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Back You are here: Home Sex, Gender & Sexuality Diversity - [Archived] ISGD Trans as intersex: Crossing the line

Trans as intersex: Crossing the line

Trans_intersexPeople from intersex, sex and/or gender diverse groups need to declare and emphasise our own identities, rather than letting others bully us into fitting into their version of who or what we are, writes Tracie O’Keefe.

Many of us who are transexed, transsexual or even transgendered may identify as intersex. To us it is just a fact of our identities. We are not seeking approval from doctors, politicians or political advocates, who all at times think they have the right to define us. Neither are we seeking some kind of sympathy or advantage for being intersex as well as trans.

I find it odd when some publicly declared intersexed people stand on their podium and tell trans people that we are not really one of them because we do not have their history of abuse that often includes childhood genital mutilation. And while not wishing to marginalise that suffering in any way, many trans people have our own histories of horrific abuse.

I am equally as stupefied when so-called social constructionist transgender warriors try to claim those of us who are transexed or transsexual as one of their own when we tell them we are not. Immediately we are pushed into the awkward box, silenced, ignored and co-opted into the over generalised, ‘Everybody is Transgendered Waltz’.

I don’t think I consciously and purposefully experienced gynecomastia or hypogonadism as a teenager. I did not qualify as an intersex person by the doctor who treated me and was declared definitely male because he said so. It seemed I had no say in the matter.

So I was given the transsexual label to wear around my neck like an electric ankle bracelet, all monitored and tagged so society could be fully alerted that I was deranged, according to the medical dictum.

Who knows what my genes say? Do I have the ‘transsexual gene?’ Is there that particular part of my brain that is common to transsexual women indicated within scientific literature? Will it really prove finally after 35 years with a vagina and 40 years with breasts that I am a real woman?

The truth is I don’t give a damn. I’m not interested in being poked and prodded anymore to satisfy other people’s insecurities.

‘I am woman hear me roar.’

I got here but from a different place other than someone born with ovaries but I am here all the same and I want everything that goes with it, including sauce. In the supermarket I am just this batty woman who falls in the freezer sometimes trying to reach the tofu at the back. The only label I have then is customer. My sex, intersex and trans status is not an issue.

So why is it an issue for anyone else unless they are trying to make profit out of it to suit their own ends?

Many biologists like to think of trans people as socially and maybe sometimes surgically altered, delusional protagonists. They consider that we might not be real men or women but we have to be pacified for political correctness. Frequently medical practitioners who have difficulty accepting us as intersex also take this stance because in their minds only ovaries or testicles maketh the man or woman.

There are a smattering of gender theorists who get very nervous when transexed, transsexual, and transgender people proclaim their intersex identity because it challenges their concept that sex should not really matter and gender identity is everything.

They seem to believe that everyone should be taken as the sex relative to the gender performance they present. But transexed, transsexual and transgendered people claiming their intersex status does not challenge that because it is experiential and subjective.

Bureaucracy also hates enigma. Government officials print forms with limited numbers of boxes and try their best to push all citizens into the allocated choices. People who are outside the box are considered dissident, unnecessary and non-productive; sometimes being criminalised because of their identities.

People who are trans and claim their intersex status really mess with the system. Most societies run a bipolar male and female sex model that just about manages to cope with the emergence of the transsexual who can be medically certified to have transitioned, but people declaring their own intersex status blows a fuse in their computers because it suggests the original birth records just might actually have been a mistake.

Some governments are currently condescending to keep the original birth records of trans people and issue new identity documents but they insist the original record was authentic. For trans people who transition and live the rest of their life stealth, their history undetected by the public, this is nothing more than abuse, if they identify as intersex.

Those governments are still hanging on to the concept that a penis at birth equals male and vagina female but such absolutisms are non-existent.

Then there are people who have been using transgender to describe the same experience as some transexed and transsexual people, which adds to the confusion around the debate. Transexed and transexual experiences compared with transgender are in reality different experiences.

A few transexed and transsexual people see themselves as intersex but do not want to see transgender intersex-identified people as intersex. Again we move into the exclusive territory of the divine right of passage according to people just like us, and only like us. And it is prejudice by any other name.

