Tuesday, 9 December 2008

A Letter from the Human Rights Commissioner

Following up on my previous post...

Message about the Commission's project on the legal recognition of sex in documents and government records

I have received some enquiries about the sex and gender diversity project, in response to a media report that suggests the Commission is secretly circulating a proposal to make intersex a third category for documents and government records.

This is incorrect.

As you will be aware, the Commission's sex and gender diversity project has been examining the legal recognition of sex in documents and government records. As part of this project, the project created an online blog - called Sex Files - in order to discuss some of the issues to do with legal recognition and to involve the sex and gender diverse community in the development of recommendations. This included posting publically some initial proposals for reform on the Sex Files blog. We did this because we wanted those involved in the project to provide valuable feedback. The responses we received help to inform the development of a report on legal recognition in documents and government records. The final report is due to be completed and launched early next year.

As indicated by some of the enquiries, the initial proposals for reform put up on the blog included a suggestion for a category of intersex for legal documents. However, as raised with us on the blog, this is not an acceptable proposal for a variety of reasons. As a result the report will not propose a category of intersex for documents but instead proposes to recommend that people be able to choose between male, female or unspecified.

I hope that this explains how we have tried to respond to people's concerns. I have discussed one of our draft recommendations here, in advance of the report, only because I recognise that the misrepresentation in the media may have caused some distress. The full report, including other recommendations, will not be available until the report is published early next year. If you are on the sex and gender diversity mailing list already, you will receive notice of the report when it is finalised.

Thank you for your participation to date.

Graeme Innes AM

Human Rights Commissioner
What was it I said...
And while we're at it, rather than "Male, Female or Intersex" on the birth certificates, how about "Male, Female or Unspecified".
Sounds good to me.


Anonymous said...


Christine said...

"Unspecified" or "intersexed"...A rose by any other name....

Nicky said...

I see so many problems with that. First one would be that their would a whole bunch of transsexuals and transgender people who would take advantage of the law and abuse it for themselves and not letting the intersex use it. Second would be that the definition of intersex is so broad, that as it's written, it would accidentally include transsexuals and transgender people while leaving out true intersex born intersex people who really need it.

That's why on paper it's a good idea philosophical wise, but in reality, I would fix it. Now If I was writing it, I would make sure that the definition of intersex would be based on genetic DNA, biological, and physiological. It would be based on the current science that's out their and what's accepted as scientific fact by the scientific and academic community.

Nikola Kovacs said...

Let's not be divisive here.

Regardless of whether this news assists one definition of intersexed person or another definition of transsexual person, the point is that this is good news for all of us who know that there is more to one's gender than male or female.

This is yet another chip away at the conservative block that will one day just come crumbling down in front of us.


Anonymous said...

I'm definitely male, but I'd consider putting "unspecified" because I'm not convinced the government has a need to know.

Nicky said...

I think that as it's written, it's a god idea on paper, but I am worried about some transsexual or transgender taking advantage of the law and abusing it. It's well intended, but we just have to be very careful of how we worded it, so that those who are born intersex and are defined as intersex by the medical, scientific and academic community. I think this is why We would need to make sure that it's well written and well defined and it makes it so that, to use the intersex, you have to meet a very narrow set of guidelines based on genetic DNA, biological and physiological standards.

Anonymous said...

Nicky - we already know that you hate transpeople and have difficulty writing coherently in English.


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

This reminds me of a small contract I accepted in exchange for a small---way
to small, as I found out later, but I was young and needed the money---fee.
It was more or less some small changes for the webfrontend to a patients
database for a small polyclinic. The usual stuff: changing the whole thing
from latin-1 to unicode (they found out that the transliteration of e.g.
arabian names was not very...uh...homogeneous), correct all typos, a little
bit of this, a little bit of that...but you are an IT-person yourself, Zoe, I
guess you know the spiel.
One of these points was, as you might have guessed already, an entry that
was originally of the form:
[ ] male
[ ] female
[ ] other
That was obviously---even for me at that time, knowing close to nothing about
all of the 'fuzzyness' of the sexual dimorphism of H. s. sapiens---not
the right way to handle it. So I added a small 256 byte textfield to it and
changed the underlying read-only Perl-code accordingly. That was seemingly
insufficient as I have been told in not very polite words (Did I tell you
that I was young and needed the money really urgently?). Thus I extended the
field to a 1024 bytes, still non-blob, textfield which needed some changes in
the code of the database itself of which I'm not very proud of, so don't ask.
One kibibyte was still not enough as shown by some adjectives in the
commentsection that would make an old sailor blush, therefore I squeezed myself
into a lent suit, got nearly chocked by trying to fasten a double Windsor
and attended the conference. After some long hours discussing some
extraordinary banal points I got the chance to ask my question. It was a
very heated discussion (about 8 years ago, IIRC) and as far as I know the
entry "other" is still simply a link to a directory with as much storage as
the current filling of the RAID allows.
I can't remember much what was discussed and a lot of that had gone obsolete,
but one thing I remember: it is not as simple as the Boolean
m|f|undefined; and I know that I do not tell you anything new here.

So: what makes you so sure, that the proposed way is a good solution instead
of just the oversimplifying of a pragmatic bureaucrat?


Zoe Brain said...

It's an improvement. A big one.

Is it perfect? No.

I'll quote myself:
Excellent recommendations, striking a balance between ideals and what can be practically achieved in the medium term.

The next step is to make sure the details are right, regarding equal opportunity and marriage legislation. The latter is of particular importance.

Unknown said...

Because of anti-discrimination laws here in the U.S. and the need to show they're not being violated, I find myself regularly being asked my race when filling out forms--for school and employment applications, mortgage loans, and so forth. While I understand the motivation, the irony that they want to know my race because race doesn't matter is a bit more than I can swallow, as is the lingering suspicion that the information will be misused, so I always fill that blank in with "decline to state." If I had that option for the sex/gender blank on the form, I'd do the same there (on those rare occasions when I do have that option, I do).

I'm with laserlight on this. Where I live (Washington state, USA), the state Constitution says, "Equality of rights and responsibility under the law shall not be denied or abridged on account of sex" (Article XXXI, section 1). That's pretty unequivocal I think, and yet the state Supreme Court narrowly ruled a couple of years ago in support of a Defense of Marriage Act prohibiting same-sex marriage. As it appears the only effective way to keep government out of our pants (and denying or abridging our equality of rights under the law on that basis) is to not allow them to peek in there in the first place, I'm considering the advisability of filing an Initiative to the People this January to bar the Washington state government from ever asking a person's sex or gender, or indicating it on any official or legal documents.

Nicky said...

I think it is good on paper wise, but I am weary about the unintended use and abuse of the law. It maybe good on paper, but in reality, who is this going to really apply to. I think they need to narrow it down and really set guidelines on who can use it and who can't.

Unknown said...

Nicky, I can see that you're very concerned about something, but I'm not sure I really get what it is. I'd like to understand better where you're coming from on this. What exactly is it you're afraid will happen, and in what way(s) would that harm you?

