What does woman man

Man? Mrs? Both? - What exactly is intersex?

Will it be a girl or a boy? This is a question that all parents-to-be ask themselves. Girls carry chromosomes XX in their genome, boys carry chromosomes XY. The sexual characteristics develop from around the seventh week of pregnancy: in men, the penis is the genital sex, in women it is the vulva. Intersex people have both, sometimes visible, but sometimes invisible at first glance.

Doctors can only clearly identify this with the help of a blood test. In doing so, they determine hormones and genes. However, this is not part of the routine examinations after the birth. The only thing that is checked is whether the newborn has the typical characteristics: testicles and penis or vulva.

But: It's not that simple. Often it only becomes clear later whether the person is intersex. Intersexuality or intersexuality is an umbrella term that encompasses numerous innate manifestations in which the physical sexual characteristics are female and male at the same time, in different ways.

The genetic gender

Medicine first of all differentiates according to the underlying genetic sex, the karyotype. The karyotype of a chromosomally normal person comprises 46 chromosomes: 22 pairs of autosomes and two sex chromosomes, so-called gonosomes (female karyotype: 46, XX, male karyotype: 46, XY). One chromosome in each pair comes from the mother and one from the father.

The Belgian model Hanne Gaby Odiele is intersex

Girls on the outside, boys on the inside - Androgen Resistance Syndrome (AIS)

Medicine differentiates between complete and complete androgen resistance (AIS - Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome). In AIS, the child has a male set of chromosomes (XY). It also has testicles that secrete male hormones like testosterone.

But the cell receptors do not respond to the hormone androgen, which normally stimulates the development of male characteristics. So the body does not understand in which direction it should develop. The gonads produce androgens, but they are blocked, and although the genetic sex is male, what appears to be a female child grows in the womb.

A woman's external sexual characteristics are present, but not internal. The uterus and ovaries do not develop. Instead, there are testicles in the abdomen, which are masculine characteristics. Usually the testicles migrate outward before birth. This is not the case with AIS. The diagnosis is correspondingly difficult, and it usually comes relatively late. It is only possible when those affected reach puberty. There is no menstruation, no hair grows on the female genitals or under the armpits. So the girl is genetically a boy.

CAIS is the name for complete androgen blockade (Complete Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome). PAIS is a partial AIS (Partial Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome). For example, people with PAIS may develop an extremely small penis but not a vagina or breasts.

MAIS is a minimal AIS (Minimal Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome) That means: The person has an overall masculine appearance, but only little beard and minimal body hair and a lack of androgens. Sperm production can also be impaired.

Boy on the outside, girl on the inside - Adrenogenital Syndrome (AGS)

These children are born with female chromosomes. However, they produce more androgens, such as testosterone, than girls normally do. Due to an enzyme disorder, testosterone levels are increased even before birth. The genetically female child is born with a genitalia that looks like a larger clitoris or a small penis. Genetically, it's a girl, so she has ovaries and a uterus, but looks like a boy.

Hermaphroditism verus

Hermaphroditos has male and female characteristics and is a figure in Greek mythology

Another form of intersexuality - albeit a very rare one - is hermaphroditism. Both ovaries and testicles are present. The set of chromosomes is mostly male. The physical development is different. For example, there may be a mixed form of clitoris and penis with large and small labia. The testes produce sufficient hormones, but the maturation of the sperm is disturbed. There may also be childbearing potential. Self-insemination is not possible.

Clear genetic assignment


Transsexual people can be clearly assigned biologically and physically: man or woman. But they cannot identify with their genetic gender. You feel like you were born in the wrong body: a woman who feels like a man - a man who feels like a woman. In contrast to intersexuality, the biological gender is clear, but one's own perception is different. Transsexuals live in a "wrong body". However, transsexuality has nothing to do with transvestism, although it is often confused.


All people who feel they belong to the opposite sex are referred to as "transgender": boys who feel they belong to the female sex and girls who feel they belong to the male sex. You live in a "wrong social role". Gender refers to the mental state.


The rainbow flag is an international gay and lesbian symbol

The term denotes a relationship between same-sex people. Homosexual men are colloquially referred to as gay or androphilic, homosexual women as lesbian or gynecophile. It's just one of the many types of sexuality. In recent years, homosexuals in many countries have had the opportunity to legalize their relationships, to marry and adopt children or to father children through sperm donation.


It describes the relationship between men and women and is still considered "normal" in most societies. This form has played a major role in evolution because of reproduction. In many countries it is still the only accepted form of interpersonal relationship.


It describes people who are attracted to both men and women. Another name is ambisexuality. Bisexuals often have the problem that they do not want to assign themselves to homosexuals and also not to heterosexuals.


If someone has no sexual inclination or is not interested in sex in any way, one speaks of asexuality. If they have a relationship, it is often a more platonic love or connection. You have no sexual desire.


In the interests of people with this orientation, the male and female gender as well as intersex people, transsexuals or transgender people. Pansexuality refers to all sexual forms.