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  • Writer's pictureJoia

Today's rhaps is on ... Intersex-tionality

Updated: Sep 29, 2023

I’m having trouble understanding today’s news on US White House efforts to redefine gender in such a way as to exclude considerations of transgender people. Because if gender is decided at birth on the basis of one’s sexual genitalia, what happens now to the people born with intersex genitalia and/or an alternate combination of internal sexual organs and chromosome composition? Not to mention the people who later question the discordance accompanying their birth-assigned gender.

There are many ways to be born intersex, or with ambiguously presenting genitalia and sexual organs*, creating havoc in Olympic games and neonatal nurseries. Athletes who have spent years winning races to arrive at the top of their fields will find suddenly that the presence of a newly discovered chromosome prevents further competition. They must withstand radical surgery or ingest life-altering drugs in order to continue competing. Babies undergo horrific mutilation to appease the rigid minds of doctors and parents uncomfortable with a “tiny” penis or “enlarged” clitoris. Countless medical ethics case studies and student term papers are written on the topic, and quite a few crossed my desk over the years.

So here is a list of the ways in which 1 in 100 human babies are born:


I’ve always assumed my affinity with two-spiritedness and discomfort identifying with traditional heterosexual female roles put me somewhere along the spectrum of genderqueer mix-ups, either by virtue of an odd piece of chromosome in my gametes or an event that occurred too early to transmit. Whatever it was, being a smart strong girl has been hell and I sure had hell to pay for being one.

Are we getting locked behind a wall now, carted off to the cages? The camps? The ovens? I was already nearly sterilized for being raped as a teenager. Now what? Gypsy queer stars sewn onto my chest for being deficient in Aryan womanhood—in spite of my Blankenheim relatives—for being too bloody honest about what I happen to like or not like? And what is my sin again? Oh, you mean who have I fallen in love with over the years? A gorgeous blond Adonis and a fierce beautiful Athena. I should have kept it to myself? Who did I tell? Who are my friends? Why again am I here? Whatever. Go ahead, shoot me. Clearly I deserve it.

22 OCTOBER 2018

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