I actually read that article when I was doing research for the unit. On the one hand, it is true that if you only count ovotesticular disorder (people born with both sets of genitalia), the number is very low. But it is simply inaccurate to assert that every other instance of non-dimorphic sexual development doesn’t “count” as an intersex condition in the eyes of the medical community or in the eyes of the people who live with them. Most of the 1.7 percent comes from late onset congenital adrenal hyperplasia, which affects 1.5% of the population.
In regards to the quote you posted, that contention has received significant pushback.
This statement actually contains two distinct definitions (separated by the word “or”) relating to phenotypes and chromosomes. It is an arbitrary and ideological analysis that requires individuals who have come to the attention of medicine due to their innate physical characteristics to be investigated as to the cause. Depending on that cause, they may or may not fall within Sax’s definitions.
From the organization Intersex Human Rights Australia https://ihra.org.au/16601/intersex-numbers/
If we are pushing for compassion and inclusion (as is befitting of Christians), we should listen to the groups that are advocating for compassion and inclusion.
They say (same link as above):
IHRA does not support the analysis by Sax, largely because we attribute a different meaning to the word intersex, based on lived experience. Many intersex people who fall outside Sax’s narrow two definitions face stigmatisation and suffer human rights violations in the same way as intersex people who fall within the definitions, because their physical development does not conform to medical or social norms for female or male bodies. Many such individuals, including people with XXY, hypospadias and MRKH, have helped found and help lead the intersex human right movement.
In this sense, the difference between narrow and broad definitions in medicine is arbitrary and ideological. It is arbitrary in that investigation and testing is required to establish the cause of relevant biological characteristics. It is ideological in that intersex people share common ground due to the shared experience of stigmatisation of our atypical sex characteristics. It is the perceived need for diagnosis and treatment itself that defines the intersex population, and not necessarily a specific and narrow set of causal factors.
In this context, a 2006 shift in medical terminology is illuminating. “DSD” was defined by clinicians as a “replacement” medical term for hermaphrodite, pseudo-hermaphrodite and intersex. The term itself remains highly contested: Australian and many other intersex organisations regard it as inherently pathologising; it tends to sanction medical intervention. Our contention was supported by the Australian Senate’s Community Affairs Committee in a 2013 report on the Involuntary or coerced sterilisation of intersex people in Australia .
Even though we object to the term “DSD”, it encapsulates a range of atypical physical or anatomical sex characteristics. These share in common their non-conformance with medical and social sex and gender norms. This non-conformance with stereotypical standards for male and female is why intersex differences are medicalised in the first place and, while that remains the case, it makes sense to us to include them in a definition of intersex.
The low figure of 1 in 1,500 or 1 in 2,000 live births is not borne out by data published elsewhere. The NSW Ministry of Health reports data from the State’s Mothers and Babies Report 2009 showing that infants with visible reportable differences of sex anatomy between 2003-2009 comprised 0.59% of all births, or 1 in 169. No breakdown of additional (often not yet apparent) relevant chromosomal “anomalies” is given.
Thus, in the absence of better internationally-accepted data, Intersex Human Rights Australia cites a systematic review by Blackless, Fausto-Sterling and others showing intersex to be around 1.7% of all live births.
This more broad treatment is also how intersex conditions are presented at this Christian intersex advocacy website: https://www.intersexandfaith.org/
Recommend you look into this a little more carefully. You aren’t as informed as you think you are.
See also this article about inclusion in the church: