The Instigator
Brompton
Pro (for)
The Contender
PsychicPhysicist
Con (against)

There are Only Two Genders

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/25/2016 Category: Politics
Updated: 10 months ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 1,077 times Debate No: 94094
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (11)
Votes (0)

 

Brompton

Pro

The first round is for acceptance.
The second round is for opening arguments alongside proposed definitions.
The third and fourth round are for rebuttals.
The final round is for closing statements.
PsychicPhysicist

Con

I accept the "debate", not that there is one to be had.
Debate Round No. 1
Brompton

Pro

In recent years, there has been growing support for what is quite simply the bastardization of the language, biological science and society in general in favour of political movements that are more affiliated with how people feel as opposed to what the science is clear about.

Sexual dimorphism is the way in which species are biologically different, in terms of gender, besides how they differ with regard to reproductive organs. The male Mallard is unmistakably different from his female counterpart in that he has a green head. The male Mandarin duck is more colourful than his female counterpart. In other species, however, the differences can be quite subtle. There are both subtle and superficially obvious differences in male and female humans.

The primary difference, beyond that of reproductive organs, is height and muscle mass. Male humans are usually taller and have greater muscle mass than female humans.

Another superficial difference is that male humans usually have larger chests due to a longer and larger Trachea (windpipe), a larger heart, and Bronchi that branch further and wider than female humans.

Perhaps the largest difference between male and female humans is the endocrine system. For instance, on average, female humans make only less than 10 percent of the amount of testosterone that male humans make. Testosterone plays a key part in muscle growth and bone strength, which male humans are known for.

Another key difference is blood. Female humans usually have more leukocytes (white blood cells) which assist in the fighting of diseases and the overall health and strength of a female during menstruation.

Males and females are different and only males and females exist. No amount of bastardization will ever hide that truth.
PsychicPhysicist

Con

I will use the following abbreviations in my argument:

"AMAB- Acronym for "assigned male at birth" which refers to anyone whose sex, when born, is that of a typical male."

"AFAB- Acronym for "assigned female at birth" which refers to anyone whose sex, when born, is that of a typical female."

My opponent mistakenly uses "sex" and "gender" as synonymous. These two terms are not synonyms, and this difference is demonstrated by the Oxford English Dictionary as follows:

"Gender: The state of being male or female (typically used with reference to social and cultural differences rather than biological ones):

"traditional concepts of gender"

"The construction of male and female gender roles was masculinist in nature."
"It is well established that testosterone in males plays a key role in this gender difference."
"She thinks the best way to level the playing field is to apply categories based on physical ability rather than gender identity.""

"The word gender has been used since the 14th century as a grammatical term, referring to classes of noun designated as masculine, feminine, or neuter in some languages. The sense "the state of being male or female" has also been used since the 14th century, but this did not become common until the mid 20th century. Although the words gender and sex both have the sense "the state of being male or female", they are typically used in slightly different ways: sex tends to refer to biological differences, while gender refers to cultural or social ones."

http://www.oxforddictionaries.com...

This is as opposed to sex, which is defined as follows:

"Sex: Either of the two main categories (male and female) into which humans and most other living things are divided on the basis of their reproductive functions:
"Adults of both sexes""

http://www.oxforddictionaries.com...

In the interest of fairness to my opponent, I will allow him to defend either of the following propositions, or both, as his initial arguments did not distinguish between the two terms:

"There are only two sexes"
"There are only two genders"

In opposing the notion that there are only two *sexes*, which is what my opponent has thus far argued, I would like to point out the existence of intersex individuals.

"Intersex: the abnormal condition of being intermediate between male and female; hermaphroditism.
"an intersex individual; a hermaphrodite.""

https://www.google.co.uk...

These individuals are neither wholly male nor wholly female, as they may have ambiguous genitalia or secondary sex characteristics, or chromosomes which differ from the "XX/XY" binary typicality.

https://en.wikipedia.org...