Intersex and transphobia

Are transexed, transsexual and transgender people who want to be considered intersex suffering from internalised transphobia? This would actually not be logical because no one has the right to tell any trans person how they should or should not identify and to tell them that is the real transphobia.

Intersex people who do not want trans people to be recognised as a form of intersex are also doing transphobia, along with those doctors and academics who are profiting from linguistically transgendering all trans people without their permission.

Many transexed and transsexual people throughout the world are deeply unhappy with the World Professional Association of Transgender Health (WPATH) at the moment. WPATH has virtually deserted care for transexed and transsexual people and now mainly focuses for transgender-identified people. Whether that is a blessing or curse for those people only time will tell.

Many professional members of WPATH are also unhappy with the situation and find its present professional integrity lacking. The debate within the association is often suppressed by the transgender social constructionists who sit on the board, and without proper debate, there is no science – only propaganda.

If you are trans and intersex-identified, WPATH’s opinion of your status or treatment would be irrelevant because it now declares it is for transgender people and not intersex people.

Expanding concepts of sex identity

We need to stretch our concepts of sex beyond the bipolar medical model just as we are learning to do with gender roles. It does not mean the end of the human race or family values as conservative religious soothsayers predict.

Nature is diverse and for many of us who are trans, gender had nothing to do with our transition: we just did our gender automatically as we needed it to be, but our issues were with our sexed bodies.

It is time now to recognise that an intersex status is far more than just penises, vaginas, hormones and genetics. As people from intersex, sex and/or gender diverse groups we need to declare and emphasise our own identities, rather than letting others bully us into fitting into their version of who or what we are.

Of course there are people who are transexed, transsexual or transgendered who do not identify as intersex and that is their prerogative, but many are now crossing the divide to claim what may very well be a physical basis to their sex and/or gender diverse identities.

It took me longer to stand up and claim my intersex status than my transexed or transsexual status or any other part of me. When I did, many intersex people I spoke to often interrogated me, asking me to declare my condition, just to see if I was really one of them. Even if I had not had gynecomastica or hypogonadism as a teenager I would still consider myself intersex.

I do not work the intersex angle politically above trans because being trans and intersex can be equally disadvantaging legally, although there are laws in some countries that give some trans people more protection than intersex people and vice versa.

As it happens they are also both as equally important in my whole identity as a woman in a positive way. I am female, intersexed, transexed, transsexual, a professional, political nuisance and happy about all of those things.

We need to campaign for all

In human rights terms we have just as much campaigning to do for all intersex, sex and/or gender diverse people regardless of our differences.  We are all part of a wide, diverse spectrum of people who need better human rights and legal protection as minorities.

Personally I am still not going to divorce my beloved partner Katrina so I can change my British birth certificate from male to female, as British law requires. My love for her is worth far more than the vanity of colluding in a bureaucratic homophobia that does not allow two women to be married – but that’s another battle.

And despite everything I have said above, when they do define the test that proves people like me are a form of intersex, I will not be standing in the queue to take it.

When I was young I might have wanted such validation but today I don’t need further approval other than my own life experience to tell me what I already know. Whatever test it is may lead to some trans people failing it and where would that leave them?

In a positive move, Organisation Intersex International also now accepts transexed (transsexual) people as members.

Writing in the comments section of my Don’t Call Me Transgender article on The Scavenger recently, Gina Wilson, the president of Organisation Intersex International (OII) Australia, says OII sees transexed (transsexual) people as part of the sex diversity spectrum and does not necessarily ask them to categorically state a pathologised classification:

“[OII] sees transexed people as intersexed. This means their treatment should be funded under sexual health programs and not under psychiatry.

“To be clear, OII International has no position as to whether transsexual is [intersex] or not.

“OII does not impose identities on anyone so that as long as a person says they are intersex we accept that. OII accepts that people come to their intersex in many ways, the transsexed experience being one of them. OII has transsexual, transgender, pangender, pansexual, asexual, non-sexual androgen twinspirit, etc members, all of whom have intersex experience.

