Compound heterozygous mutations in the SRD5A2 gene exon 4 in a male pseudohermaphrodite
patient of Chinese origin.
Only rarely did they have a mixed gonad or one testis and one ovary--the so-called "true hermaphrodite." The other "pseudohermaphrodite
" cases were deemed to have a true sex (determined histologically or chromosomally) but with anomalous genitals.
Is a hermaphrodite or pseudohermaphrodite
male, female, both or neither?
The reader has known exactly where the gun was hanging from page one, line one: "I was born twice: first, as a baby girl on a remarkably smogless Detroit day in January of 1960; and then again, as a teenage boy, in an emergency room near Petoskey, Michigan, in August of 1974." Cal is a 5-Alpha-reductase Pseudohermaphrodite
, and Middlesex is her/his autobiographical Bildungsroman.
This is, in any case, the breach into which Eugenides inserts his Cal, and it is with this in mind that we can understand the significance Cal has for him: The hermaphrodite, even a pseudohermaphrodite
, symbolizes a return by proxy of the omniscient narrator, capable of inhabiting all ages and sexes.
I also argue that the continued use of the concept of pseudohermaphrodite
(individuals with gonads of one type combined with secondary sex characteristics of a different type) is anachronistic, suggesting--wrongly--that we can know a person's true gender if we know what cells are in his/her gonads.
One standard endocrinology textbook says that in deciding whether to give a male pseudohermaphrodite
a male sex assignment, "The basic questions to ask are 1) will the child be able to urinate standing?
The word sex, then, applies imprecisely: it is theoretically imprecise (what, for example, is the exact line of demarcation between a "female" and a "pseudohermaphrodite
," as some intersexed persons used to be designated?), and its internal categories ("male," "female," "intersex," "transsexual," etc.) apply inexactly to actual human beings.
Sexual behavior in adult gonadectomized female pseudohermaphrodite
, female, and male rhesus macaques treated with estradiol benzoate and testosterone propionate.