Response of Pro-Binary Organizations

From Sex and Intersex. Version 0.5.2

Intersex conditions provide the most obvious argument against a God determined gender for every individual manifested and understood through sex. It is for this reason that gender binary advocates rarely acknowledge the existence of intersex people.  When they do acknowledge them, they have two responses: 1 Defend the concept of a binary of the sexes by giving misinformation that intersex cases occur more rarely than they do and that finding their so-called true sex is easy. 2 Ignore or dismiss the idea that a lacking binary of sexes is even related to a lacking binary of genders.

Misinforming Incidence

Again, perhaps I'm naive but I give others the benefit of the doubt. What I call "misinformation" may better be described as "lying."

The only complete way to believe that humans are "male or female" is to ignore intersex people altogether. That's typically the case.  When gender defenders are somewhat more informed or honest, they soften the blow by presenting misinformation that states or implies intersex people are more rare than they actually are.

David Kotter of The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, for instance, could not even correctly quote the New York Times, saying only one in 20,000 women carry a Y chromosomes. (http://www.cbmw.org/Blog/Posts/Male-and-Female-He-Created-Athletes-Is-There-a-Difference I reported the error but he did not correct it.)  The Times correctly stated the statistic is double, about one in 10,000 women.http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/03/opinion/03boylan.html

The Christian Institute even claimed in front of Parliament, in pushing that "intersex conditions are rare," said, "Klinefelter’s and Turner’s syndromes, which are not intersex conditions."www.christian.org.uk/transsexualism/intersex_briefing.doc

The Evangelical Alliance is only slightly better. "In the overwhelming majority of individuals (99.5%) sex, if physical characteristics (the presence of a vagina or a penis) is obvious at birth.p21 Note the persuasive phrase, "overwhelming majority," suggesting the minority doesn't count. This isn't necessarily false but is hypocritical. For intersex people they use only genitals, not genes to determine "true sex" but for post-op trans people they use only genes and not genitals. It also ignores cases like clitoromegaly where the clitoris is a clitoris but surgically altered because it is not "obvious enough."

An accurate statistic of all intersex is greater than 1.7% of all births,Using Anne Faust's famous paper. She defines an intersex person as an "individual who deviates from the Platonic ideal of physical dimorphism at the chromosomal, genital, gonadal, or hormonal levels." This is perfect for our discussion because the gender/sex binary is a pair of Platonic/divine ideals.  over three times more common than stated. Shifting from birth to conception, as all good, pro-life Christians should, intersex is conditions are over 3.7%.I arrive at this incidence simply by adding the rate of Turner syndrome at conception (2%) and add the rate of intersex at birth (1.728%) minus the rate of Turner syndrome at birth (0.04%): 2+1.728-0.04=3.724.  This is a conservative number that an intersex baby is less likely to survive than a non-intersex baby.  

Misinforming Cases

After or in place of misconstruing how common intersex cases are, they deceive listeners to believe that intersex cases are "less" intersex than they really are. That is, they want to paint intersex people as either mostly female with minor male attributes or vice versa. Kotter, for example, says, "of women who carry a Y chromosome, most are feminine in appearance and are able to bear children." This is simply false. No one with AIS can give birth. Mosaicism is an exception. Mosaicism is an exception to any statement about sex. This would require a woman who is almost entirely XX with very few XY cells. I have never heard of such a thing, but I believe it could be technically possible.  The Evangelical Alliance is brief but deceptive.

These examples, although they deal with medical abnormalities, do show that defining 'sex' from a scientific point of view (by external genitalia, internal genitalia, or chromosomes) can in practice be less than straightforward.p21  

Again, notice the minority emphasis. "Less than straightforward," it is impossible! Some intersex conditions, both in theory and practice, simply do not have a sex. Intersex is the space where male and female overlap and in the center of that overlap is a region that cannot be divided into either male or female.

Jerry Leach is the worst. He also is brief, writing one page. He does not even acknowledge that intersex conditions exist which are neither XX nor XY. His entire thesis is that "Gender refers to one's God-given genetic sex, male or female, which is irreversibily fixed at the moment of conception by pairing of the 23rd, or sex-determining chromosomes (xx or xy)."Flight Toward Woman, p68   Acknowledging XO, XXY, or Mosaicism would quickly undermine his worldview.  He only acknowledges ambiguous genitalia.To be fair, he does mention "Turner's syndrome (XO), Klinefelter's syndrome (XXY)" (p68) but without explaining what XO and XXY mean. Because he later contradicts their existence, any reader not previously aware of atypical karyotypes would not understand them from cryptic mentions. He denies the existence of intersex karyotypes by stating numerous times that a karyotype test will determine whether the person is male or female. Asked by an interviewer,

David: "I understand that even hermaphrodites, who have a physical problem with their sexual organs - even their genes tell what God intended them to be. Is that correct?"
Jerry: That's correct. Chromosomal studies are run on a true hermaphrodite who is exhibiting both sets of genitals to determine which is the predominate God-given gender, and then surgical intervention is employed to make that correction. So, chromosomal studies are very clear and concise to indicate what sex we are. 

