What’s the point of sex? It frames gender expression and identity – or does it?

The Conversation, January 18, 2017 6.05am AEDT

The act of penetrative sex has evolved over millions of years as a mechanism to deliver sperm to eggs and initiate pregnancy. But there’s more to sex than just the meeting of two sets of genes. The ‘What’s the point of sex?’ series examines biological, physical and social aspects of sex and gender.

[This] piece looks at sexual identity and gender, and how these are expressed in a social context.

‘We don’t know if your baby’s a boy or a girl’: growing up intersex

Guardian, Saturday 2 July 2016

Jack was born with both male and female anatomy, with ovarian and testicular tissue, and genitals that could belong to either a boy or a girl. He has one of at least 40 congenital variations, known collectively as disorders of sexual development (DSD), or intersex traits. It was months before Juliet and her husband, Will, were told Jack’s specific diagnosis, of mixed gonadal dysgenesis. While they waited, all his parents knew was that Jack’s sex couldn’t be determined at birth, and that their doctors needed time to assign it.

Jack’s specific diagnosis is rare, but being born with a blend of female and male characteristics is surprisingly common: worldwide, up to 1.7% of people have intersex traits, roughly the same proportion of the population who have red hair, according to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Read more here

‘Gay genes’: science is on the right track, we’re born this way. Let’s deal with it.

Biological sex redefined

Nature, 18 February 2015

According to the simple scenario, the presence or absence of a Y chromosome is what counts: with it, you are male, and without it, you are female. But doctors have long known that some people straddle the boundary — their sex chromosomes say one thing, but their gonads (ovaries or testes) or sexual anatomy say another.

Read more here