Your answers to these questions might also suggest a workable solution.

Battybattybats said...

As long as no-one is forced to use the option It seems good to me.

Though I do wonder what the criteria will be.

Those upset that transgender people might use it, whats wrong with that?

Surely anyone who feels neither entirely male or female should be able to use this catagory.

After all, these catagories come into play if someones appearance does not match an officials sex/gender expectattions.

For someone like me who's been instantly 'read' when dressed in womens clothes yet whose been seen as female when in mens clothes too then would not such a third catagory make sense or be appropriate to prevent things like the couple of recent cases where non TG women were thrown out of womens toilets because they were perceived as not looking suffciently like women?

As long as those Intersex people who do identify as strictly male or female can be classed as such and those who don't whether Genderqueer or any other form of Transgender as well as non-binary Intersex no matter how rare can use the unspecified catagory and that Intersex children can for example use the unspecified till they are sure which if any of the other two to move to then shouldn't this be a very good thing?

And if any of those aren't the case aren't we just shifting the boundary fences a little but reataining the wrong, the injustice just shrinking the number of those effected? I never see that as an acceptable thing when fixing the whole problem is an option.

Nat said...

I, for one, would HOPE that genderqueer people would use this "unspecified" option. Intersexed men, intersexed women, transmen and transwomen wouldn't need to choose this, since they WANT to specify their gender as the one with which they identify. It's the gender outlaws like me and also those biologically "normal" genderqueers, neutrois and gender fluid people that will benefit from such an option. Should there be a line? Maybe. Perhaps we can be assessed under a series of guidelines or something to make sure we aren't just doing it for kicks. I don't know. But what I do know is that I just don't fit in the woman box, nor the man box. If I had that extra option, I would most certainly choose it.

Nicky said...

Well for me, my main concern is use and abuse of the law. I can see it were some transsexual or transgender abuses the law that was well intended for those that are intersex born intersex. I got nothing against that and it's all good on paper, but in reality is what I am worried about. I am worried about how it will apply in reality and worry about it being used and abused by some transsexual or transgender who is not truly intersex born intersex at birth. Unless they can come up with some type of assurance and some strict narrow set of guidelines that say who can use the intersex box and who can't and what set of medical conditions would be allowed and I would used what the current academic and medical science community as a guidelines.

The way I see it will harm me and every intersex born intersex out their because some transsexual or transgender uses and abusex the intersex box that is intended for intersex born intersex people only. I see potential for abuse of the law by transsexuals and transgender people. I can see so many issues and so many problems that it may be scrapped all together.

Unknown said...

Nicky, I'm still not sure I understand.

If the choice on I.D. documents is male/female/unspecified, how is it "abuse" for anyone not somehow (necessarily somewhat arbitrarily) defined as intersex to use the "unspecified" option? And how would that harm you or anyone thus defined as intersex?

Even if the third choice were "intersex" rather than "unspecified," which I thought was no longer under serious consideration, I don't really understand how it could hurt anyone for anyone at all to have that choice specified on their I.D. documents, regardless of their medical history. Can you explain the harm you see coming from this?

As I said, I can see you're clearly worried about something, and it's important enough to you to keep coming back here and repeating your concern, but I guess I'm just not getting what you're concerned about. I suspect we have different unstated assumptions about something somehow central to this, and I'm hoping to clarify what those assumptions might be.

Nicky said...

The thing I am worried about is the abuse of the law and how it can be abused by transsexuals and transgender people for their own gain. I'm all fine for it, as long as it has some very well written guidelines on who can use it and who can't.

The harm I can see is that their are true intersex born intersex people who are intersex at birth who wouldn't be able to use it, all because some transsexual or transgender abused it for their own gain. What I worry about is the abuse of the law and some unintended abuse and misuse of the law. I worry about some transsexual or transgender mislabeling themselves as an intersex and misidentifying themselves as intersex, when they don't have any medically documented proof that their intersex in the first place.

I don't think that documentation is enough because some transsexual or some transgender can get any doctor to falsify their intersex status just to get that ability to check the intersex box. I think we should have a narrow set of guidelines based on what the medical, scientific and academic community considers what's intersex and what's not.

Bad hair days said...

Hm german Intersex Bloggers share the meaning of Nick, titling:

"Australien erwägt 3. Geschlecht "Intersex" - für Transsexuelle und Transgender, nicht für Zwitter"

Australia considers third gender "intersex" - for Transsexuals and Transgender, not for intersexed

It goes on about how trangender stole the "intersex" definition by prefering "unspecified"

It was good news, until they mangled it to write something hatefull about TS and TG, like Nick loves to do. The bad thing is: They have a greater audience taking them seriously.

I don't understand that. If you have natural allies, like TG are for IS in that topic, why hate and blame them instead of thinking of work with them? The political opponents let go fireworks on that.


Unknown said...


In re-reading the message from the Human Rights Commissioner Zoe reposted here, it seems clear enough to me that the intention of the proposal is not specifically to serve the needs of intersex folks to the exclusion of all others; Mr. Innes talks about the "sex and gender diverse community." He also goes out of his way to point out that the original idea of having a third "intersex" category was unacceptable for various reasons, and proposes instead to recommend an "unspecified" category as the third option. Given that, restricting the use of that category to some narrowly-defined group would seem to me to be counter to the purpose of the proposal.

That aside, I am still left scratching my head as to what exactly you mean by "abuse" and how "transsexuals and transgender people" could abuse a still-hypothetical "unspecified" category (or even "intersex," if that were the case) to their own gain and to the detriment of intersex people. Currently "transsexuals and transgender people" as well as intersex folk are, in most parts of the world, all forcibly assigned either a "male" or "female" label, without regard to the needs or interests of the individual and without apparent perceived detriment to those who bear those labels willingly.

Also, it's my understanding that intersex conditions are much more common among those who feel they've been assigned to the wrong legal and social gender, and people who feel that way about their assigned gender are much more common in the intersex population, than either is among the general population, so I imagine it would be exceedingly difficult to come up with a definition that came "acceptably" close to including all of one group and none of the other.

Could you give a specific hypothetical real-world example of the kind of abuse you're worried about, and explain to those of us who didn't grow up thinking of ourselves as intersex, and maybe aren't aware of what that entails, how that abuse would be detrimental to those who did?

Nicky said...

The abuse i would see in this is that their are transsexuals within the transgender community who are known to mislabel, misidentify and misrepresent themselves as an intersex person. I can see it where some transsexual who would go out and misrepresent themselves as an intersex just so they can use the intersex box.

See, transgender and transsexuals have a choice, whereas intersex people don't have a choice. Intersex is more of a physiological, biological and genetic condition. It's centered around the DNA, sex chromosomes, and reproductive organs. Whereas transgender, it's more of psychological and psychiatric condition and a mental health issue.

Unknown said...


I think we begin to see some of the unstated assumptions of which I spoke.

Since you frequent this site I can't imagine you're unaware of all the research Zoe's reported on, which collectively rather soundly contradicts all your statements about transsexuals. So I'm left wondering how you justify ignoring it.

