RE: SB 201 (Wiener) – SUPPORT
I am writing to you as a world known public figure and Gender/INTERSEX Activist and Educator, and in full support of the organization interACT Youth Advocates. I applaud the inclusion of Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia in SB 201. This bill, and it’s inclusion of CAH, is essential to protect children’s human right to bodily autonomy and their right to become their true gender identity after birth.
You see, I am an intersex person with Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia and Poly Cystic Ovaries. My chromosomes are 46XX which most would say is typical for a girl, but now live my life full time as a man. In error I would be a assigned a girl and female at my birth. I am one of several CAH children assigned a girl, who now live full time as men. There are a few of us and it is critical that we need to be taken notice of since most all medical experts claim we should be brought up as girls/female. Brian from the documentary Gender Revolution is another 46XX CAH person who is truly a man, who was in error surgically assigned female. Both of us later in life would emancipate our true gender identity, as men, after much medical and psychiatric harm being brought to us both.
While not all CAH patients use the term “intersex”, some like me do. We use the word to describe our non-life threatening traits, like large clitorises, that put us at risk for life-altering elective surgeries before we can give consent. Some of us also use the word to reclaim ourselves and overcome medical trauma. We respect that everyone is different, and some may not use this word. All of us must be allowed the right to self-determination.
In my case I would become the first in Colorado to receive an intersex birth certificate, September 17, 2018. This means that what used to be my diagnosis as a “disorder of sex development” (DSD), is now my legally recognized sex. So I am an intersex man, and legally so now. I hope this captures your attention with this world news I made as a person who lives with CAH.
Young people like us, who were born with healthy, natural traits like a large clitoris, deserve to make their own decisions about elective genital surgeries, regardless of what terminology their families use and what diagnosis caused their genital differences. Surgeries that are commonly performed on CAH infants, such as clitoroplasty and vaginoplasty, are major life decisions. These elective surgeries—when performed on infants with other diagnoses, such as Partial Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome—have been condemned as human rights violations by over ten international human rights agencies.
Focusing on the diagnosis that caused the large clitoris is dishonoring the individualized nature of this kind of decision, and the real human rights concerns that all of us face. This is especially concerning when we are assigned the wrong gender identity at birth, and now that some states are offering intersex birth certificates.The United Nations’ Intersex fact sheet states that an intersex person can be any gender identity: man/boy, woman/girl, both or neither.
While there may be some CAH patients who are satisfied with having received early clitoral reduction or vaginoplasty, there are plenty of intersex survivors who feel robbed of a critical decision and were violated because they will never know what our natural bodies felt like and might not even be able to orgasm. Dissatisfaction rates for procedures—including clitoroplasty and vaginoplasty—can be as high as nearly half of all patients. These surgeries are incredibly invasive, and many vaginoplasties require follow-up surgeries to reduce scar tissue, when the initial surgery was not medically necessary in the first place.
Worse, compound these surgical human rights violations and reduction or removal of our large clitoris, with the fact that some of us who are 46XX CAH live as men, not the girls they assigned us as. Bottom line, we survivors now know that gender therapies, and sex reassigning surgery never creates a child’s gender identity, nor ensures their adult sexual orientation. The truth always prevails as the intersex child awakens to their true gender identity and sexuality, regardless of them trying to control our sexuality with surgeries.
CAH patients who want genital surgery should be able to have it. CAH patients who do not want surgery should not be subjected to it without their consent. No one can look at a baby and know whether they will grow up to want surgery or not. SB 201 does not prohibit CAH individuals from accessing surgery once they are able to choose it for themselves. My genitals do not dictate my gender identity. I believe my gender identity is in-between my ears, not between my legs. It is time to stop doing harm to innocent children and let them decide if they need surgery or not when they are at the age of consent.
For more information, we encourage you to continue reading more about surgery on Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia patients. InterACT is happy to provide studies and answer any questions. To learn more personally and the work I do to educate this world as an intersex activist please go to my educational blog: http://www.anunnakiray.com You can also go to Youtube to watch my TEDx Talk: Born Intersex: we are human!
Please do not allow the voices of those who were satisfied with surgeries they did not choose to overshadow the human rights violations endured by those of us who are not satisfied, or even worse assigned the wrong gender. Please honor individual consent for all CAH patients.
Mx. Anunnaki Ray Marquez
A copy of this letter was sent to both:
The Honorable Steven Glazez
Chair of the Senate Business, Professions and Economic Development Committe
State Capitol, Room 2053
Sacramento, CA 95814
The Honorable Hannah-Beth Jackson
Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee
State Capitol, Room 2187
Sacramento, CA 95814