Sex assignment  

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"I was three or perhaps four years old when I realized that I had been born into the wrong body, and should really be a girl. I remember the moment well, and it is the earliest memory of my life." --Conundrum (1974) by Jan Morris

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Sex assignment refers to the assigning of sex at the birth of a baby. In over 99.9% of births, a relative, midwife, or physician inspects the genitalia when the baby is delivered, sees ordinary male or female genitalia, and declares, "it's a girl" or "it's a boy" without hesitation or uncertainty. The assignment is perceived as a recognition of an essential aspect of this new human being, apparent to everyone. In nearly all cases, usually without conscious deliberation, the parents rear the child as a member of the assigned sex/gender.

The act of assignment is a social act, and is in nearly all cases, and all societies, an act that seems a simple recognition of a simple biological reality. However, the usual act of assignment carries with it some conscious and unconscious assumptions, namely that the external genitalia reflect other aspects of biological sex, such as internal anatomy, gonads, hormones, and chromosomes. The act of assignment usually carries the implicit expectation that future gender identity will develop in the gender of anatomy, assignment, and rearing.

In a minority of cases one or more of these assumptions prove false. There have been rare instances where parents (for a variety of reasons) have reared a biologically normal child in the opposite gender. More commonly, in the case of some transgender or intersex individuals, gender identity does not simply follow the biological sex or sex of rearing. In some conditions usually termed intersex, the external anatomy does not reflect accurately the internal anatomy.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Sex assignment" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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