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What does it mean?

The term “intersex” is an umbrella term. It is used to describe people who have one of a number of medical conditions.

These conditions cause people’s bodies to develop internal or external sexual characteristics that are different from those that are expected. These are often caused by unusual genetics, and can result in differences in hormone levels, reproductive organs, secondary sexual characteristics, or external genitals.

Some people will describe these conditions as disorders of sex development or DSD for short. Many people object to this description because it implies that there is something wrong with them. You can read more about this on the OII UK website.

However, many medical professionals still use the term DSD. Some people continue to use the abbreviation DSD but use it to mean “differences in sex development” instead.

There is more information about these conditions on the NHS website.

Intersex people and transgender people

Most transgender people are not intersex, and most intersex people are not transgender.

Intersex and transgender are very different things, and intersex and transgender people have very different experiences. Most intersex people do not wish to be considered transgender. You should only describe intersex people as transgender if they have called themselves transgender.

Some people erroneously use “intersex” to mean a gender that is not male or female: a more correct term for this is nonbinary.

Errors and omissions

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