^^As listed in the above link, examples include:

Klinefelter Syndrome (XXY),: https://en.wikipedia.org...
Turner Syndrome (XO/X), https://en.wikipedia.org...
(Partial) Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome, https://en.wikipedia.org... https://en.wikipedia.org...
Classical Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia, https://en.wikipedia.org...
Late Onset Adrenal Hyperplasia,
Vaginal Agenesis, https://en.wikipedia.org...
Ivotestes, https://en.wikipedia.org...
Idiopathic,
Iatrogenic,
5-Alpha-Reductase Deficiency, https://en.wikipedia.org...
45X Mosaicism, https://en.wikipedia.org...
46XY Mosaicism, https://en.wikipedia.org...
Complete Gonadal Dysgenesis, https://en.wikipedia.org...
Hypospadias, https://en.wikipedia.org...
And Epispadias. https://en.wikipedia.org...

This is by no means a fully comprehensive list. This would imply that along with typical male and typical female, there are at least 18 sexes, all of which are medically documented in that they can be directly observed and detected by endocrinologists and geneticists.

I, as the opposition to the motion, do not technically disagree with anything the proposition has said in his initial arguments- yes, there are biological differences between AMAB and AFAB individuals, both in humans and in other species, such as mallards. However, his observation of the existence of both male and female individuals, and the differences between them, is by no means evidence that there are not individuals whose sex differs from the typical male-female binary, which is a false idea which the above list rebuts quite thoroughly.

It is irrefutable, therefore, as argued above, that there exists more than two *sexes*. If my opponent wishes to dispute this, he is more than welcome to and I will gladly take him up on this.

Now, to move on to arguing that there exists more than one *gender*, which my opponent has so far yet to address at all. Remember, as before, that gender refers to one"s psychological identity, rather than to their physical anatomy and other biological differences. Gender, as a psychological state, is not a binary of "male/female", as this is a gross oversimplification. Rather, it is a spectrum with the majority of people falling within the very broad categories of masculinity or femininity. I feel this point is made very well by Hank Green in the following video:
https://www.youtube.com...
"As much as we try to label things, there is no way to label every point on an infinite continuum"
"The obvious ones are masculine gender roles and feminine gender roles, but, as all dichotomies are false dichotomies, this one is a spectrum, too"
"Many people move across these spectrums"
"When the world becomes one of infinite continuums and those false dichotomies break down, and those two shiny boxes break apart into seven billion shiny boxes, it"s actually pretty beautiful".

My opponent must, at this point, either contest the claim that there is a difference between the terms "sex" and "gender" (in which case, see the above argument regarding sex, and replace "sex" with "gender"), or he must accept that sex is physical and gender is psychological, which allows me to make the following argument:

No two humans can be said to be in an identical psychological state, and, therefore, no two humans can be said to have the exact same gender identity, as gender is psychological. There are comparisons you can draw between individuals whose gender identities are extremely similar, and for all intents and purposes these people share the same gender, but they do differ slightly and therefore if one wishes to be pernickety, one could argue that there are technically an infinite number of genders as there are an infinite number of psychological states to correspond to these.

In general, though, most people fit into one of a number of labels. The majority of people consider themselves to be men or women, but there are a number of other psychological categories which individuals do fall into:
Agender- I do not identify with any gender.
Bigender- I simultaneously identify as a man and as a woman.
Genderfluid- My gender changes (usually identifying as a man sometimes and as a woman at other times).
Gender Nonconforming- I do not fall into any of the labels people typically use in regards to gender.
Third Gender: I identify as neither a man nor a woman. I do, however, identify with a gender which is neither of these.

There exist a number of different categories which people place their gender identities in. The genders themselves can be any point on an infinite continuum, and therefore one could argue that there are technically an infinite number of genders. A majority of these points fit within 9 categories (the above listed, and then "man" and "woman"), and therefore there are at least 9 genders.

In conclusion:
1) Sex and Gender are not the same thing. My opponent has thus far argued that there are only two sexes.
2) There are more than two sexes, with intersex conditions accounting for at least 16 sexes.
3) There are more than two genders, with technically a technically infinite number of gender identities mostly fitting within 9 categories.
Debate Round No. 2
Brompton

Pro

"My opponent mistakenly uses "sex" and "gender" as synonymous."
My opponent presumes this and shame on him for doing so. He even uses a dictionary definition as a justification for his grave error of assumption. Like many other so-called "progressives", my opponent clings dogmatically to the dictionary as his very arguments rest on them, like a castle on sand.

