Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Deformed Freak Born Without Penis (Satire as an Introduction to Intersex)

This bit of satire from The Onion generated some conversation at Facebook - and it brings up some issues about sexual and gender identity and intersex people. First up the story from The Onion:

Deformed Freak Born Without Penis

ISSUE 49•49 • Dec 3, 2013

The utterly disfigured creature, who sources say somehow has to make its way through life with no male genitalia whatsoever.

NORFOLK, VA—In an alarming case that has baffled and repulsed many, sources confirmed Tuesday that a severely deformed freak born without a penis has managed to live with the condition for over 26 years.

The bizarre, monstrous human specimen was reportedly born with no other noticeable maladies and has, amazingly enough, attempted to lead a normal, albeit severely impaired life despite possessing no male genitalia whatsoever.

“We first noticed something was off about three months into the pregnancy, and I was of course horrified,” said Dr. Mark Joules, the obstetrician who delivered the grotesque—some would say subhuman—abhorrence of nature. “You could clearly see in the ultrasound that a penis and testicles were not developing as one would hope—or at all, in fact—and we immediately knew something was terribly, terribly wrong.”

“Had we caught it earlier, we most likely would have recommended that the pregnancy be terminated,” Joules continued. “But it was unfortunately too late at that point, so we were forced to deliver the baby as planned and just pray that it could get by in that state. We did our best, but with such a horrible and incredibly crippling deformity, there wasn’t much hope to be had.”

According to reports, the sadly disfigured 26-year-old’s quality of life has been greatly diminished due to such a condition. Sources said the abnormal, visibly blemished creature has been repeatedly passed over for employment opportunities, frequently gawked at and harassed on the street by total strangers, and has faced near constant discrimination for over two decades, all due to the horrific and debilitating birth defect.

Indeed, many are reportedly unable to look past the glaring deformity and simply see the 26-year-old as a human being.

“Whoa, look at that,” said 31-year-old onlooker Grant Megson, who, like many others, gawked at the freakish human anomaly while passing by on the sidewalk. “I don’t mean to stare, but honestly, it’s hard not to. Jesus Christ.”

“I just wish some of my buddies were here to see this,” added Megson, smiling and taking one last look before continuing with his day.

Sources confirmed that, unfortunately, such cases are actually quite common, with roughly one in every two babies afflicted with the lifelong disfigurement.

However, that is reportedly little consolation to the malformed specimen’s father, who told reporters that a day doesn’t go by in which he doesn’t wish his child was born a normal, healthy baby with male genitalia.

“Sadly, because the deformity is so obvious, our child was treated very differently from all the other kids,” the father told reporters, admitting that he was incredibly upset and disappointed when he first learned that his baby would be born a freak, one to be mistreated and viewed as inferior its whole life. “Even though the doctors explained all the incredible challenges and prejudice the poor thing would face, I don’t think it really sunk in until after the birth, when I saw the disfigurement with my own eyes. You never want your child to have to grow up that way.”“But what can you do?” he added. “I’m just thankful that my other two kids weren’t born like that.”
* * * * *

One of the comments at Facebook mentioned that in Germany there has been an increase in children born with intersex features (or as not either clearly male or female). Intersex is much more common than people think - comprehensive statistics suggest 1 in 100 children are born with chromosome patterns other than the standard XX or XY. These are the numbers from the Intersex Society of North America:
Below we provide a summary of statistics drawn from an article by Brown University researcher Anne Fausto-Sterling.2 The basis for that article was an extensive review of the medical literature from 1955 to 1998 aimed at producing numeric estimates for the frequency of sex variations. Note that the frequency of some of these conditions, such as congenital adrenal hyperplasia, differs for different populations. These statistics are approximations. 

Not XX and not XYone in 1,666 births
Klinefelter (XXY)one in 1,000 births
Androgen insensitivity syndromeone in 13,000 births
Partial androgen insensitivity syndromeone in 130,000 births
Classical congenital adrenal hyperplasiaone in 13,000 births
Late onset adrenal hyperplasiaone in 66 individuals
Vaginal agenesisone in 6,000 births
Ovotestesone in 83,000 births
Idiopathic (no discernable medical cause)one in 110,000 births
Iatrogenic (caused by medical treatment, for instance progestin administered to pregnant mother)no estimate
5 alpha reductase deficiencyno estimate
Mixed gonadal dysgenesisno estimate
Complete gonadal dysgenesisone in 150,000 births
Hypospadias (urethral opening in perineum or along penile shaft)one in 2,000 births
Hypospadias (urethral opening between corona and tip of glans penis)one in 770 births

Total number of people whose bodies differ from standard male or femaleone in 100 births
Total number of people receiving surgery to “normalize” genital appearanceone or two in 1,000 births

For additional information on this topic, here is a documentary, Sex: Unknown.

Uploaded on Jan 17, 2011

Many babies are born intersex with genitals that did not fully develop in the womb. In such situations, most doctors declare a state of medical emergency, and quickly move to operate in an effort to "fix" the child and give it the appearance of either a male or female. But this intervention is not always welcome: Many intersex adults that were surgically changed in infancy now insist they should have been given a choice in the matter. In many cases the gender they were assigned at birth does not match the gender they grew to believe they were. This begs a larger question: How much of our gender identity is formed by nature and how much by nurture? "Sex: Unknown" delves into the complex world of gender identity.

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