"STOP Genital Mutilation in Children's Clinics!", February 6, 2011
 

While for most western minorities, enlightenment and modern times brought more rights and less abuse, for people born with "ambiguous genitals" the contrary applies.

Hermaphrodites were and are at high risk of being killed just after birth (or to be aborted if discovered by pre-natal examination) in most known societies. However, in middle age Europe and until modernity, surviving hermaphrodites at least enjoyed

a) growing up with their physical integrity respected, and

b) being legaly recognised and even

c) granted the privilege to choose whether they wanted to live as male or female as soon as they reached adulthood.

However, with the advent of modern science and medicine, this changed dramatically:

The hermaphrodites' traditional rights to decide for themselves as well as their right to physical integrity became increasingly challenged by scientists and doctors, striving for "assigning" the hermaphroditis by force, scalpel and administration of hormones, in accordance to their varying latest "state of the art" scientific theories.

In the late 1800s, under the label of "erreur de sexe", hermaphrodites found themselves suddenly accused by scientists and doctors of being impostors, frauds and deceivers. For the fathers of modern medicine, in case of doubt, sex was to be determined by vivisection surgical examination of the gonads, i.e. the testicles (often undescended and therefore still locateted in the belly or goins) and/or ovaries.

This method remained "state of the art" from the 1800s until the dawn of ultrasound and genetics. Only if a "patient" was able to prove he had both ovaries and testes, or mixed tissue gonads, he was deemed a "true" hermaphrodite, while the vast majority of the species were exposed as mere "pseudo" hermaphrodites, i.e. actually women or men in disguise.

(Ironically, in the 21st century, the likes of Caster Semenya, Santhi Soundarajan, Maria Patino and hundreds more nameless "gender test failures" are again accused of being impostors—this time of disguising as women while not really being one.)