The problem with modern dictionaries is that they are no longer prescriptive. They no longer define what is correct and incorrect in terms of language. Instead, they are descriptivist as they define what language is being used by the public and how that which is correct.

Take the adjective "nice" for instance, the dictionary definition according to the OED is "giving pleasure or satisfaction; pleasant or attractive". That is because dictionaries are no longer prescriptive, but descriptive. The prescriptive meaning of the adjective "nice" is "foolish, stupid, senseless," as the adjective is a derivative of the latin word "nescius" meaning "ignorant, unaware," literally "not-knowing,". Only through years of misuse has the meaning been morphed. Even Fowler complained that the adjective was "too great a favorite with the ladies, who have charmed out of it all its individuality and converted it into a mere diffuser of vague and mild agreeableness."

In a similar way, the use of "gender" has been morphed from its original meaning by countless years of misuse. I use the correct term, correctly. "Gender" derives from the Latin "Genus", meaning "race, stock, family; kind, sex, rank, order; species". In a way, "Gender" is a hypernym for "Sex". Either way, you fully understand what I mean when I say that there are only two genders.

"The word gender has been used since the 14th century as a grammatical term, referring to classes of noun designated as masculine, feminine, or neuter in some languages."
Equally, so has it been used to describe sexual, cultural, and economic differences depending on context. In fact, 14th-century usage would have been in Latin, therefore meaning "race, stock, family; kind, sex, rank, order; species" or in Old French, in which case it would mean "kind, species; character; sex", again hypernymy.

"In opposing the notion that there are only two *sexes*, which is what my opponent has thus far argued, I would like to point out the existence of intersex individuals."

Also, take note of my opponents list of aberrancies thereafter:
"Klinefelter *Syndrome*",
"Turner *Syndrome*",
"Androgen Insensitivity *Syndrome*",
"Adrenal *Hyperplasia*",
"Vaginal *Agenesis*",
"5-Alpha-Reductase *Deficiency*",
"Chromosomal Mosaicism" (Technically *non-disjunction*, *anaphase lag* or endoreplication),
"Complete Gonadal *Dysgenesis*"
and so on.

Take particular note of the postmodifiers in this list: "syndrome", "deficiency", "non-disjunction", "lag"... These do not constitute genders, they constitute medical abnormalities. The abnormalities of the few do not define the normalities of the many. There are not "at least 18 sexes" as my opponent claims, but 2 genders and a handful of populationally minimal medical conditions which in no way can be defined as genders. The same goes for gender identities.
PsychicPhysicist

Con

In his most recent argument, my opponent makes the accusation that: "my opponent clings dogmatically to the dictionary" towards me, while simultaneously advocating prescriptive grammar over descriptive grammar. In case the reader is unsure as to what these terms mean, as my opponent failed to define them, I will explain them as follows:

"Prescriptive grammar" is the notion that dictionaries, professors of English literature, and other authorities, get to define what words mean. If the dictionary gives a particular meaning to a word, prescriptive grammar would make that the "correct" meaning of that word, regardless of the use of that word in everyday language by most people. Typically, it clings to the original usage of a word, rather than adapting to fit its modern usage.

This is contrary to "descriptive grammar", which is the notion that how everyday people use a word defines what it means, regardless of what so-called authorities say.

An example of this is in the usage of the word "gay". Originally, "gay" meant "happy, joyous or colourful", but its usage changed to mean "homosexual". Prescriptive grammar would hold that "gay" has the former meaning rather than the latter, whereas descriptive grammar would define it as the latter.

Clearly, my opponent"s accusation that I cling to the dictionary too strongly, while simultaneously advocating prescriptive grammar, is a case of "he who lives in a glass house throwing stones".

In any case, the dictionary definitions I presented were not critical to my argument, as even if I were to concede that "gender" and "sex" are synonymous, (and please do not take this as me actually conceding such), then my argument that there are more than two *sexes* would apply also to the notion that there were more than two *genders*, and therefore my argument would be strengthened, not weakened. If you accept my definitions as true, then my last post presented two separate arguments- one that there are more than two sexes, and the other that there are more than two genders. If you fail to accept my definitions as true, then my last post presented two arguments to the same effect- that there are more than two genders.

