Here is something that should not go unspoken anymore:
The plan for the extinction of us intersex people: If they can’t abort us when detected in-utero, when we are born they will make us infertile. If we are a risk of appearing homosexual to this world, they will cut off our parts, and create parts. Worse, these atrocities and human rights violations are all socially justified. If we appear non-conforming gender, they will make sure we are unemployable, be rejected by homeless shelters, and we will starve. There are far more things that make it impossible to survive, but this short list sums it up nicely. If this is not eugenics and genocide, what is it?
Articles that you may want to read regarding this:
In 2014, a Kenyan court ordered the government to issue a birth certificate to a 5-year old child who needed this to enjoy basic rights including attending school. In this article John Chigiti provides an update, nearly two years later. You can read more about this case here: The Plight of the Intersex Child.
Quote: Children have a host of rights which include the right to privacy and bodily integrity and autonomy. On the other hand the parents have rights over the children and they are supposed to make decisions for the child. Where do the two competing rights meet? How are the parents and the guardians of intersex children supposed to exercise parental responsibility? How far can they stretch so as not to violate the rights of their intersex children? The approach to the legal dynamics is very different when dealing with children of a category like the intersex.
I end this awareness with this important quote from 17th Karmapa:
Gender identities ~ 17th Karmapa
Our ideas about what it means to be a woman or a man – that is, our gender constructs – are given meaning and importance in our day-to-day reality. Gender identities permeate so much of our experience that it is easy to forget that they are just ideas – ideas created to categorize human beings. Nevertheless, the categories of masculine and feminine are often treated as if they were eternal truths. But they are not. They have no objective reality. Because gender is a concept, it is a product of our mind – and has no absolute existence that is separate from the mind that conceives of it. Gender categories are not inherently real in and of themselves. 17th Karmapa
Cary G. Costello, Ph.D. shared this photo recently on social media. They were born intersex, and refer to themselves also as a transgender man. Like me, Cary gave birth to a baby. After much pregnancy loss, I had two babies, and we adopted our youngest.
I have been with my husband for twenty-eight years, this month. We have been together since September of 1989. Neither my husband nor I, are miserable. Thus, proving that intersex people are lovable and can have a family and raise kids.
This picture haunts me because I was not allowed to appear as my true self. I was told I had to conform to appearing as a woman. I now have reclaimed my true gender, that being a non-conforming intersex man. I wish I could have appeared my true self when I had my babies. I feel that right was forever taken from me.
I share this today in my blog, because I would like to show the world that the many comments that have been made about painting, are so off the mark.
First, they called this “The Bearded Women”. How did they not know this wasn’t a “man with a womb”?
Second, most people describe away why this is a picture is of a disordered or a person suffering from a syndrome. When in reality, in my circle, this is just a variety of human.
Third, many, many comments are being made that their husband in the back ground appears “distant”, “withdrawn” and they automatically felt sorry for him. I doubt the man would have been standing in the photo if he was that miserable. Back then, for paintings, they were told not to smile.
We may never know if this person called themselves a woman or not, in this painting. However, it is my guess, that if they were anything like me, or Cary, they did not.
When I compare myself to a stereotypical woman, I know I am not a “women”. I am not a typical man either. I am a “Man with a Womb”! And it makes me very happy to be a man with a womb. I never felt I was born in the wrong body either.
I will now take this opportunity to share what Cary G. Costello, Ph.D., an intersex transgender man, shared on social media about this painting below:
This is Jusepe de Ribera’s 1631 painting, “The Bearded Woman.” In this period in Europe, people were in awe of what were termed “prodigies”–unusual people, animals and objects. “Prodigy” is from the Latin “prodigium,” meaning an omen. Europeans of the 1600s considered prodigies to be signs of God’s power, to be revered. During this period, a number of bearded women became quite famous as prodigies, often touring around the courts of Europe. In an era where it was usually only the nobility that had their portraits painted, some, like Magdalena Ventura, depicted here, had portraits commissioned by members of the nobility to record them as miracles of nature.
I use this portrait in some of my classes, and was looking for a short reading to assign on it. What I learned from that experience is that Googling this portrait is really depressing. Instead of the awe and respect shown by Ribera to his subject, you find a whole array of art critics and doctors and lulz collectors expressing nasty takes on the portrait, which they clearly assume everyone will share. All describe the subject as disturbing. Some express revulsion, some mock the subject, many use medicalized language to discuss Ventura’s “disorder.” There’s speculation about what perversity of character would have led artist Ribera to paint such a “freakish” subject. And there’s a lot of discussion of the husband in the background. His expression is described as pained or sorrowful or ashamed, and the authors state that of course he must be humiliated by having a wife with a more luxuriant beard than his own (can you say “patriarchy is alive and well”?)