“OII Australia has a slightly different position to OII International given the findings in [the]
Kevin [case]. In that judgement, relying on expert evidence Justice Chisholm found ‘transsexual’ was a physical difference of sex and therefore a kind of intersex. OII Australia respects and accepts that judgement.”

The only test I give to trans and intersex people in my practice as a therapist is to ask them the question of whether they are living life according to their own needs.

‘I am intersex and trans, hear me roar.’

Dr Tracie O’Keefe ND, DCH is a sexologist practising at the Australian Health and Education Centre in Sydney, Australia. She is the author and/or editor of several books on sex and gender diversity, the latest being Trans People in Love.

 

Comments   

0 #18 Gabriella 2012-01-19 12:53
I rarely comment online, but I am absolutely sick to death of Transexual people claiming to be Intersexed..... Do you really appreciate what an insult this is to both sides??

Transexual people need to accept and be proud of who they are and stop trying to swim in intersex pools... As an Intersex woman, I accept and am proud of who I am ...but I have no relation or identity with transexual issues...Why do some Transexual people want to be considered Intersex? Is it to release themselves of the societal guilt and stigma that is attached to LGBT; in hope that they will be more accepted if they have an Intersex Label....?... I really do not know.

A transexual cannot identify with the endless amounts of prodding, poking, shame, guilt, genital mutilation, gonadectomy, and infections...an d all that long before I ever knew what puberty was......then the real fun began with the added psychosocial problems.

There is nothing "Trans" about me.... I am not transitioning from or into anything.... I am medically/biolo gically an intersexed woman wheather I like it or not.... I am sure the journey of a transexual is one that I could empathise and relate to but will never fully understand because Im not transexual and Vica versa.

For me its the same as gay people who call themselves "Bi-sexual" (there are of course people who are genuinely bisexual) but I refer to those who feel shame and guilt as openly homosexual, so they choose to hide behind the "Bi-sexual" label...Im happy to support and encourage transgenderphob ia as I would with anything else, but it really gets my goat when people with a non congenital/ chromosomal/ biological presentation claim to be Intersex....
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0 #17 Tracie OKeefe 2011-05-17 19:28
Hello Alix

Thank you for your comments. You are so right: my words are dangerous and I am very dangerous. Dangerous to bigots, exclusionists and segregationists.

There is much commonality between intersex issues and trans issues, however I did not say all trans people were intersex but some were or do identify as intersex.

Are you now going to tell the 180 people who travelled from all over the country in the freezing cold to protest outside the Australian Federal Parliaments for their human rights that you withdraw your support for them because you do not agree with something Tracie O'Keefe said? Sounds like a fairweather friend to me.

Your idea that trans is a choice for many trans people is ignorant and devoid of knowledge about the lives of many trans people. It is disrespectful of their journeys.

As for the phrase 'the movement' contextualised in the first person possessive or collective possessive - did you patent this movement? Have you registered the word intersex as a trademark? Don't you really mean only intersex people who are intersex people exactly like you or who only conform to your unrealistic concepts of what is intersex?

Unquestionable your heart is in the right place but your gatekeeping of intersex in Australia where some trans people are legally recognised as intersex is something you might like to work on.

Go in peace love Tracie
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0 #16 Alix Iron 2011-05-17 17:08
This article is offensive on so many levels I truly do not no where to begin.

Tracie O’Keefe, you are a truly misguided person and not helping the Intersex cause in amy way.

You are conflating Trans issues with Intersex issues.

They are not the same.

I had no idea that you were the organizer for Still Fierce and am very regretful I did not read your position and understand your politics before I advocated for the group & the rally in Canberra.

Intersex is not an identity of choice - it is a biological reality, period.

I do not understand your relentless need to bring Trans & Intersex issuess together.

You are dangerous and your words are causing the movement to move backwards not forwards!
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0 #15 AnnaRose 2010-08-11 01:35
Interesting POV, Tracie, and even more interesting the comments. I write here as a woman who discovered at a very early(age 3-4) that my physical body, tiny as it was, was being regarded as a "boy" and not a girl. What this meant to me as a very young child was that I was being being treated differently than the other girls and told to act a like a boy. Pretty odd stuff for even a relatively bright young lady. Choosing to "go along" in order to "get along" rather than being constantly punished for "misbehaving" I tried my utmost to act the part and understand what this all meant. Trying to "explain" things to my parents just did not work and I quickly learned to just suffer in silence.

