I like to teach that gender is our personality and that a penis and a vagina does not create our gender identity. We are not assigned our personality, we just become it. Just like becoming left or right handed, or being able to be ambidextrous and use both hands. We now trust a child to choose if they are left handed, right handed or ambidextrous when they are very young.
This analogy of handedness can be used when an intersex child is born both and even holds true for any child. It holds true even if they are born with an endosex (not intersex) body. All children figure out their gender and they do it relatively young and before they even start grade school.
My Thoughts Regarding Intersex Children:
Here is the United Nations’ intersex FACT SHEET. I believe that genitals, reproductives systems, hormones, and chromosomes will never create our gender identity.
If we just relax and wait, I promise the baby will let the world know. All of us who were assigned wrong at birth have all proven that no expert, no chromosomal test, no MRI, CatScan or blood test can determine the gender of any of us 100% of the time. Yes, sometimes surgeries are medically necessary, but most the time they are only cosmetic and have horrible consequences. This means a lot of errors have been made and permanently so with non-reversible surgeries. I know too many un-happy intersex people to prove the experiment of assigning our gender surgically has failed miserably and has to stop. The obvious solution is to wait and let the baby decide their gender.
My Thoughts Regarding Transgender Children:
If we gave self-determination of gender to all humans, the diagnosis of gender dysphoria and the label ‘transgender’ would vanish too. It is our culture that has decided what genitals belong to what gender. Anything outside of that expectation is now called gender dysphoria. When I feel it is truly a case of cultural dysphoria around genitals and gender. However, the label transgender is very important to our culture right now, so we have to take on the discrimination that us transgender people face very seriously.
Yet, in the perfect world, if we gave self-determination to everyone, no one would have to transition or be diagnosed to do so. Birth Certificates would now only take note that a human was born. My friend, Mo Cortez, Intersex Advocate from Houston, once shared that maybe our blood type could be put on our birth certificate in place of male or female. Is our gender marker truly necessary on our birth certificate? Many feel it is not for many reasons.
One last note: Self-Determination is a human right, and only with consensual adults should genital cosmetic corrective surgeries be performed. No government should dictate that an adult trans person has to have gender confirmation surgeries to validate their identity. Surgery should remain a personal choice and not a requirement for a transition from one gender to the other. Sex reassignment surgeries are also a solution for severe forms of gender dysphoria and should always be available to those who require it. The World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) states:
Right now intersex variations are diagnosed as medical conditions. When they are truly just naturally occurring natural bodily variations. Can you imagine if we gave a diagnosis to male or female? It is no different. Intersex is the biological sex of an intersex person. Just like anyone an intersex baby can grow up to have any gender identity, gender expression or sexual orientation. Surgeries are not going to keep these things from happening. Yes, there are going to be gay, lesbian, and transgender appearing intersex kids and people, and the world has to get over itself.
A Gender Self-Determining World:
If all children were no longer taught that their genitals made them a boy or a girl, and genital integrity was taught early on, wouldn’t this be a better world for intersex, transgender, and non-conforming people? I believe that ‘no body is shameful’ and that a person can be the personality of any gender: male, female, both or neither.
I also believe that it is not just intersex kids that need to learn that nobody is shameful. It is all of us humans, especially transgender children. Whom I feel are also being coerced to think they need genital surgeries when they grow up.
If everyone was given the self-determination of their gender, we might be very surprised to see a world emerge “gender nonconforming”:
There are three ways to be a gender non-conformist:
1) Our physical bodies appearing both or neither. We can be born biologically endosex (not intersex) or intersex.
2) Our Gender identity (our personality as male, female both or neither).
3) Our Gender Expression (how we dress, our hair, or appear to this world).
We can have one, two, or a mixture of these. As you can see there will be many words and labels that describe all these states of being too. I hope for a world that can evolve to stop thinking genitals create our gender and we can all just simply be with genital integrity.
Fix Society, Please.