The LGBTQIA+ spectrum consist of a wide range of different individuals, as the spotlight on LGBT issues continue to shine, theres still a lack of conversation with regards to the ‘I’ in LGBTQIA+ where topics about intersexuality seem to be overlooked and often times camouflaged within the spectrum.
Intersex is an umbrella term for variety of conditions in which a person is born with a reproductive/sexual anatomy that doesn’t fit the typical definitions of female or male.
Intersexuality is commonly seen as a "medical disorder" rather than an acceptable natural biological variation that 1 in 1000 babies go through.
Since intersex surgeries are done involuntarily at an early age and usually kept unknown to the individual. It becomes a vicious cycle of silencing and shame, which in turn makes it hard for intersex individuals to go through the process of discovering parts of themselves that are intentionally hidden under the guise of a “medical disorder” and to be one with their own body or let alone to create a community with other intersex individuals.
Here’s a conversation I had with Ya, a Singaporean creative who recently discovered about her intersexuality and came out as an intersex female —
Can you talk about the process of you finding out about your intersexuality and the reconciliation you had to do within yourself after your discovery?
I always felt different as I have always compared my own bodily growth and changes to peers my age, during puberty. It led to complex questionings and little appreciation of my own until I mustered the courage to have some medical tests done to put some ease to my constant confusion. At 17, I came to terms and understanding of what Intersex is. It was then that I started to assume a pride and respect to who I am as a person with a body that even I did not know existed.
My intersexuality allowed myself to rethink, relearn and rediscover who I am once again, in the aspect of justifying my gender identity and orientation as a soul with a human experience, than just a woman that is supposed to conform to who and what she is supposed to like and love.
What message would you give to a younger version of you knowing the things you know now about yourself?
Everyone is different, in three or many ways. You are ultimately you until the very end of your existence. Love yourself every single day. Keep questioning and relearning matters. Everything is in fact, fluid and weathering by perspective.
What message would you give to an intersex person?
Every intersex has their own story. Learn yours and be proud of your variation. Yes, you are not the typical but that does not mean you are not entitled to still live with ambitions, goals and wellness after acknowledging your difference. And yes too, understand that some of us may have experienced unconsented gender confirming surgeries when we were infants.
What we have to ensure is that no young bodies are supposed to be altered without consent, which might cause irreversible consequences such as decided infertility. #Endintersexsurgeries and #intersexpride are ways to keep in touch with the international intersex community and activism, something that did not exist when I first discovered my Intersexuality and needed some form of inclusivity and resonance.