An asterisk * indicates a controversial term.
*Ambiguous genitalia: External genitalia that are in neither a completely male nor completely female pattern; for example, fused labia, diphallia, hypospadias, bifid scrotum, and chordee. Ambiguous genitalia are not always “ambiguous” in the sense of being impossible to determine a “dominant sex” based on which pattern they fit closest, so “ambiguous” is seen as an unfitting term.
*Bigenital: a less common and potentially more controversial synonym of salmacian.
Clitoromegaly: see macroclitoris.
*Dyadic: A person who is not in any way intersex. Some people have criticised the term, and have chosen to use “perisex” or “endosex” instead. This blog uses dyadic, as do most intersex activists and organisations.
Endosex: see dyadic
*Hermaphrodite: 1) An organism with the ability to reproduce in both a male and female way. This has never been documented in humans, and so it should not be used to describe intersex people (though some who see it as a slur or misnomer have reclaimed it for their own personal use).2) (commonly “true hermaphrodite”) An organism possessing both ovarian and testicular tissue. This term is obsolete in reference to humans.
Hypospadias: 1) A condition where the urethral opening opens anywhere below the typical position. 2) Any condition involving the underdevelopment of the penis as long as the urethral opening ends below the tip of the penis.
Intergender: A gender identity in which an intersex individual feels that their being intersex influences or defines their gender. It may be a standalone identity (e.g., “an intergender person”), or it may qualify other genders (e.g., “an intergender girl”, or “an intergender androgyne”).
Intersex: A variety of conditions that lead to atypical development of physical sex characteristics. These conditions can involve abnormalities of the external genitalia, internal reproductive organs, sex chromosomes, or sex-related hormones. Some examples include:
- External genitals that cannot be easily classified as male or female.
- Incomplete or unusual development of the internal reproductive organs.
- Inconsistency between the external genitals and the internal reproductive organs.
- Abnormalities of the sex chromosomes.
- Abnormal development of the testes or ovaries.
- Over- or underproduction of sex-related hormones.
- Inability of the body to respond normally to sex-related hormones.
*Intersexuality: The state of being intersex. This word is controversial, because some believe it equates intersex[uality] with sexual orientations, while some argue that “-ual[ity]” is the normal addition to the root word “sex”.
Ipsogender: A term for an intersex individual who identifies with the gender assigned to them at birth. This does not mean they agree with any coercive attempts to force them into that sex, but simply that it ended up being their gender identity. This term was coined since “cisgender” implies a level of privilege which is not available to most ipsogender people.
Macroclitoris: A larger-than-average clitoris, typically above half an inch (1.25 centimeters); a type of phalloclitoris. The condition of having a macroclitoris is called clitoromegaly. (Accord Alliance)
Micropenis: A smaller-than-average penis, typically less than 3.7 inches erect (9.3 centimeters); a type of phalloclitoris.
Microphallus: A micropenis accompanied by other signs of genital underdevelopment, such as hypospadias, chordee, or epispadias.
Ovotestes: Gonads that incorporate both ovarian and testicular tissue. They may be bilateral (one on each side) or unilateral (one ovotestis on one side, and an ovary or testis on the other).
Perisex: see dyadic
Phalloclitoris: 1) The part of the fetal genitalia which may differentiate into either the glans penis or the glans clitoris. 2) An organ intermediate between a fully-developed penis and a typical clitoris. Examples include in cases of hypospadias, micropenis, chordee, diphallia, and clitoromegaly. (In this sense, it may colloquially be called a “crocus”, from Jeffrey Eugenides' book Middlesex.)
*Pseudohermaphrodite: 1) (male pseudohermaphrodite) An individual with testes and either female or ambiguous genitalia. 2) (female pseudohermaphrodite) An individual with ovaries and either male or ambiguous genitalia. (These terms are obsolete and imply that individuals fitting these criteria are somehow “less intersex” than “true hermaphrodites”.)
*Salmacian: A dyadic person who wishes to transition to a sexually neutral or ambiguous state. Some see salmacianism as fetishistic, arguing that it conceptualises intersex as one set of sexual organs universal to all intersex people, or that salmacians are co-opting the intersex experience. Salmacians themselves simply see themselves as being happier with some form of non-normative genital configuration, androgynous body shape, etc., and it is the author’s opinion that their wishes for transition should be respected.
Transgender: An individual whose gender identity does not match the gender assigned to them at birth. It is unclear how intersex people fit into the cisgender-transgender dynamic: cis intersex people don’t typically fill the same position in society as cis dyadic people, and many AMAB intersex women or AFAB intersex men don’t consider themselves trans, for various reasons. Many intergender people do not consider themselves transgender, while some do. See ipsogender.