Despite my opponent"s baseless assertion that "his very arguments rest on them, like a castle on sand", this claim is demonstrably false, as my arguments would be combined and strengthened if the dictionary definition no longer applied. I only quoted such a definition in order to give some context and background information to this debate.

(At this point, though not important to the debate itself, I would like to point out that I am a woman, not a man, and I would therefore appreciate it if my opponent used "she/her" pronouns rather than "he/him").

Most of the rest of my opponent"s argument is used to advocate prescriptive grammar over descriptive grammar. Though this is completely irrelevant to the motion, I feel I should argue against this, as he is incorrect about this issue, too. Reader, I ask you to look at the following definitions, and to choose which one is "correct" for each word:

"Bad: A homosexual, effeminate, or submissive man".

"Bad: Negative, undesirable or disadvantageous".

https://www.youtube.com...

(0:36-0:52)

"Fun: A piece of cloth or fabric".

"Fun: Entertaining, enjoyable or high-flying".
https://www.youtube.com...
(1:45-2:14)

A prescriptive grammarist would necessarily have to accept the former definition in each case. However, almost everyone, presumably you, as the reader, included, accepts the latter definition. We are descriptive grammarists, not prescriptive. My opponent"s futile clinging to outdated definitions is illogical, snobbish and unnecessary.

Even if I were to completely unnecessarily concede prescriptive grammar as superior, my source was the Oxford English Dictionary- what better source for a prescriptive definition can there be?

My opponent, after attempting to assert the superiority of prescriptive grammar, which he did badly and which would turn out to be irrelevant to the motion even if he had succeeded in doing so, proceeded to argue in a more relevant way as follows:

"Take particular note of the postmodifiers in this list: "syndrome", "deficiency", "non-disjunction", "lag"... These do not constitute genders, they constitute medical abnormalities. The abnormalities of the few do not define the normalities of the many."

It is at this point that I would like to draw the attention of both my opponent and the reader to the wording of the motion:

"There are only two genders"

No part of this motion requires that these genders (or sexes, as my opponent has actually argued) are commonplace. Consider an analogous motion:

"There are only two breeds of dog".

Imagine we lived in a world where 99.99% of all dogs were either dalmatians or alsatians. If I can point to the existence of a rottweiler, then I have fundamentally defeated the motion, regardless of how obscure and uncommon such a breed is.

Likewise, I have managed to point to at least 18 different ways in which a human individual"s physical anatomy, secondary sex characteristics, chromosomes and so on, can be structured. I willingly concede that most of these states of being are incredibly rare, but this does not in any way invalidate the point that they exist and meet the definition of a "sex", and therefore that the motion, or rather how my opponent has incorrectly argued it, is false.

To echo my opponent"s lazy extrapolation between sex and gender, "The same goes for gender identities."- it is irrelevant that many of them are uncommon. They exist and there are more than two of them. Ergo, motion defeated.

In conclusion for this part of the argument:

1) Prescriptive grammar is not superior to descriptive grammar- descriptive grammar is, by definition, what most people use to understand words.

2) Even if prescriptive grammar were superior to descriptive grammar, this would in no way damage my original arguments- in fact, a prescriptive definition of "sex" and "gender" would compound and strengthen my arguments.

3) The fact that most sexes and genders are relatively rare is irrelevant to this motion- provided 3 of each exist (and I have demonstrated this), no matter how rare they are, the motion is defeated.
Debate Round No. 3
Brompton

Pro

"(At this point, though not important to the debate itself, I would like to point out that I am a woman, not a man, and I would, therefore, appreciate it if my opponent used "she/her" pronouns rather than "he/him")."
I apologise profusely, your profile does not state your gender, so I went with the most probable option.

"while simultaneously advocating prescriptive grammar over descriptive grammar."
With all due respect madame, I am not arguing for prescriptive grammar, I am merely making the point that dictionaries, which formerly provided a prescription of language use, now provide a description of language use. Language use can be wrong. Just because the majority of people use language in a specific way doesn't make that language use right. A majority of nations have been at war at some point, that doesn't make war right. So it's really a case of manipulating the words of your opponent to suit your own gain.

"Consider an analogous motion:

"There are only two breeds of dog".

Imagine we lived in a world where 99.99% of all dogs were either dalmatians or alsatians. If I can point to the existence of a rottweiler, then I have fundamentally defeated the motion, regardless of how obscure and uncommon such a breed is."

