Sex Is a Noun Too

non-binary text

This article is part of a series. Read the introductory article here!

The scene at a hospital:
Father: Doctor, could you please tell is it a boy or a girl?
Doctor: Congratulations! You became the father of a female child.

The scene at a school:
Mother: Excuse me. Could you please confirm where I should fill the sex of my child? I don’t find any such option in this application.
Receptionist: Sorry madam. I didn’t get you.

Did the father and doctor mean the same or different thing? Why didn’t the receptionist understand what the mother was saying?

Uttering ‘sex’ is a taboo.

In a country like India, uttering the word ‘sex’ is a taboo. Whether one is educated or uneducated; they treat it as something to be avoided in a discussion. But it’s less known by many that the word ‘sex’ can be used in two different forms in our conversations. It could be used as a noun as well as a verb. But as soon as one utters it, it is perceived only as a verb. Mostly because of a lack of awareness that it has two different meanings. So, let’s take a wonderful tour to know the ignored meaning of sex and the importance of knowing it.

Ignored meaning of sex.

Sex as a noun is used for identifying a person according to the characteristics when one is born. Many of the English users use it the same as gender. But sex and gender are two different terms. However, a common person tends to use them as similar meaning words. Whether it is in conversations or writing or filling applications, one treats them the same.

Importance in knowing the meaning.

Science says that every human being is born due to the combination of chromosomes. The chromosomal combination that we are all taught in our schools, which leads to the birth of a baby is either XX or XY. But it’s only the ones in the medical world who knows that they are not the only combinations. The babies are born with more than these two combinations. The sex of a child should be confirmed based upon these combinations when born. What’s happening is something else; we look at the genitals and determine the sex of the child. There are babies born with ambiguous genitals. What about them?

Chromosome combinationSexual Identity
Any other combinations like XXXY, XO, XYY, so on.Intersex
sex-determination table

Mostly intersex babies are easily identified at their time of birth due to their ambiguous genital construction. However, we need to understand that not all the intersex babies that are born have such naked eye visible identification. Sometimes, there are intersex babies who are born as normal as any male or female baby. It’s only when one reaches their puberty the truth comes to the surface.

What is happening to the Intersex babies?

So, what is happening to those intersex babies with visible identification? Many of them are undergoing corrective surgeries1 and are turned into either a male or female baby within a few months from their birth time. This corrective surgery is supposed to be done with a proper diagnosis. else, it ends up in great harm to the future of that child. It might end up in a chaotic life for that baby.

Finally, let’s understand that sexual identity is not binary. Every child has its own right to choose their sex especially when born intersex.

1 The state High Court of Tamil Nadu gave judgment in April 2019 that it is illegal to perform corrective surgeries on newborn intersex babies.
P.S.: You will understand the kind of chaos in that child’s life when you read the follow-up article.

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Shivakumar Lanka from Visakhapatnam completed his post-graduation and is in the profession of teaching. He is also working for creating an understanding and acceptance of the LGBTQIA+ Community in society. He could successfully reach many students, organizations, and citizens of Visakhapatnam. He spends his free time helping his mother with household works and reading books of all genres. Last but not the least, he says LGBTQIA+ individuals can also help equally in the protection of the Environment. To know-how and more of it don't miss his writings!

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