Author: Daphany DuBois
There are so many erroneous, sensationalized, preconceived notions about individuals born intersex, that I decided to write this article in hopes to educate those with an open mind; wanting to know the truth about being born Intersex from a Christian Viewpoint.
What is Intersex?
Intersex is a general medical term used for a variety of conditions in which a person is born with chromosomes, hormones, or anatomy (or a combination of the above) that cannot be clearly identified as male or female. That is, those born with intersex biological variations are born with a reproductive or sexual anatomy that doesn’t seem to fit the typical definition of male or female. There are over 30 intersex variations. The frequency of intersex people in the population is most commonly cited as 1.7%. The actual number of those born with Intersex biological variations is unknown.
Hermaphrodite is a term originated from Greek mythology as a Greek god of dual natures (masculine-feminine). However, this has been overshadowed by a biological science’s appropriation of the term meaning a self-reproducing organism. This use of the term has erroneously been used to reference those born intersex. The biological use of the term Hermaphrodite, should only be used to reference, plants and animals that have complete or partial reproductive organs associated with both male and female.
Intersex people are everywhere in society, but not always visible. They have various expressions and biologically cannot be categorized as male or female.
Is God responsible for people being born Intersex?
NO, just like God isn’t responsible for individuals being born with Down syndrome, cancer, dwarfism or any other medical condition that causes humans to suffer. Many people believe that such tragedies are “God’s will” or that God is punishing parents for some past sin. The bible however makes it abundantly clear that God is not responsible for any type of birth defects or genetic aberration. Jesus made it clear that birth defects are not a punishment from God, saying: “Neither this man sinned nor his parents” – John 9:1-3. God never intended for human beings to suffer, get sick and die. Gods will was for mankind to live forever absent any pain or suffering (Genesis 1:28). Because our first parents Adam and Eve sinned and disobeyed God, their offspring inherited sin along with imperfection (Genesis 3:16-19).
This “imperfection” passed on to all mankind, has affected every aspect of Biology, thus creating genetic abnormalities, disorders and mutations within the genetic code of all human beings (Romans 5:12).
It’s important to also remember, because of inherited human imperfection from our parents Adam and Eve, there may be some propensity and or biological predisposition responsible for an individual’s same sex attraction. The Holy scriptures don’t reproach or condemn individuals who may have inherited this biological propensity for same sex attraction, who are struggling to overcome this imperfection (1Corinthians 6:9-11). The Holy scriptures only condemn those who practice same-sex relations (Leviticus 20:13) (Romans 1:26, 27, 28, 32). Adam and Eve’s disobedience and independent attitude, (believing they could choose the best course of action for their lives absent Gods moral guidelines) directly precipitated the agonizing medical conditions that all humans face today.
Should those born intersex align themselves with the LGBTQ Community?
No, first and foremost, Intersex is not synonymous with Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual or Transgender and shouldn’t ever be mentioned in the same sentence with intersex. With that being said, there is one anomaly though. Some individuals who identify as Transgender, may have been born with an intersex biological variation and not know it, because they haven’t been medically tested for it and or because some intersex medical conditions don’t manifest until long after childhood. So, it’s highly plausible that some Transgender people also were born biologically intersex.
Those born with intersex biological variations should not align themselves with the LGBTQ community because being Intersex is not a preference, a lifestyle choice, nor a biological propensity that God Condemns in the bible. Anyone making the assertion that God condemns those born intersex, are benighted and guilty of (going beyond) what is written in the Holy Scriptures, something true Christians were warned not to do in the bible (1 Corinthians 4:6).
Another reason why those born intersex should not align with the LGBTQ community is because, the vast majority of people in society are not educated on Intersex biological variations. Most people aren’t even familiar with the word Intersex. If intersex exponents, and those born with this biological variation, goal is to educate society about intersex medical conditions, to be recognized in law and bring awareness about the many inauspicious challenges this community of people face, aligning with the LGBTQ community would be counterproductive.
LGBTQ is an acronym for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer. LGBTQ references individuals who are gender- nonconforming. Some, within this community, have chosen to self-identify as LGBTQ and to live an alternative lifestyle incompatible with the moral guidelines outlined in the Holy Scriptures. Intersex biological variations are in a completely different category and should not be conflated with any suggestion of a preference or lifestyle choice.
