I am a person born with intersex traits, that was assumed to be female, and raised female. A Cisgender person identifies as the gender they are assigned to at birth. I do not, nor have I ever felt Cisgender, even when I appeared female. All the therapy and surgery in the world could never achieve that with me, however, there are some intersex people who do identify as being Cisgender or as typical male or female people. Each of us are so different.
I know many intersex people who were assigned the wrong gender like I was. I have never felt 100% male or female; although I definitely identify with being male, far more than female. I am very gender nonconforming, and would rather not say “non-binary”, due to not believing the male/female binary/two categories are accurate in describing humanity. Please note, I do not speak for other intersex people. I only share my experience, strength and hope.
Until I honored my true gender, that of being a Gender Nonconforming, Gender Fluid, Androgynous Male. I also like the word “inter gender” to describe my gender. I feel that I was forced into a binary sex category (male or female). In America and any country that has not adopted a “Third Gender” box, it is mandatory to pick either biological male or biological female. Because of this, some intersex are subjected to infant sex assignment surgery, to make their bodies conform to the assigned sex. This obviously can be catastrophic in some cases. Even with this third box, surgeries are still being performed; so that is obviously not the answer either. Some say, that getting rid of all the boxes might be a more sound solution. I write about that here: Seven Reasons to Why I do NOT want a THIRD GENDER BOX, and a possible solution.
Not only are some assigned the wrong gender in some cases, they have lost body parts, during these childhood surgeries that they may have wanted later in life. Also, their fertility is often taken without consent. Worse, all too often their ability to orgasm, and enjoy sex as adults taken forever during these childhood genital surgeries.
To the surprise of many, not all transgender people have or want genital surgery. It should be left up to the intersex child, just like it is left up to the transgender person to pick what surgeries, if any they have. Gender is a social construct. Gender is a personal thing, and how one feels internally about themselves. Gender is not in our genitals and never will be. I made this meme because of it:
It took me until I was forty-six years old to become sick enough, and desperate enough, to finally stop the insanity of it all, and accept my true gender. I truly feared I was going to die, or end my life. I had attempted suicide many times before.
Death becomes a very big motivator when one has kids and a husband they love. So I stopped all testosterone blockers, many of my medications, and many of the steroids I was taking. Yes, it was a risk, but I saw no choice. I was facing my certain death. With the help of my new reproductive endocrinologist I finally received the right help.
For me to become my true gender, I have had to do many things similar to transgender men. I inject testosterone every week, but at a much lesser amount due to my body (my adrenals and ovaries) creating my testosterone and androgens. I have the most in common with gender nonconforming and non-binary transgender guys; or transgender guys that had Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, or have their own intersex traits. I appreciate all the friends I have made even.
Needless to say, I sadly can also received the same transphobia too. First, when I had unusually high testosterone as “female”, and was using blockers and taking female hormones. Some used to call me nasty insults that happen to transgender females. Since I now inject testosterone, and have stopped doing everything female I have received transphobia and prejudice. Some of this transphobia has even been from other intersex folks, which is terribly disheartening. Since they should know the difference between transgender and intersex, and have compassion for my story. People who are marginalized like I am, should know better.
More ridiculous is the phobia, (both intersex phobia, and trans phobia), I have received from the gay or lesbian community. Thankfully, I have had more good experiences than bad, since I go out of my way to educate and share a message about love and acceptance. I like to educate all people because I see that it erases their phobias, and irrational fears, or prejudice.
Self-determination is obviously the key here to achieving balance and happiness with oneself. It is my hope that self-determination of gender becomes every human beings right, and every intersex child’s right in this world.
Here is a Related Blog by Cary Gabriel Costello, Ph.D.: Cisgender, Trans Gender and Intersex