Born Between – The Nature Of Intersex

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  1. Just to add my insight into the current trans and gay marriage debate. I sincerely believe that the conclusion that a trans person can not in any way be intersex is insincere and denies the open study of the human condition. Very few trans persons have ever been medically tested for intersex biology.

    That being said, intersex is a known biological variant. ‘Trans’ on the other hand has various definitions and variations. In some cases it has little to do with biology and more to do with personal choice. So we can not lump all trans folk into the intersex category. Nor can we deny that some trans may well be intersex and would have to be properly biologically tested for verification.

    One of the many barriers I have experienced in raising money for a project on intersex (aside from some gays and some homophobic ignorance) has been from some in the trans community. Their comment to me was, ‘we don’t want our way of life to be explained away by science’. A very ill-informed statement in my personal opinion.

    I myself keep an open mind. From the beginning of this project, I decided not to get mired in the ‘trans’ issues. The focus was on known conditions and variations of development classified as intersex or DSD (Dysfunctions of Sexual Development). In fact, I did originally consult with Dr. Daphna Joel, a psychobiologist doing work on the brain as related to biological sex (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rYpDU040yzc). But I do find the research remains inconclusive, and I felt it would be wiser to focus on the many around the world that are known cases of intersex. Some who do not experience any physical or psychological suffering, and others that most certainly do.

    Dr. Milton Diamond was supportive from the beginning. Dr. Elof Axel Carlson, a retired geneticist and author of ‘The Seven Sexes’ was also informative and an insight contributor to the project. And so was Dr. Jay Hayes-Light, the founder of UKIA (The UK Intersex Association), one of the very first intersex support organizations, and the group that most other support groups modeled themselves after.

    What I found most surprising was the response of some of the leaders within the intersex community. While some were very helpful and supportive, a few of the most influential did nothing but lodge barriers at us in any way they could. I was later informed that it was the politics of controversy and disagreement among a small elite cliche who felt they had the monopoly on what was and was not intersex, and what was and was not good for intersex persons.

    Sad, but it is par for the course in just about any topic nowadays. The bickering generally destroys any potential for advancement and healing for those affected most. I am always open to verifiable research on how the torment between the sexes of some in the trans community can be scientifically explained.

    At the same time, I am insulted and saddened by how the issues of the gay and trans community have taken precedence over the more important (IMO) issues of the intersex community. Many in the intersex community have veered toward trans and gay groups only to find themselves on the fringes with little or no support from either. It is just another example of social injustice and the powerful strokes of the gay community.

    Just this past week the US Supreme Court sanctioned gay marriage. Yet if the gay community and our judicial system, our government, our media and our society would have acknowledged intersex persons way back when, then gay marriage issue would have been a non-issue all along. I do not celebrate same sex ‘pairage’. But I do celebrate the fact that two intersex persons can now unite legally in the USA and the question of biological sex is insignificant. Bravo.

  2. Well, it has been awhile since I’ve seen any comments on this blog or on the pages of this web site. So a few updates might be in order. A few days ago, I published an interview I did several years ago with Dr. Elof Axel Carlson. It is as relevant now as it was back then. And it is chocked full of vital insights. The video is now on YOUTUBE.

    It runs about ten minutes and worth every minute of it.

    We haven’t secured a major donor yet, though I must admit, I have not been as aggressive in the past few months as I might have hoped, due to other projects pending. In a month or so, I will return to the States where I can once again focus on interviews and funding. If you read this, I hope you will share our web site, our mission and our social links with friends and family every chance you get. And although we have made some slow progress in the past two years, we have a long way to go.

    To the many of you that I have contacted before and have dropped off for one reason or another, please reconsider becoming proactive once again with our campaign. We can not do this without YOU!

    Finally, I want to acknowledge a very important supporter and humanitarian we lost this past year. Sally Gross was a long time Intersex advocate in South Africa and around the world, and an intersex person herself. She was also an active and vocal supporter of the film project for Born Between. She will be missed by many.

    And for all of you that continue to support and follow our mission, we thank you and look forward to 2015 2016 being the year we produce and release the film ‘Born Between: The Nature of Intersex’.

  3. AN IMPORTANT POINT TO INCLUDE FROM A SUPPORTER

    Hi Fernando,

    You’ve got a great start.

    I would encourage you to accurately represent the diversity of differences of sex development.

    I’ve met at least a hundred women with Complete Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome and another hundred with Turner Syndrome. Although a few think of themselves as intersex rather than intersex female, not one is androgynous. One excellent example is Eden Atwood. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MJ-GNZ5QA4Q

    I know a handful of people with Partial Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome, Mixed Gonadal Dysgenesis, Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia, and other conditions resulting in ambiguous genitals. A minority of those I know, which may not represent the population, are intentionally androgynous.

    One of the misconceptions I have to deal with every time I talk about intersex is that it’s all about gender. For most of us, it simply isn’t.

    Some of the activists downplay the medical aspects of these conditions. Perhaps because ambiguous genitals are essentially a cosmetic issue and don’t need to be treated as medical problems. And yet, most DSDs have associated medical consequences. Yes, some are from inappropriate treatment, but many are from the same root cause as the intersex condition itself. For instance, I have heart and kidney malformations and a small jaw due to Mixed Gonadal Dysgenesis. Max Beck died of a condition-related cancer. The average adult height in Turner Syndrome is something like four foot seven. Many women with AIS have no axillary hair. Some have osteoporosis or osteopenia. Some forms of Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia are life-threatening.

    Thanks,
    Lianne Simon

  4. Do you know any women that are somewhat manly? Do you know any men that seem effeminate? Do you have friends or family that are classified as ‘gay’ because they don’t fit our stereotypical social gender roles? Have you ever met or seen anyone where it is difficult to tell if they were male or female?

    I believe in Science. Science confirms these are all natural biological developments in the human species. So why does our society bully, isolate or denigrate them? I believe it is because they do not understand the facts. So why don’t I just let the Science channels or the mainstream broadcasters produce it?

    Because it won’t happen. Most religious groups will not accept any other gender roles aside from male or female. Most legislators and governments refuse to accept any variations that do not conform to their male/female social construct. Many people are biased and prejudice against anyone that does not ‘fit’.

    The ‘gay community’ is hesitant to support anything that attempts to ‘explain away’ their personal sexual preferences and lifestyles. The ‘straight community’ will not support anything ‘queer’ or ‘gay’. Politics are not on my side. But justice is. Because they are all misinformed.

    The factual Science confirms we are all born with variations of male and female biological chemistry. You won’t see it on the news or the Science channels. It is not a profitable topic for popular culture, even though examples of it are prevalent in popular culture. Most sectors of our society unite in defense of their own differences. When in fact we are very much alike, and yet each of us is a unique individual like no other.

    That’s why I am making this film. And you can help.

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