The following intersex FAQ was compiled by the members of Inter/Act. It is intended to be a living document that we will continue to tweak, change, add-to and subtract from. Please feel free to reference it, re-blog it, and ask us questions (on tumblr or at email@example.com)
What is intersex?
Intersex is an umbrella term that describes people born with intersex conditions or DSD (Differences of Sex Development). There are over 30 different conditions that cause intersex people to have physical differences inside and/or outside their bodies, making their sex neither purely male or female. Biology class has always taught us that sex is merely black and white, “male” or “female,” but now we know that’s not true. There are a lot of awesome gray areas in the middle!
What are some intersex conditions?
There are over many conditions that fall under the intersex umbrella including, but not limited to: Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome (AIS), Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia, Klinefelter Syndrome, Hypospadias, Mayer-Rokitansky-Küster-Hauser Syndrome (MRKH), Swyer Syndrome, Turner Syndrome, 5-Alpha Reductase Deficiency. Please see the ISNA (Intersex Society of North America) website for more information on specific conditions.
How common are intersex people?
Intersex people are about 1-2% of the population, or 1 in every 2,000 people. That’s as common as natural born redheads! We’re not rare, just invisible.
So how come I’ve never heard of intersex before?
The intersex community has a long history of shame and secrecy, for so many reasons. For starters, many doctors have told patients that they’ll never meet anyone like themselves. Sometimes they’ll even tell them not to talk about their conditions to anyone! On top of that, doctors and parents often try to “fix” intersex kid’s bodies with unnecessary surgeries, trying to make them fit into their idea of “normal.” Not to mention each condition is different, so educating the general public is hard when there is so much information to talk about.
It sounds like intersex conditions can be hard to care for!
They can be. Finding a good doctor that you can really connect with is so important for intersex people. Sometimes doctors don’t know the best way to handle each specific person. We all need to be informed about our bodies, our options, and the research that’s been done so we can make the best decisions possible. Making an informed decision is the most important thing an intersex person can do, so please don’t rush into anything.
How does gender fit into intersex?
Not quite as simply as you might think! Intersex relates to biological sex and a person’s genetic traits, internal and external reproductive organs, hormones, and secondary sex characteristics. Gender is more about the way somebody feels or identifies. This means intersex individuals identify as female, male, man, woman, or a multitude of identities just as non-intersex individuals do. Some examples include genderqueer, agender, third gender, two-spirit, and the list doesn’t end there. It’s important to remember that gender is fluid, not stagnant, possibly alternating its course during a person’s journey
How does intersex differ from transgender?
Intersex is often confused with transgender, but they are actually very different things. Intersex is when your biological sex doesn’t neatly fit into the male/female binary, but transgender is when you feel as if your assigned sex does not match your gender identity. Someone can be both intersex and transgender!
What terms can I use to talk about intersex people?
Intersex and DSD are the two current terms that most people use interchangeably. However, they both are controversial for different people. Some of our youth feel more comfortable with DSD as it might be the only term they are familiar with, while others prefer intersex over DSD. All intersex folks have the right to self define themselves at any particular point in their journey. It’s better for people to come to their own conclusions about how they want to identify, rather than be told or pushed into identifying a certain way. If you don’t know how someone identifies, feel free to ask!
Can I use the word hermaphrodite?
No. Hermaphrodite is a harmful term that is widely considered a slur, please don’t use it. It’s a stigmatizing word that people associate with having both sets of working genetalia, which is rarely possible in humans, if at all. Some intersex folk have started reclaiming the term, but that is for them to decide and use, not for you.
What are some other terms I should know?
Ambiguous Genitalia - Genitalia that doesn’t look clearly “male” or “female.” However, no genitals look the same, and nobody’s genitalia is “ambiguous.” It’s all just genitals!
Dyadic - Some intersex people have started using dyadic to describe those who are not intersex (meaning, they fit the “male” or “female” binary)
Cisgender- When a person’s gender identity matches their assigned sex. For example, a person assigned female at birth and identifies as a woman is considered cisgender. This term can get confusing with intersex individuals - some use it, some don’t.
HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy) - This is an important tool in an intersex person’s tool box. HRT ensures that an intersex person’s physical and emotional health needs are properly maintained. If someone’s hormone needs (for things like development, body regulation, or bone growth) aren’t being met, they may go on HRT to figure out the best hormone levels for their bodies.
Informed Consent - This term gets thrown a lot, especially when talking about surgeries of intersex people. Basically, it means that nobody should be operated on without their full knowledge of circumstances, repercussions, reasoning, etc. For example, babies and children are too young to fully understand and give informed consent.
Preferred Pronouns - Many people (intersex or otherwise) don’t identify as a binary gender, especially when their bodies don’t line up in a typical binary box. Ask someone what their preferred gender pronoun is. They’ll love you for it!
What are some other intersex resources?
We have an ever-growing list of resources on our page. Please check there for more information on support groups or legal help.
What can you do as an ally?
Call out others when they say harmful things. Be our advocates where you can, but also give us a chance to educate. Don’t speak over an intersex person, as chances are we’re a lot more familiar with these issues than you are. Listen and try to understand our stories, as we’re pretty incredible people. :)
Some additional thoughts about the So how come I’ve never heard of intersex before? section:
In addition to the shame and secrecy mentioned, in some cases in the past (I don’t know if this is still happening, I hope it’s not) doctors know about intersex conditions, and maybe even “fix” them, but don’t tell the parents for one reason or another. It’s also worth noting that for many people without visible intersex conditions (and even some with), these aren’t “diagnosed” until later in life. Some intersex people are also lumped in as trans by their doctors, even though that’s not necessarily the right way to approach it for everyone.
Also, many (not all!) intersex people do not consider it a medical condition or disorder, but rather see it as being along the spectrum of sex. This is why some people prefer intersex, while some people prefer DSD.
On the gender identity section, don’t forget about intergender! This is a nonbinary gender identity intended specifically for intersex people! (I remember hearing this was coined by indonintersex but I may be wrong? You can also find it mentioned in the actuallyintersex FAQs.)
(Note from Mod Graphei - If you want to read more about this subject, I’d recommend Prof. Susan J. Kessler’s Lessons from the Intersexed. It isn’t ‘light’ reading by any stretch of the imagination, but provides a decent overview of the history of problematic interactions between the medical community and Intersexed individuals)
And now for a Halloween themed post.
Also known as Samhein, Sauin, La Samhna, Samhuiin, Oiche Shamhna, Samain, Hallowmas, Shadowfest, All Hallow’s Eve, Samhuinn, Samhain, Witch’s New Year, Summer’s End, the Third Harvest, Samana, Vigil of Saman, and others.
The name “Samhain”, and its other spellings and similar names, comes from the Old Irish “sam” for summer and “fuin” for end, thus making this holiday the mark of the end of summer.
The celebration of Halloween goes back six thousand years where the Celtic people celebrated the end of the harvest and the coming of winter. This day is traditionally October 31st, though some celebrated it in the early days of November. Its most precise date is when the sun is at 15 degrees Scorpio. In the year of 2013, it will occur on November 7th. The celebration usually began the day before, at sunset.
This day was used to honor the dead and those who had passed away that year, as it was said the veil between the living and the dead was thinnest at this time of year. Rather than mourning the dead, Halloween was a celebration for the death of all things old and the beginning of all things new.
- An owl that circles a house three times is said to be a sign that someone within the house will die soon.
- It is said robins gained their red feathers because they attempted to remove the thorn crown from Jesus’s head, but his blood fell on the bird instead.
- It is unlucky to kill a robin.
- The eye on a peacock feather is said to be the “evil eye” and therefore bad luck to bring inside a home.
- There are countless superstitions about birds near homes and windows that signify oncoming death.
- Tip your hat at a magpie to avoid back luck.
