Since the beginning of time, humans have been lumped into two different groups: male and female. There was no in between. Hermaphrodites broke this model with their status as "he/she's." Was there something in between male and female? Gender is now thought of a combination of a host of different qualities that work together. Hermaphrodites are a genetic anomaly, but these individuals have a gender. It may not fit the classic mold of male or female, but they have a gender nonetheless.
Hermaphrodites are anomalies in the sexual genetic make-up of humans. Three classes of hermaphrodites have been identified: true, female pseudo, and male pseudo. True or mosaic hermaphrodites have a sexual genetic makeup of XXXY as opposed to the normal XX or XY. The individuals with this composition can have genitalia that range from completely male or female to a mixture of both female and male parts. They are usually assigned to the gender they most closely represent (Sex Differentiation Disorders 1). Although these phenomena cannot be fully explained in human development, studies have linked sex organ abnormalities in frogs with the weed killer atrazine (Reuters 2). The other categories of hermaphrodites are better understood. The male pseudo hermaphrodite has the normal male chromosomal pattern XY, but has female genitalia. Due to Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome, where the body does not respond to the sexual hormone androgen, the male sexual organs are not able to form ! in utero (Sexual Differentiation Disorders 2). The female pseudo hermaphrodite has the genetic make-up of XX. She most likely will have more masculine genitalia due to and over production of testosterone in the fetus. The disorder is called Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia (Sexual Differentiation Disorders 1). These three classifications of hermaphrodites are only a small percentage of the many genetic gender disorders.
Gender disorders are caused by genetic or hormonal mistakes that take place in the developing fetus. It has been found by the Tampa Gender Identity Program (TGIP) that with the absence of a testosterone, all fetuses regardless of chromosomal gender will proceed along the path towards becoming a female. A glycoprotein known as a mullerian inhibitory hormone causes the upper parts of the female reproductive organs (the uterus, fallopian tubes, and the top two thirds of the vagina) to form. Testosterone and dehydrotestosterone work together to form the epidiymis, vas deferens, seminal vesicle, penis, scrotum, and...