My thoughts today and the way I see it.
(Revised July 23rd, 2019)
I feel that one of the biggest problems society has right now, with the confusion of sex and gender, is that most people conflate anatomical sex with gender identity. After the medical invention of sex in the late 1800s, anyone who did not abide by their sex matching their gender was now defined by the medical complex and government as having a disorder or a mental condition.
Most do not know this, but anatomical sex and gender identity do not always match. Some of the worst human rights violations are happening due to intersex children being forced through nonconsenting genital corrective surgeries to match their genitals surgically to what this world feels equals a boy or a girl. If the world population is 7.6 billion, this means 129 million intersex people are being born. If we add transgender, non-binary, and non-conforming gender identity people to this number we would easily have over 200 million people with the potential of being assigned wrong at birth. All of these people are possibly facing surgery to match their genitals to the expectations of this gender binary. My blog: How Many People Are Assigned Wrong At Birth?
Anatomical sex has to do with genitals, chromosomes, hormones and our reproductive system. We have endosex bodies and endosex variations which abide by the specifications of what supposedly belongs to a typical male or female body. Then we also have all the various intersex bodily variations. An intersex person can have chromosomes, genitals, reproductive system, or hormones that are a mix of male and female in some way. Let me add a third way to define sex: Altersex; a term that can be used to describe oneself if they have had surgery or taken hormones to change their sex. Many people who are transgender might call themselves altersex if they wanted to. Of course, all these labels have to be self-determined as appropriate.
I feel that all these heteronormative, cisgender, endosex rules are a human-made social construct that claims what body parts and chromosomes belong and should not belong to certain types of human bodies.
In reality and in nature, different variations happen and do not abide by this social construct. You see, endosex, intersex born, and altersex people can grow up to become any gender identity: man/boy, woman/girl, both or neither and their chromosomes and body parts do not always agree to societies rules. This means there are going to be millions of people assigned wrong at birth if we continue to abide by this fallacy. With intersex birth certificates and Non-binary birth certificates becoming more popular people who break the binary will become more visible too; proving it is time to change!
Our anatomical sex and gender identity do not always match.
As we can see with some intersex, non-binary, and transgender people our anatomical sex and gender identity do not always match. Thus here lies the problems with most birth certificates and forms in our country/world right now: forms conflate anatomical sex with gender identity.
Most are taught that XX is always female and XY is always male. This is not true. In truth, nature makes XX males and XY females, and a Y chromosome doesn’t always make a boy. Nature also proves that a penis doesn’t always make a boy, nor a vagina a girl. It is this fallacy and cultural construct of sex and gender needing to always match this man-made ideal that has created this bias and erases the existence of millions of transgender, non-binary gender, non-conforming gender, and intersex bodied people. Some of the worse human rights violations are happening on this planet right now due to this fallacy and cultural construct of gender and the medical invention of sex.
When we do not match we are the ones who are often diagnosed or labeled with gender dysphoria. , and sometimes counseled to have surgery as adults; or worse, when we do not match nonconsenting innocent intersex children are forced into these cosmetic surgeries when they are not medically necessary. Gender dysphoria is a diagnosis that happens when a person has a mismatch between their anatomical sex and gender identity. Sometimes this can cause the person to feel like they are in the wrong body. Gender dysphoria is sometimes known as gender identity disorder (GID), gender incongruence or transgenderism. At this time, anatomical sex is assigned at birth, depending on the appearance of the genitals.
Instead of calling this gender dysphoria, I would like to call this cultural dysphoria.
This cultural dysphoria and lack of education is leading to transphobia, intersex phobia, queerphobia, homophobia, nonconsenting intersex surgeries on children, surgery regret with some transgender people, and intolerance of nonbinary/nonconforming human diversity.
How do we change all this?
First of all, I believe it is important to stop calling intersex a condition, disorder or syndrome and stop diagnosing every single person who goes against their birth certificate with gender dysphoria. I know that some of us intersex people do not feel like we have a medical condition, and I know that not all transgender, non-binary, and gender non-conforming people have gender dysphoria.
I feel it is very important that we stop agreeing with the pathologizing language that the medical complex uses regarding intersex variations and people that go against their birth assignment. With intersex people, I think it is very important to stop saying “conditions”, “disorders”, “syndrome” and “defects”. Instead, please say: “Intersex Bodily Variations”. This way we have a powerful impact on changing our culture with the truth.