- It’s unlucky to kill sparrows because they carry the souls of the dead.
- A crow at the window represents the soul of a dead person.
- A nearby robin carries the soul of a deceased family member.
- If a bird call comes from the north, misfortune will follow.
- If a bird call comes from the west, good luck will follow.
- If a bird call comes from the south, a good harvest will follow.
- If a bird call comes from the east, love will follow.
- Unbaptized children become birds until they are accepted into Heaven.
- Pet birds must be informed of important family events or they will die.
- It is unlucky to find a dead bird outside the home.
- A raven near a sick person means death is coming.
- In Wales, a blind person can regain sight by showing kindness to a raven.
- Cardinal Superstitions
- Bird Folklore
- Crow Folklore
- Victorian Funeral Customs and Superstitions
- Superstitions on Death
- Superstitions of Death
- 13 Superstitions About Death and Dying
- Superstitions About Death
- Death Superstitions
- Superstitions Surrounding Death
- Put almonds in your pocket when you need to find something.
- Scatter chili peppers around your house to break a curse.
- Never blow out the first candle you lit before you blow out the others or bad luck will follow.
- Throw rice in the air to make it rain.
- Ask an orange a yes or no question and count the seeds. An even number of seeds means no and an odd number means yes.
- In a photograph of three, the person in the middle will die first.
- Walk through the branches of a maple tree to have a long life.
- Carry peach wood to have a long life.
- Eat a peach to assist in making a tough decision
- Mix salt and pepper together and scatter it around your house to repel evil.
- Do not whistle at night.
- Eat mustard seed to ensure fertility.
- Place chips of cedar wood in a box with some coins to draw money to you.
- If you bite your tongue, someone is talking about you or thinking of you.
- Hanging up a new calendar before the year is over will bring bad luck
- Animal Superstitions
- Irish Superstitions and Folklore
- Superstitions From Europe
- Superstitions in Shakespeare’s Time
- Folklore of Puerto Rico
- Old Irish Superstitions
- Put out all fires in the home the night before Halloween to cleanse negative spirits. Reignite them from a common source on Halloween.
- Burying apples along the path is said to serve as food for souls as they pass through our world.
- The veil between the living and the dead is said to be thinnest on Halloween.
- 13 Halloween Superstitions
- Halloween Superstitions
- Halloween Superstitions and Folklore
Home & Hearth Superstitions:
- Hanging a pair of scissors over the front door will cut off negativity
- Hanging a cluster of acorns on the front door will protect those who live there
- Put thorny branches on your doorstep to keep evil away
- Smell dill to get rid of hiccups
- Place cotton on an aching tooth to relieve pain
- Place a sliced onion in the room of an ill person to draw out the sickness
- Hang a pea pod with nine peas above your door to draw your future lover
- Place a pine branch above your bed to keep illness away
- Cut an apple in half and give one half to your love for a long relationship.
- Put pepper inside a piece of cotton and sew it shut to bring back a lost love
- It is bad luck for siblings to marry within the same year
- If you see a robin on Valentine’s Day, you will marry a crime fighter
- Eight Love Superstitions and Their Origins
- Superstitions About Love and Marriage
- Love Superstitions
- Wedding Superstitions
- Love Superstitions (highlight to read text)
- Smell peppermint to help you sleep
- Eat a bit of thyme before bed for sweet dreams
- Putting garlic under the bed will prevent nightmares
- Rub a lettuce leaf on your forehead to help you sleep
- Placing a full glass of water by your bed every night will collect any negativity in the room, but don’t drink it
- Putting a broom on the bed brings bad luck
- If you leave laundry hanging outside during the night, a spirit will attach itself to it and possess the wearer
- Never put a hat on the bed
- Place morning glory seeds under your bed to cure nightmares
- Place an onion underneath your pillow to have prophetic dreams
- Never sleep with your head pointing east
- Never sleep with your head pointing west
- If you go to bed backwards, you will have good dreams
- Best Books to Read for Halloween
- Best Halloween Books
- Best Halloween Picture Books
- Great Reads for Halloween
- Halloween Reads
- Reading for October Evenings
- Spooky Kids Books to Read at Halloween
- October Reading List
- Witchy Picture Books
- Halloween 2012 Must Reads
- Killer Ghost Stories
- Creepy Halloween Reads
- Haunted Reads 2013
- All Hallows Reads
- Amazing Paranormal Books
- Forests in Myth, Folklore, and Fairy Tales
- Fantasy Novels Based in Native American Myth
- Ghost Story Collections
- Asian Folktale Picture Books
I believe in free education, one that’s available to everyone; no matter their race, gender, age, wealth, etc… This masterpost was created for every knowledge hungry individual out there. I hope it will serve you well. Enjoy!