I managed to stay relatively well hidden within my own head until puberty started to really cause some serious difficulties. My parents had already figured out that something was definitely not "quite right" and sent me to a "specialists" only to be told the usual "line" that I "would probably just grow out of it". Well I didn't.

My point here is that whatever caused my brain and body to evolve dimorphically in my Mother's womb, had to have had some physiological cause. My best guess is that the common use of DES, a powerful and now commonly recognized EDC, in the 40's and 50's was the most likely culprit.

Having said that I am pretty sure that PAIS, CAIS and trans-sexuality are probably related in that there is some yet to be identified chemically based physiological mechanisms taking place prenatally. There is most likely a similar mechanism that causes/effects/ affects the various forms of inter-sexuality . I agree that these are physiologically based phenomenon.

I am most certainly not well read enough to declare that IS=TS. Based on my own limited personal experience and review of the available literature and anecdotal accounts here, I would have to say that Inter-sexed is physiologically distinct from trans-sexuality . Although these phenomenon might have similar etiologies, to say that they are the same is to DENY the obvious physically verifiable differences..

Similarly to equate the trans-gender condition to trans sexuality or inter sexuality is (IMHO) an intentional and politically motivated conflation of terms which serves no useful purpose other than to stratify and alienate those individuals who clearly and for good reasons, (as stated in these comments), do not wish to be identified as something or someone they are not.

It does no less violence to someone born inter-sexed being told that they are a gay male or female when clearly they are not, than it does to a hetero-sexual woman being TOLD that she is lesbian, or a gay man being TOLD he is straight. Similarly a woman who has always been a woman, has the body, mannerisms, (gender if you must) and mind, (just ask my husband) of a woman, will take serious umbrage being "labeled" or classified or mis-gendered as a "gay man" or TG.
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0 #14 Jade W 2010-08-10 03:06
I take a very simple view as an openly transsexual person. I wish to be identified as such and to be part of a group focused on Transsexuals separate from the other groups which exist under what was the Transgender banner. Being Transsexual is about being born in the wrong body and I need to change my biological sex to align with my actual gender. It is not about one's sexual preference!

The adoption of "Trans" further hides the issues and challenges peculiar to Transsexual people many of which are similar to those experienced by Intersex people.

We need to have the courage to create our own community with a truly transsexual identity and engage with the broader society otherwise we will be waiting a long time for the legal and social removal of discriminations we all experience.
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0 #13 Nicky 2010-07-29 14:11
@Tracie
After reading your blog post, I have to agree with you on somethings that you wrote and I must say, I do understand why Intersex people do not want anything to do with transgender people. As an intersex person who has Kallmann's Syndrome, who grew up with all the medical trauma and medical secrecy. Including being forced into surgery at a younger age and having to swallow all the lies that doctors have spoon fed to me. The reason why I feel that Intersex people do not want anything to do with transgender people is because the same people that attack transgender people. Intersex people do not want any part of it. They simply want to be left alone and left to heal from the surgical and medical abuse that was done to them in their childhood. I also think that because if your don't have something in common with intersex people, then intersex people are gona question anyone who wants to claim intersex

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Intersex people who do not want trans people to be recognised as a form of intersex are also doing transphobia, along with those doctors and academics who are profiting from linguistically transgendering all trans people without their permission.
I think you have it right on this one. The reason why Intersex people don't want transgender to be recognized as a form of intersex is because it shakes the very foundations of medical science and genetic science. It turns their medical definitions of what intersex is and what Intersex means upside down. I also believe that intersex people as a whole don't want any thing to do with transgender people and want intersex to be left for those who are born intersex and not surgically altered.

