This thread briefly touched on intersexed, or hermaphroditic individuals – people born with ambiguous genitalia, or both male and female genitals. This brought to mind a discussion I had with some girlfriends back in my old dorm. We were discussing children and childbirth, and the topic turned to what we would do if any of us were to give birth to an intersexed child.
If my child was otherwise healthy (i.e. the genitals didn’t pose any health risks) I would try to avoid having any operations or sexual-assignment surgery performed. I’d give my child a gender-neutral name and wait to see if s/he eventually gravitated towards a specific gender or not. And if my child never did select a gender, that’d be fine, too. It just doesn’t seem right to me to operate on someone’s genitalia when they’re too young to decide for themselves what they want to be. Once they’re adults, if they choose to have surgery, that’s their choice (for that matter, they might end up being perfectly happy staying the way they were born). I wouldn’t want to “make” them be a boy or a girl. One of my cousins was born intersexed back in the '60s (male pseudohermaphrodite) and was raised a girl until he decided he was really a boy during his teenaged years. I remember my dormmates having similar beliefs.