"The Way We Think About Biological Sex Is Wrong" by Emily Quinn - Essay Sample

Published: 2023-08-31
"The Way We Think About Biological Sex Is Wrong" by Emily Quinn - Essay Sample
Essay type:  Rhetorical analysis essays
Categories:  Gender Biology Medicine Human sexuality
Pages: 5
Wordcount: 1346 words
12 min read

Sexuality is one of the underlying drive systems behind every person’s feelings, thoughts, and behaviors. This determines the ways of biological reproduction, explains psychological and sociological self-representations, and affects the desire of a person toward others. Also, it influences the brain and body to strive for satisfaction. Yet, as essential as sexual orientation is to be human, it is always perceived as a taboo subject for individual or empirical investigation (Hegarty, 2019). Classical and modern strategies to the evaluation of female and male sexuality influence the sexual attitudes, sexual reactions (wish, anticipation, pleasure and response time), and human distinctions, including the general and gender personality patterns.

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Emily Quinn, as an advocate for intersexes, speaks to the audiences about intersex topics. As a filmmaker, her ongoing projects include a non-gender specific adolescence reference book and a portrait series of intersex individuals to be demonstrated at medical schools across the United States in 2020. Intersex persons are individuals born with any of several alterations in sexual behaviors, including genetic material, gonads, sex hormones, or sexual organs (Quinn, 2020). Such features do not match the conventional descriptions for male or female organs, according to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Office. Quinn claims that in many communities, women are required to get married and have children. Like, it feels like they conditioned from a very early age for parenthood, and they directly correlate parenthood to female sexuality and vice versa.

The current study in women’s bodies is sieved. Many girls grow up encircled by the notion that if they are not in a position to be married and become mothers, then they are not good enough to justify much like a woman. Significant developments in particular areas, such as evaluation, treatment, or perception of sexual experiences, do not automatically contribute to offshoot discoveries in similar fields (Garland, 2018). Emulating the area of human sexuality, the analysis of women’s sexuality lacks an underlying philosophical framework for examining, evaluating, and directing ongoing work that is related to intersex. Therefore, to progress sexual scientific knowledge considerably, it has been proposed that individuals need to create effective theories and structures that characterize, predict sexual occurrences.

Society believes that a person is genetically either a man or a woman, but it is a lot more complicated than that. There are so many reasons one could be intersex. For example, a baby can be born with XY chromosomes, also known as male chromosomes, and there are those with chromosomes XX, XXY, and XXXY (Quinn, 2020). But there are those people who are born in their bodies with genitals, both male and female. The society put people in boxes based on their sexual organs. Sexual organs say nothing to individuals, yet they are defined so by society. Individuals want to place others in categories in this culture and mark each other as either a male or a female. This, in turn, provides a sense of identity and educates them on how to converse (Garland, 2018). Sexual identity is neither white nor black; it is on a spectral range. What individuals perceive on the outside of other people can have less to do with what is transpiring from the inside of other people’s bodies.

The stereotypical sex and gender are now so rooted in society that people never stop talking about it until someone comes along and bring it into question by others. Intersex persons constitute around 2 percent of the population, making them invisible in society. This is similar to the proportion of hereditary redheads. Intersex is not new or rare, they are invisible, and they have come into existence in history in each cultural identity, yet the social system never speaks of it. Unfortunately, a lot of individuals might not know they are intersex. For example, the interACT executive officer, which is the intersex civil rights group in the United States, discovered out at age 41, she was intersex (Garland, 2018). In comparison, intersex advocates and color survivors remain oppressed within the intersex community itself, faced with a lack of representation of leadership positions, loss of recognition and expression of public forums, and restricted opportunity to connect with other intersex citizens.

Meeting an intersex individual is rare and has not been researched on. And often, these treatments are done to enhance the lives of intersex children, but they typically end up doing the reverse, causing more physiological as well as mental distress. Such individuals live in a society that allows certain medical practitioners to diagnose specific individuals, intersex, who do not meet the description of standard in the society. Intersex people claim that they are not problems that need to be addressed in society. They think the world needs to be enlightened about their biological setups (Lucas, 2018). The social system can develop a more interdisciplinary, anti-racist, trauma-informed movement by upholding and uplifting the diverse experiences of intersex and people of color and accommodating them in society.

The positive perception in the intersex as a psychological issue is that all people, irrespective of sexual development, are in a better position to talk about the reality of having a body in ways that are adaptable and fit to the discussion. This opens up the possibility of the non-anthologizing contexts illustrating body differences. The negative perception in the intersex as a psychological issue is intersex people are just born with chromosome structure, hormone levels, endothelial dysfunction, or genital variants that deviate from society’s expectations of what male and female bodies should be like (Lundberg, 2018). Social discontent with this dimension of human identity has contributed to prejudice and stigmatization of intersex adults, including potentially unnecessary procedures they did not agree to. This tends to affect the lives of these people in short and the long run.

It is vital to study intersex issues in psychology because the exploration of an intersex condition in puberty can be incredibly disturbing for the teenager and his or her family members and can lead to feelings of guilt, frustration, or psychosis. Knowledgeable mental health practitioners can be an immense benefit in discussing these issues and emotions. Intersex culture has a wide diversity of perspectives and different ways intersex people learn about society, advocacy, desires, and aspirations. A London research shows that 98 percent of intersex women who underwent hormone therapy surgery as a child had to undergo further therapy, including further surgery during their lives (Lehmiller, 2017). There is also a wide-ranging reaction to whether or not intersex individuals should be deemed intrinsically as part of the LGBTQ community.


Conclusively, the role of medical practitioners and of society as a whole in intersex people's lives is very crucial. When doctors view gender identity as a disability, they use regular genital tests to position intersex infants, make them susceptible to psychiatric distress. When family members get stigmatized information from healthcare professionals about their child's condition, they prefer to select more for initial genital surgery. Having an early surgery is often only the first of many surgical treatments for these individuals. It is clear that in order to continue respecting the interests of intersex individuals and upholding their health and wellbeing, the society must first accept the presence of intersex persons socially and legally. In doing so, they will feel as part of the society and contribute to its growth.


Garland, F., & Travis, M. (2018). Legislating intersex equality: Building the resilience of intersex people through law. Legal Studies, 38(4), 587-606.

Hegarty, P., Smith, A., & BoganCarey, T. (2019). Stigma as framed on YouTube: Effects of personal experiences videos on students’ beliefs about medicalizing intersex. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 49(3), 133-144.

Lundberg, T., Hegarty, P., & Roen, K. (2018). Making sense of ‘Intersex’and ‘DSD’: How laypeople understand and use terminology. Psychology & Sexuality, 9(2), 161-173.\

Lehmiller, J. J. (2017). Controversial Issues in Human Sexuality Research.

Lucas, D., & Fox, J. (2018). The psychology of human sexuality. The psychology of human sexuality. Noba textbook series: Psychology. Champaign, IL: DEF publishers.

Quinn, E., 2020. The Way We Think About Biological Sex Is Wrong. [online] Ted.com. Available at: https://www.ted.com/talks/emily_quinn_the_way_we_think_about_biological_sex_is_wrong [Accessed 14 June 2020].

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