But leaving that aside, supposing for the sake of argument (against all evidence) that what you say about transsexuals and the transgendered were true, I still don't understand why it upsets you so much, or how it harms people you would consider to be "legitimately" intersex. Can you explain that to me please?

Battybattybats said...

When this was first proposed i was among several IS and TG people to raise serious concerns.

I could see some harm if the catagory had remained intersex when clearly an intersex person could consider themselves entirely male or female and being intersex and a TG person could consider themselves neither male nor female.

Essentially it being hamrful to Intersex people by robbing them of their self-accepted IS label or by forcing them out of male and female when that suits them.

Now I see no reason anyone can be harmed by TG and IS people both being able to be catagorised Unspecified or not if they so choose.

I can see substantial harm however for there being strict criteria placed on the catagory or for it to be a permanant catagory!

Strict criteria could result in many people still not fitting into male or female or unspecified and facing discrimination and injustice because of that.

Permanance could be exceeedingly harmful for IS children who should be able to make use of the unspecified catagory until they can choose for themselves which to stick with if any, just the same as they should be able to have such self determination over their anatomy and surgeries.

Making such a catagory permamanant, placing gatekeepers on it etc could be harmful to IS kids who should be free to explore all their options.

Much the same can be said to be true for TG kids.

And the phenomenon of de-transitioning and re-transitioning amongst a minority of TG people and the possibility that the same could occur for some minority of IS people means that any rule of permanance discriminates against these people!

And also where people have to spend time transitioning before they have their catagory changed opens them up to discrimination during that process for not matching sex/gender presentation expectations! And any undue process and duress (like having to obtain, carry, present and have checked up on a document stating their transitioning processs is undue process and duress!) is discrimination.

Requiring to meet medical conditions would also be bad, like coerced sterilisation for TS people and what if an IS person who has had surgical 'normalisation' whether voluntary or involuntarily in childhod were to be denied a third sex catagory because they now could fit a binary definition?

Gatekeepers, permanant catagories etc are mechanisms of protection for a binary gender social system which needs no protection. Just because exceptions exist in small numbers they do no harm to those who do fit a binary.

It's discriminatory and unnneccessary beaurocracy that costs the society money to oppress a minority for no net benefit.

As such I think a witnessed stat-dec should be all required, that it should be open to anyone and easilly reversed or changed again by another stat-dec and that we should slowly encourage the phasing out entirely of legal-sex. A social and cultural definition will remain anyway and people could be protected on discrimination based on perception of sex/gender regardless of their genitals so loically legal sex isn't even needed for that purpose.

As for the German article. They published clearly incorrect information that should have been able to be checked easilly.

The third sex option was not going to be unavailable to Intersex people so that is false.

The choice to use the term Intersex came from the comission, not TG people. And it was both TG and IS commentators on the AHRC forum (myself included!) who objected to the use of the term Intersex for a third sex catagory where many IS folk are binary-identified and where both IS and TG people may wish to, and validly use, a third catagory! Several agreed that there should be a third 'unspecified' catagory.

Bad Hair Days, could you pass the facts on to the german blogger/s? My High School german is pretty much all forgotten.

It would be nice for them to post the facts rather than untruths and I think they should consider apologising to those on the AHRC S&GD forum that, TG and IS alike argued for fairness for both TG and IS people on this issue including the missuse of the term Intersex for the third catagory.

Oh and Nicky, even if it's pure choice for TS and TG it's still their Human Right to make that choice! Freedom of Expression covers CD's GQ's etc. Right to Self-Identification covers pre-op and non-op as well as post-op TSs calling themselves women and GQ calling themselves neither men nor women. Right to Bodily Autonomy makes voluntary SRS ok to choose and involuntary surgery on IS infants wrong. Right to Cultural traditions covers TG people in many many cultures where there are non-binary gender traditions!

So if it's a choice then it's not a psychological problem but appropriate use of te right to make such a choice!

There are similarly extreme body modifications practiced by native peoples (have you ever read what many Aboriginal tribes do to their genitals in their initiation rites?) protected by the right to cultural traditions.

A little bit of Anthropology and Human Rights reading will surprise you!

Nicky said...

Why I ignore what Zoe post is because it's not considered scientific fact and that all she ever post is just theory's that will never be proven under scientific conditions and tested elsewhere. I don't consider a theory to be a scientific fact unless you can test again and in another place to considered a scientific fact.

Well for me, it's true because I can see it everywhere in forums and online chat rooms where you have transsexuals who are claiming to be intersex and claiming to have an intersex condition without showing proof. What I am seeing them doing is misidentifying, mislabeling and misrepresenting themselves as an intersex person. Which in effect, cheapens, diminishes the intersex community and intersex people's experience and upbringing.

What it actually dose, it erases, silences, cheapens and diminishes the life experience and upbringing of those who are intersex born intersex and intersex at birth. It makes it hard for intersex people to exists when you have trans people making trouble and making it harder for intersex people to just make it in life without someone in society making assumptions that "intersex people are the same as trans" or that "trans is an intersex condition". Which to me, offends me as an intersex person.

I'm essentially voicing my concern that the law could be abused by some transsexual who could fake themselves as an intersex person. They could attempt to misidentify themselves, misrepresent and mislabel themselves as an intersex person. It could hurt those who are intersex born intersex, intersex at birth people and hurt those who the law should apply to as intended on paper.

Nicky said...

I see it where TS people should not be part of the intersex because on the grounds that if a parent of an intersex child or baby finds out that their condition is associated with the TS community. The parents are then going to push and force the intersex baby into unnecessary and needless surgeries, just so the surgeon can ease the parents fears of their child's future sexual orientation and idenity.

See, for me, I see TS more of a psychological and psychiatric condition. It's more of a social issue rather than a medical issue. Intersex is more of a medical issue and that intersex far different than a transgender.

Unknown said...


OK, so your objection to transsexuals sharing a third official gender marker with intersex people is ultimately just that you don't want the taint of transsexualism, the stigma that goes along with it, to touch you. As depressingly uncharitable and unworthy as I find that, I suppose it's understandable, given that transsexuals are one of the most maligned and abused minorities, and by far the most frequently murdered for simply being who we are. Why would anyone want to be associated with that?

I disagree with you about the quality of the research Zoe has referenced in her blog, and have a strong enough scientific background to be reasonably confident of my own assessment. I'm open to changing my opinion based on further evidence, but you seem to be implying you are not (and seem to have a rather different definition of evidence anyway), so I'm not sure there's much point in continuing to discuss that, even though you seem to make it central to your justifications for your animosity toward transsexuals.

