The word sex refers to the sex assigned at birth, based on external genitalia. ‘Western social conventions accept the existence of two sexes, male and female. However, not all individuals are so clearly assigned to one of the two categories. Approximately 1.7% of babies (Blackless et al., 2000) are thought to be intersex, which means they are born into a body that does not correspond in all respects to normative constructions of male and female. The ‘conditions’ to which the medical world refers to as ‘variations in sex development’ are numerous. They may be genetic (presence of atypical chromosomal combinations), anatomical (genitalia considered ambiguous or of different size), hormonal (androgen receptor insensitivity or overproduction of testosterone or oestrogen) or gonadal (internal or external testicles, ovaries, or mixed gonads) variations’ (translation of Richard, 2019: 14-15).

GPE (Global Partnership for Education), UNGEI (United Nations Girls’ Education Initiative). 2017. Guidance for Developing Gender-Responsive Education Sector Plans. Washington D.C.: The Global Partnership for Education. Retrieved from:

Richard, G. 2019. Hétéro, L’école? Plaidoyer pour une education antiopressive à la sexualité. Quebec: Les Éditions du remue-ménage. Retrieved from:

To explore further
UNESCO Bangkok. 2019. Gender in Education Network in Asia-Pacific (GENIA) Toolkit: Promoting Gender Equality in Education. Bangkok: UNESCO Bangkok. Retrieved from:

UNESCO; UNAIDS Secretariat; UNFPA (United Nations Population Fund); UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund); UN Women; WHO (World Health Organization). 2018. International technical guidance on sexuality education: an evidence-informed approach. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from:

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