Are those born intersex required to adhere to the moral guidelines in the bible?
Yes. All humans are required to live in accordance with the moral guidelines set by God in his word the bible (Ecclesiastes 12:13) (Ephesians 5:3, 4, 5). God does not allow Humans including those born with biological variations, to dictate what is morally acceptable to Him; rather he exclusively sets the standard (Deuteronomy 12:8) (1Thessalonians 4:3- 8). Because of the imperfection all humans inherited from our parents Adam and Eve some are born with Intersex biological variations. God still requires those born Intersex to adhere to his high moral standards as outlined in his word the bible. Because the Holy Scriptures vociferously condemns all sexual relations outside of marriage, those who want to please God must refrain from any activity that he condemns. The bible doesn’t condemn those born with intersex conditions, nor does the Holy Scriptures refute the scientific and biological veracity of such idiosyncratic biological variations. According to “The World Health Organization”, scientific meta-analysis along with empirical evidence, conclusively supports over thirty ‘Disorders of Sex Development’ that sometimes occur, while in the womb developing.
The bible does not specifically mention all the possible biological variations, birth defects and medical conditions an individual can be born with, so because the scriptures don’t condemn those born Intersex, it stands to reason; that God allows some latitude of choice in reference to how a person born intersex chooses to identify. We can be certain that God himself has granted this measure of freedom of choice for those born intersex to choose how they will identify (male or female) because they are born with reproductive and or sexual anatomy that doesn’t fit the typical definition of male or female. God does not view those born intersex the same way he views relationships of men with men and women with women. After all, it’s scientifically impossible for someone born with an intersex biological variation to be gay. As true Christians, it is essential that those born intersex reflect on God’s original will for mankind, that there only be two sexes, male and female. (Mark 10:6, Genesis 1:27, Ephesians 5:10, Ecclesiastes 11:5, John 16:21, Jeremiah 30:6). It’s probably wise to choose either to identify as male or female for those born intersex, as we live in a world that seeks to continue to oppress and marginalize any gender or sex identity outside the male, female, binary outlined in the “most read book in the world”, the Bible. A book in which many of the man-made laws today are predicated on.
For those born intersex, choosing to identify as either male or female is not a biblical rule outlined in the Holy Scriptures, nor is this conjecture, rather it is reasoning from the scriptures, something the Apostle Paul made a practice of doing when helping people learn about God. (Acts 17:2, 3) There is no hard, fast rule which dictates how an intersex individual should self-identify, so it’s important to also be subjective when considering intersex biological variations and their complexities.
Some born intersex may not feel comfortable identifying as male or female and therefore choose to identify simply as intersex. Only God truly understands an individual’s idiosyncratic intersex biological makeup. God is the only one who can read the heart and understands exactly how one feels. God looks at the intentions of our actions, while discerning even our thoughts and motives (Proverbs 16: 1-3) (1Chronicles 28:9) (1John 3:20) (Psalms 139:1-4). Those born intersex, who truly want to please God, would avoid misusing their Intersex biological variation to promulgate views that are antithetical to the high morals standards as outlined in God’s word the bible. The way those born intersex choose to identify, either as male, female or intersex, is an extremely sensitive and personal decision that should be left up to the intersex individual exclusively, absent any hint of scrutiny, bias or judgment from any human being.
Developing a relationship with God and praying to him on a regular basis, will help those born intersex to cope in a world that relentlessly tries to delegitimize intersex existence. While it’s true, all human beings have problems and suffer various distressing medical conditions common to man, it’s important to note that those born intersex have an additional burden to bare. Not only do those born intersex have to deal with everyday issues of life all humans face e.g. – financial problems, other medical conditions, food insecurities, racial discrimination etc., those intersex also suffer with a biological variation through no fault of their own, that society is not tolerant of. Those born intersex are often marginalized, mistreated and viewed as ignominious by society.
Unlike same-sex relations the bible condemns, the Bible doesn’t condemn those born intersex. In fact, as far as mankind’s knowledge, the Holy Scriptures altogether remain silent on this subject. Perhaps this silence, has created skepticism along with condemnation amongst critics surrounding the legitimacy of intersex existence, God’s view on those born intersex; and whether or not God grants those born intersex the right to choose for themselves which gender male or female, they will identify and live consistently as.