By saying “intersex bodily variations” this helps us as intersex adults and children to feel more accepted and not so judged as broken or something to be fixed or set apart. One would never say they have the “condition” of being an endosex female or endosex male. We should not be saying it for intersex children either. Note again: Endosex is what you are if you are not born with an intersex variation.
Although some transgender and intersex people truly do have gender dysphoria and would greatly benefit from surgeries and a full transition to match typical endosex male and endosex female bodily notations, not all people who go against their birth assignment have gender dysphoria, and not all transgender, intersex born, or non-conforming gender identity people want surgery or hormones to match these conforming binary notions.
The problem: Non-binary and Non-conforming choices to exist are not given by the medical complex or gender experts.
The way I see it, here lies a big problem: Few councilors, endocrinologists, and surgeons give information about all these nonconforming bodily choices. Professionals do not even tell the parents of intersex children or adults seeking transition, that non-binary and nonconforming hormones, anatomical bodies, and gender identity is even an option. This problem with informed consent is happening to adults too, not just intersex children. Surgery regret happens with transgender people too, not just nonconsenting intersex children.
I believe informed consent should be everybody’s right This is a human rights violation when people are not given options. It is time to end cultural dysphoria and give nonbinary and nonconforming bodily choices. I feel genital integrity is for every human. The female penis and male vagina exist. XX men exist, and XY women exist too. Help me to end cultural dysphoria.
Source: Here are two PDF files that can be printed to educate that uses the right language for intersex people.
1) The United Nations’ Intersex Fact Sheet:
2) Brief Guidelines for Intersex Allies By Claudia Marie Astorino and Hida Viloria
My Other Educational Blogs:
Seven Names for the SAME thing: Penis, Phallus, Clitoris, Phalloclitoris, Micropenis, Microphalus, and Clitoromegaly.
My idea: How medical forms could respect everyone.
It evolved into this below:
Here is my: TEDx Video: Born Intersex: we are human!
26 thoughts on “Cultural Dysphoria: Stop conflating anatomical sex with gender identity.”
Hi. I really love your idea of cultural dysphoria. Are aware of the social model of disability , which effectively turns the idea of (everyone’s) brokenness on its head too/already. I really think an awareness of it would add something to development of your theory. 🙂
Thank you for the compliment. I am not sure what you are meaning. If my biological sex is now legally recognized as intersex. I am not sure how the social model of disability would work. My biological sex is not a disability, nor more than being biologically male or female would be. However, thank you for your insight. It is my hope that people of all differences be better accommodated, and then their “disabilities” are not even an issue anymore to succeed in this world. Feel free to send me links.
I don’t believe it is benefiting Intersex people to align with Trans activists. If you wish to ‘cancel’ (i.e. block) me for what I am about to say, I will be mildly sad about that, because I believe in Intersex solidarity, but I won’t be blaming myself.
I do not see any merit to Intersex activists or non-activists collaborating in any way, shape or form with Trans Activism for a number of reasons, but the principle one relates to surgery. It is fair to say that surgery forms a large part of the Trans narrative, and whilst I am aware that not all people who identify as Trans actually receive surgery, a large number do, and this includes an ever growing number of children. As a person who was operated on non-consensually three separate times in childhood, I am not in support of young children being allowed to surgically transition, purely because the process of individuation has not even finished until childhood is over. In short, a person does not ‘know themselves’ until adulthood, and even then, self-knowledge is in a constant state of flux. The idea of giving puberty blockers to a child is sickening to me and I consider it child abuse. Also, I say this as a PAIS individual who was raised from birth as female and spent years during adolescence in a state of moderate gender dysphoria because I identified as female and was also six feet tall with large feet. My dysphoria passed, and I have experienced suicidal ideation during adulthood, but never because I considered myself not ‘female’ enough.
A large flaw in the trans activism narrative is this: if there is no right or wrong way to be a man or woman, why bother transitioning in the first place? Surely to God you can see the logical inconsistency there?
This is NOT the same as an Intersex person who is raised as one thing deciding to express the ‘opposite’ because we are, in and of ourselves, a biological expression of both feminine and masculine aspects, to a far greater degree than the average person, including trans people.
