A friend shared this quote with me when I was dying and saving myself from the horrors of forced gender assignment back in 2014. Back then, I felt like I was drowning in the middle of the cold Atlantic Ocean with no raft, no life jacket. Abandoned by those who should have cared, but did not care.
Thanks to a very special lesbian friend helping me, I found out that I would now need a “transgender friendly & safe doctor”. This after I was patient abandoned for being “patient noncompliant” for not being able to live as a woman anymore. Those physicians who would not help me did not care if my blood pressure had dropped to 90/45 or that I was going into multi-system autonomic failure. Thus, receiving my disability from the state and without denial and getting ready to be thrown into palliative care to wait for my end.
Without her, I would not have had the first piece of the puzzle, in saving my own life, in place! I was literally at the hospital being neglected and abused, once again, when she opened my eyes to no longer being able to go to just any hospital or have just any doctor. I would now have to go to a special small list of “transgender friendly doctors” and even then, some would say I am “too complicated” and refuse to see me.
Soon later, by this same friend, I was given this quote, by Thorton Wilder. Prejudice no doubt is killing people born intersex like me. I was almost a statistic. Due to perseverance and sacrifice, and relying on a power greater than myself to guide me to answers, I was saved. I realize now most do not make it. Most would die a woman too, due to this world’s #Intersexphobia, #transphobia and #homophobia.
Sometimes the “experts” are not those who are in power and control or those who went to school to get a pedigree behind their names. Sometimes it is us survivors who become the experts and later become the educators. Yes, this is a “Physician, draw back”.
I will now be busy for the rest of my life changing this world. No child should suffer like this. #WontBeErased!
A commentary to this blog from an intersex man, Jim Costich:
Like Anunnaki, I am one of the lucky ones. One of the intersex people who was not mutilated by surgeons’ knives. Also, one of the lucky ones because I did not have a forced gender assignment and although my hormonal health was postponed due to medical malpractitioners I did end up in the hands of a good endocrinologist who helped me attain a healthy body. He actually asked me, in the early ’70s if I wanted to grow up to be a man or a woman because although I had to make a choice, the choice was mine to make. He had hormone therapy to take me either way.
On my own, I would have had a short life of all the nasty things that go with hypogonadism also known as eunuch. There are many lucky intersex people and many unlucky ones. I have known intersex people forced, coerced or misled into taking hormones and medications that their bodies couldn’t use or that had such bad side effects on them that they became just as mutilated as if they had been cut by a surgeons’ knife. Conformity to appear as unambiguous as possible according to what was imposed on them instead of their health or identity is nothing short of immoral. It would make a bad dystopian movie if it weren’t real and still going on.
One of those poisoned people is Anunnaki, but I’ve known others. I’ve also met intersex individuals who had been psychologically and psychiatrically forced to study and act out a gender they did not know or understand or identify with, but which they had been told they must become. Anunnaki again is one of the unlucky bastards to have been through the intersex version of “conversion therapy” – not as a teen for sexuality but as a little child being brainwashed that he could not be a boy and must learn to become a girl. His blog and TEDx talk describe the grand fail that was but his name is legion. He’s finding that not only is he not alone, but there are more than anyone supposed. This is because what was being done was being hidden. It’s not exactly in accordance with medical ethics.
For the sake of being clear and specific my reply here on Anunnaki’s blog is in reference and with the background of his told story on this very blog as an intersex person who very nearly died as the result of gross medical malpractice over history of years in a physicians’ experiment to force his body, identity and personality to transition from an intersex little boy to an “Almost” female woman. My story is not like it but like all of the many stories I have heard over the thirty years that I have been involved in intersex advocacy, it’s the story of mid-twentieth century medical attempts to erase the existence and reality of intersex people like you and me and so many others. They describe their goal as to have been to prevent homosexuality and what we now refer to as “intergender” or “gender non-binary” people, and people who can have heterosexual sex with either males or females.
I’ve heard and read the life experiences and stories of many trans people over the years, so many feeling down at the most basic level that their bodies aren’t their own. Some kill themselves, some find a way to live in spite of the feeling by at least living into their home gender, and some have been relieved by modern surgery. This is the description I start my reply to Ananaki’s post with because in my experience with our experiences – of so many other intersex people, it isn’t our story. Our story rarely matches that experience of being in the wrong body and desperately wishing we could change it. It’s why we grew up to search out our truth even when we’d been lied to since birth and surgically altered. So many want our bodies back. That is not the story of all of us but it is the story of most of those I’ve had contact with who were mutilated. It’s why we use that word. It’s why we don’t just shut up, stay in hiding and live silent lives in the closet.
Intersex people have a wide variety of anatomies, health needs, and although being intersex does not determine all the aspects about us just like it doesn’t with males or females either – it does influence who and what we are and become. One of the things I have always maintained is that intersex people, like all people, must be allowed to develop our own identities. This is the basic Bill of Rights freedom, liberty, and happiness stuff. This right to live in your own body, to autonomy over your own identity isn’t an exception we should be denied. Intersex people deserve neither the anatomical mutilation, the drugs and hormones meant to make us look “more acceptable” to gender conformists instead of making us healthy, and forced gender assignments that have screwed up so many of us is just plain immoral. I want to make it abundantly clear that I am not and never would be in favor of anything meant to butch us up, femme us up, neuter us when and if we have man or woman or intergender, and non-binary, identities, personalities, expressions, etc. Anyone, including the intersex, has a fundamental right to be exactly who they say they are.