It is important that I share with you something I see many having confusion around when referring to a person born with intersex traits.
My body was born with physical traits of both male and female. There are many different ways this can happen in a person, but to keep things simple, for me it means that hormonally and physically I have both the traits of a typical male and a typical female. Some have innocently have come to the conclusion that this means I have “both genders”, when for me this is not true at all.
I actually consider my gender man but am very gender nonconforming and androgynous. My gender expression is mostly a man’s fashion on a day to day bases, but I love to dress androgynous (mixing both man and woman expressions). My mannerisms are neither male/man or female/woman, and I don’t go out of my way to conform to the strict constructs of the male/man or female/woman binary world. Not all intersex people are like me. This is simply my story.
You see, gender is like our personality, and how we identify ourselves as man/male or female/woman. Gender is a spectrum, it is not a strict man and woman binary. Sex is a spectrum too. It is not simply male or female. Just like any human, intersex people have the same range of gender identities as non-intersex people. This means that there are intersex men, intersex woman, intersex people who have non-binary identities, intersex people who are both man and women, and other identities. Some intersex people might not even have a gender identity, and they would consider themselves “agender” or genderless.
For me, my gender identity did not match my birth assignment. I was assigned female at birth, and it was an incorrect assumption that I would be a girl. Thankfully, I am fortunate enough to not have been surgically altered, a tragedy that is often faced by many intersex people. I did, however, suffer the consequences of hormonal manipulation and psychiatric interventions, that did cause me permanent damage. All of this would have been avoided if my true gender had been respected when I came out to this world as a boy as a child, when they could not justify it because of my intersex genitals. Therapy started as young as three years old to teach me I was a girl, and to force me to comply to this existence of binary gender.
Further, gender expression is how we appear to the world, or dress, to demonstrate our gender. For me, I mostly dress as a man, but truly enjoy dressing androgynous and even like to dress up in cosplay (costume play), like a pirate or steampunk. As a teen, I often dressed as Adam Ant, Pete Burns and Boy George, the androgynous rock stars of the 80’s.
Last, sexual orientation is who we are attracted to sexually. I have been with my husband for twenty-seven years. We have been married for twenty years of that, and now have two biological children, and adopted our youngest. I am no doubt, romantically attracted and sexually attracted and dedicated to this one person.
When I appeared as a woman, we appeared heterosexual. Now that I appear as a man, we appear as gay. My sexual orientation is strictly to be attracted to my husband, and it is sad that this world wants to label this. What is worse, is that these labels are obviously misconstructed, cause a divide and much harm. Heterosexual is obviously not the only “correct” sexual orientation. Here are some common ways people label their sexual orientation: A person can be heterosexual, gay, lesbian, bisexual, pansexual, asexual, and many other things to describe. If there is still confusion I created this page of definitions: Helpful LGBTQIA+ Definitions and Flags.
In closing, I hope for a world that allows autonomy to make choices and decide about our own bodies and how we identify ourselves. If I had been given that human right, my life would have turned out much better, and I would have avoided much societal, medical and psychological tragedy.
Although not perfect, and has a few flaws, the Featured Genderbread Image was borrowed from: The Genderbread Person.
To Learn more you can also go to: Intersex and Gender Diversity .