I still don't really get why you feel that transsexualism being categorised as a type of intersex condition would "cheapen and diminish" the life experiences of as already-diverse a group as those born with what you consider intersex conditions, some of whom, like transsexuals, don't become aware of the fact they have such a condition until later in life. You've hinted at this previously, and now stated it, but I'm still not quite getting how that works. I can't tell if it's a result of, or a contributing factor in, your general animosity to transsexuals (or both, or possibly even neither). In lieu of understanding, I'll respect your feelings on that and allow the possibility that it's one of those things a person who didn't grow up intersex (by your definition) just won't easily grasp. I will say, though, that your presumption in declaring your confident understanding of the true nature of transsexualism, in contradiction of what evidence exists and of the life experiences of transsexuals themselves, offends me every bit as deeply as the claim that transsexualism might in some way be related to intersex offends you. Neither of us, of course, has any "right" to go through life un-offended, but since you seem to care about that, I thought it bore mentioning.

Anonymous said...


If you had the following three choices, how would you specify your gender?
Male / Female / Intersex

If you are given the following choices, how would you specify your gender?
Male / Female / Unspecified


Nicky said...

I would choice intersex because as an intersex born intersex and intersex at birth, it's a right that every intersex person has and is born with.

Nicky said...

That's because, if you have a parent of an intersex baby and child and they find out that their child's intersex condition is associated with or connected to the Trans community. The parents are then going to go to the surgeons and force their intersex baby and child into needless and unnecessary surgeries, Just so the surgeon can ease the parents fears of their child's future sexual orientation and gender idenity.

I don't believe that Zoe is a credible person because none of what she's posted has changed scientific and academic textbooks out their. What She's posted is theories that have never been proven or never been validated. I don't consider Zoe to be a valid proof because everything is speculation and just a theory.

That's because intersex born intersex is for people like me who are born intersex at birth and who are intersex from the day we were born. I don't consider transsexualism to be part of the intersex because it's not proven to be intersex and it's not considered to be intersex by the current scientific, medical and academic community. The problem here is that you have transsexuals who will cheapen, misidentify, mislabel and misrepresent themselves as an intersex person. When they cheapen an intersex person's life experience and upbringing, they are erasing and silencing and intersex persons life experience when they talk about them in the context of the intersex. It's like this, when every transsexual opens their mouth and talk about the intersex community and the intersex person. They are talking about the intersex in their eyes and in their point of view, which i view it as they are erasing, cheapening and silencing an intersex persons life experiences and usurping it for theirs.

Unknown said...


You didn't answer anonymous-+centiest's second question; I'm curious how you'd answer it too.

According to your scenario the problem with unnecessary infant surgeries isn't transsexuals themselves, but societal trans- and homo-phobia. Yet rather than trying to address that, you seem to believe the solution is to further vilify and ostracise transsexuals.

You've made quite clear that you refuse to be swayed by evidence on the question of the nature of transsexualism so there's no further point in discussing that. Suffice it to say we disagree on every significant point, and I've seen nothing from you that would lead me to question my own understanding.

I can understand feeling usurped when someone who doesn't share your life experiences claims to speak for you. In fact I feel it every time you write about transsexualism, so I can fully sympathize with that. I'm careful never to claim to speak for intersex people generally; even though I think transsexualism is related to intersex, being an analogous neurological condition, I wouldn't presume to believe that would in any way equate your experience to mine, any more than it equates my experience to that of a gay man. On the other hand I think you're rather presumptuous to claim to speak for all intersex people; I doubt the life experience of a CAIS woman, for example, has much if anything in common with yours beyond the intersex label.

I don't generally like to impute motives, since one can never truly know what goes on in the mind of another, but when you peel away all the rhetoric, it seems clear to me that your real objection is not that you don't like diverse experiences being conflated and diluted with yours in the public mind; rather, it's that you find transsexuals extremely distasteful and don't wish to be thought of as in any way "like them."

Zoe Brain said...

I don't believe that Zoe is a credible person because none of what she's posted has changed scientific and academic textbooks out their.
Except for, say, the Praeger Handbook of Transsexuality by Prof R. Heath? And every other academic work on the subject published in the last few years....

Nicky said...

Okay, I would answer intersex and female. That would be because of genetics, physiological and biological markers that a person is required to have.

Well basically, transsexuals should never ever be part of the intersex community because of the fact that transsexuals would drive parents of intersex kids and babies into unnecessary and needless surgeries, just so surgeons can ease the parents fears of the kids future sexual orientation and gender idenity. My main concern is for the kids and babies who are intersex and the concerns that parents have and their concerns that their kids condition could be associated with the TS communities.

I am not swayed because the evidence still does not exist and their is no proof whatsoever. Trans can never be intersex and according to most scientific, medical and academic communities Trans people do not qualify in being called intersex and should never be part of the intersex community. I go by what's current and what's accepted by the academic, scientific and medical community and what they say is solid proof of being intersex and what's scientific fact and what's scientifically written in text books.

Nicky said...

Zoe, your not creditable enough and I think your works are confusing people and making society confuse what's intersex and what's trans. I have to say, Zoe is responsible for confusing society, and confusing people on what's intersex and what's trans. That's why Zoe does not speak for every intersex person out their and Zoe only speaks for herself.

Battybattybats said...


Your point about transsexuals encouraging parents to have their kids put through surgery is because the parents dont want their kids to be like transsexuals yes? Your not saying that transsexuals themselves would call for that surgery? (As several certainly already oppose it)

But aren't you assuming something?

You are assuming that society cannor or will not ever accept trassexuals.

But as many societies throughout history have done so how can you be sure they won't now?

As society has been accepting in ever increasing numbers Woman as equals to Men, Black people as equals to Whites and Gays as equals to Straights is it not in fact logical to assume that greater acceptance of Transexuals in society is inevitable?

In which case it may be that in the future IS kids will not get surgery precisely because their parents ACCEPT TSs and because they assume TG is connected to and related to IS they will accept the childs self determination BECAUSE of TGs rather than the opposite!

In which case isn't supporting TG acceptance in the best interest of IS people in the long-term?

Also sure, your waiting on a broad scientific consensus before you accept TG as DEFINATELY conected to IS.

Thats logical and quite reasonable.

Some people accepted man-made global warming as a clear fact in the 60's, others waited for the braod scientific consensus which exists now.

Thats reasonable.

HOWEVER, as all scientific knowledge is based upon current data and current consensus doesn't that mean you must consider that there is perpetual uncertainty?

That all scientific fact is just the most probable truth at any given time.

In which case while you can logicly say that Zoe's views are currently NOT PROVEN you can't say they are DISPROVEN.

Meaning that untill the consensus either rejects such by falsifying them in a definitive experiment or concludes that they are definately so that you must consder them as neither PROVEN nor DISPROVEN.

Instead logic demands they be considered POSSIBLY SO.

In which case you have to wager on the outcome. You can't think in black-or-white terms on it.

If IS ends up being proven to be seperate to TG definatively but both IS and TG both get greater acceptance then neither is harmed.

If IS ends up being proven to berealted to TG, if in 5-10 years the scientific consensus is entirely that Zoe is right however and you've allowed one to gain acceptance and the other not then all the stigma you've allowed to remain on TG will be suddenly heaped upon IS ruining all the work you'd done to make IS acceptable because it's seperate from TG.

