On Intersex and Trans

I found this video and though I would share. I’ve edited this post (03-26-11) in response to some feedback that I’ve gotten.

I’m 80% Girl, 20% Boy

Though Adele is now pursuing gender reassignment surgery to become a woman, she muses as the film ends “I’ve lived 30 years of my life as a man, and I’m going to live the next 30 years of my life as a woman. But, eventually, when I’m an old person, hopefully society will have moved on to a point where I can live as myself — which is an intersexed person — neither male nor female.”

I’m not sure I’m any more ready for a post gender world than I am for a post racial one, but I found this moving and thought provoking. The interesting thing for me, was that while at first I saw Adele as mostly masculine with some feminine features, by the end of it my mind had made that mental switch to thinking “she’s pretty” pretty much effortlessly. My point with this is that it was completely my perspective that changed. Adele was still the same intersex person, regardless of how I saw her, or which gender society attempted to impose on her.

Watching this video brought up some issues that I have been trying to deal with regarding the whole trans thing–issues that are mine, not anything I want to put on anyone else. I know that although Adele’s story superficially parallels the experience of many transgendered people, her experience and the experiences of intersex people worldwide are unique and different. I would not even begin to speak for them or anyone else.

So here are my fucked-up thoughts on the issue of transgenderism–not intersex– as of writing this post, I thing I’m coming to a better place of peace and acceptance, but it’s nice to have this space to work my thoughts out:

I think the hardest part for me with dealing with people who are Trans, is that although I want to respect the gender that they feel themselves to be, some inner part of me is always screaming “no, that’s not a dude, that’s a stud!” Or, honey, with those cheek-bones do you really expect me to take you for a girl?

On the other hand,when I dated men, they almost always had a lot of strong female characteristics, and I’m often attracted to women with strong masculine traits. I’m not sure why taking it to that next level bothers me so much?

Maybe it’s the question: How do I deal with attraction to someone who reads like a butch woman–which I want, but perceives themselves as man–which I don’t want…maybe even has man parts? That’s the problem that I have with a Trans Man that I met recently—I mean, even as a woman, he’s not really my type…but he’s just attractive enough to cause that internal dissonance.

One of my Dad’s housemates growing up was an openly Bi, Pagan, full figured woman. I always saw her as exemplary of strong femaleness. Not femininity, but the essence on woman-ness.

Then the last time I saw her, she looked a little more butch, short haircut and what-not. Still I was shocked when he told me to call him Mike.

Bah maybe when I’m 60 we can all be post-gender!

2 Comments

  1. I would like to point out that intersex people like Adele who is the subject of the video made by London-resident Australian filmmaker Maxx Ginnane that you link to, IS NOT trans but intersex.

    Intersex is not somehow a subset of trans or transgender but is a separate thing in and of itself.

    Please do not confuse intersex with what it is not. All LGBTI people including intersex, transgender and transsexual people are persecuted because of homophobia but intersex people also endure intersexphobia while trans people must put up with transphobia.

    Please do not help perpetuate the silencing, exclusion and erasure of intersex. Please learn what intersex actually is as well as what transgender and transsexualism are.

  2. Hi Earthangel. Thank you for saying this…I was not trying to imply that intersex and trans are the same thing…just kind of using the video as a springboard for my own thoughts. I know some of my thoughts are ignorant and I’m trying to work through them. I thought about taking this post down a couple of times…but, I don’t know…maybe I’m hoping to be educated by people like yourself?

    I do know that they are different, and while some of interex people’s struggles may be analogous to what other gender variant people experience, they are unique and I wouldn’t even begin to speak for them.

    Let me try to explain where my thoughts were with this post…it seems to me that regardless of her birth gender, on a mental and emotional level Adel is going through the same thing that trans people do–feeling like you’ve been “assigned” to the wrong gender. In her case her struggle could be considered more “valid” or “legitimate” because she was born with ambiguous genitalia and actually physically forced into gender. (Her parents must have been terrible communicators if she actually thought she was being made female, when they where choosing for her to be male!)

    Part of it comes down to the difference between sex and gender-they say sex is what is between your legs, and gender is what’s between you ears. She says that she feels 80% female and 20% male. I feel like I’m at least that–maybe more male–and I was definitely born a woman!


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