ZMA president Dr Aaron Mujajati

By Dr Mujajati

Being born intersex makes life difficult. It is worse for parents that have to raise an intersex child in an environment that does not accept them as normal human beings or at best taboos not to be talked about. Who do you talk to as a parent? What do you do?

We take a lot of things for granted. We assume too much and yet nature seems to have a mind of its own.

Take for instance, “Is it a boy or a girl?” most new parents are asked as soon as their baby is born. That question, ordinary to most, weighs heavily on the parents of intersex babies. Intersex babies are born with a disorder of sexual development where the genitals are not clearly male or female.

Even health workers struggle to manage this condition. What do you put on the birth record? Is the child male or female? The challenge here is that the binary gender classification is coded in our statues, which leaves parents and healthcare professionals with a tough decision.

Since the newborn must be registered as a male or a female, this puts pressure on families to proceed quickly with “corrective” and “normalizing” surgeries, often with physical and mental consequences on intersex individuals that can last a lifetime.

So what happens if the child is quickly assigned a wrong sex and starts exhibiting opposite sexual characteristics at puberty? How do you deal with a boy child who is having monthly periods?

The role of medical professionals is very crucial in the lives of intersex people. It is our duty as healthcare providers to explain to parents and society at large the various forms of disorders of sexual development. No one chooses to be born with a disability of the genitals.


a. At what age should corrective surgery be considered?
b. Who should pick the sex? Parents? or the affected person?
c. If you decide to wait for the affected person to grow up and take part in determining their sex, what do you put on their birth record in the mean time?


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here