I know you will probably find what I am about to say ‘offensive’, but I consider that the reason a growing number of Intersex people are identifying as either Trans or Non-Binary is because society refuses to accept, acknowledge, identify with or validate us for what we are. We have been rendered invisible by our society, are desperate for individuation and as a result are very keen to identify with other groups in LGBT+. I could easily call myself ‘non-binary’ but don’t need to, because I am Intersex, therefore, I consider being neither exclusively male or female to be innate to who and what I am. Essentially, non binary people are parasitically feeding off and appropriating the existence of Intersex people whilst never/rarely having the common decency to condemn non consensual surgeries against us or even acknowledge our existence, unless it is to virtue signal. Essentially, the LGBT+ ‘community’ has done very little for Intersex people, and I have been saying this for years. Deep down, we make them uncomfortable, and they suppress, deny and disown that discomfort, hiding it underneath a heap of fakery and passive aggression.
What Intersex people need to do is individuate and be ourselves uncompromisingly and authentically. I believe we are here to lead, not follow.
Lastly: I do not support Trans activism’s regular war on free speech. At the risk of sounding patronizing, I have been where you are now, at the point where you think language should be controlled. Sometimes, it still pains me when I hear people say bad things about Intersex people, but unfortunately, we cannot create authentic allies whilst denying people their free speech. I would rather have no allies, and have people think of us as defective, than have fake allies who still internally think of us as freaks. I have chosen to adopt the policy of trying, wherever possible to embrace the emotions of anger, sadness and even shame, the greatest degree I can, in the spirit of emotional vipassana. I can’t do that if I’m able to sue or cancel everyone who tells me I have a birth defect. I am convinced that if we let those people voice those views without obstruction, their perspective will eventually shift. Trans activism’s attack on free speech is, I promise you, going against them, and whilst I agree that genuine Transphobia does exist, it is not ameliorated by cancelling the hell out of anyone who says anything which evokes emotions in a Trans person. Intersex people can set a better example by being the ones who are prepared to feel their feelings EVERY time we experience a negative emotion, without condition.
I really hope you don’t block or report me for any of what I’ve said, but I won’t blame myself if you do. I wanted to try and share my perspectives with you in the hope that, at the very least, it would give you something to think about. Peace.
I thank you for stopping and sharing your concerns and thoughts. I have always made it top prioritiy to not only share the intersectionality that some intersex people have with LGBTQ but to also share how we have very different Human Rights issues. One of the first things I educate is that not all people who are intersex identify as being LGBTQ. Instead, they may agree with their birth assignment and call themselves heterosexual. As for aligning with trans activists, I don’t do that. I might stand with, but do not align with. It is my hope that everyone learns a new language and a way to talk about intersex experience differently so that intersex kids like you and me stop being hurt by a world that erases our existence.
My narrative is very trans like at times, so I often will compare my story to that of some transgender people. Some trans people no doubt relate to my story too. Since I am going against my birth assignment, living as an intersex man now, I no doubt do have things in common with some trans men. However, I also have things in common with trans women, when I was blocking my testosterone, and taking extra female hormones to live as a woman. I agree that the surgery dilemma is very much different for intersex kids versus trans kids. Thankfully trans kids have to wait for the age of adult consent, while, sadly intersex babies and toddlers are still victims of such nonconsenting, medically unnecessary genital corrective surgeries.
It is my hope in this way, by treating intersex kids like trans kids, we do find a way to stop these childhood surgeries, using the same “age stops” that have been put in place to keep trans kids from surgically transitioning too young. This would end all these terrible surgeries done on intersex kids clear across the world. Nowhere anywhere does surgery happen on a tans child. They all have to wait until adulthood.
I personally like to tell the world I was not born in the wrong body, and do not want surgery to change my body. That “no body is shameful”, I borrow from the Interface Project, describes exactly how I feel about myself finally as an adult. Although I believe our voices will be better heard alongside the LGBTQ communities, I will never want to muddy the differences of how our lives are horrifically violated with LGBTQ or trans adult human rights issues. Our problems are dramatically different in too many ways due to the way we are violating happening in childhood. Yes, intersectionality is there, but our differences definitely need to be heard. Only in this way can we truly create human rights for all intersex children.