If God made them MALE and FEMALE then what happened?



I read this first story and others because I once remembered my psychology teacher telling me that there are intersexed people that can be raised as either sex. I am bewildered by this concept and need some opinions and explanations. In the book of Genesis(forgot verse) God made made people male and female. But according to statistics of this pbs and other websites there are many people born each year with so called “ambiguous genitals.”

Consider the first story in the link. The baby is born looking like a male with all the male genitals but later on starts getting breasts and larger hips and a woman shape.NOTE: the person’s male genitals worked. The person is forced to get testosterone shots to become more manly but later on it life discovers “he” is a chemical “she”. As a Catholic what do you think would be the right choice or choices because maybe two would be ok. I am confused. Should the parents have

(1) done what they did.
(2) Had doctors perform surgery and remove the male genitals that worked
(3) Just let he/she develop naturally without interfering.

My conscience is telling me three because you are leaving the person as God made them but it seems wierd.

What do you this about all this?


swimstud - You are raising one of the big psychological issues, namely the nature / nurture debate.

Sure, your lecturer is correct in saying intersexed people can be raised as either sex BUT, that still may not rest well with the personal identity of the person if the person feels like a girl but is raised as a boy. There have been cases of people with both sets of organs or organs that do not match the personal identity of the person.

God has made them male and female. What this may be is a naturally occuring treatable disorder. i see no scriptural conflict here.

I am aware that the church has made a statement on this issue and I think it relates to your point 3. The problem is no matter what is or is not done, these people suffer and we must be empathic, non judgemental and compassionate.



I have a friend who is intersexed. Beard, penis, breasts, menstruates. He is living as a man, is married, no children. He has been ostracized from several churches (non catholic) when his condition was “found out”. He had a very difficult upbringing, as neither his family or the doctors really knew “what” he was.

He has become involved with some Intersex support groups where people born this way can offer support to each other and to families who have babies born this way. Having this support network has greatly improved his life.

He is currently active in a church, open about his situation with friends and coworkers, but it is NEVER easy for him. He has chosen not to surgically alter the body God gave him.

It is a really mind boggling situation and he is an inspiration to many for having dealt with it as gracefully as he has.



Thanks cheddarsox for sharing your friend’s story. This is such a personal situation for people and it is really hard to discuss it in apologetic terms.

I do believe, (and I stand to be corrected if wrong), that on this issue the Church may look to science to determine the sex of an intersex person. If medical science concurs with the psyche of the person in determining the sex, I see no problem with corrective surgery. Regardless of whether the surgery is carried out or not, this issue is totally seperate from homosexuality as an apple is to a rock.

Therefore we cannot judge - we can only accept and support them. I can’t understand how your friend was rejected by other churches?!

God bless you and your friend.


this does occur, it is a disorder, like any other chromosonal disorder or birth defect. Sex assignment was a toss-up at the time of delivery, now DNA tests can be done immediately for correct assignment, hormone therapy, corrective surgery etc. That presupposes that the abnormalities are readily observable at birth, sometimes they are not, and do not become apparent until later in development. The Church has no problem with any of these therapies. What is condemned is the willful decision of a genetic male to resort to surgery to change to female or vice versa.


Richard Speck?



Do you know where I could read this statement that the church made?


According to the Intersex Society of North America, “The most common intersex condition is congenital adrenal hyperplasia. What happens in this case is that a fetus with XX chromosomes has a genetic disorder which affects the function of the adrenal glands. The adrenals produce hormones which cause her to be born with a larger than average clitoris.” These individuals with XX chromosomes (typical “female” chromosomes) may have typical “female” anatomy, and have an enlarged clitoris. Other intersexed people may have XX chromosomes (typical “female” chromosomes), feel and act “masculine,” have a penis, no testes, two ovaries, a uterus, and fallopian tubes. Others who may feel and act “feminine” have XY chromosomes (typical “male” chromosomes), two testes, and some internal male reproductive organs. These are a few of the types of chromosomal variations that can occur.

From that it appears they are born chromosomally either male or female, but may have physical manifestations of the other sex. So God has not created a third gender, but rather a male or a female who also has a special burden to carry. Why He did that? He only knows. Perhaps to teach us tolerance, compassion, charity would be part of it.


Luke, you aren’t thinking of the directives issued by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith which banned transsexuals from Holy Orders are you?

I remember it was a news item about three years ago, but the only thing I found on a quick web search was an AP story published second hand: tgcrossroads.org/news/archive.asp?aid=609

Perhaps I am wrong but I am thinking there is a big difference between transsexuals and intersexed persons.


While engaged in conversations with various people about the nature of marriage, Jesus had these things to say. I think they have some bearing on this thread.

From the 19th chapter of Matthew

"I say to you, whoever divorces his wife (unless the marriage is unlawful) and marries another commits adultery."
[His] disciples said to him, "If that is the case of a man with his wife, it is better not to marry."
He answered, “Not all can accept [this] word, 8 but only those to whom that is granted.
Some are incapable of marriage because they were born so; some, because they were made so by others; some, because they have renounced marriage for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Whoever can accept this ought to accept it.”

and from chapter 22:
Jesus said to them in reply, "You are misled because you do not know the scriptures or the power of God.
At the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage but are like the angels in heaven.

These statements seem to indicate that, while people are generally made “male” and “female”, they have an identity of greater significance than that of being male or female. That is, simply being a child of God. Perhaps we could say that God has allowed intersexed people to be so that we all could be reminded of this…




[quote=]GUAR FAN:Perhaps I am wrong but I am thinking there is a big difference between transsexuals and intersexed persons.

So does this mean that intersexed people without having any surgery done to them are allowed to receive holy orders?


[quote=GregoryPalamas]Richard Speck?


Or any man who takes hormones and has specific surgery to make himself ‘pass’ as a female for reasons like those used by Richard Speck.

I cannot imagine how difficult this must be for those who must deal with such a medical condition. I would wonder why, however, the friend of cheddar would find it necessary to tell people about his condition so that people in the church he attended to ostracize him (spelling?). I guess this is where my old-fashioned values pop in - it’s a private matter between him and his wife. Why would it be fodder for discussion among Church members? But that’s me - remember, I’m a bit shy and private…:whistle:


[quote=swimstud]So does this mean that intersexed people without having any surgery done to them are allowed to receive holy orders?

Well, that is a good question!

I think the intent of the ban against transsexuals was to prevent people from altering their birth sex. In the case of intersexed persons, their birth sex is ambiguous and they are usually assigned one by the doctors and parents.

But some intersexed persons, when they are older, say the assignment was arbitrary and wrong. I am unsure if the directive issued by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith was meant to cover intersexed persons in that situation.

But honestly, I am not sure why they even decided to pass a blanket statement. It seems to me that the situation (transsexual and wanting to enter into holy orders) would be so rare that it could be decided on a case by case basis.

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