So then, as each of those outcomes is a very real possibility that no-one can logicly dissmiss isn't it neccessary logicly for you to support both IS and TG acceptance whether or not you think they are connected simply because of the possibility that they one day may be considered so by the scientific consensus?

Surely until Zoe is DISPROVEN you'll have to consider the MAYBE'S of possibility!

Anonymous said...

I don't believe that Zoe is a credible person because none of what she's posted has changed scientific and academic textbooks out their.
Do you understand how long textbooks actully take to produce? And how long it takes for knowledge to filter into them? Most textbooks are designed for students and for quick reference for professionals.

As a professional (in another field entirely), our textbooks are still (in the main), stuck in the 1970's. If I want to know the current thinking, then I go to the journals.

At the moment, most textbooks for medical students contain very little info on transsexuality. About 50% of all journal articles have been published in the last 10 years, so that filtering and packaging of information simply hasn't happened yet. The academic literature (i.e. the journals) strongly supports the notion that TS is a natural variation of development that occurs in utero, the net result of which is a largely female brain in a largely male body or vice versa.

Long story short, if you're relying on textbooks to judge the current state of medical knowledge, you're woefully out of touch.

Well basically, transsexuals should never ever be part of the intersex community because of the fact that transsexuals would drive parents of intersex kids and babies into unnecessary and needless surgeries, just so surgeons can ease the parents fears of the kids future sexual orientation and gender idenity.

Actually it would probably work the other way, in that there is a fair body of experience now where recipients of infant genital normalization surgeries have been *made* transsexual (i.e. they were normalized to female, when they were actually male or vice versa) and been quite upset about it (understandably). There are more likely than not, still some docs in the dark ages but the current thinking is to do only such surgery as necessary to relieve pain and allow normal bathroom behavior. The child is then reared as the "best guess" gender, with the caveat that it may need to be adjusted when the child can express him/herself. So the "ickyness" you perceive in transsexuals actually helps intersex people, because doctors don't want to create transsexuals by infant surgery or other interventions.


Bad hair days said...

Hello Battybattybats

I forwarded the link and I will think they'll read it.

But meanwhile they answered my question what that transbashing is all about and how it hurts political progress.

First thing: What do you mean? Transbashing?
They think clearer ditinctions are better for political progress for intersex people.


Anonymous said...

I apologize for the wording of my first posting. I usually let my writings sit
for at least an hour or two before publishing them, if publishing them at all.
Don't know what came over me to hit the posting button so early in the
process because I'm quite sure that a silly anecdote where I even forgot to
append the punchline added nothing to my non-elaborated point.

So, let me try again:
The binary distinction male/female/undefined [MFU for later] will inevitable
lead to person/non-person, mainly because the common people cannot grasp the
principle of "undefined" in Boolean logic, will say tertium non datur
and act as if nothing happened.

Oh, and by the way: to use "undertermined" instead of "undefined" makes
things even worse: it says that the opposite exists, that sex and gender are
determinable in an exact way. "Determinable" can also be passive ("You are of
the sex $SEX and gender $GENDER!") and active ("I am of the sex $SEX and
gender $GENDER!"), the former led to all the children with too early a
surgery and the latter leads to the false conclusion that sex and/or gender
are freely choosable.

There is neithe a logical reason to differ between male and female in a legal
context. In most of the constitutions in the world man and woman are seen as
equal, even if the rest of the constitution ignores it. If both are equal
there is obviously no reason to differ in the first place; "Man and Woman
are created equal" contradicts itself in the context of law.

Now, what's left? A medical reason? No, as can be seen from the little messed
up anecdote in my first post above and your own experiences: you would be
dead now if the physicians would have trusted the entry in your passport.

One of the few reasons left is that of pragmatism: with about 4% of not easily
predeterminable cases it makes no sense to plan for obstetrics for a fat man
like me---I'm not pregnant, only obese with most mass around the navel---as
long as it is not easy to determine differences in sex fully, easily and
otherwise you can't call it pragmatic anymore.

It is a good idea to start with the marriage at first. It is a good
idea because it intersects with the interrests of a large group B. Let me do
some numerology^Wstatistics:
Given are p the population of the world[2] with p = 6.7*10^9, b the size of the
group B with b = p*0.13 = 0.871*10^9, a the size of group A with a =
p*0.04=0.268*10^9, and i the the population of India[2] with i=1.1*10^9. With
the simple summation s=a+b=1.139*10^9 we come to the inequality s>i and can
easily conclude that a group, larger then the population of India might have
some influence: unusquisque tantum juris habet, quantum potentiae valet[1]

The parapgraph above assumes a lot (13%? How the hell can I be so sure?
Well, I believe it is a true number and faith is always right, isn't it?) and
ignores even more (distributions of age, wealth, social status etc.) I do
not know if it is ethically correct to use these numbers but I have very good
reasons to doubt it.

But the biggest problem will be the public opinion. As Tacitus said[3] two
millenia ago: isque habitus animorum fuit, ut pessimum facimus auderent
pauci, plures vellent, omnes paterentur
which still holds.


PS: I strictly ignore any political correctness in my writs and speeches
because "political correct" is an oxymoron, I am a musician for whom
"Man and Woman" sounds better than "Woman and Man", and I am bonelazy
(to be political correct is hard work for not much gain).

PPS: Some of Nicky's arguments sound so familiar, where have I seen it before ... oh
yes: the folks of the "Intelligent Design" rubbish have very similar

[1] Benedictus Spinoza, Tractatus Politicus, cap. 2, 8 (same idea repeated
in Ethica, IV, prop. 37, schol. 1
[2] CIA Factbook 2008
[3] Tacitus, Historiae, I, 28

Battybattybats said...

One of the issues facing many morality arguments involving numbers of people is that often harm to the smaller group is considered less than harm to the larger even if the nature of harm is not the same.

Let me illustrate this using a quick variation of The Trolley Dillema.

Normally the Trolley Dilema is this: Your standing at the stwitch between two tracks, an out of control trolley is heading for five people on one track and will surely kill them, yet if you sitch tracks it will collide with just one and kill them instead. Should you pull the lever?

Now consider this variation:

The five people are much further away, they are picknicking on the track. They may have time to get out of the way, it's uncertain, but surely their picnic will be ruined they will be inconvenienced upset and may have a risk to their lives and limbs if they ignore the approaching trolley.

On the other track is someone whose foot is caught in the tracks. They will certainly be mutilated and lose the leg at best and will have a very high chance of dying.

Perhaps the five belong to the same race, sex, gender, class as you and the one belongs to a smaller and more stigmatised group.

In this version the lesser harm of inconvenience is measured against the harm of loss of limb, but there is still a risk of deaths amongst the five it is less in chance of the likely death and certain loss of limb of the one.

Too often people just go with the needs of the larger group not considering the variations of harm.

Now one of the main objections raised to the equating of TG with IS is one of sharing stigma, of being judged by a bias against another (personally I'd rather suffer that bias than contribute to it myself! Something I went through once when I suffered racism because some people missidentified my race) but is this a matter of scapegoating?

