InterConnect is committed to providing the information, support and guidance you need. Finding out your child has an intersex variation can be a very emotional experience. We offer resources, guides, and ways to connect with others through email, Facebook groups, and meetings.
When you’re ready to connect with others, please fill out our contact form. We are here for you, every step of the way.
Parents & Families FAQ
Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions we receive from parents & families, when first learning about their intersex child.
I just found out my child is intersex…what do I do now?
It is natural to have all sorts of strong feelings right now. We want you to know that parents who seek information and support from others are better prepared to understand their children and help them understand themselves. They can be happy and healthy and have the same opportunities as anyone else. Having an intersex child or sibling does not define you or your family. It is just an aspect of who you are.
Is my child a boy or a girl?
Your child will tell you. So much depends on the diagnosis and how your child feels. Someone with complete androgen insensitivity might typically identify as a female, where someone with more androgen receptors might identify as a girl, a boy, or somewhere in between.
The gender spectrum is broad – full of tomboys, sporty girls, princesses, rough and tumble boys, sensitive boys, and many others. It is important to remember that there are three areas that often get confused: phenotype (physical appearance), gender (how a person feels), and sexual orientation (who a person will be attracted to). They are not always related. Do your best to be there and listen as they grow.
Will my child have a normal life?
Normal is almost impossible to define, but if you mean healthy, happy, and full of potential, then YES. Absolutely.
Why I have I never heard of intersex before?
Because of social stigma surrounding sex and gender, intersex bodies are not usually topics of discussion or education. As we are relatively rare, very little information is shared even within the medical community. One of our goals is to educate others and promote a more positive, open approach.
Check out the handbooks and brochures for your child’s doctor and consider using our customizable letter, which can be used anonymously, to educate your child’s teachers on topics of science, health and reproduction.
Does my child need surgery?
Depending on your child’s health, surgery may or may not be the right decision. It is important to remember that any “normalizing” surgery can cause more harm than good, and non-life threatening surgeries can wait. Surgery is irreversible and leaves scar tissue that can make things more difficult in the long run.
Waiting to get your child’s consent for any permanent changes to their own body can feel difficult for a parent who wants to protect a child, but it is often the right choice. While InterConnect does not provide medical advice, take time to research options and long-term outcomes before making any decisions. Check out advocacy groups like InterACT to learn more about this issue.
What should I tell my child about their body?
The answer to this question is simple: speak the truth in love. Be honest, open and loving with your child. Do your best to make peace with it so your child can follow your lead. Children are typically more accepting than adults; however, being intersex can feel lonely, so encourage connections with other intersex people. Embrace the journey together and keep an open dialogue. InterConnect is here to help you.
At what age will my child be ready to hear this information?
This can vary depending on the child. Children often start asking about babies around two or three years of age. Start by giving small bits of honest information to build an open, long-term conversation. Take these opportunities to also teach about adoption, how families are made, and how everyone is different and special just the way they are.
Why is it important to give this news?
Until intersex adults began speaking out against it, physicians typically thought that secrecy was the best approach. Now, we know that secrecy is one of the most damaging approaches for a diagnosis. As many intersex adults can attest, secrecy leads to shame, and shame is never good. Keeping an open and honest approach is the key to your child accepting the amazing individual they are. In the Member Stories section on this website, many of our adult members acknowledge the importance of being truthful and open with your children.
What questions can I anticipate my child asking?
There are too many to count. By joining the Facebook group, you can have access to all the shared stories and questions of children growing up from around the world. Along with other families, the medical professionals in this group can often lead you to resources that might benefit you and your child. Though we do not provide medical advice, we offer support and educational resources for understanding your child.
Will my child ever be happy and accept his or herself?
Yes! Being intersex is just another way to be human. We have many resources to help you raise your child with understanding and acceptance. Though there is not one perfect way to do it, hopefully we can help you and your family with some ideas and you can adapt them to your own style.
Where can I go for support? Medical questions? Counseling?
When you are unexpectedly told that your child is intersex, it can turn your whole world upside down. Whether you learn about this during your pregnancy, at birth, or later, the effects are similar because you were not expecting this! As parents we spend our days worrying about our children, so when you learn that your child is intersex, you may experience it on a personal level as well.
Because these variations are largely unheard of outside of the medical field, you most likely have no previous knowledge of them and may feel you don’t have anyone to talk with other than their doctor. InterConnect is a welcoming and caring place to share your experience and find ways to connect with other parents of intersex children. The support of others who understand, who are experiencing something similar, is irreplaceable.