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  • Intersex, in humans and other animals, is a variation in sex characteristics including chromosomes, gonads, or genitals that do not allow an individual to be distinctly identified as male or female. Such variation may involve genital ambiguity, and combinations of chromosomal genotype and sexual phenotype other than XY-male and XX-female. Intersex infants and children, such as those with ambiguous outer genitalia, may be surgically and/or hormonally altered to fit into a perceived more socially acceptable sex category. However, this is considered controversial, with no firm evidence of good outcomes. Such treatments may involve sterilization. Adults, including elite women athletes, have also been subjects of such treatment. Increasingly these issues are recognized as human rights abuses, with statements from UN agencies, a national parliament, and ethics institutions. Intersex organizations have also issued joint statements over several years as part of an International Intersex Forum. Research in the late 20th century indicates a growing medical consensus that diverse intersex bodies are normal—if relatively rare—forms of human biology.

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