By Jim Costich
Jim’s response to the above educational post seen on social media:
When we include intersex into the conversation, simply saying “cisgender” tells nothing about the body that person was born into if they were born with an intersex bodily or intersex chromosomal variation.
I once met a man online who lived in my town and was intersex. That’s how he found me, by searching the word. He told me about how he would never have known if he hadn’t had a karyotype done for something unrelated and found out that he is X XY. So this makes this man chromosomally intersex. Unless you have had a karyotype done, nobody knows if they are chromosomally intersex or not.
This man identified as heterosexual, cisgender, married to a woman and has 2 little boys – he’s fertile! He was excited to have a chance to talk to somebody else who is intersex and we shared that we both are naturists so I invited him to a local naturist gathering my partner and I regularly attended.
I can attest that the only way you would ever guess that he is intersex is if he told you. And he got to see that anyone could see that I am intersex from 100 yards because I don’t have testicles. We are both intersex but in very different ways. Some of the words we would use to describe each other would be the same and some would be very different. I could share so many stories of intersex bodies, intersex people’s genders, their orientations that they’d literally fill a book with no two being the same.
Weren’t we all told as children that everyone is different? Why are we surprised to find out that wasn’t a lie? Why did we instead believe that although everyone is different that we still must do violence to ourselves to try to conform to some random, arbitrary and unreasonable expectation made by someone we don’t even know but claims authority over us? How far would you let them go? Would you let them cut your baby’s penis or clitoris up? With a scalpel or just a razor-sharp condemnation of their personality?
There was a time not so long ago when the word man or woman automatically implied male, masculine, heterosexual or female, feminine, heterosexual. Those things were assumptions. They were incorrect assumptions. They had very little to do with reality and a whole lot more to do with a fantasy that we were all required to pretend reality “should” be.
When we were little children most of us were told the story of a king who believed himself to be wearing a gorgeous suit of clothes when in fact he was walking down the street stark naked. Everyone was so terrified of him that they pretended they could see the clothes that weren’t there, but a child who was too young to have been taught to be afraid shouted out the truth and broke the spell. That’s a very old story and it’s long overdue that we learn something from it.
Here it is: The Emperor’s New Clothes – Hans Christian Anderson
Note: Most intersex people do not “look” intersex. So many assume we would all be androgynous, appear both, or stand out ‘non-binary’ in some way. The truth is, most of us blend in so well we would be standing next to you and you would not guess in a million years.