2:48 pm - 03/31/2014

MMMMonday! Intersex discussion on Autostraddle.

Each Monday, we bring you special, maintainer-curated content intended to enrich your VP experience. Please note that you can find past MMMMonday posts using the mmmmonday tag.

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This MMMMonday, we'd like to link you to a post that was very very popular on our Facebook page - an Autostraddle piece about being intersex. We figure not everyone who reads here reads there, and it's a good piece that a lot of folks seemed interested in! (Also, if you're not following us on Facebook and you'd like to be, check us out here. To be sure you see all our posts, you can select "get notifications" after "liking" us, and you'll get a notice every time we make a post!)

From "Claudia is Intersex, Let's Talk About It"

"Intersex, first and foremost, is about bodies—a biological way of being. When most individuals are born, the doctor or the doula or the flustered taxi cab driver shouts out, “It’s a boy!” or, “It’s a girl!” The person shouting figures out whether this new, tiny human is a boy or a girl by inventorying the set of physical traits they have. Although doctors typically check only external genitalia to assign sex, these traits also include internal sex organs, chromosomes, and hormone types and levels. If a child has all the “boy forms” of these traits, he’s a boy. If the child has all the “girl forms” of these traits, she’s a girl. Intersex people are born with a mix of sex characteristics – some traditionally considered male, and some considered female – in the same body. For example, I have a vagina and later developed breasts and hips, but I also have XY chromosomes, and had testes at birth. I’ve got some “male” traits and some “female” traits in the same body, so it’s not so easy to clearly assign me “male” or “female.” My own body is just one example; intersex isn’t a single category, and there are many different variations of intersex and, within each variation, a lot of diversity. Not all male or female bodies look and function the same, you know? Knowing that I’m intersex alone doesn’t really tell you much about me or my body."

Check out the whole thing over here!

VPers, did you learn things from reading this article? Any thoughts you'd like to share?
helenkacan 31st-Mar-2014 09:26 pm (UTC)
Each time I read something about people who are born intersex, I learn something new. The only thing I definitely do not agree with is Claudia's statement:
"We’re comfortable with the fact that there aren’t just two heights, or two weights, or two skin colors that people come in."
I don't think most people have reached the self-awareness and compassion necessary to accept let alone be comfortable with a range of heights or weights, let alone a graduated colour tone wheel. There are still certain heights and especially weights that are considered to be the most desirable norm.

But, back to the real crux of the matter. If there weren't a significant difference in value assigned to being born a boy or girl, then there wouldn't be the same hoopla. But society still rewards parents who conform to stereotypical childrearing, using fear as the tactic: let your son wear a princess dress and he'll grow up gay; let your daughter play with boy-toys and she'll end up lesbian and butch at that.

And the other thing that makes me rage is "fixing" babies' genitals to conform to what doctors believe is appropriate to the assigned sex based only on outer appearance. They don't touch so-called "normal" sized penises. But boys born with too-small penises get judged as inadequate, so it's no big deal for them to be turned into girls. When it comes to sexual functioning, who cares that the children - when grown up - may not get any pleasure from their altered genitals. After all, women don't need to feel any pleasure from a strictly androcentric, heteronormative viewpoint.

It's all so sad and makes me wonder when humanity will finally live up to its name.
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