I have often used my blog as a platform to give voice to those who do not feel safe or comfortable sharing who they are. For intersex awareness day this year, I share my forum to a person whose voice and story need to be heard. Together we are stronger, and I believe together we can end these tragedies from happening again to innocent intersex children. Until there are laws to protect us intersex people when we are born, our only choice is to change culture and educate society. People in power and control are not helping us much yet. May this world change for us on Intersex Awareness Day (IAD), and always. – Mx. Anunnaki Ray Marquez
Content Warning: Graphic details about intersex genital surgeries that were non-consenting as a child.
Inner City Intersex Survivor
For IAD, October 26th, 2021
I was born in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1983 with a diagnosis of an unusual Leydig Cell Dysfunction which resulted in Ambiguous Genitalia. Eight days later, I was operated on to repair the Perineum and to Excise Bilateral Gonads. At 6 months old, it was decided (and not by my parents or me) that I would be raised as a female, so subsequently, I underwent further revision of genitalia. A protuberant portion of the left labia minora was discovered and excised.
My family is/was a typical dysfunctional dynamic, including parents who were divorced by the time I turned five years old. My parents were unsophisticated and uninformed, therefore going along with doctors’ recommendations and decisions regarding my gender assignment and treatments came easily. I lived in virtual ignorance for years, and then when I prepared myself for the typical changes people go through during puberty, I had already begun to notice that I was different. I had been a figure of ridicule for being the tall ugly girl in school with no friends, so I tried to keep to myself.
At fourteen, I realized that I wasn’t just a late bloomer, not having started menstruating and developing breast and typical female features. My mother took me to the family physician. My mom failed to disclose the proper information. I was told that I didn’t have an internal reproductive system and that I could not have children and would have to take hormone medication for the rest of my life to compensate for not producing my own. Nowhere in the conversation were the details of my intersex variation or even other Disorder of Sex Development terms. No counseling or support was offered, and I left the hospital feeling like a worthless fraud and a walking lie. A deep-seated state of depression and acting out followed; I didn’t care what happened to me after my revelation. I wanted to die.
Discovering my Intersex variation at fourteen years old was a devastation that hindered a lot of my personal and social development that I continue to recover from. Although, in the mid-’90s, the term Intersex had yet to be established, so I had no idea that there were other people with similar experiences. As I was about to turn 16, there was talk of a Colovaginoplasty. I was not prepared properly or counseled during. Although I bore the procedure well, it failed due to poor follow-up care and medical support.
My androgynous appearance and height may be a blessing as an adult, but as an adolescent, it was the primary reason I was bullied relentlessly. I have overcome failed medical treatment and social anxiety through my recent self-discovery and education in gender studies, which has given me the tools to heal.
I am profoundly grateful to many in the Intersex community for all their hard work and support. Being a part of a larger community of individuals working towards bringing visibility to Intersex issues has been a cathartic experience that has helped me accept life’s diversity.
Related Blogs: Anonymous Messages From Intersex Survivors