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Emily Quinn is a 25-year-old animator who works at Cartoon Network. She is also intersex. For her this means that, while she has a perfectly normal-looking vagina, it’s not a uterus and ovaries she has inside – it’s a pair of testes.
Like the rainbow flag, there are many shades to being intersex. The term refers to people born with differences in their sex characteristics, which can occur in genes, chromosomes, genitalia, body hair or reproductive organs. Quinn – who doesn’t respond to the testosterone that is produced in her testes (her body turns it into oestrogen for her) – reckons she represents about 1 in 20,000 births, with intersex people generally representing about one in every 2,000 in North America.
For many intersex people, the condition is still shrouded in shame and secrecy. Children often have their genitalia removed or "tided up" at birth, obviously without being able to give consent. Because of this, there is little research into the longterm effects of being intersex, but those who have either had their testes removed or their enlarged clitorises mutilated often have longterm hormone problems.
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