Archive for November, 2011

ask anything: intersex

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Thanks to Gabrielle, our Sexology stagiaire, for answering the latest question on our blog!

Q: PLEASE PROVIDE A DEFINITION OF INTERSEX

Intersex refers to a person who’s born with sex chromosomes, external genitalia, or a reproductive system that’s not considered “standard” for either male or female. (Intersex Society of North America)

Here are some examples to represent this concept. A person could be born with a vulva and a vagina but no uterus and ovaries (internal reproductive system), or with a penis and a vagina, or a very large clitoris that resembles a penis. A lot of people are curious about what the range of intersex genitals could look like, but these questions can be quite invasive for intersex people (for any person, really!). This blog has some great diagrams and explanations that avoid using photos of people’s bodies (these are often taken without the person’s consent).

These variations in sexual organs doesn’t mean a person is unhealthy, and in most cases won’t cause them any physical health problems. The big issue in the reality of an intersex person is often the ambiguity and the stigma. Ambiguity by itself is totally fine, but our society doesn’t respond very well to things that don’t fit easily into boxes. In most cases, doctors perform surgery on intersex babies in order to “correct” the situation and to make their genitals fit in the “normal” male/female binary. This sends the message that to be intersex is a problem, when in reality it’s not!

Being informed as parents of an intersex kid or as an intersex person is really important, since there are many myths out there that can have a big impact on a person’s sexual development and identity. Check out the Intersex Society of North America, or these videos produced by 20/20, for more information:

Part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xv1yk2Va9qc

Part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oHbBTEeayEU&feature=related

ask anything: various vaginas!

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Welcome to our newest anonymous-question-answerer, Gabrielle!  Gabrielle is a Sexology student at UQAM and a beloved stagiaire here at Head & Hands. Today she waxes poetic about the varieties of vulvas out there…

Q: how many types of vagina do we have?

An important thing to note is that there’s a lot of confusion in our day-to-day language about the female genitals, especially about the difference between the vagina and the vulva. The vulva refers to the outer portion of the genitals formed by the clitoris, the hood of the clitoris, the outer and the inner labia, the opening of the urethra and the opening of the vagina. The vagina is the internal part: it’s the canal that connects the vulva to the cervix and the uterus (the inner genitals). Check out the diagram below to see how it all comes together!

In any case, the precise number of different types of vulvas and vaginas are impossible to determine. Everybody is shaped differently to begin with, and people can alter the appearance of their genitals in different ways (e.g. piercing, shaving, tattoos or dyes)

As cliché as it sounds, every vulva is a unique piece of art. It has its own colour, size, amount of hair, and texture. Colour can range from a subtle pink to a rich brown tone. The clitoris, its hood and the labia can be very small and the skin tight, or larger and with the skin more elastic. Inner labia might be longer or shorter, sometimes extending below the outer labia and sometimes not. All of these things are normal!  It’s also important to note that the inner labia (like breasts and testicles) usually differ in size. For example, your inner right labia might stick out beyond your outer labia a lot more than the left one.

To get a better idea of variations, and to appreciate their difference, take a look at these pictures of vulvas after the break (NOTE: may not be acceptable viewing material in certain workplaces or schools!)

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New ‘Kid’ on the Blog

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Hey everyone !! My name is Jes and I am the newbie here at senseproject.org. Over the next several months, I will be posting about key topics related to all things ‘sense-y’ (and sometimes sexy..) including Getting to know your… videos. These videos will showcase existing members here at Head and Hands, to give folks a better idea of what they do here, regarding the Sense Project.

A little bit about me:

I am a full-time university student and part time blogger for my own website,nudabite. Here you will find a variety of topics related to the gay and queer community, including events, hot topics, photos and video interviews and Montreal fashion stuff. Basically, everything that I love through my own perspective :)

I’m a humanitarian/humanist and animal rights activist. I love to cook vegetarian food (it tastes awesome and is SUPER healthy for you!) and I believe in living a healthy lifestyle over-all, so hitting the gym is also something that I try to do regularly.

I hope you find my future posts instersting, insightful and inspiring :)

 

So excited to be part of this team!!!

 

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