Most people incorrectly believe that when it comes to those born intersex, their sex and gender should be solely determined by their hormonal makeup and their physical makeup e.g. – their secondary sex characteristics (genitals at birth). In biology and science however, it doesn’t always work that way for example, (AIS) Androgen Insensitivity syndrome is an intersex biological variation in which an individual is born genetically male with XY chromosomes, however because their bodies are resistant to androgens, from birth, their secondary sex characteristics are female (born with a vagina) but have internal testis and the genetic makeup of a man.
Are Intersex biological variations Esoteric?
No, Intersex biological variations are idiosyncratic, but not esoteric. Unfortunately, Intersex biological variations remain controversial and inconceivable by those misinformed on these types of medical conditions, i.e. – the vast majority in society. The primary reason for this controversy is because of lack of education within society at large, on intersex biological conditions. In addition, in many states and countries across the globe, those born intersex are not recognized in law. This means that there are no laws to protect intersex individuals from discrimination and medically unnecessary normalization surgeries on intersex babies. The lack of visible representation of Intersex people within society has also attributed to the unfair treatment of those intersex.
For decades, Medical professionals, Doctors, Psychiatrist, Religious leaders, etc., have encouraged those born Intersex along with their families to remain silent about their Intersex biological variations. The vast majority of Medical professionals and Religious leaders erroneously believe that the intersex should suffer in silence and conceal their intersex medical condition within their communities. This conjecture in their minds, believing that concealing one’s intersex biological variation will somehow serve to enrich the quality of life and safeguard the intersex form mistreatment in society is farcical, not to mention overstepping the bounds of what is appropriate. Medical professionals, Religious leaders and lawmakers currently in positions of authority promulgate this surreptitious approach which has ultimately proven to be inauspicious and counterproductive in helping to change the trajectory of those intersex individuals who have been traumatized by their painful experiences e.g. – being shamed, viewed as a freak of nature, feelings of being unloved, abandoned and having received medically unnecessary genital normalization surgeries as infants without informed parental consent.
Unfortunately, especially for those born intersex, perception is often reality (1Samuel 16:7). Some individuals who are born intersex are judged and categorized as male or female without reservation. For others though, their physical appearance may be nebulous and unclear to others. It’s offensive and extremely presumptuous for anyone not born intersex to conclude an intersex individual should remain silent about his or her biological variation, because to them- the intersex appears to be a “normal” male or female. No one, especially someone not born Intersex should definitively conclude or suggest to anyone born with an intersex biological variation, that concealing their intersex condition is the best option. Just because you may conclude someone looks like a “normal” male or female, from your purview, doesn’t mean others won’t conclude or see things much differently from their purview. In addition, many of those born intersex psychologically may not feel, or appear to look typical male or female to themselves as a result of being born with reproductive and or sexual anatomy that doesn’t fit the typical definition of male or female. For many who are intersex, revealing and explaining their medical condition to others is liberating and cathartic. Sharing their stories relieves the stress of worrying about whether or not they will be exposed and or outed by critics and others skeptical of their sex and or gender identify. After all, those born intersex have been encouraged to remain silent and hide their intersex condition from society as if something were wrong with them. For many of those born intersex, this trauma is epic and ongoing throughout the course of their lives. Those born intersex are often regarded as inherently immoral by those who hold power and influence, and many have been conditioned to believe they are an abomination and deserve no place in society.
Currently, because there are no laws protecting those born intersex, many Religious leaders are emboldened to falsely teach that anyone born with a sex biological variation outside the male, female binary is an abomination, and a threat to the structure of societal norms. This condemnation from such influential and powerful leaders within communities has provided credence for society to denounce and condemn those born Intersex. The lack of inclusion of intersex people and open dialogue about Intersex biological variations further perpetuates fear against those born intersex.
Currently, Intersex advocacy groups are being met with resistance and much opposition from critics especially those who choose to foster fear and disdain of those born intersex. Some born intersex, fear the painful consequences and additional social sanctions’ they are almost certain to face, if they speak out about any issues related to their Intersex condition. The result, many born with Intersex biological variations are forced to suffer in silence which in turn creates Mental illness- e.g. serve depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, social anxiety phobia, etc. Many of the intersex turn to alcohol and substance abuse as coping mechanisms to deal with societies rejection of them. Sadly, many born intersex commit suicide, believing death is a better option than living in a world non-tolerant and cruel to those born both.
