, knowledgeable doctor on intersex issues, so trust yourself and reach out to our community for support.
Do I need to change my gender? My whole life? What I wear? Who I am supposed to marry?
These are all tough questions. You should dress as you always have – you’re still you! And you’ll likely marry whomever you fall in love with – it’s going to be okay! Our email and Facebook groups can help you with these questions in the long-term, but for today, know that you’re still the same person.
Am I going to die?
Most intersex variations are not life-threatening, so there is usually no need to rush into any medical intervention. Take your time, educate yourself, and seek out the advice of a trusted team of medical professionals for any medical decisions. It’s also wise to seek mental health support, and we can often point you to those resources.
Can I be sexually active?
Yes, and we’re here to help give you support on how to be healthy, active and fulfilled in and out of your bedroom.