FREE ONLINE COURSES (here are listed websites that provide huge variety of courses)
- Khan Academy
- P2P U
- Academic Earth
- Stanford Online
- MIT Open Courseware
- Open Yale Courses
- BBC Learning
- Carnegie Mellon University OLI
- University of Reddit
IDEAS, INSPIRATION & NEWS (websites which deliver educational content meant to entertain you and stimulate your brain)
- Big Think
- BBC Future
- Seriously Amazing
- How Stuff Works
- Discovery News
- National Geographic
- Science News
- Popular Science
- YouTube Edu
DIY & HOW-TO’S (Don’t know how to do that? Want to learn how to do it yourself? Here are some great websites.)
FREE TEXTBOOKS & E-BOOKS
- OpenStax CNX
- Open Textbooks
- Textbook Revolution
- E-books Directory
- Books Should Be Free
- Classic Reader
- Read Print
- Project Gutenberg
- AudioBooks For Free
- Poem Hunter
- MIT Classics
- Many Books
- Open Textbooks BCcampus
- Open Textbook Library
SCIENTIFIC ARTICLES & JOURNALS
- Directory of Open Access Journals
- Wiley Open Access
- Springer Open
- Oxford Open
- Elsevier Open Access
- Open Access Library
- BBC Languages
- Learn A Language
- Foreign Services Institute
- My Languages
- Surface Languages
- OpenCulture’s Language links
2. COMPUTER SCIENCE & PROGRAMMING
- GA Dash
- Code Avengers
- The Code Player
- Code School
- Programming Motherf*?$%#
- Bucky’s room
- Learn Code the Hard Way
- Mozilla Developer Network
- Microsoft Virtual Academy
3. YOGA & MEDITATION
- Learning Yoga
- Learn Meditation
- Free Meditation
- Online Meditation
- Do Yoga With Me
- Yoga Learning Center
4. PHOTOGRAPHY & FILMMAKING
- Exposure Guide
- The Bastards Book of Photography
- Cambridge in Color
- Best Photo Lessons
- Photography Course
- Production Now
- Learn About Film
- Film School Online
5. DRAWING & PAINTING
6. INSTRUMENTS & MUSIC THEORY
- Music Theory
- Music Theory Videos
- Furmanczyk Academy of Music
- Dave Conservatoire
- Petrucci Music Library
- Justin Guitar
- Guitar Lessons
- Piano Lessons
- Zebra Keys
- Play Bass Now
7. OTHER UNCATEGORIZED SKILLS
- The Chess Website
- First Aid for Free
- First Aid Web
- Wolfram Demonstrations Project
Please feel free to add more learning focused websites.
*There are a lot more learning websites out there, but I picked the ones that are, as far as I’m aware, completely free and in my opinion the best/ more useful.
This is a really good article about how quickly people actually die from cuts and punctures inflicted by swords and knives. However, it’s really really long and I figured that since I was summarizing for my own benefit I’d share it for anyone else who is writing fiction…
I’ve been reading a lot of InuYasha fanfiction lately. I enjoy many pairings and read widely but after much debate, I think I have a favorite story to recommend. It’s so very well written and incorporates so many elements I enjoy. It is a SessxKag, but comes at it in a gradual believable way. If you have some time for a well told canon story with really well developed original characters, check out Unspoiled by Forthright on FanFiction or Dokuga.
