Socialization, as an important aspect of personality formation, enables one to acquire the behaviors, beliefs, and accumulated knowledge of the society. For hermaphrodites or intersex individuals, fitting into the society is usually a difficult task. These individuals have both the male and female sex chromosomes.
Therefore, they are not easily distinguishable as either male or female. On looking at the mirror, it is straightforward that we are either male or female; however, there are individuals waling around each day who have the same physical features like us but are hermaphrodites from birth.
Intersex people, who do not have a clear-cut difference of their sex, have to live a life of pain and uncertainty as they try to find their right place in the society.
Because of this, some of them feel ashamed and hide their real identity to people. Currently, there are thousands of people born with this condition who need our help to be regarded as part of the society.
If I found out that one of my family members or close associates is a hermaphrodite or intersex, I would recognize him or her as a fellow human being who is capable of feelings and worthy of respect. I mean it is not right for me to regard the fellow as an outcast simply because s/he is neither a man nor a woman.
The society has been shying off from discussing this subject. Most families prefer to keep it a secret when one of their members is suffering from this condition. But one thing is for sure, as much as I can be compelled by my other family members or close associates to keep it a secret, I won’t shy off from sharing with other people on how I can assist him/her so that s/he can not feel left behind in the cultural consciousness.
This is because understanding the condition is crucial when one wants to accept them. Moreover, it would remove any fears that I might be having about the hermaphrodites.
In the article, The Five Sexes: Why Male and Female and Are Not Enough published in 1983, Anne Fausto-Sterling lays out her vision of sexual multiplicity composed of five different sexes: male, female, merm, ferm, and herm.
By her definition, she calls the male pseudohermaphrodites, who have testes and some elements of the female reproductive system, the “merms.” The female pseudohermaphrodites, who have ovaries and some elements of the male reproductive system, she refers to as the “ferms.” And lastly, the “herms” are the true hermaphrodites having a mixture of male and female attributes.
She proposes that the three subcategories among “intersex” deserve to be regarded as additional sexes besides male and female since they posses varied characteristics and their inner lives have not been explored by science.
This article has failed to affect the view I have about intersex people. This is because she seems not to be considering the interests of intersexual people. The so-called “five sexes” theory fails to assist individuals with intersex conditions since it is not only confusing, but also exoticizes and sensationalizes such individuals.
The use of such discrete categories to describe the three subcategories of intersex is very artificial and do not mean anything to the well-being of an individual suffering from such a condition.