From chromosomes to genes
It is known from life descriptions prior to 1900 that sex diversity had long been known even then. At that time, viewing the genitals was the only way to determine a person’s gender (Rousseau 1980). Since then, technical knowledge about the body has increased. However, it remained that the knowledge of the moment determined who was male and who was female. Despite the fact that knowledge increasingly confirmed that sex was not a dichotomy, sex diversity became less accepted: people who did not fit into that imaginary dichotomy were forced to confirm with operations that were not possible before. In doing so, the principle was again and again that with better medical technology, doctors could determine who was really a man or really a woman. And time and again, new knowledge showed that the old views were wrong.
The history of the chromosome makes this painfully clear:
Anyone who has read through the history above will notice that the definition of man and woman through time is highly dependent on state of the art biological and technological research from that time.
Before there was any knowledge of chromosomes and genes, external genitalia was considered: penis = male, no penis = female. Before 1900, assigning a gender to an intersex child was a legal and social problem – in fact, doctors knew as little about intersex as, say, judges or pastors. But with the new knowledge about heredity, chromosomes, and gene, doctors became the experts who could determine a person’s true sex. And as knowledge increased, so did confusion, for each time determining one’s gender was more complicated than expected: