Sex Characteristics

Sex Characteristics

    Sex (noun):

    • The classification of a person as male or female.
    • Sex is assigned at birth and written on a birth certificate, usually based on the appearance of their external anatomy and on a binary vision of sex which excludes intersex people.
    • A person's sex, however, is actually a combination of bodily characteristics including chromosomes, hormones, internal and external reproductive organs, and secondary sex characteristics.
    • The sex assigned at birth usually becomes the legal sex after being written in the birth certificate and transposed to identification documents.

    Sex characteristics:
    Refers to the chromosomal, gonadal and anatomical features of a person, which include primary characteristics such as reproductive organs and genitalia and, or in chromosomal structures and hormones; and secondary characteristics such as muscle mass, hair distribution, breasts and, or structure. (Cap 540)

    Biological male:
    A term assigned to a person at birth whose sex produces spermatozoa and refers to traditionally defined anatomy (e.g. penis, scrotum) and chromosomal makeup (XY) of a boy/man.

    Biological female:
    A term assigned to a person at birth whose sex produces ova and has traditionally defined anatomy (e.g. vagina, uterus) and chromosomal makeup (XX) of a girl/woman.

    Intersex (adjective):

    • Intersex individuals are born with physical sex characteristics that don't fit medical or social norms for female or male bodies.
    • These variations in sex characteristics may manifest themselves in primary characteristics (such as the inner and outer genitalia, the chromosomal and hormonal structure) and/or secondary characteristics (such as muscle mass, hair distribution and stature).
    • People with variations of sex characteristics may use or not the term "intersex" to refer to themselves. Nonetheless, we use the term intersex to refer to all people with variations of sex characteristics.