The notion is that parents may elect to 'normalise' their children for fear of TS stigma, so instead of attacking the stigma or attacking the parents having that choice at all it is decided to try and divorce the TS stigma from IS kids?

It's treating symptoms not causes and it's acting to maintain and perpetuate the stigma.

Now attacking the stigma itself my be a noble choice and one I think that is every persons obligation (to be rightly treated equally you must ensure otherd are also treated equally) but it's a harder one to succeed at in the short term.

So what about attacking the parents capacity to choose? After all most Western Democracies do not allow female 'circumcision' on children. Many have most body modifications like cosmetic surgery, body piercing and tattoos restricted to a degree.

Would then it not be more sensible to make a case based on the rights of the child to be protected from unnneccessory involuntary genital surgery?

Rather than worrying about possible influences on the choice of parents where you have a strong risk of harming or maintaining the harm of others in the hope that you might alter the chances of others harming others why not skip that and try and directly prohibit the harm you wish to prevent?

Lets return to the trolley dilema. Say next to the switch to change the tracks there is another that will set of a loud warning klaxon on the trolley that would help the five realise their danger in time to get off the tracks, all without causing any harm to the one with their foot traped on the other line.

Or perhaps the second switch sends a mild painful but not dangerous current through the tracks.

Sure the picnic is still disrupted, the five are inconvenienced and in the electric option they may experience pain that forces them off the tracks. And it's still possible it won't work and they will ignore the siren or be unaffected by the electricity but the chance is far less than the harm to the person with their foot trapped.

But that is minor compared to preventing both their own small risk and insignificant compared to the certain loss of limb and probable death from switching tracks.

Now the issues of IS children are not mine. I don't have any IS children. I'm not likely to have any children for some time to come. But I cannot fail to recognise the injustice done to IS children.

Same with circumcision, female and male. Even if one is happy with the choice ones parents made for them surely the merest possibility that some others may regret the choice made to them is enough that the practise should be illegal when performed on children not old enough to consent.

Now whether IS, which currently as far as I know by Nicky's definitions i am not and TG which I certainly am, turn out to be causally related or not I as a reasoning sentient being capable of empathy must logicly support prevention of injustice to IS children and adults regardless.

I've seen the exact same arguments used by some HBS advocates about Transgender people and vice versa. I've seen the same this very week from Crossdressers complaining about Drag Queens and again vice versa!

So many people blaming another group for their own groups lack of acceptance.

I think we have to seriously consider that the harm of the stigma when being associated with stigmatised groups, as I was when my race was missidentified, is the one that we should object to most of all, much more than to the association!

That regardless we should work together against the wrongs both of us suffer rather than blaming each other for the injustices other people entirely do to both.

We have a second switch. Lets use it!

Anonymous said...

hiya everybody, i wrote the german blogpost sarah was complaining about:

(b.t.w., most intersexed people i know prefer the term 'hermaphrodite', or german 'zwitter', and myself i'm a 'normal' xy)

though i have to give sarah credit for sending me a link to here, i'd like to point out that, while she accurately named and translated the post's title, her summary of the content is pretty misleading:

this post wasn't about the proposition of the commission itself, but about how it was reported in the news, giving links to four sources (which were all that popped up in the google intersex newssearch at the time of writing it), and which all have something in common.

which is, they don't mention neither the existence nor the situation nor the specific problems nor key demands of intersexed people. however, they all do mention transgender and their situation and key demands, as well as some of transsexuals (hence the sarcastical title of my post).

those four articles for me just once again prove the point, that it's always the intersexed having to pay the cost if they and their demands get lumped together with tg and ts in public and in politics, namely being rendered invisible just once more, to the point where, like in the articles, the word "intersex" still is present, but the intersexed themselves are not.

for this reason, most of the intersexed i know insist on not being lumped together with lgbt in public and in politics, and i can't say i don't see their point or find it unreasonable.

(note, mutual support and solidarity with the respective campaigns and fights vice versa is not affected by this policy, and neither are private or sociocultural contacts and exchange.)

in addition, i have to say i'm totally disappointed how someone intersexed here in this thread is being accused of 'hatred' and having 'difficulty writing coherently in English', and NOBODY taking a stand against such slurs.

and i'm shocked (though not too surprised) by the unsubstantiated claim re: forced genital surgery on intersexed infants that "the current thinking is to do only such surgery as necessary to relieve pain and allow normal bathroom behavior". though i'm admittedly not too familiar with the situation in australia, i've got a hunch i'd heard if forced surgery would've been abolished or even banned there (not to mention surgeons held accoutable for it). or have i really missed something?

every halfway reliable study i know of from any western country states the vast majority of hermaphrodites is still submitted to forced genital surgery, forced castration and forced hormone treatments amongst other atrocities since early childhood (though doctors use to claim different to divert unwanted attention from their ongoing medical crimes and human rights abuses of hermaphrodite kids).

however, something i'm aware about that it exists also in australia, too, is a thing called 'appropriation of the intersexed'. and no, you don't have to take my word for it: http://www.intersexualite.org/intergender-index.html#anchor_551

Anonymous said...

in addition, i have to say i'm totally disappointed how someone intersexed here in this thread is being accused of 'hatred' and having 'difficulty writing coherently in English', and NOBODY taking a stand against such slurs.
I'm not sure I understand why someone who communicates poorly in English should expect a free pass on this because of their medical condition.

Hate to get all Grammar-Nazi on folks but:
Zoe, your not creditable
Zoe, you're not...
..does not speak for every intersex person out their...
...person out there...
...and their is no proof whatsoever...
...and there is no proof...
What it actually dose, it erases...
What it actually does...
It makes it hard for intersex people to exists when...
...for intersex people to exist....
all she ever post is just theory's that
all she ever posts are just theories that...
The way I see it will harm me and every...
The way I see it, this will harm me..
I think it is good on paper wise, but I am weary about the...
I think it is good on paper, but I am wary about the...
It maybe good on paper, but in reality, who is this going to really apply to.
It may be (or may seem) good on paper....who is this really going to apply to?
it's a god idea on paper...
it's a good idea on paper...
First one would be that their would...
First one would be that there would...
based on genetic DNA, biological, and physiological. It...
... biological and physiological WHAT?
the current science that's out their..
the current science that's out there
It's well intended, but we just have to be very careful of how we worded it, so that those who are born intersex and are defined as intersex by the medical, scientific and academic community.
so that those who are born intersex and are [...] academic community....WHAT?

It's a simple observation that Nicky writes very poorly. In addition, it doesn't take a large amount of sifting through Nicky's posts on this blog to find that she's always posting the same kind of half-formed, rambling sentences that often don't logically conclude (example above). It seems that her only real point is "intersex good, trans bad".

and i'm shocked (though not too surprised) by the unsubstantiated claim re: forced genital surgery on intersexed infants that "the current thinking..."
The current thinking may not correspond to the current action and it is most certainly a crime that this these surgeries do still happen and an even worse crime that they are covered up...

