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Ramblings of a Misguided Blonde

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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Turner Syndrome and Sex

Before I get started, let me clarify that this post is about gender rather than sexual intercourse. I apologize if I disappointed anyone. I discovered some fascinating information regarding Turner Syndrome the other day. This may seem strange, but even though I have Turner Syndrome myself, I did not know that it is considered an intersexed condition. It came as a complete surprise.

Why did it come as a surprise? Well, you see, I'm female in every sense of the word, and so are all other girls and women with Turner Syndrome. We either have a 45 X or 45 X with part of the other X chromosome (mosiac) karyotype rather than the "normal" 46 XX female karyotype. There is no Y to be found (Y determines the sex of a baby). All patients with Turner Syndrome are female. Yes, there are conditions similar to Turner Syndrome that affect males, but there is always at least a partial Y chromosome involved. That is why the label "intersexed" confuses me when it comes to Turner Syndrome.

It might not mean much, but when you are a teenager dealing with Turner Syndrome (and I plan on discussing this particular topic much more in the days and weeks to come), you already question whether or not you are a "real" woman due to the fact that most women with Turner Syndrome are infertile. My experience growing up with Turner Syndrome and my understanding of the perceived gender issues that it entails lends me to question why it is labeled as "intersexed" at all. Intellectually, I understand that any variation of the 46 XX or the 46 XY norm is labeled as "intersexed," but as a woman who has lived with an "intersexed" condition, I question why the medical community has to split hairs in this case. I find it unsettling.

The article below is thought-provoking. In my post I didn't even address how the intersex movement is being co-opted by the transgendered movement. Quite frankly, I don't need to right now. The author of the article below, who has an intersexed condition herself, does it well.

Trans and intersex - a forced marriage of inconvenience? « you know that I’ve been drunk a thousand times


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At 2:59 AM, Blogger Alice Thomas said...

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