Re: ISO/IEC 10646 and ISO/IEC 14651 freely available

From: Hans Aberg (
Date: Fri Sep 29 2006 - 05:30:27 CST

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    On 29 Sep 2006, at 09:04, Stephane Bortzmeyer wrote:

    > On Thu, Sep 28, 2006 at 01:59:39PM +0200,
    > Hans Aberg <> wrote
    > a message of 14 lines which said:
    >> This standard is rather limited, as it does not admit indicating
    >> various androgyny, transsexual and indeterminate sex conditions.
    > Transsexual people do have a gender, it is just that they changed
    > it. Nothing in ISO 5218 prevents to change the gender of a person.

    The stuff in the Unicode character set seems mainly concerned with
    sexual preference, whereas I indicated the problem of medically
    defining physical maleness/femaleness. The transsexuality you mention
    is a sexual preference, which may sometimes result in a medically
    altered sex change.

    But some individuals have a faulty gene, so that the baby is not
    exposed to testosterone during pregnancy, but during puberty. The
    baby starts of as a female at birth, but develops as a male during

    > Androgyny is more complicated to handle.

    So it may fall into the same category.

    Another complication is that male and female humans both are exposed
    to testosterone and estrogen, but in different amounts, and both
    hormones are important for proper development. For example, estrogen
    during puberty is responsible for the body stop growing, which is why
    castrates do not stop growing. Testosterone is, to some extent,
    responsible of the sex drive, also in females. Females with
    heightened exposure to testosterone usually, as males, have shorter
    index finger than ring finger, which is statistically, but not
    individually, linked to lesbianism. It is unknown what causes
    sexually preference in the individual.

    So, therefore, there are a number of cases with ambiguous physical
    sexual development, where one factor is the amount of exposure of
    these hormones, though that is only a part of the story.

    I am not a medical expert on the subject. I just noticed that the
    Unicode standard seems to assume that mankind falls into two physical
    categories "male" and "female", with the possible exception of
    androgyny, then. This might be too limited. But I do not know how the
    subject should be resolved.

       Hans Aberg

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