A better analogy would be that 99.9999% of all dogs were somewhere on a spectrum between being wholly dalmatian or wholly alsatian. Some dogs may have spots, others may not, but they still exist on the spectrum with which there is a clear boundary between alsatian and dalmatian.

An even better analogy would be to say that if on a number line, being wholly female was represented as being -10 and being wholly male was represented as being 10, a person who is 1 is a male and a person who is -3.5 is a female. There are clear boundaries.

I know what you're going to say, you're going to say, well, what about 0? I can tell you, not one human on this planet will ever be absolutely 0. They may be 0.00021, then they are male. They may be -0.0000001, then they are a woman. I can tell you for a fact, that no person would ever be directly zero. There are two halves of the spectrum.
PsychicPhysicist

Con

"Language use can be wrong. Just because the majority of people use language in a specific way doesn't make that language use right. A majority of nations have been at war at some point, that doesn't make war right"

Though somewhat tangential to the motion itself, I feel this terrible analogy needs to be addressed.

The question of whether war is *morally* right is very different to whether descriptive language is *logically* right. Yes, it is true to say that though the majority of nations have participated in war at some point, that doesn"t make war inherently morally right. However, this is wholly irrelevant as to the case of whether descriptive language is the logically right option to go for. By definition, more people will understand what you mean if you use descriptive language rather than prescriptive, and this makes it inherently more efficient as a means of communication. Neither prescriptive nor descriptive language can be considered "right" or "wrong" as my opponent suggests, but rather both are valid ways of determining the meanings of words, with the latter being more effective as it produces less misunderstanding.

"A better analogy would be that 99.9999% of all dogs were somewhere on a spectrum between being wholly dalmatian or wholly alsatian"

That is not a better analogy. Is a rottweiler closer to being wholly dalmatian or wholly alsatian? What about a chihuahua? The question itself makes no sense- it is not either, and nor is it a mid-point between the two.

The same goes for masculinity and femininity: the two are not always opposed. If I were to ask someone: "What is your favourite activity?", they may reply as follows:

Very masculine person: "Drinking beer and watching football."

Very feminine person: "Drinking wine and painting my nails."

Very masculine AND very feminine person: "Painting my nails while watching football."

Someone who is not very masculine or very feminine: "Reading."

To take the dog analogy further, just as a dalmatian-alsatian cross is clearly both more dalmatian and more alsatian than a rottweiler is, so too can someone be both more masculine and more feminine that another person simultaneously. Masculinity and femininity are not opposed. Rather, they are just different categories from which one could be rated from being 0% at "not at all masculine/feminine" to 100% "wholly masculine/feminine". 100% in one does not imply 0% in the other and vice versa.

Masculinity and femininity are also completely arbitrary, by the way, as in some cultures it is considered very masculine to cry at the beauty of a lotus flower, or to ask for directions, both of which are considered relatively emasculating in western culture.

My opponent also makes the mistake of conflating masculinity/femininity with being a man/woman. There are feminine men, and there are masculine women: Gok Wan is more feminine than Fatima Whitbread, but he is a man and she is a woman.

I am glad to see that we are no longer in disagreement about the difference between sex and gender, as my opponent has switched from arguing wholly about sex to arguing about masculinity/femininity, which is much closer to gender than sex is, in that it is a psychological difference rather than a physical one.

Once again, I would like to reiterate the point that if a single sex/gender can be shown to exist beyond the typical male/female binary, the motion is necessarily defeated. This is done by the existence of intersex people and people whose gender deviates from the typical "man/woman" binary, such as third gender or genderfluid people.
Debate Round No. 4
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Debate Round No. 5
11 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by stemaclean 1 week ago
stemaclean
Both sides of this debate missed the point by arguing linguistic semantics over reality. Words are placeholders for meaning and context. If you are using terms differently, you have to assess based on their utility, consistency, reflection of reality, etc.

Also, the comparison of breed with gender is an apples and oranges thing. It is based on a combination of lineage, and labeled based on common lineage and breeding. Gender/ sex is a specific state of being male and female as those two states relate to reproduction potential. It does not shift in the way that lineage does. Yes, there are genetic aberrations, but these do not constitute a new breeding reality for humanity. At most, you could say that they are misshapen males or females due to the disorders mentioned.

