Changing the Nomenclature/Taxonomy for Intersex: A Scientific and Clinical Rationale

  title={Changing the Nomenclature/Taxonomy for Intersex: A Scientific and Clinical Rationale},
  author={Alice Domurat Dreger and Cheryl Chase and Adriana Andrade de Sousa and P A Gruppuso and Joel E. Frader},
  journal={Journal of Pediatric Endocrinology and Metabolism},
  pages={729 - 734}
We explain here why the standard division of many intersex types into true hermaphroditism, male pseudohermaphroditism, and female pseudohermaphroditism is scientifically specious and clinically problematic. First we provide the history of this tripartite taxonomy and note how the taxonomy predates and largely ignores the modern sciences of genetics and endocrinology. We then note the numerous ways that the existing taxonomy confuses and sometimes harms clinicians, researchers, patients, and… 

Imperatives of Normality: From “Intersex” to “Disorders of Sex Development”

Michel Foucault’s understanding of the power of “normalization” can help to make sense of the history of medicalization and its pernicious effects, but in addition can allow those with intersex conditions and their allies to understand the positive possibilities that the change from intersex to DSDs can bring.

How should we classify intersex disorders?

Divergence or Disorder?: the politics of naming intersex

It is argued that using disorder is problematic, because it implies medical conditions in need of repair, when some intersex anatomies, though atypical, do not necessarily need surgical or hormonal correction.

Summary of Consensus Statement on Intersex Disorders and Their Management

The goals were to acknowledge and discuss the more controversial issues in intersex management, provide management guidelines for intersex patients, and identify and prioritize questions that need additional investigation.

Shifting syndromes: Sex chromosome variations and intersex classifications

Initial descriptions of Turner and Klinefelter’s syndromes and their subsequent inclusion in intersex classifications, which were increasingly grounded in scientific understandings of sex chromosomes that emerged in the 1950s are explored.

Normalizing Medicine: Between “Intersexuals” and Individuals with “Disorders of Sex Development”

In this paper, I apply Michel Foucault’s analysis of normalization to the 2006 announcement by the US and European Endocrinological Societies that variations on the term “hermaphrodite” and

Gender Eugenics? The Ethics of PGD for Intersex Conditions

  • R. Sparrow
  • Medicine
    The American journal of bioethics : AJOB
  • 2013
The ethics of the use of preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) to prevent the birth of children with intersex conditions/disorders of sex development (DSDs) and that PGD for other “cosmetic” variations in sexual anatomy is more defensible than might first appear are suggested.

[New definitions and classifications of the intersexual states: in which the Chicago Consensus has contributed to the state of the art?].

A critical analysis of the Chicago Consensus is performed, raising the question that the new terminology does not solve the problems and persist being stigmatizing to the patient and to the family.

Bringing Back the Term “Intersex”

The fluidity of sex assignment is discussed and how this unprecedented event of the nation’s first intersex birth certificate to a 55-year-old individual who was born with a DSD consisting of male chromosomes, female external genitalia, and mixed internal genitalia may provide an opportunity to improve the care of patients with aDSD.



Video available from

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Hermaphrodites Speak! Intersex Society of North America, 1997. Video available from

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Handbuch der Pathologischen Anatomie. Berlin: Α. Hirschwald, 1876; see

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      Affronting reason

        Looking Queer: Image and Identity in Lesbian, Bisexual, Gay and Transgendered Communities

        • 1998

        A case of true unilateral hermaphroditism with ovotestis occurring in a man , with a summary and criticism of the recorded cases of true hermaphroditism

        • Trans Obstet Soc Lond
        • 1896