Intersex Is Not as Common as Red Hair

In discussions about intersex conditions it is common to hear the claim that intersex people make up 1-2 percent of the population and is therefore “as common as red hair.” There appear to be two main goals when forwarding this claim—one laudable, the other insidious. The laudable goal is to normalize the existence of intersex people and thereby help facilitate the societal acceptance of a marginalized community who may experience social ostracism and who have often been victims of unconsentual and medically unnecessary “corrective” cosmetic surgeries. The insidious goal is to plant seeds of doubt in our collective understanding of biological sex and suggest that the categories “male” and “female” may be social constructs or exist on a “spectrum.”

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