Detecting Intersex: Not as simple as it looks

Detecting an Intersex variation is not as simple as it looks. It is more than just about chromosomes - Its also about sex anatomy, hormones, and genetics. Intersex means having an intermediate sex (its in the name). It means having characteristics of both males and females and not being “fully” male nor “fully” female (or being in between male and female, or being neither male nor female). You can have any combination of male and female characteristics. There are about 30-40+ intersex differences/variations/types out there, but only a few are well known of (because they’re more common). The rest are little well known and are, consequently, ignored (because they’re less common). Whats more? There is little research on intersex and its many variations, so this makes matters worse. Something else that complicates matters is that some intersex variations are more noticeable, while others are less so (they’re more subtle). As a result, many people who are intersex don’t know they are so (some get to find out somewhere later on in their lives, while others never get find out).

If you’re expecting a doctor to diagnose you as intersex and you’re only showing subtle symptoms/traits (or even if you’re showing more noticeable traits), don’t count on it. Most doctors are poorly educated on the subject (heck, I know more about it than most of them - and I didn’t even go med school). Even if they’re well-educated on it, there’s a very good chance that they’re only going to take the most common intersex variations into account - completely failing to take into account the other less common, less researched ones. So as a result, their methods of detecting an intersex difference are going to be pretty narrow and simplistic (i.e. only taking the more common variations into account; focusing only on karyotype). Their definitions of intersex also tend to be narrow, simplistic, and out-of-date.

Just because you have a chromosome reading of 46,XX or 46,XY does not mean you’re out of the woods. You have to take other things into account, like sex anatomy (internal and external reproductive organs) and genetic mutations. It is, for example, possible to have testes but have a 46,XX chromosome reading (this is called “XX Male Syndrome”). The other problem with these chromosome tests is that they’re not always accurate (mistakes can happen). Another problem with regular chromosome tests is that they fail to spot mutations in individual genes - which are located in our chromosomes (as they only look at your chromosome pattern - or karyotype, i.e. 46,XY).

To spot mutations in those genes, you have to take a genetic test that detects for mutations in specific genes. For example, I have 17b-HSD (in which the gene that is responsible for making the enzyme that converts Androstenedione to Testosterone is mutated, and therefore my body is unable to make healthy amounts of T to keep me healthy and well - resulting in Low Testosterone) so that means that the gene “HSD17B3” which located in chromosome 9 or 11 (I forgot which one it is exactly) is mutated. In order to find out the kind of mutation I have in that gene, I have to take a genetic test specifically designed to spot mutations in the HSD17B3 gene (there is only one lab here in the US that does this. But really, the clinical and endocrinological symptoms speak for themselves so I don’t feel the need to do this.).

Finally, some variations overlap with each other. This can result in a possible misdiagnosis. The lack of knowledge about all these variations makes things worse. (I had 2-3 misdiagnoses before finding out I had 17b-HSD.)

So overall, intersex (and detecting it) is much more complex than it seems. In reality, it’s not as simple as it looks. A lack of awareness (and research, as well as a poor understanding) about the different types of intersex variations out there only makes things much more complicated.

Intersex/trans FAQ.

Here’s a list of Intersex variations


"We discovered that most oxygen molecules in Earth’s troposphere are used for the purposes of sighing, whining, and most commonly, complaining,” 


Here’s a great resource for all you aspiring musicians!  Enjoy!

Always wanted to design cool graphics? Here’s something to help you get started!


merry 4th of July’s outta here, im gonna eat hot dogs or whatever… 

Happy 4th of July everyone!


merry 4th of July’s outta here, im gonna eat hot dogs or whatever… 

Happy 4th of July everyone!


When we can’t even define what constitutes normal, we shouldn’t be performing surgeries on infants to make them conform to gender preconceptions.

Research on what constitutes “normal” genitalia, for both men and women, is somewhat scarce - but labia reductions are becoming more common, and so a Dutch study in 2009 examined what doctors believe a normal labia looks like. It found that plastic surgeons were more likely to find larger labia minora “distasteful and unnatural, compared with general practitioners and gynaecologists”. It also found that male doctors in each of those specialties were more inclined than women doctors to recommend surgery.

A cross-party Senate Standing Committee report released last month found such evidence “disturbing”; we can’t objectively define “normal”. The Senate committee goes further: "Normalising appearance goes hand in hand with the stigmatisation of difference."

The Senate Committee has been highly critical of current practice, saying that while enormous medical “effort has gone into assigning and ‘normalising’ sex: none has gone into asking whether this is necessary or beneficial”. In calmly restrained parliamentary language, they described this as “extremely unfortunate”.

Whether too big or too small, when outcomes are contested and we can’t even define what constitutes “normal”, normalising surgeries on infants and children can’t be justified. Australian intersex organisations have called for such surgeries to end, and the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture has even called for such surgeries to be outlawed, along with gay conversion therapy.

Great to see this reposted, written by our president last year.

(Source: of-blood-and-chocolate)


I’ve been traveling internationally for work the past few weeks, and have heard different groups of travelers reference intersex or wonder aloud what intersex is.  Meanwhile, I - intersex person, *waves* - am at the next table over.  

I’ve had some feelings about this, and here they are!



This piece is called “Indestructible” and features the Lenovo ThinkPad T61p.

It’s called “Indestructible” because ThinkPads are basically just that: indestructible – both in body and soul! The fact that it is not succumbing to the flames – despite being surrounded by them – is a symbol of their ruggedness.

The other reason I chose the T61p for this piece is because I wanted to make a piece of digital art for my music brand, PROJEKT61 – which can be seen in the bottom pic above. The T61/p is a part of the brand because it was built around it – if you take a closer look, you’ll see that the acronym “T61” is in the name (I intentionally did this as a tribute to the T61/p – a ThinkPad that is very close to my heart).

I did this whole piece on my new Lenovo Yoga 2 11 – which I got just a month ago. In fact, this is my first ‘major’ project that I’ve done on my Yoga. The screen may be a little smaller than I’d like it to be (I normally prefer something 14” and over to design), but I’m getting pretty used to it. The crisp, gorgeous screen of the Yoga I think makes up for this small shortcoming.