Hermaphrodites Do Exist

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate October 2001

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Most people assume that there are just two sexes, male and female. Nothing could be further from the truth. In reality there are 5 sexes. Yes, real hermaphrodites do exist. The trouble is that most people are familiar with the myth and not reality. There may be as many as 4% of births affected by some form of intersex condition.

From the obvious female and male, the term intersex (by the medical community) is used for the three major subgroups of hermaphrodites. One kind is called, true hermaphrodites, posses one testis and one ovary, producing sperm and egg. Second kind is called, male pseudherphrodites who have testes and some aspect of the female genitalia but no ovaries. Then the female pseudherphroditewho have ovaries and some aspects of a male genitalia but lack testes.

Why don't we hear or know of hermaphrodites? Majority of them, live with silence, shame, and fear learned as children and teen.

Intersexed people have a very hard time with personal issues, which surround being born different. The reason may be that they have been subjected to family, medical and societal proscription to talk about their bodies or medical status. Intersexuals who under go surgery as infants, undergo early physical trauma and may lead to long life trauma. And those who don't have surgery often grow up alone and confused. Surgery as young teens and adults to correct their bodies is also traumatic and may not have a satisfactory outcome.

Being a hermaphrodite is not a choice. We are who we are.

There is no value judgment in being in one category or another. So it is up to us as individuals to be open about issues that are not necessary okay with society.