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But under the most expansive definition, intersex people constitute up to 1.7 percent of the population.
Her manner, on the other hand, is straightforward, even admirably blunt; in our second conversation, she described what doctors had made for her as a "useless, fake vagina." This new surgery, if she has it, will be the third time she or her parents have tried to revise the outcome of the original operation."I'm determined to get what I want."I met Adams through Inter ACT, an advocacy organization for young people who are intersex - meaning they were born with some combination of chromosomes, hormones, gonads or genitals that defy social expectations of sex, including the expectation that sex is dichotomous."Intersex" is a broad umbrella that is often used to encompass dozens of variations, from unusual karyotypes, such as XXY, to hormone insensitivities that can cause a person with XY chromosomes and internal testes to develop as an externally typical female."There is a much bigger focus now on intersex identity politics - on letting the world know that we are intersex people, as opposed to people with medical conditions," says longtime activist Hida Viloria, a chair of the Organization Intersex International and author of a new memoir, "Born Both."To Viloria, surgeries that aim to make children more conventionally male or female are "a gendercide, an institutional effort to erase us from society."There have been, in recent years, signs that the activists are making progress.In 2011, the United Nations' Committee Against Torture released a statement critical of nonconsensual intersex surgeries; two years later, the panel went further, declaring that the surgeries often "arguably meet the criteria for torture."Even in the past few months, there has been growing momentum for intersex rights - on both the cultural and political fronts.