Friday, September 18, 2009

Commentary: My life as a 'Mighty Hermaphrodite' By Hida Viloria, Special to CNN

Hida Viloria is a writer who holds a degree in Gender and Sexuality from U.C. Berkeley. She is also an activist for intersex people -- (formerly known as hermaphrodites) Her memoir "Mighty Hermaphrodite" will be published next spring.

SAN FRANCISCO, California (CNN) -- A lot of people have been outraged by the gender verification testing that South African athlete Caster Semenya has been put through, and have been trying to be supportive of her; but in doing so, they often further prejudice against the very thing which she appears to be: intersex.

Intersex people (formerly known as hermaphrodites) are those born with bodies that are difficult to classify as either "male" or "female."

Since results of Semenya's tests were apparently leaked, it seems that her body doesn't conform to the definition of "female" as one who has ovaries.

I'm intersex because, while I have ovaries, menstruate and can get pregnant, my genitalia is somewhat male-looking (simply put, I have a clitoris that's much larger than average.)

Throughout my childhood, I never thought I was anything other than "female" because that's what I was labeled and raised as. While I felt more aggressive than other girls, I didn't think that anything other than male and female could exist. So I just thought of myself as a "different kind of woman." Ultimately, my assessment was pretty accurate.

I was raised in a strict Catholic home, where nudity and sex talk was unheard of, so having no one to compare my genitals to, I was unaware that mine were different.

I'm very lucky to have escaped the "corrective" surgeries and/or hormone treatments that are the norm for intersex infants, because my father went to medical school before these practices began (in the mid-late '50's), and knew that you shouldn't operate on a baby unless it's absolutely necessary.

Read complete article – by Hida Viloria

1 comment:

Nanette said...

I have so much I want to say to you. If you ask the meaning of beautiful to everyone you know, it will be never the same. It's a countless description. You are one of my description of beautiful! I saw you on the Tyra show and was fascinated by your understanding and growth of love for yourself. Your attitude and knowledge was so uplifting. Straight, gay, intersex, bisexual or just be appreciate, understand and be an a proud acceptance. We were all created different for a reason and a purpose. I hate that our society is so judge mental and closed minded. Our constitution gives them the right to do just that. If there was a class in education called "Understand What and Who You Are" instead of "Sex Eduction" we wouldn't be so naive to what the creation of humans really are! I am not a intersex person, but all female that wants to say that intersex is as so called "normal" as me. I am grateful to have been raised to have an open mind so I can see all the beauty in life. Intersex is beautiful. I feel for those that struggle with being intersex, and are lost with there identity. Please don't stop speaking out. If you were my child, I would be so proud and you would be my trophy. You are strong and you rock!!! I hope to hear and see more of you. You are the first web page (blog) that I've ever left a comment on...what does that tell you? It was a pleasure to express my thoughts. Nanette