The one thing I have to say about OII is that I don't recognize it as a serious intersex organization because it include transgender people. OII makes life harder for intersex people and I believe that OII dose not care for intersex people and they leave intersex people out in favor of those who are transgender.
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0 #12 Jasmine Hasan 2010-07-16 07:06
@Tracie

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Transgender itself as an umbrella term has failed and I am not the only one who thinks this.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2010/jun/30/trans-language-transgender
That article you mention doesn't seem to make the claim that the term "Transgender" failed. As a matter of fact, it only makes others out to be a failure:
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On the other hand, MTF and FTM were for a while standard, then got into the personal ads and disappeared from respectable usage. 'Transexual' is too medicalised for a lot of people's taste, and 'gender dysphoric' plays the pity card. 'Transgender' is a useful portmanteau term for a coalition of almost everybody unhappy with rigid unalterable binary gender roles, but rapidly became too vague to be entirely useful.
All have been discarded as some sort of a failure: MTF, FTM, Transsexual, gender dysphoric, and before that, tranny, shemale, he-she, and after it "queer" and "trans man", bla bla...

The only exceptions made were "trans", "trans woman" and "cis".. Quite strange though how "trans man" was discarded of though.

Don't you find that conflicting with what you said in your article, particularly this redundancy:
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I am female, intersexed, transexed, transsexual, a professional, political nuisance and happy about all of those things.
I say redundancy because I don't see the point in saying "transexed" followed by "transsexual". Those are both terms deemed by the article you linked as "too medicalised". Seems to me like you're merely too preoccupied with self-multi-labeling.

So to set the record straight, the "umbrella term transgender failed" because it "became too vague to be entirely useful"..

So instead of saying the term "Transgender" was hijacked over and again, it is being dismissed as being vague and un-useful?

Ironically, in your article, you say:
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Even if I had not had gynecomastica or hypogonadism as a teenager I would still consider myself intersex.
You give many reasons as to why not you consider yourself intersex, but can you state any reason why you do consider yourself intersex?

Of course, you are free to consider yourself whatever you like, but using the term while blurring the lines between "sex" and "gender" and campaigning for "expanding concepts of sex identity" is dangerous, imho, as you are hijacking the term just like others hijacked the term "transgender". It is dangerous because you are diminishing and drawing attention away from the real suffering and struggles of Intersex people, which you don't seem at all concerned about - nor conscious enough to highlight - in your article, and you are also effectively invisibilizing intersex people's sex identities in this sex/gender mash-up which you call expanding concepts of sex identity. If you identify as female, why do you also want to consider yourself "intersex"? Why doesn't "trans woman" suffice for you? Not enough labels or "uniqueness" for you?

I don't care if you want to consider yourself "shemale", excuse me for saying, but why should it be okay for us trans women to not want others identified as so to be recognized as trans??

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‘I am intersex and trans, hear me roar.’
Would you for a second put yourself in the shoes of someone actually BORN intersexed and arbitrarily assigned a sex that later turns out to be the biggest mistake ever because they identify as the opposite sex? Can you picture going through two opposite "sex surgeries" in your life and associated social stigma, emotional suffering, and scars?
And when you do, can you actually picture someone who went through all this going "I am intersex and trans, hear me roar"?

I hope you visualize how ridiculous this sounded like to me, a trans-identifie d-woman..
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0 #11 Tracie OKeefe 2010-07-15 22:40
@Hida

Thank you for your comments. I did not say that there is no evidence that trans people are intersex. I said there is no present test.

There is sufficient scientific evidence that shows that many trans-identifie d people have a brain, genetic and physiological differential that does not meet the present official (gate keeping) medical criteria for intersex classification.

That information is often buried by the gender social constructionist s who have no training in biology or medicine because it interferes with their careers, grants, and professorships in the non-medical sciences. It is ignored, poo pooed and they pretend it does not matter but to those of us who are trans and intersex and fight for people’s right to medical treatment and surgery and social justice for trans people it does matter.

You are of course correct in saying that many people transition for many different reasons and some of those may be personal, psychological or sociological adjustment. Going back to my original article, however, many trans people transition for purely physiological reasons. They may be unofficially intersex-featur ed or they may have a sense of being in the wrong sex – ie sex
dysphoria not gender dysphoria. Any self-declared intersex person who does not acknowledge these people is acting out transphobia.

