Ipso Gender

Updated: JUNE 17, 2019

Ipso gender is an identifying term that describes an intersex individual who agrees with or identifies as their medically-assigned sex.

The term was coined by Cary Gabriel Costello, an intersex transgender male professor and intersex and transgender rights advocate. He developed the term because he felt that existing terms did not adequately describe the unique experiences of ipso gender individuals.

More About Ipso Gender

The term ipso gender can seem similar to some other gender identifiers at first, but it’s quite separate. For example, intergender people identify with nonbinary genders, while ipso gender people identify as one of the two binary genders: male or female.

Similarly, while cisgender and ipso gender individuals both identify with their ascribed genders their journeys are different. While cisgender people identify as either the male or female gender they were ascribed at birth, their bodies always appeared as either male or female. However, since ipso gender individuals are intersex, their bodies do not fit with the binary gender initially, if ever, even though their identity does. This can make the journey of an ipso gender individual more challenging than the one of a cisgender man or woman. For example, ipso gender infants are routinely subject to surgeries they cannot consent to to make their genitals appear more like non-intersex genitalia. Ipso gender people of all ages may be discriminated against and even face violence simply because they were born differently.

An argument could also be made that an intersex individual who does not identify as male or female could also be classed as cisgender, as this person’s ambiguous gender identity matches the ambiguous physical gender.


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