As an intersex person, my story is a testimony that we do not have to be surgically altered to be loved; and yes, although my life was medically extremely difficult in many ways, I found a life partner of over twenty-seven years and we created a beautiful family. To my family I am not broken. My own parents feared that no one would want me, or want to be with me. Doctors made me feel like I was broken too. They were all wrong.
I am very fortunate to never have suffered genital mutilation. There are other intersex people in this world, like me, who have also proven that intersex people do not need surgically fixed to be loved, accepted, and to have a good life. Hida Viloria is one of them. I think part of the problem is that when we are born, the medical community is not calling us intersex. They call us other things that implicate that we need “fixed”. A natural variance of nature is diagnosed into a medical condition, or a pathology. There is rarely a medical reason for surgery other than cosmetic. To me, my body is no longer “abnormal”.
This fear, of us not being lovable because of our genitals and bodies not conforming to “normal”, and two binary boxes, cannot be a justification of surgical “corrective” or “normalizing” surgeries. These surgeries destroy sexual pleasure and fertility. It is a human rights violation! Plus, doing early intervention on an infant’s genitals does not determine their sexual orientation or gender later in life either. Countless intersex people, who have been assigned the wrong gender, are proving this error in thinking.
Sad to say, I was still medically and psychiatrically violated in other ways though. I find it an irony that they tried to fix me, so that I could be more loving and accepted by society, yet it was their interventions that made me so sick and wish I were dead.
Somehow I survived, after the much iatrogenic harm, multiple suicide attempts, and several close calls with death brought on by medical interventions. I have sadly met other intersex people who have survived to speak out about how they were violated by surgery, medications, hormones and a social construct that does not allow for our existence.
Shockingly, at this point in time, unless one lives in the country of Malta, no one is breaking the law when they try to fix an intersex infant, child or adult.
A Common Sense Solution:
It needs to become an intersex person’s HUMAN RIGHTS to have SELF-DETERMINATION.
Simply love and raise your intersex baby, the way they were physically born. Realize that nature can create many variations and all intersex bodies are beautiful. Do not do cosmetic surgery on your baby, unless it is absolutely medically necessary, which is very rare. Let the child decide when they are older if they want surgery. Last, change the language. We all need to stop calling an intersex body “defective” or some pathology. We are naturally occurring and as common as red heads!
To learn more about intersex genital mutilation, one can watch these videos: List of Intersex Videos.
The violations of Intersex People have to be some of the worst Human Rights Violations of our World right now.
The above image created by Pidgeon Pagonis an Intersex Activist and Survivor.
Below is a list of support for us intersex people, our parents, and our doctors: