the whole spectrum of sex

credit: "Striped Shirts", Chris Schoonover

Gender is a spectrum. Sexuality is a spectrum. These ideas have gained mainstream acceptance in recent years. But biological sexual anatomy is still assumed to be binary–either you’re born with male or female genitalia. That’s not the case, as a new graphic in Scientific American shows.

The graphic attempts to demystify how people’s sexual organs develop, from conception through birth and puberty, and how that can impact their physical appearance. With “typical biological female” on the far-left of a full-page magazine spread and “typical biological male” on the far-right, the graphic features a variety of intersex “conditions.” These conditions occur because permutations from the norm can occur in the chromosomes, in the genes, and in the hormones, all of which impact the internal reproductive system, the genitals, and appearance.

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