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Intersex

MTV's Faking It Introduces Intersex Character

MTV's Faking It Introduces Intersex Character

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MTV's LGBT-themed teen dramedy will explore a less commonly visible aspect of gender variance in its second season.

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[Editor's note: This article contains spoilers]

MTV's Faking It, a teen-focused primetime dramedy about a pair of best friends who pretend to be lesbians to increase their popularity, will tackle broader identity issues in its second season by revealing that one of the primary antagonists is intersex.

"What could be inside her that makes [Lauren] this tough-as-nails, hyper-feminine character?" executive Carter Covington told the Hollywood Reporter, describing one the show's archetypal mean girl, who transfers to the Austin-area high school only to find that the kids who are usually popular are the losers, while those typically labeled freaks at her old school rule the roost. "[Being] intersex came up."

Lauren, played by actress Bailey De Young, is now slated to be one of the first intersex characters portrayed on mainstream television. Her character is among the one in every 2,000 individuals born each year with anatomy outside the male/female binary.

Faking It is a scripted show about Amy and Karma: two straight best friends who pretend to be lesbians to gain popularity at their high school. While one of them actually does begin to question her sexuality, the show also explores how other characters might be "faking" or hiding aspects of their identities for social gains.

The show's second season premieres September 23, and promises to resolve a cliffhanger from the previous season, in which Lauren was shown using unnamed pills. Viewers will learn that she is taking hormones to treat her Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome -- an intersex condition when someone is born with typically male chromosomes and gonads, but develops to look typically female.

Covington told the Hollywood Reporter that he worked with Kimberly Zieselman from intersex youth organization Inter/Act to consult with staff on Lauren's depiction.

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Mitch Kellaway