This word refers to people who aren't exactly "male" or "female." Their bodies naturally have features of both. For example, they may have male genitals on the outside, but female sex organs on the inside. Their genitals may have a blend of male and female features. And, they may have both male and female chromosome patterns.

How do we know?

How does someone know they are intersex? Well, some are born with traits that can be seen. So, they may grow up knowing they are intersex. Others don't have traits that are obvious at birth. Their traits may develop during puberty. And, some people who are intersex live their whole lives and never know it.

Not easy to define

"Intersex" is not something that's always easy to define. Human development is complex. Genitals come in a wide spectrum of shapes and sizes. Some are unique. We don't all agree on what makes someone a "male" or a "female." And, different cultures have different views about sex and gender.


People who are intersex may define themselves in different ways. Some identify as male. Some identify as female. Some identify as both. Some may say they are a third gender. Some don't want to be labeled at all. And, they may identify as gay, straight, bisexual or some other sexual orientation.


For more information, talk to your healthcare provider. You can also contact a support group.