The crux of the entire debate seems to rest on different interpretations of the word gender. One interpretation reflects the dictionary and common use, the other shifts it illogically and continuously adds baggage to it that makes no sense.

The base definition of both terms is the state of being male or female. In discussing what differentiates males and females, the two topics spoken of are biological and social. Both say 'here is the binary grouping, two options listed, here is the context of how we speak about differences'.

If I used the idea of gender in terms of sex, I could say that biological sex is a spectrum as well, stating that larger or smaller genitals, different textured genitals, different sized muscles, different sized breasts, all lead to an individually labelable state of sex characteristics. It would be just as wrong, though, because differentiation in attributes does not change the core factors of differentiation.

The logic does not add up.
Posted by stemaclean 1 week ago
stemaclean
Both sides of this debate missed the point by arguing linguistic semantics over reality. Words are placeholders for meaning and context. If you are using terms differently, you have to assess based on their utility, consistency, reflection of reality, etc.

Also, the comparison of breed with gender is an apples and oranges thing. It is based on a combination of lineage, and labeled based on common lineage and breeding. Gender/ sex is a specific state of being male and female as those two states relate to reproduction potential. It does not shift in the way that lineage does. Yes, there are genetic aberrations, but these do not constitute a new breeding reality for humanity. At most, you could say that they are misshapen males or females due to the disorders mentioned.

The crux of the entire debate seems to rest on different interpretations of the word gender. One interpretation reflects the dictionary and common use, the other shifts it illogically and continuously adds baggage to it that makes no sense.

The base definition of both terms is the state of being male or female. In discussing what differentiates males and females, the two topics spoken of are biological and social. Both say 'here is the binary grouping, two options listed, here is the context of how we speak about differences'.

If I used the idea of gender in terms of sex, I could say that biological sex is a spectrum as well, stating that larger or smaller genitals, different textured genitals, different sized muscles, different sized breasts, all lead to an individually labelable state of sex characteristics. It would be just as wrong, though, because differentiation in attributes does not change the core factors of differentiation.

The logic does not add up.
Posted by ZachZimmey 10 months ago
ZachZimmey
Either you have XX or you have XY. Female versus male. Two.

(Or in certain cases more such as Turner's syndrome there are more or less chromosomes, but the child still develops as male or female. It all depends on the Y chromosome.)
Posted by PsychicPhysicist 10 months ago
PsychicPhysicist
@jd:

Care to offer an actual rebuttal towards what I've said? Or are you going to make baseless assertions about a strawman misrepresentation of my position, again?
Posted by jd24148 10 months ago
jd24148
there ARE only two genders. Psychic is wrong again
Posted by vi_spex 10 months ago
vi_spex
you see me right infront of you.. -it
Posted by PsychicPhysicist 10 months ago
PsychicPhysicist
@Panda:

No one refers to themselves by "it". Typical pronouns for agender or nonbinary people are "they/them".

Atypical gender identities are not "normal" in the sense that they are not literally the norm, but there is nothing worse or immoral about identifying as such.

The reference to "gender identity disorder" is outdated- there were times when the medical community referred to being homosexual as a disorder, and before that being left-handed was considered a disorder.
Posted by PsychicPhysicist 10 months ago
PsychicPhysicist
@Zoneling:

Intersex individuals ARE BORN WITH a sex which is not clearly male or clearly female.

You're thinking of TRANSGENDER people, not INTERSEX. You're wrong about them, too, by the way, but as it is irrelevant to this motion I'm just going to ignore that.
Posted by HeavenlyPanda 10 months ago
HeavenlyPanda
There is only two gender identities. Male and female. Gays/transgenders who refer to themselves as "it's" have mental disorders. It's called "gender identity disorder". Do you actually see how messed up our society has become? We now believe that people who have mental disorders like gender identity disorder are normal. This is wrong. They need help.
Posted by Zoneling 10 months ago
Zoneling
"Intersex individuals"

Don't make me laugh.

You mean people who mutilate their genitals and then usually spiral into depression afterwards?

If you feel girly as a man, just be feminine, you really don't have to cut your dick off.
Same goes vice-versa.
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