Brain development begins at a very early stage of foetal formation, which can produce profound differential within any apart of the brain, particularly the hypothalamus that controls GnRH, giving rise to LH and FSH in the pituitary. This initiates testosterone, oestrogen and progesterone in the gonads. The negative feedback loop that exists between the gonads and the limbic system also controls the formation of the brain in the foetus, growing child and the adult. The developments and alteration of the brain’s structure gives rise to biological self-image.

When sex and/or gender diverse people see themselves as sex and gender variant it is biological in part not just some kind of psychological or sociological abberation. It is a form of intersex psychobiology. This is none so plain as when you get the butchest of men and the most feminine of women coming into the consulting room telling you that despite the strict social programming, they have always seen themselves as their opposite natal sex.

Separating mind and body is unscientific.

For so-called officially recognised intersex people to reject intersexed-iden tified trans people is unquestionably transphobia. It is prejudicial gate-keeping.

Also to say that trans people do not experience violence and mental torture as children is to be dismissive of many for their experiences. Everyone’s traumas are subjective. The answer needs to be fair treatment for all, not just individual groups. That is why we do ISGD (intersex, sex and/or gender diverse) at SAGE.

I have not just claimed to be a member of any singular group. Many intersex people choose to be a member of no group whatsoever and never declare themselves in public. I have a been patron of the Gendy's network for many years. I have worked with intersex people for many years in my clinics in London and Sydney. I have fought for all intersex, sex and/or gender diverse peopIe for many years.

I was heavily involved in trans politics because that is where I thought I could help best and did but I have also been campaigning for intersex, and all sex and/or gender diverse people for many years. However the way intersex-identi fied transexed, transsexual and transgendered people have become so badly treated lately, particularly by WPATH (and I think we can all agree on that one) has prompted me over the past year to begin to speak out on their behalf and address the prejudices they face. Many of them live stealth and cannot speak out for themselves.

Please note my article talks about prejudices from other areas and people not just some intersex people. No group has a right to be the sex police.

I wrote the article because it is time to confront all those oppressors of intersex-identi fied trans people.
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0 #10 Hida Viloria 2010-07-15 02:24
@Tracie: I completely agree with your sentiments that all of us, especially those in misunderstood or variant groups, must define ourselves, as well as many other points you express. However, you have no problem defining intersex people -- a group you have just recently claimed membership to -- when you say, "Intersex people who do not want trans people to be recognized as a form of intersex are also doing transphobia." You yourself acknowledge that it is not yet known whether there is any physiological basis to trans, so why would you label all intersex people as discriminatory for simply wanting to use the definition of their identity that has always existed? I hope you can see that this is not in keeping with the spirit of "campaigning for all" that you say you aspire to.
Intersex people, just like trans, have a distinct identity, one that it is less recognized/unde rstood by mainstream society at large than trans. In addition, intersex people have and are STILL continuing to experience an institutionaliz ed effort to eliminate our very identity by enacting non-consensual, irrevocable violence upon our bodies. You state that you "do not wish to marginalize that suffering in any way," but by stating that "many trans people have also experienced horrific abuse" you are doing just that. After all, many members of oppressed minorities -- women, queers, people of color (as well as people outside those groups) -- have experienced horrific abuse, but they do not remind me of this fact or try to imply that their suffering is equal to that of an intersex person whose body/sexual functioning was stolen from them when I educate them about intersex infant genital mutilation and hormone treatments.
Also, the reason some intersex people do not want to include trans is NOT, as you claim, b/c trans people have not experienced childhood abuse. I am intersex and escaped childhood abuse and medicalization (an experience which I have, sadly, found is extremely rare for anyone born in the 60's and beyond in the first world), but my intersex identity has not been questioned, but rather, acknowledged, by other intersex people. Why? Because I was born with a body that has characteristics which fall under the definition of both male and female; a body which, when seen nude, has created confusion as to whether I am male or female.