However researchers for over a decade have come to the conclusion that forced surgery on intersex infants is harmful. An abbreviated reference list:

Diamond, Milton. 1996. Prenatal disposition and the clinical management of some pediatric conditions. Journal of sex and marital therapy 22 (3):139-147.

Diamond, Milton, and HK Sigmundson. 1997. Sex Reassignment at Birth: A Long Term Review and Clinical Implications. Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine 150:298-304.

Dreger, Alice Domurat. 1997. Ethical problems in intersex treatment. Medical Humanities Report (Center for Ethics and Humanities in the Life Sciences, Michigan State University) 1:1+4-6

Drescher, Jack. 1997. Spare the knife, study the child. Ob.Gyn.News, 1 October, 14

Schober, Justine M. 1998. Long Term Outcomes of Feminizing Genitoplasty for Intersex. Pediatric Surgery and Urology


Battybattybats said...

Knowing a fair few people with language difficulties and heck, I get them myself occassionally as part of the cognitive aspects of my own disability I think it's unfair to be critical of anyone for language troubles.

Whether it's English as a second language, whether its learning difficulties or dyslexia or brain fog such as occurs to me because of my CFS.

Some of the smartest people I know have such difficulties. One is incredibly intelligent but slow-thinking. It takes him a long time to catch on to something or reach a conclusion but his insight into many things is quite profound.

Now as for hatred, Nicky clearly is holding a view based upon an existing bias and appears to be in favour of maintianing that bias. If so the title may well be apt.

As for the complaints about the coopting of Intersex, I find the same arguments scattered across a variety of groups, Certain groups of Transexuals for example who hate being associated with other Transexuals not fitting their criteria and with non-transexuals who are Transgender complaining about the co-opting of Transexual.

Generally it seems that these groups use these arguments to justify maintaining a bias of their own or so they can scapegoat someone for the classic Footbridge Dilemma manouver of civil-rights politics, the sacrificing and demonising of another group so as to appear more acceptable to and be less of a traget for the majority.

Like the fat kid tripping the kid with glasses so the bullies will pick on the fat kid less.

I note that not all Intersex Organisations hold to such views and some make a point of backing their shared issues with TG people.

Certainly it is vital for TG advocates to support IS ones and vice versa for either to have a genuine claim on their Human Rights because such rights to be equal require everyone to be responsible for protecting everone elses rights whether their own or not.

Regarding IS surgery issues with infants I (non-IS TG remember) am yet to hear back from the Health Minister who I wrote to about it and TG issues. So I at the very least am supporting IS issues without claiming them as my own.

Also the co-opting is only invalid if we know there is no connection. The evidence currently suggests there is one. Untill there is certainty though there remains the possible connection as well as the shared Human Rights Issues.

Personally I'm far less concerned on what label is used for me (transgender, crossdresser, transvestite, genderqueer etc) as much as I am about securing Universal Human Rights.

You can call me Gay I don't care. You could call me a rabid atomic death-squirrel!

My only issue would be if it were a demonisation tactic comparing something Ethical(like TG) and something Unethical and Unrelated (like child molesters).

But if it is an Ethical but even less publicly acceptable thing (like Atheist in the USA for example) and I'd rather suffer alongside those from that association than to avoid it!

I had that very experience when after moving town the children in the new town thought I was asian because of my eye shape and cheekbones and I suffered racism on account of that along with the asian kids in the school.

I stood by them! I made their fight my own.

Thats what I think everyone of every group needs to do.

So I for oe am not co-opting Intersex or anything else, but I am supporting their Human Rights issues. I am including IS Human Rights issues in my letters to politicians, in my discussions on internet forums and in my personal conversations.

If more of us do these things then everyone would benefit.

Zoe Brain said...

Hi, Rabid atomic death-squirrel!

Sorry, it's nearly 2am, I need sleep...

Thanks to all who have commented BTW. I think at least half the value of this blog is the varied input from the commentariat.

Anonymous said...

hey, at least someone stood up for the right to free speech even if your grammar might not be top notch. thanks! i also didn't mean trans people to be aproppriating per se.

however, i find it curious that while so many people here in this thread went on for quite some lengths regarding my blogpost at zwischengeschlecht.info and my initial comment here ...

... but NO ONE tackled my point that in the four linked representative newspieces wrt the proposed recognition of a third sex called "intersex", ALL OF THEM only mentioned the needs and demands of "transgender" people and those of "persons who cannot or chooses not to undergo surgery", BUT there was NO MENTION OF INTERSEXED PEOPLE AT ALL (intersexed people in contrary have surgery FORCED on them), NOR OF THEIR NEEDS NOR DEMANDS EITHER.

and i also sorely miss ANY consideration for the simple fact that human rights wise the situation of hermaphrodites is basically quite different from that of e.g. trans*folk: most hermaphrodites get submitted so forced genital surgery as little children -- and everybody else gets not. and guess what: usually it's the hermaphrodites who suffered from early on that try to insist that this matters a lot and is distinctive, while everybody else who got away with their bodies intact denies the importance - just like in this thread.

frankly, i'm a bit disappointed (though not too surprised).

Zoe Brain said...

Moin Moin seelenlos.

May I suggest you have a look at the HREOC forum on the subject? You'll see that Intersexed people were at least represented, and their views heard.

Not everything made it into the newspapers.

The biggest criticism was the emphasis on documentation rather than the medical aspects. e.g.

I concur with Ms Wallbank's assessment.

People are dying. Children are being maimed. That's no hyperbole, it is quite literal. Few Human Rights issues are quite so stark.

Documentation should have been #2 on the list, not #1, important though the issue is.

Having said that, as long as the health care issues are dealt with ASAP, starting before the documentation process is complete, that may be the best that can be achieved at this stage.

If there are inadequate resources to address both issues, the health aspects should be addressed first, and the documentation issue put on the back burner.

And if there's inadequate resources to address both health issues, then the issue of infant mutilation is, by a whisker, perhaps more important, and certainly less controversial to correct. That will lead to more deaths though, and you should be aware of that. It will decrease the number of people suffering "gender issues" in 15-50 years time, however. A terrible choice.

As someone who straddles the IS/TS boundary - and I've had severe legal problems because of that - I've tried to advocate for both. I see IS issues as being marginally more important simply because they've been ignored for so long. The problem is that there are so many different IS conditions, with so many different comcerns, that it's impossible to talk about an "IS community". There's 47xxys who want to transition, 47xxys who just want to be seen as ordinary men, there's CAIS women who look upon their situation as an inconsequential genetic oddity, there's CAH women who don't see themselves as IS at all (and some CAH men who do)... and God help those women with 5ARD who are told they are men!

But as I said, please just go through the forum to get a more accurate picture of the situation.

Battybattybats said...