How should you treat someone born Intersex?
Kindly remember once you’ve hurt someone, or someone has been negatively impacted by some type of trauma, you can’t control or regulate the psychological effects experienced by those traumatized. God is a loving and merciful God who would never reprimand or reproach anyone distressed or suffering from a medical condition. The only antidote is compassion.
Remember those born with intersex biological variations are dealing with a valid medical variation and diagnosis not accepted amongst society and erroneously viewed as a lifestyle choice. Currently there are very few support groups that cater to the special needs of those born intersex. Many of the intersex are forced to suffer in silence because even their therapist and medical doctors are not adequately trained to help them cope in a society that excludes and disregards the intersex. Imagine how you would feel if you were born with a medical condition society frowned upon. Imagine if you had the genetic makeup of a male but physically you were born with all the characteristics of a female. Imagine how you would feel every second of the day? Imagine how you would feel when you looked down at your genitals while bathing and seeing anatomy the opposite of the sex and gender your brain tells you, you are? Can you imagine the constant emotional and psychological pain those born intersex suffer?
In addition, those born intersex also have to deal with all the other challenges that life throws us all. For all those critics and those in positions of power and authority who insensitively state to those born intersex, “everyone has problems”. My advice to you, read the biblical accounts recorded of others with unique medical conditions like the woman with the flow of blood recorded in (Matthew 9:20-22, Luke 8:43-48) and the biblical account of the blind man recorded in John (9:1-11). After reading these biblical accounts, truthfully ask yourself, am I showing compassion for those born intersex, the way Christ Jesus would want me to?
Are those born intersex Eunuchs?
No, those born with intersex biological variations are not eunuchs. Many of those who identify as Transgender, their advocates and allies erroneously misinterpret the scripture recorded at Matthew 19:12. This biblical account has nothing to do with those born intersex, or Transgender, or how an individual chooses to self-identify.
In Matthew 19:12 Jesus was not referring to individuals who were physically castrated or who have been emasculated by changing their sex, and or gender identity. Instead Jesus is describing those who exercise self-control by remaining single so as to apply themselves to the full-time service of God. The three classes of eunuchs were those born from their mother’s womb, those made eunuchs by men, and those who “made themselves eunuchs” on the account of the kingdom of the heavens. Eunuchs who have “made themselves eunuchs” are individuals who choose not to marry by remaining in a single state, in an effort to serve God full time (1Corinthians 7:9, 29-38).
Eunuchs by definition were human males who have been castrated. Many earthly kings especially in biblical times, castrated males and made them eunuchs so they would serve as guardian of the queen and care for the Kings harem of women. Eunuchs were trusted men part of the kings’ official royal court (Esther 2:3, 12-15, 4:4,5).
Under the law covenant, a eunuch was not allowed to be part of the congregation of Israel (Deuteronomy 23:1). Under the law male Israelites were to be circumcised not castrated, however, it was the custom of eastern pagan nations to make eunuchs out of some of the children who had been taken captive during war (Genesis 17:9 -14). God foretold of a time when he would accept eunuchs as his servants (Isaiah 56:4, 5), this happened with the abolition of the law by means of Jesus Christ sacrifice (Romans 10:4) (Ephesians 2:15).
Although Intersex biological variations are not commonly spoken of or even acknowledged by the vast majority of society, there are those amongst us who are born intersex. Until society becomes educated on intersex biological variations, intersex individuals will continue to be viewed as ignominious. Being born intersex is not a lifestyle choice; it’s a medical condition, a biological variation that distresses its victims. The antidote for the distress suffered by those born intersex is compassion and empathy from others. The panacea for intersex biological variations along with all other distressing medical conditions is God’s kingdom. Under God’s righteous kingdom, no resident will ever say: “I’m sick”. At that time, God promises to wipe out every tear from their eyes (Daniel 2:44, Isaiah 33:24, Revelation 21:3-5).
We all must remember, that God expects each of us to be kind to one another, and work good towards all, while having deep respect for everyone; including those whose conscience may differ from ours (Ephesians 4: 32, Galatians 6:10, 1Peter 3:15).