Request for Research Help: WTS Views on Intersex Individuals
REQUEST FOR RESEARCH HELP:
Several recent threads have gotten me started on an essay and I need some research help.
Does anyone have access to anything the WT has ever published on intersex people (they might have used the now-outdated term: hermaphrodite)? The more recent the better, but everything will be of historical interest.
I just tried a search on jw.org using both terms as keywords, but came up empty, and unfortunately I do not have access to older publications.
I've also done several Google searches, including this forum. There aren't a lot of threads on the subject, and I have not been able to find much of anything of merit that the WTBTS has published on the subject.
FYI: I think this is an interesting subject to examine and write about because--unlike "the debate" in some people's minds about homosexuality being a choice--it is biologically inarguable as to whether or not people born intersex have a choice. They obviously did not.
Any and all assistance and comments will be greatly appreciated.
Thanks in advance!
I have not been able to find much of anything of merit that the WTBTS has published on the subject.
You could say that about practically anything.
I don't remember ever hearing anything about this myself...I wonder if they might've been smart enough not to dive into the topic.
I don't remember anything about it I'm afraid. Wouldn't the Borg just say it was physical imperfection due to Adam's sin?
I can't remember anything about it - the intersection of two small sets (JWs and people born intersex) may mean the WTS has never felt like it needed to offer an opinion on the subject.
There are many topics the WTS would prefer not to exist at all, so they never comment on them. This is one of them.
-- Homosexual behavior by animals
-- If sickness, suffering, and death is a result of sin, why do animals get sick, suffer, and die?
-- How can the multiple lines of irrefutable evidence indicating that the earth was not 100% covered in water 4400 years ago be reconciled with the strictly literal WTS interpretation of Genesis 6 - 8?
And so on.
I always used to bring this up with dubs when they start any rants about sexuality..I heard a statistic that 1 in a hundred kids is born with both sets, or parts, of genitals to some extent...and that doesn't include the one's whose endocrine system is out of sync with their tackle..
Simon: ... the intersection of two small sets (JWs and people born intersex) may mean the WTS has never felt like it needed to offer an opinion on the subject
Diogenesister: I heard a statistic that 1 in a hundred kids is born with both sets, or parts, of genitals to some extent
How common is intersex? - According to the Intersex Society of North America, "the number comes out to about 1 in 1500 to 1 in 2000 births." This works out to 0.05 - 0.07% of the general population.
So, if we do the math with the following assumptions:
- Current World Population: 7.4 billion - (Worldmeters.info)
- JW Publishers 2015: 8,201,545 (2015 Yearbook of Jehovah's Witnesses)
And assume that the JW population is roughly representative of the overall human population worldwide, then there should be somewhere in the range of 4,000 to 5,500 intersex Jehovah's Witnesses.
It's not a huge number, but it's also not insignificant.
- Current World Population: 7.4 billion - (Worldmeters.info)
AWAKE! MARCH 8, 1953 pg 21-23 Can Surgery Change Sex? PDF
certainly the phenomena of intersex should be viewed, not with a morbid curiosity but with the same compassion that we would view a hunchback, as an unfortunate victim of a quirk of imperfect nature.
2011 cg-E Correspondence Guidelines PDF
In the case of a true hermaphrodite, a person born with sex organs of both genders, it is up to the individual whether to submit to an operation for the removal of the excess organs or not. In such cases, the organs of one sex usually predominate, and the organs of the other sex are rudimentary. A person who has corrective surgery so as to present himself or herself according to his or her primary biological sex can be baptized.
A person who has corrective surgery so as to present himself or herself according to his or her primary biological sex can be baptized. - cg-E, p. 98
First of all, this isn't even an accurate description of all intersex people, only some.
Individuals with Androgen insensitivity syndrome generally look completely female even though they have XY chromosomes normally indicating a biological male. These people are generally not identified as intersex until puberty when they fail to menstruate.
As explained in the article, Androgen insensitivity syndrome, published by the US National Library of Medicine:
- "Complete androgen insensitivity prevents the penis and other male body
parts from developing. At birth, the child looks like a girl. The
complete form of the syndrome occurs in as many as 1 in 20,000 live
That same article continues:
- A person with complete AIS appears to be female but has no uterus, and has very little armpit and pubic hair. At puberty, female sex characteristics (such as breasts) develop. However, the person does not menstruate and become fertile. ... Complete AIS is rarely discovered during childhood.
That beings said, the obvious implication of the statement from the WTBTS's "Correspondence Guidelines" is that a person that has NOT had "corrective surgery" cannot be baptized.
This demonstrates a stunning lack of understanding on the part of the WTBTS of this admittedly complex situation. That they lump all types of intersex into the now out-dated term "hermaphrodite" also betrays their ignorance and backwards thinking.
- "Complete androgen insensitivity prevents the penis and other male body parts from developing. At birth, the child looks like a girl. The complete form of the syndrome occurs in as many as 1 in 20,000 live births."
I do not have a direct answer to your question, but a closely related story nonetheless.
In one of my former congregations was a boy who had genital traits of both genders. When he was born, the doctor saw this, congratulated mother with her baby boy, and that's it.
He was raised as a boy. He was my friend, and it never crossed my mind that he might be different in this respect.
When reaching puberty, he told his mother that his feelings about his gender were conflicted (read: man, I feel like a woman).
Since both his feelings and body gave conflicting signs, a test was made, and according to the chromosomes he actually is a woman.
Of course she wanted to publicly 'change' from a brother to a sister, but that would raise some brows in the hall, right? Especially since she was roving mics and doing sound dept. as a brother.
As all things in the Borg are to be arranged within proper line of command, Bethhell was contacted for assistance. Borg sent a letter that was read as an announcement that 'brother SuchAndSo would now be sister SuchAndSo, Borg approved so no questioning please'
Of course this was hot news for a while in the circuit.
I still saw her on last convention, so I guess she is treated like any other dubsis (obey and we won't harass you).