Intersex Solidarity Day (Monday 8th November)

Posted: November 6, 2010 in Bodies, Damned binaries, Sex & Sexuality
Tags: , ,

It will be Intersex Solidarity Day on Monday. From the link in the last sentence, there is a link to a petition to protest the replacement of the word ‘intersex’ with ‘disorders of sex development,’ which will reinforce the intersex erasure and stigma already horrendously rife in our society.

Nature does not support the sex (male/female) binary. The existence of intersex people, and the existence of animals with intersex characteristics, proves this. There is no need for such a binary. There is no point. There are as many different genitals, sex characteristics, biological configurations as there are people, and to draw lines in the sand and say ‘this is normal – this isn’t,’ is ridiculous.

Those lines in the sand cause pain. Infants mutilated because their genitalia appears abnormal, people growing up in a wrong gender role because of it, having their bodily autonomy violated – we make this huge fuss about FGM (which it deserves), but yet young intersex children are subjected to this sort of treatment and it is seen as acceptable. It’s not.

Cultural conceptions of intersexuality also don’t help. We are taught that intersex people all have ambiguous genitalia – they don’t. There are many ‘ways’ in which a person might be intersex. Sometimes it is not discovered till very late in life, or not at all. Intersexuality is also far more common than we realise – just for infants with noticably ambiguous genitalia at birth the figure is estimated to be 1 in 1500/2000 births. The total number of people whose bodies differ from the standard ‘male’ or ‘female’ mould is, according to the preceding link (Intersex Society of North America) 1 in 100. That’s incredibly common for something regarded as ‘abnormal.’

And besides. What is with a person’s genitalia, their sex characteristics, their biology, being their sole salient characteristic? (Oh yeah, kyriarchy, I forgot.) Humans are humans. Whether they fit into our culturally-defined ‘male’ or ‘female’ categories or not, human beings are still human. Therefore, there is nothing about intersex people’s existences that is wrong, or shameful. They are simply another manifestation of the vast variety in the human species.

  1. Jo. says:

    Thank you JKBC. Maybe some day when enough people stand up and shout stop! Maybe then the medicalizing and pathologizing will end.

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