ASHEVILLE, North Carolina — What makes a woman and what makes a man; what is male and what is female? What was once a very taboo subject in our culture, only seriously (and quietly) contemplated by doctors and researchers, is becoming dinner-table talk with the new, greater visibility of transgender and intersex people. Perhaps a little thought experiment can add to this conversation?
Say that Sarah is an ordinary woman inside and out. When would she stop being a woman, a female, and what would it take to make her a male, a man? Consider:
DNA: Let’s exchange one of Sarah’s X chromosomes for a Y. Would this make her a male, a man? Not necessarily. Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome is an intersex condition in which a person’s body is unable to respond to testosterone. So their body does not masculinize from the default female…
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