I suspect that there may indeed be a physiological component to trans (in the brain.) However, this still does not change the definition of intersex as being someone born with a body whose genitalia, reproductive organs, and/or chromosomes express elements that are considered both male and female. Also, it does not mean that ALL trans people have this suspected intersex brain physiology. As i'm sure you are aware, people transition for many different reasons. One trans person i know was brave and honest enough to admit to me that he had always comfortably identified as a female butch lesbian, even being a mother, but after decades of harassment and one particularly violent anti-butch-lesb ian attack that left him hospitalized, and knowing he had options after having met many women who had successfully transtioned to male, he opted to also do so for survival and comfort reasons. This is just one example of someone who did not have a male identity but elected to create one with drugs and surgery for good reasons. I respect his doing so just as he respects that his experience is very different from mine as someone who made no choice around my body but was born with one that makes me subject to discrimination b/c of the way it confuses and defies male/female definitions.
I have nothing against trans people and have had trans friends for over a decade. In keeping with my respect for their identities, i have not tried to tell them what their experience is, interpret it for them, speak for them, or re-define their identity. I sincerely ask that you treat intersex people with the same respect. Since you now believe you are intersex, then I hope that you will become interested in supporting the experience and issues of the MAJORITY of intersex people (ending institutionaliz ed erasure of our physical variance and identity) rather than minimizing this horrific gendercide -- which is occurring at this very moment -- by drawing attention away from it to the issues that trans people face. Also, I ask that you respect intersex people who do not want to change the definition of intersex into what you now want it to be, which is something very different than what it has been for centuries, by not calling them bigots. As Del pointed out, this is not the way to create community.
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0 #9 Tracie OKeefe 2010-07-14 20:16
@Del: Terminology changes the same as people do not use ‘sex change’ anymore because I, along with many others, campaigned against it in the mid-90s http://www.tracieokeefe.com/bansexchanges.htm because it produced unrealistic expectations for people who were then known as transsexual who could not get their birth certificates changed.
Without developmental language we cannot make any social progress either.

Transgender itself as an umbrella term has failed and I am not the only one who thinks this.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2010/jun/30/trans-language-transgender

We wrote Trans–X-U-All in 1996 for what was then known as a transsexual audience to empower them in a time when psychiatrists dominated the field.

Yes intersex people can have what appear to be both sets of genitals. So much so that a child’s sex is often mistaken.

Yes some intersex people can reproduce with either males or females depending on their own reproductive ability.

Yes some intersex children do not suffer the indignity of being operated on as children unnecessarily.

Yes some intersex people may have an ovary and a testicle.

Yes intersex people may have sexual preference in different directions.

That very small paragraph in that particular book did not need to be elaborated on because it was not a medical book and it was not that relevant to the target audience at the time. We were aiming to make it easier for trans people to transition by giving them information on transitions. And as it happens we were part of the movement that helped make that happen for thousands of people. And I still do.

In Sex, Gender and Sexuality: 21st. Transformations (1999) I paid more attention to the whole spectrum of sex and gender. I wrote:
“So if people are profoundly and constantly convinced that they are or should be a particular sex and wish to be treated as that sex, it is cruel to do otherwise.(P33)”

“It has been common practice among paediatricians and paediatric urologists to operate on children to create surgical females when ambiguity is genetically and gonadally present. This can longer be accepted practice, and the intersex communities are now urging those doctors to wait, whenever possible, for the child to determine what sex they want to be and whether they want those operations.” (P47-50)

You see I was campaigning for all intersex, sex and/or gender diverse people before there was an OII – in fact way back in the 70s when I was rescuing people from suicide who had been patients at a particularly dreadful hospital.

I also worked within the then-named HBIGDA out of the sight of the public as were other campaigners who were also professional members of HBIGDA. In those days patients were given very limited choices and both Katrina and I were part of movement that expanded and still expands those choices. That includes intersex people. You have also been part of that movement and I honour that and have always publicly congratulated you for that but that does not make you right and me wrong. People can have different opinions without resulting to personal insults and attempting to destroy them.

You seem to want to make me out to be the enemy. That is sad because it means you are not focusing on your real oppressors.
The crux of my article was that some trans people identify as intersex and get a lot of harassment for it from many directions. Well, that certainly turned out to be true.

Go in peace
Tracie
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Personal Development

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