Intersex individuals are born with sex characteristics that don’t match what’s traditionally classified as male or female. Video provided by Newsy
Doctors and parents are doing irreversible harm solely due to discomfort with difference. We are erased before we can even tell them who we are.
I was born with typically “male” XY chromosomes and internal testes instead of ovaries and a uterus, but my body developed to appear typically female.
My intersex condition was invisible until I reached puberty and failed to menstruate like other girls. On the advice of doctors at a major hospital, my parents agreed that I should have surgery to remove my healthy gonads, without my knowledge or consent.
My natural hormone production ceased, and I was forced onto hormone replacement therapy for the rest of my life. I was just 15. Doctors also recommended to my parents that I receive invasive surgery to create a more “typically” sized vagina — thankfully, my parents refused. I didn’t find out about any of this until I was 41 years old.
Intersex people like me — up to 1.7% of the population — are born with sex characteristics that do not fit typical definitions of male or female. I have androgen insensitivity syndrome. Because my body was resistant to androgens, including testosterone, in the womb, my natural hormones automatically converted into estrogen through a process called aromatization.
Intersex people have been the last bastion of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” with doctors commonly telling parents for many years that the best thing they could do for their children was to have surgery done, even when they are infants, so they can grow up “normal.”
These and other surgeries have been commonly performed on intersex children in the USA since the 1960s. But in the 1990s, intersex adults began speaking out against these non-consensual and medically unnecessary procedures because of their lifelong physical and psychological consequences.
Despite decades of controversy over the procedures, doctors continue to operate on children’s gonads, internal sex organs and genitals…