A toe in the (intersex) water

For most of my life, when i have come across injustice, i have first of all got angry – and then done what i can to help make things better.

Sometimes that may have been less appropriate than i thought it was. Because for most of my life i’ve had, outwardly at least, much of the privilege of a cis male. I’ve seen stuff from the outside: i’ve not experienced it from within.

So, in my Young Liberal days, i campaigned for gay rights, despite not being remotely gay. We-ell, apart from a couple of teen crushes on two exceedingly femme guys. πŸ™‚ I also campaigned against…racism, sexism, fascism…you name it: if there was a nasty -ism in town, i was against it.

Discovering my trans-ness has changed a lot: i’m now part of a minority (in some quarters, a very much despised minority) and though there is something beautiful in finally coming home, its not without its problems.

It also comes with realisation that whilst those outside can help, it is only those on the inside who can truly appreciate the horror of how the world treats them.

So it is with some trepidation that i now raise a flag (and a muffled cheer) for the intersex cause. There is still much to be done on the Gay and Lesbian front: even more for those in the trans community. But for sheer horror at the way society treats individuals with callous disrespect…intersex does seem to be a thoroughly deserving place to do a little stirring.

That said, i get the point about being outside as opposed to in. I’ve spoken to some activists in OII (one of the principal organisations taking up this issue internationally) and i’ve set up a Facebook Group – Intersex UK (sign up if you are interested) – which is a first step to listening to people affected.

If people see me as too much the outsider, OK. I’ll step away.

Otherwise, I have skills when it comes to campaigning and… I don’t have a personal agenda here beyond placing those skills at the disposal of people who need them.

Talk to me!



6 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Jonie Heath said,

    I’m with you on this, Jane. Since the formation of KTF I have learnt a little, albeit from very few intersex people, about the difficulties they have and have had, over and above the likes of you and I – and we think we have it tough!
    I’d appreciate it if I could join the group.
    Jonie X

  2. 2

    Maya Posch said,

    Thank you for caring about people like me! πŸ™‚ Heavens know we need it…

  3. 4

    I dont think the ‘inside outside’ division is that clear in many cases of sex and gender and sexuality. I think intersex people prove that – intersex actually throws the ‘sex binary’ into question.

    As for the gender binary or the sexuality binary – they are already completely thrown into question as far as I can see.

    I find ‘identity politics’ too concerned with inside/outside.

    I am not trans for example but I do not accept the label ‘cis’ and all the assumptions that go with that about how comfortable I am in my body, my sex and my gender identity. But I can’t identify with trans people because I am not ‘one of them’ and I have been treated quite cruelly by some trans people, over gender identity issues. People who should know better than to belittle someone over such a thing.

    And ‘gay’ is a silly identity in my book. As Isherwood said: we are all queer in the end.

    • 5

      Maya Posch said,

      One of the reasons why I sometimes hate my body is because of all the unpleasantness like you describe it provokes. I don’t want to concern myself with being intersex/hermaphrodite, it should just be a minor detail in my life. I don’t want to have to concern myself with trans or homosexual people. It should just be a detail. There are so many other things to worry about in life.

      I have been attacked repeatedly by intersex people for not agreeing with the policies of intersex organization OII. It’s ironic that trans people give me more understanding than IS people in those organizations.

      • 6

        yes I think that is a good point- is there a way in which that for some people, gender/sex identity can be a ‘minor detail’ in their life? Or is gender/sex identity always a major deal for everyone? I’d say probably the latter.

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