Thursday, 12 February 2009
An Intersexed woman, who is transitioning. Triply Intersexed in fact, mosaic male/female, and 45x (Turner Syndrome female) chromosomes, and with (masculinising) Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia. As unusual as I am - though at least in her case, the syndromes are all well understood, even if the combination is improbable. One of the rare 1 in a million "True Hermaphrodites" with both ovarian and testicular tissue. The ones who are always described as "extremely rare" or whose "numbers are so negligible they may as well not exist".
But regardless of what involuntary surgery has done to her in the past, and what voluntary treatment will do to her in the future, she was always a woman ever since she was a little girl. Peering past the external facade and into the soul is a relatively easy trick to pick up, once you know how. You can do it even by viewing a few minutes of low-resolution video, once you know what to look for.
The glandular problems can cause our weights to become unstable. The mixed hormones can also cause our skeletons to be abnormal, too thickset for female, but just as anomalous for male too. The 5 O'clock shadow is particularly distressing for those of us who are women, but fortunately, agonising electrolysis and laser therapy can help there.
This is what we look like. This is who we are. We exist, though many Religious groups like to pretend that we don't, as by the tenets of their faith, we can't. Many others like to pretend that there's only a handful of us worldwide, rather than many millions, with tens of thousands of the more obvious cases in the USA alone. About 5 million if you take the most inclusive definition, about 50,000 if you take the most restrictive.
Not many transition, but some do. Some naturally - that's usually from a female to a male appearance - and some through medical treatment. Some of us feel the need to change our body forms to become less anomalous, to make mind and body align more closely. Many have no need to, with minds and bodies fitting neither the definitions of male nor female very well.
The point is - it's our decision. Not Society's. Not our parents. Not well-meaning medics. Not a Church's. To identify as men, or as women, or as neither, or as both. The anomalous biology that makes us so different, that is the root cause of our persecution, gives us this right. A God-given right, for those who believe.
In her case, and in mine, we are women with an unusual medical condition. But one size does not fit all, and those of us who are outside the gender binary, rather than within it, deserve just as much respect as do we whose minds - if not bodies - fit snugly and seamlessly into the conventional model.