Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Word of the Gay: "Hermaphroditism"

"Hermaphroditism" is the fusion of male and female genitalia on an individual. It is biologically impossible for someone to have complete male and female genitalia, rendering the word unfounded and offensive.

3 comments:

TRiG said...

Sorry, I'm not sure what you're saying here.

The word hemaphroditism is offensive? Which word would you suggest in its place?

TRiG.

Queers United said...

Well it is impossible for a human to have 100% of all male and female genitalia. There are some people (1 in about 2000) who have some of both in genitalia or chromosomes and they would be called intersex.

ranka said...

Yeah, "hermaphrodite" has a well-defined meaning in biology, specifically, an organism capable of producing both sperm and ova, or both microspores and macrospores for plants. There are many invertebrates that are genuine hermaphrodites. There are even some fish that are hermaphrodites, although more commonly not simultaneously male and female, but rather, starting out one sex and later becoming the other. To the best of my knowledge, there are no regularly hermaphroditic land vertebrates, although some birds have been known to spontaneously change from female to male, even to the extent of producing sperm and fathering young; but this is a fairly rare phenomenon caused by damage to the functional ovary - birds have only one functional ovary and one undeveloped ovary. The undeveloped ovary, in cases where the functional one is damaged, will often resume development, but will sometimes develop as a teste rather than an ovary, producing both sperm and testosterone, triggering male secondary sex traits.

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