3rd sex

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The documentary “3rd Sex” deals with “Intersexuality” as defined by Suzanne J Kessler “Lessons from the intersexed”: The condition of having genital, gonadal, or chromosomal characteristics that are neither all “female” nor all “male”. This two part documentary was broadcast on Thursday 20 and 27 November 2003. It is an in depth investigation into the phenomena of intersexuality. It looks at the history, the biological conditions, the mythology and myths, the sexing of the children and the gender issues that intersexuality raises.

The story is told through the accounts of two individuals, Sally Gross and Nombulelo Soldaat. Sally never received corrective surgery while Nombulelo did.

South Africa has one of the highest birth rate of intersex individuals in the world, but still society in general refuse to look at this condition, nobody dares to talk about it and the discrimination against these individuals is rife. Intersex individuals are marginalised and forced, by perceptions that society holds, to accept polarised genders of either male or female.

This documentary was nominated as Best Feature Documentary for the South African Film and TV Awards 2004.


  • Producer/Director – Wessel van Huyssteen
  • Director of Photography – Jacques Nortier
  • Editors – Sandra Vieira, Phyllis Dannhauser
  • Script – Wessel van Huyssteen
  • Voice artist – Brian Webber

See also