It is sad to see how much more morally backward we are today than people were in the 17th century in respecting sex-variant bodies. Four hundred years ago, people were celebrating differences. Today, we give lip service to respecting diversity, while scrambling like mad to “normalize” the atypically embodied, and treating their bodies with pity and disgust.
Chromosome Dysphoria is very real. I used to have it. Chromosome dysphoria, is when we are taught that only females can have XX chromosomes and males have XY chromosomes, and we believe this myth!
To those who do not know, according to most science dogma, 46XY would be the chromosomes for a typical male, and 46 XX would be the chromosomes for a typical female. (Note: Notice how I say “typical” and not “normal”. This is out of respect for myself and others born intersex and transgender. However, most would use the word “normal”.) This false belief has tried to erase intersex and transgender people from the face of the earth. I am here to teach the truth!
I was declared “female” at birth. To dare think I was simply XX chromosomes, caused me much dysphoria. I wanted this “Y” chromosome so bad I lied a few times! I actually would share, with a few, that I had a “Y” chromosome. You see, when I was a little boy I went to therapy to be taught I was a girl. It traumatized me! Therapy taught me I did not exist as a boy. It destroyed most of my life. Worse, since I was not a typical girl, I felt I could not exist as female either! Imagine that, feeling invisible most your life. I wrote this poem about it: Poem: Dear Dad, Invisible is no way to live.
It ended up, after being checked, that I am simply 46 XX. This means that I should now be called a 46 XX Intersex person. Most my life, due to having a higher testosterone level for a “female”, I slipped into a place of being misdiagnosed as a condition, syndrome, and disorder, most my life.
As I listened and read about the others born intersex, I realized I had been lied to. So I wrote several other intersex activists, such as: Tiger Devore, Ph.D, Cary G. Costello, Ph.D., Pidgeon Pagonis, Hida Viloria, and Toni Briffa. I even wrote, Buck Angel, an amazing transexual man, and trans activist (Note: he refers to himself as transexual, even though most now use the term transgender).
Their response woke me up. I could EXIST as a person!
Later, with the help of Judi Herring, M.D., whom I have done a few public talks with; I realized I was not a disorder, or a syndrome! That I was born intersex; and yes, with self-determination, I was of the male gender, even if I was gender-nonconforming, and have two XX chromosomes. I no longer have chromosome dysphoria, gender dysphoria, or any form of dysphoria. I simply live in a world that is misinformed and has “cultural dysphoria”.
I now know that XX men exist, and XY women exist; and there are many of us!
This fourteen minute TEDx: “Gender Bound”, by Judi Herring, M.D. sums gender up well:
I often sadly hear: “I can’t even imagine being a person like you.” It is done with great empathy, love, and care even.
I know why this world failed to teach you about intersex people. Sex Education even failed to teach me. Worse, with surgeries and abortion Earth has tried to erase us off the planet.
The next thing out of their mouths is that they don’t want details.
It would be too much to hear.
And then they build a wall between us, and I can not explain what it is like to be a person with intersex traits, and a non-conforming gender. I remain unimaginable….
I know why. You see I am TABOO to this world when people born with intersex traits should not be taboo.
I am treated like an “alien” to this world. Like a visitor….
“I can’t imagine”, they say……
“YIKES!” I say…I am right in front of you. I exist.
My life is not unimaginable to those who are willing to truly enter it, and hear what I have to say. I have a few friends who are able to listen with care and wake up to what it is like to be born in-between.
So…if you want to imagine, visit a few of my blogs…….go to the blogs and videos of other intersex people that I link this page to…..dare to imagine….
Open your mind to REAL people who walk this Earth with you, in which the world tried to erase. We are not aliens, even though this world makes us feel like it.
WE ARE HUMAN, like you!
The world can no longer erase me.
The world can no longer erase intersex people, as long as I am here to remind you that we walk among you.
The world will “imagine” me…I am “REAL”.
You say, “I can’t imagine” because you don’t want to.
Today you make the choice, and if that choice is learning about the unimaginable, then
INTERSEX people are born as often as redheads, and possibly even more frequent. Sometimes when we are born, doctors do not even call us “intersex” or even “hermaphrodites”. Instead they tell our parents we are born with a “defect”, a “disorder”, or a “syndrome”. Which is very misleading. This way they can justify corrective surgeries, hormones, and psychiatric treatments that shove us into the male or female boxes on our birth certificates. Often times, as infants, assigning us the wrong gender, taking away fertility, and even taking away sexual pleasure when we become adults. Gender is not in our genitals, reproductive system, chromosomes or hormones. Biological sex is determined by our genitals, reproductive system, chromosomes and hormones. We have typical female, and typical male and sometimes a baby is born with the biological sex: intersex. I repeat, our gender is NOT determined by our genitals, reproductive system, chromosomes or hormones.
Gender is like our personality. It is time that doctors told the parents of intersex babies to RELAX and simply LOVE their baby. Let the baby tell the world who they are when they get their VOICE.
In most cases intersex is NOT a medical emergency, so it needs to STOP being treated as one. This is NOT a psychosocial emergency either, or a race to mark the two boxes on the birth certificate with irreversible “corrective” surgeries.
This is a HUMAN, who is simply born Intersex. HumanRights equal GenitalIntegrity! This world needs to Stop IGM (intersex genital mutilation). The SelfDetrmenation of Gender, is every human’s #HumanRight. The UnitedNations says StopIGM! It is time we all listened. It is time that laws to protect intersex babies, children, and adults were made.
Intersex is not a congenital condition, a disorder or a syndrome. It is like being born male or female. We are simply born intersex.
Tragically for me, psychiatrists, doctors, and the therapist had the solution to my being intersex, they started to fix me at three years old, and throughout most of my life. Back then the theories of Dr. John Money were very strong. He felt you could teach gender, despite gender being a part of a person’s inborn personality. He also taught that our genital appearance created our gender, that if cosmetic surgeries are performed to make our bodies conform to the male/female binary, a child can be taught the rest. The topic of genital surgeries matching our gender, is something that some in the transgender community, most world governments, and many doctors and surgeons are still being brainwashed about. Now we know that gender will never be in our genitals, reproductive system, chromosomes, hormones.
From the early 90’s to 2014, I used to live a life of taking testosterone blockers, and cortisol drugs, for a condition that doctor’s convinced me to be a “disorder” and a “syndrome”. They could never even come to an agreement over what was going on with my body, and I have received a laundry list of diagnosis and explanations since birth. With all the things I had to do to appear female, I relate to the things some transgender woman have to do to.
Over a decade prior to that I was on psychotropic drugs for a so called “mental illness”, but in 1999 was sent to a psychiatrist who said I was NOT mentally ill, and weaned off all those terrible toxins. I suppose being called an “inappropriate female” and “mentally ill” was a good way to describe a gender nonconforming boy who tried like hell to live as a girl. The number one reason these violations happened: To hide my intersex existence and my nonconforming gender and nonconforming appearance. Intergender and Nonconforming gender is still not heard of. Not to mention that boys are not supposed to have an intersex body!
I was never harmed by Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), or Intersex Genital Mutilation (IGM). Needless to say, my very intersex body was hormonally erased, and I was harmed greatly by a society that expected me to medically conform and “behave” as a girl.
I have undergone eighteen surgeries. Most of them due to the effects that Mitocondrial Dysfunction/Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS) had on my body. You see, the connective tissues of my body are not typical. Connective tissue is EVERYWHERE in the body, so surgery has included my urinary, gastrointestinal, reproductive and muscular systems . When all is said and done, I have had over twenty-five procedures that required anesthesia. All because I was born different and doctors wanted to fix it. I now know that most of this could have been avoided.
There are a few of us, intersex people in America, who escaped having our genitals surgically destroyed. I am one of them. I have tried to figure out why. Here are the three reasons I think I escaped:
I was born in the early morning hours, after midnight. The attending physicians could have been too tired to look, or care about my genital intersex traits. Maybe they simply wanted to go home.
Both my parents were devout Catholic, and the church does not agree with the surgical assignment of gender with transgender people; so possibly it helped me to keep my body as is.
They did not notice some of my intersex issues, due to many of my differences being inside of me. This includes my atypical adrenals, atypical ovaries, and other intersex traits I have within.
Self-determination of my own gender, was not a choice given to me by doctors. I hope in time doctors realize that the male/female binary is causing us harm when they try to force some of us into these “binary norms”. I was told I was to be raised a girl, and that I would become a woman; and that was the sealed deal when authorities marked the final box on my birth certificate at my birth. Thank goodness things are changing, and more doctors are becoming intersex and transgender friendly! Thank goodness people are realizing they have a choice. For many of us it is life or death.