"and i also sorely miss ANY consideration for the simple fact that human rights wise the situation of hermaphrodites is basically quite different from that of e.g. trans*folk: most hermaphrodites get submitted so forced genital surgery as little children -- and everybody else gets not. and guess what: usually it's the hermaphrodites who suffered from early on that try to insist that this matters a lot and is distinctive, while everybody else who got away with their bodies intact denies the importance - just like in this thread. "

Except that I have been arguing that the needs of IS kids are more important than my own (being not covered by my states anti-discrimination legislation). I've said that on my Blog, at the AHRC discussion forum and in letters to politicians to raise their awareness on these issues.

And what about those children who are circumcised? Surely that too is having a permanant surgical change forced on them? And those children denied hormone blockers, again a permanant change forced on them by inaction.

Now 'female circumcision' is illegal, male is not. Certainly except when it goes wrong male circumcision is to a far smaller degree an injustice compared to whats done to IS kids.

But its a violation of the same rights! The right of Somatic Sovereignty and the right of having decisions made on a dependants behalf that maximise their future choices not reduces them.

So all are the same wrong, all are wrong for the same reasons. Just some are far worse than others.

One of the big problems in issues like this is an unneccessary emphasis on seperate groups. It reduces our effectiveness and turns people against one another.

Absolutely the medias reporting ignoring IS people was wrong. But considering the issues as seperate for TG and IS people is also wrong. Each suffer a variation of the same injustice. TG kids forced to go through the wrong puberty, IS kids forced to go through permanant unneccessary choice-reducing surgeries and circumcision which a proportion of all who have the procedure done to them come to regret having been done to them.

Regarding a third sex-catagory its an issue that effects several groups and not several groups.

IS who do not wish to be considered male or female are effected as are Genderqueer and some other TG people whose variant gender presentation, either androgynous or frequently alternating or currently not fitting the criteria for change of sex marker are also effected.

While IS people who are happy with the sex determined for them are not effected and binary-suited TS people who are able to have their marker changed are also not effected.

And believe me their are some binary-suited TS folk who also do not want to be associated with TG folk and crossdressers too who do not consider themselves transgender.

These are human rights issues. They involve TG and IS but none are exclusive to either. Certainly none should be dissmissed marginalised or left out.

We should all work together. It's all the same fight. IS kids suffer the worst, but if we just fix the problem for IS kids we leave the TG kids and the circumcised kids to remain under the injustice.

But if we strike at the cause of the problem, insist on the application of the right to decisions which maximise the future choices of the child then we solve all the problems in one single act. Create justice accross the board leaving no-one out.

And as for markers, by removing them entirely or making them easilly changed for anyone including a third catagory (which is also in effect an opt-out of the marker if available to Cissexual/cisgender folk too) and effectively purely symbolic we do the same. Make things better and more just for everyone.

After all, wouldn't fixing it for one group be the same as being responsible for condemning the others to their suffering in the first place?

Anonymous said...

zoe, thanks for the hint and especially for the quote.

however, i dont't think it's just as simple as "Not everything made it into the newspapers." as a political activist, i do know firsthand, what makes it into the newspapers, is not a godgiven like rain or being intersexed or not, but a question of power and lobbying. if you take a sample of the coverage and fail to recognise the problem i pointed out, incl. the appropriation part of it, i'm afraid you probly just prefer not to.

here's an additional example (as per usual of the same drift, and i still haven't found ONE that did the intersexed even a hint of justice):

"Australia’s Human Rights and Equal Opportunities Commission announced plans in December to create a third official gender for government identification: “intersex,” for transsexuals, whether or not they have had surgery. Immediately, activists from Sex and Gender Education Australia called the proposal inadequate, demanding a fourth gender, also, for people who feel that “gender” is either “undefinable” or subject to daily changes of attitude."

it's so typical how always it's the intersexed who suffer when the interests of lgbtq clashes with theirs in public or political debate. and it's so typical nobody even wanting to notice the regularity of it except the victims.

personally i can understand every hermaphrodite being REALLY pissed about such things, which happen pretty frequently.

i'm also very sad about your statement "I see IS issues as being marginally more important" than ts issues. while this might reflect your personal experience, it surely doesn't include the pain and the suffering of the majority of the intersexed who were and daily are submitted to the suffering and trauma of early forced surgery: the common denominator of the overwhelming majority of all the "so many different IS conditions".

from a human rights point of view, no problem of ts or lgb is as pressing as to finally end forced surgery on hermaphrodite babies right away. hermaphrodites are suffering now, more than any person having had the privilegde of growing up with intact genitalia probly will ever suffer in 10 lives.

Battybattybats, "It's all the same fight", "we should all unite" etc. except, just like the example of the "wrong" media reporting once more illustrates, its always the same group on the suffering end. maybe think about it sometimes. for now i'd like to just agree to disagree. i'm very, very sad, but i think i just leave it at that.

Zoe Brain said...

The reason I said "marginally" is because "corrective surgery" here has largely been abandoned.

We need to make that "largely" into "completely", but the point is that surgeons here are rather less enthusiastic about infant genital mutilation than elsewhere.
But even they admit that in 10% of cases, they get it horribly wrong (vs 30%+ elsewhere).

Conversely, in certain jurisdictions such as Western Australia, the plight of TS people is far worse than many parts of Europe.

We are confronted with two entirely preventable tragedies, one that blight life from shortly after birth, the other that cuts it short.

Of the two, the first is marginally more important. The numbers are fewer, but the injury greater.

It's like asking which is worse - to be blinded, or to have both arms cut off?

For too long, IS people have been almost invisible, subject to inhuman experimentation and infant genital mutilation. There I agree completely. Even taking into account my own experience, and the 90% early death rate of TS people in WA, I still have to say that of the two, the IS problem should be dealt with first.

Battybattybats said...


When Jews and Gypsies both were slaughtered in Nazi death camps even though more Jews were killed than Gypsies surely the only conscionable thing to do would be to decry both crimes against humanity and try and stop them both simultaniously?

Now while its very valid to complain about the ignoring of the holocaust of Gypsies in the camps the solution to their murder is 1st to stop the killings and then second to educate everyone so that it doesnt happen again to anyone.

I utterly concur that the invisibility of IS issues is abhorant. Thats why I've mentioned IS on my blog and in my letters to politicians and why I spoke up for IS surgery issues on the AHRC blog heaps. I even called for the end of IS surgery on kids to be put before all TG issues including ones that effect me.

But it is all the same fight, so long as we look at the real cause and the real solutions. Protecting IS kids from surgery is the same issue as protecting strongly-TG kids from a hurtful puberty. Different degrees of the problem sure but the same human right is abused and both problems could be solved in one go!

If either problem is solved in isolation it would be like being complicit in the abuse of the other!

If I had the power to save both the Jews and the Gypsies (and the other groups) in the Nazi Death Camps but chose only to save one I'd be every bit as guilty of the murder of those I left behind because I chose for them to die.

Thats why I do raise IS issues wherever i speak of TG issues. Because I will not be complicit!

TG people need to learn about IS issues and work with IS advocates together. Blaming each other is counterproductive. Educating each other and helping each other is the only way we can not be complicit in the harm of each other!

We can solve both problems at once. Surely then we must cooperate and do so?