Image by jemufo (Creative Commons)
A controversy has risen in recent years over the question of intersex health and medical treatment. Intersex people are not easy to categorize in male/female terms because of atypical or ambiguous genitalia, chromosomes, or bodily organs.
Since the late 1950s, intersex infants have routinely been surgically altered to conform as much as possible to a selected gender. Surgery has been followed by hormone treatment and often by shame and secrecy within the child's family.
In many cases intersex people have had painful and unsuccessful adjustments to surgery and arbitrary gender assigment. Activists argue that surgery should not occur or should be deferred to the intersex individual's mature decision.