As some of you might already have guessed, I’m a fan of Japanese girl idols. One of the many, many idol groups in existence today in Japan is NMB48, a Osaka-based spin-off group of the (in)famous AKB48. NMB has a weekly show that’s…
I always wondered why they never tried to grab a Sailor Scout mid make up transformation.
I know we have a nightmares tag, but there’s not much in it yet.
Dreams in fiction tend to be cut unless they have something to do with the plot. Hence, nightmare sequences that are left in the story frequently serve some sort of purpose. Nightmares themselves are not inherently cliched, but what can make them cliched is how they are used. Because stories more often than not gloss over unimportant dreams, the ones that are left can start to look familiar. Readers can usually tell that if a dream sequence of any kind is included, it’s bound to be important somehow. Dreams cannot be faked (in most universes, anyway), so dreams and nightmares are an easy way to show development, trauma, or humanity in characters.
Here are some dream and nightmare cliches and tropes:
- Talking or even shouting in one’s sleep. This is usually used to clue other characters in to the fact that this character isn’t sleeping well or is hiding some kind of trauma or emotional turbulence. Other times, the sleeping character gives away information this way—to friends or foes.
- Waking up by catapulting into a sitting position with eyes wide open while sweating and/or panting. More a visual cliche than a written one, but a very common visual shorthand way to say “this character just had a bad dream.” Of all the things on this list, this may be the only one to outright avoid: I am fairly confident that no one has ever woken up from a nightmare like this, and this cliche is getting pretty tired.
- The flashback nightmare. Dreaming of the past is an easy way to sneak in exposition without having to figure out how to fit it into the story. It might be the character remembering a dark and troubled past, or a way of showing that they are still obsessing over a past failure.
- The flashforward nightmare. Dreaming of things that have not happened yet, but that can or will. Sometimes, these dreams are subverted in that we expect them to come true, but turn out only to be an anxiety dream. Other times, characters have prophetic visions of the future that they proceed to either ignore as “just a dream,” or forget as soon as they wake up.
- Dream spying. Dreaming about something that is happening now. This is more common in less realistic settings (magical/supernatural/scifi/etc.), especially if the character can recognize the dream as a current event. Sometimes, this kind of dream is a two-way street that is caused or shared by another party.
- The anxiety nightmare. Perhaps most recognizable as the “forgot to wear clothes for my oral report” nightmare. This is a dream about something the character is afraid of, usually about a fear coming true/to life/finally happening and the character having to face it. These dreams/nightmares are usually fixed or stopped by the character facing their fears or dealing with the problem.
- The recurring dream. A dream or nightmare that just keeps popping up. Maybe it means something: a lot of recurring dreams utilize symbolism to relate to the current events of the story, show the character’s state of mind, or reveal bits about the character’s past/personality/thoughts/etc.
- The epiphany dream. A dream or nightmare that somehow helps the character come to a conclusion or solve a problem. These come in a lot of shapes and flavors, but the outcome is usually the same: the character wakes up with some sort of “Eureka!” exclamation and gathers the rest of the team to share what they have figured out.
There may not be a clear-cut way to do dreams and nightmares correctly, because dreams are such an impossibly nebulous concept to the extent that entire stories are written solely about dreams and the many worlds they open up to us. There are, however, plenty of ways to do them well.
My general advice for all dreams and nightmares is that if you are going to include them, make them count and make them pull their weight in the story. As before, unimportant dreams tend to end up on the cutting room floor, so any that you include ought to have something important to say. Use the “dreamspace” to say things you cannot say another way: dreams break the laws of reality by being a sort of un-reality. Take advantage of this! Whether this means symbolism, exposition, some sort of mind-linking, or something else entirely, make your story’s dreams do things that your story cannot do any other way.
A superb fuck-ton of human facial expressions and emotions.
[From various sources.]