It takes a lot of fear to lie so boldly. But Leach is enough of a fool that he may not realize his error and is happy to spread his ignorance.  Leach also states that parents will always know if their child is intersex through the doctor. Unfortunately, this is not true.  Many doctors conceal intersex conditions from both patient and parents believing the best thing to do is avoid burdening them with the truth. This is slowly changing.

Abominable Behavior

Christians should not accept gender defenders to ignore the facts, or even lie but there is line between bad academics and outright disgusting behavior.  Historically, intersex people have been greater victims than trans people. Some cultures responded by killing all infants with ambiguous genitals, believing they were cursed. (Other cultures believed they were blessed, having the dual power of male and female.) Deborah Brown, director of Intersex Support Group International, was thrown out of her Baptist church when they discovered her genitals at birth were ambiguous. Another Christian was denied baptism because her church decided she was not made in the image of God as described in Genesis 1.27. The only relief from this outrageous behavior is that churches are too ashamed to carry out this bigotry publicly.

Many gender defenders take the action of one trans person and smear every trans person alike. In Jerry Leach's case, that one trans person is himself. That is not my intent. Rather my intent is to demonstrate the gender/sex binary has proven itself a vehicle for sin and hate because it appeals to our baser instincts of excluding those different. Jesus lived the practice of liberal inclusion of minorities (and liberal exclusion of sin) and no one denies transgenderism promotes this same generous inclusion. "You shall know a tree by its fruit."

Theology

There is a consistent theology for intersex in the pro-binary ideology.

Because this is a fallen world, there are birth defects that affect all parts of the human anatomy, but these extremely rare defects do not invalidate the binary nature of God's good design of manhood and womanhood. www.cbmw.org/Blog/Posts/Male-and-Female-He-Created-Athletes-Is-There-a-Difference  

Like any other defect, intersex conditions should be treated to conform to the "good design" of what we believe the human body should be. Treatment includes genital surgery, breast removal, hair removal, and/or artificial hormones, exactly the same methods transexuals use.

Christian orthodoxy affirms that corruption of our bodies mystically results from the corruption of our actions. Orthodoxy does not affirm that every imperfection is corruption but that God can use imperfections for God's glory Our ideas of perfection is influenced by our culture. While our culture views graying hair as imperfection, the Hebrews considered it a blessing; the Hebrews considered being left handed imperfection but we consider it natural diversity.  Many in the intersex community believe this of themselves. Rather than enter this controversy, I will accept the sake of argument that intersex occurrences are categorically undesired by God.

Dismissal and Referral

Gender defenders are also consistent in their dismissal of the existence of intersex cases of being of any importance to theology or transgenderism.  They unanimously and strongly affirm that transexuals are not intersex and vice versa.Cf. Transsexuality A Report p22, Flight p68 and www.christian.org.uk/transsexualism/intersex_briefing.doc  The only reason they mention intersex cases are to demonstrate they are different from the transgender condition. They act as if talking about intersex conditions is a red herring. Leach spends most of his time (and the EV Alliance spends half) arguing that trans people have normal physiology. In fact,  their response is the red herring;  transgenderism does not suggest trans people have intersex genitals, gonads, hormones, or genes.

Leach has a strict policy that he does not treat people who are intersex and Keith Tiller advocates that would-be transexuals be tested for being intersex before therapy.In practice, this doesn't happen. Josef Kirchner, a transexual, found out much later that he is intersex with mosaicism. Parakaleo and others still praise him as someone who came out of transexuality. See parakaleo.co.uk/FAQs.html  Clearly they want nothing to do with intersex issues.  Leach included a story on his site about someone assigned male, identifies as female, and later discovered they were intersex. The person presents as a woman in private and a man in public to avoid scandal and Leach approves of this arrangement. He also says of intersex people, "We fully understand that there are scientifically proven and valid instances in which there is legitimate cause for gender corrective surgeries."www.TransChristians.org/people/jerry-leach/archives/intersex-disclaimer Keith TillerVia private email correspondence.  and the EV Alliance briefly state a similar stance.

We have seen that gender defenders consistently deceive regarding the extent and diversity of intersex people. This cannot be coincidence; they must have a strong reason. In their hearts, they must feel fear for the logical implications that intersex conditions bring. It is the same fear which has excommunicated and murdered intersex people.  Those implications are the reason intersexuality is so relevant to transgenderism.

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