I curate The Interface Project. Learn more at interfaceproject.org.
Articles like this typically begin with the soul-baring personal story of someone born with intersex traits. The piece moves on to casual conflation of the terms ‘sex’ and ‘gender,’ followed by a dubious quote from a careful surgeon, and then a selectively inaccurate representation of present-day intersex treatment protocols. This formula — paired with the inference that every intersex birth in the U.S. is met with a multidisciplinary team of fair-minded specialists — can lead a casual reader to believe children are no longer arbitrarily sterilized, mutilated, or deceived.
We know that when a young trans person is ordered to divorce themselves from their identity they are vulnerable to isolation, and if the child is not already born into poverty, then isolation becomes one of the first steps toward poverty, and one of the main ingredients in keeping them there.
Health care providers expand their world view all the time. Indeed, the truest thing I’ve experienced in this work is that compassion – like principles of psychotherapy – can be taught and learned in equal measure.
I work for my community whether I’m “at work” or not because it’s my life. Whether I’m answering emails, representing BreakOUT! at an action, or I’m out experiencing the world as an LGBTIQI-identifying person. Living my work helps me help others effectively because it’s life and death for me. It’s life and death for my sisters and brothers, for my chosen family, and especially for queer youth living in poverty.
Performed and recorded live on October 9, 2014 in Missoula, Montana.
The Bilerico Project’s photographic interpretation indicates feeble-minded satire not social criticism. Actual Intersex People — people born with variations of sex anatomy — are not anyone’s cartoonish conception of liminal expression of gender and we refuse to be the spectacle of 'hermaphrodite idealism.'
Indeed, there are almost as many terms for “intersex” as there are intersex people. This abundance of terminology is a tendency we share with many marginalized communities: Language is political because it is personal, and therefore, important.
The right to self-determination and bodily autonomy has always been a political goal of the intersex community.
On May 14, 2013 Advocates for Informed Choice and Southern Poverty Law Center ran a press release announcing the filing of a lawsuit on behalf of a child who was harmed unthinkably, and beyond repair, by a group of adults employed by the state of South Carolina.
Performed and recorded live on March 21, 2013 at "Tell Us Something" in Missoula, Montana.
If 'Soulsville: A Benefit for The Interface Project' could have happened anywhere else in the world it would have already. August 2, 2013 saw the community of Missoula, Montana fill the 300-seat MCT Center for the Performing Arts to enjoy some classic soul music, support a local nonprofit, and witness the first celebrity to ever speak publicly in defense of an Intersex person’s right to self-determination.
As brave as these individuals were, their appeals for reason and restraint went largely unheard by the medical community.
People ask me why I do this work, and my reply stated simply is because I was born with a body that frightened my parents. I was forced to endure damaging normalizing procedures. I want to see tomorrow’s generation grow up as they are with all futures possible and their bodies untouched by the prejudices I ran into as an infant.