When I was born there was no way to define my true biological sex accurately. This is because I was born intersex. Because of this, they thought it would be in my best interest to assign me female and raise me a girl when I was never supposed to be a girl.
By adolescence, being assigned a girl would mean they would have to normalize my hormones to that of a typical woman so that I could even appear a typical woman. Due to being so different, as a sexual minority, I would be locked up in many psychiatric hospitals for weeks at a time and medicated for psychiatric misdiagnosis and problems I now have proven I did not have. In short, on top of the metabolic problems I already dealt with, compounded with the side effects of toxic psychotropic drugs, extra female hormones, testosterone blockers, and steroids, I would find myself very disabled by 2014.
When did they rob me of my identity and my basic sense of self?
Let’s go back to my toddlerhood. At three years old therapy started the minute they felt I appeared “confused” about my true self. In truth, I was an intersex boy, but this world was not ready to agree with me.
They now know a child’s basic sense of self and gender identity are well developed by the age of three and four. Today some would call what I survived as a child “conversion therapy”. Back in the early 1970’s they would call my perceived confusion “perceptionally handicap” and declared I had “reversal problems”, along with my speech problems that had to be corrected. My very existence as a little gay intersex boy had become a psychosocial emergency to eradicate and erase.
As a young child, my parents would take me to such therapies to fix these problems. The speech therapy was no doubt a must, but teaching me I was a girl was the by-product of John Money, who taught all the experts at that time that we are all a blank slate when we are born and that us intersex kids could be taught our gender identity, and if necessary surgeons could make us match what they had taught us. There was one big problem. John Money was wrong and terribly so, and countless of us have been brutally harmed by his worldwide famous paradigm on gender identity. His theories lead some of us intersex people, as nonconsenting children, to be forced into the surgical assignment of our sex; now known as intersex genital mutilation. All of us denied knowing people like us existed, so the isolation was profound.
My very existence was denied
In short, my very existence was denied. My true gender identity and sense of self was erased. My ability to develop autonomy not even allowed to unfold like a typical three and four-year-old. Instead, I was taught who I was, and rewarded for a job well done. Creating one hell of a performer, a chameleon, and a people pleaser. Worse, to cope with this abuse I literally mentally dissociated from my authentic self. A form of dissociation forced by those in power and control, and sadly allowed by my very parents who did not know better.
People in power and control did such a good job with their therapies, diagnosing and brainwashing I would live as a woman for forty-six years of my life. I would not face who I truly was until I faced palliative care, hospice, and death, and the hopelessness of it all somehow would awaken me. I had nothing to lose and that little boy within me was finally allowed to come out to the world and in a rage. I thankfully found a circle of new friends, new doctors, and councilors who could help me save myself from what had happened to me.
The emancipation of my authentic self
I would save myself by finally emancipating my authentic self and transitioning to a man. I would officially become taboo to this world, but I would be alive! By finding transgender safe doctors, that had never met an intersex person before, the boy I had always been was finally allowed to grow up and be seen in the mirror. Also, by finding a physician who respected who I truly am as an intersex person, I would finally be able to create my own restitution be receiving the first intersex birth certificate in Colorado on September 17th, 2018.
How I found out that I am a survivor of “Psychic Mutilation”
Below are quotes from “Intersex and Identity: The Contested Self” By Sharon E. Preves that validated my suffering and mentions the way I was violated for the first time as a form of “Psychic Mutilation”. Two words that finally validated all my suffering. Two words, that allow me to realize it was never my problem, but this world’s problem. I now call this world’s problem with my existence, one of cultural dysphoria:
The primary challenge [of being horn intersexed] is childhood; parents and doctors thinking they should fix you. That can be devastating not just from the perspective of having involuntary surgery, but it’s even more devastating to people’s ability to develop a sense of self. I have heard from people that are really shattered selves, they don’t have a concept of who they are. The core of their being is shame in their very existence. And that’s what’s been done to them by people thinking that intersexuality is a shameful secret that needs to be fixed. So I think for most people the biggest challenge is not the genital mutilation, but the psychic mutilation.
Soure: Sharon E. Preves. Intersex and Identity: The Contested Self (Kindle Locations 930-933). Kindle Edition.
The cruelest punishment we inflict on prisoners is solitary confinement. And intersex people have lived lives of solitary confinement. And I think that that is such a personal holocaust. Because to be completely separated from others, to not know that there are others, to only know it intellectually, but not know it viscerally is, without a doubt, solitary confinement.
Soure: Sharon E. Preves. Intersex and Identity: The Contested Self (Kindle Locations 1058-1060). Kindle Edition.
It is no wonder why I feel I am not from this world. This world didn’t treat me as if I was from it:
“Seeing the self as valuable and deserving is an essential part of liberating the self, as those who have been outcast often internalize a concept of self as an object of persecution and as less than human.”
“THE ONLY WAY OUT IS THROUGH: THE PAINFUL JOURNEY OF RECLAIMING THE SELF.”“Negotiating identity, one’s basic sense of place and self, is a challenge for many of us, and is no doubt more challenging when something as rudimentary as one’s sex is called into question. In a culture whose emphasis on dichotomous sexual categorization touches nearly every aspect of social life, contesting a person’s sex is tantamount to shattering their core sense of self.”
“You can die physically, or you can die and be reborn in the same body. My life was shredded and put back together again.”Source: From: Sharon E. Preves. Intersex and Identity: The Contested Self (Kindle Locations 1491-1495) and (Kindle Locations 1523-1524).
3 thoughts on “Surviving ‘Psychic Mutilation’, and how I was psychiatrically and medically violated and erased.”
My dearest brother, I’m so glad you not only survived but made it out of the mental and emotional labyrinth you were abandoned in. I think this is by far the best thing you’ve written so far about your story, and thus the shared experiences of nearly all intersex people who were and are told that an authority can figure out what we would have become if we hadn’t become what we are and force us to act out a lie through carving up our bodies, carving up our identities, our behaviors, our very personalities and forcing us to act out an inauthentic identity designed by someone else. This was done to hide us so that our society could pretend that we didn’t exist, so that no LGBTI+ sex, gender or sexual orientation varieties exist. This would also preserve the idea that women are to be subservient and that it is by nature’s design and anyone who didn’t confirm that they conform would be labeled as sick, insane or criminal. The intersex are the key – because we make visible by our physical bodies things easier to deny as a result of being mostly part of the brain – far less visible until very recently. That’s why the most effort was put into our isolation and erasure. It’s why we’re the last ones to break free. Make no mistake. This is about freedom, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, the inalienable rights supposed to belong to everyone and which the powerful assaulted by starting a list of people who weren’t “human enough” to qualify for. By claiming or reclaiming our right to exist, our right to autonomy over our bodies and our identities and by refusing to accept that we are children of a lesser god, freaks or undeserving we don’t just liberate ourselves – although that is reason enough! We don’t owe anyone a damned thing, and yet by continuing to help ourselves we help everyone. What greater evil is there than authoritarianism? It ultimately destroys even the authoritarian.
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