Arkiv | maj, 2010

Gina Wilson – Discovering One’s Intersex Self.

30 Maj

Text Version:

I have come to speak to you about something you are certain you know about yourself and that you are almost certain you know about everybody else.

I have come to speak to you about your sex.

My name is Gina Wilson and I am intersex.

Intersex people are people with physical differences of sex anatomy. Differences where the person might be seen as having physical features of male and female at the same time, or as having features that are not quite male or not quite female, or having features where the person is neither male or female.

Intersex have genetic, hormonal or congenital differences so that our primary sex anatomy, such as external genitalia and internal reproductive parts, do not fit with conventional ideas of what makes a male or a female. Intersex can also include differences in our secondary sex anatomy. Secondary sex anatomy is things like breasts, hair distribution, bone structure or muscle mass.

Intersex people are not hermaphrodites.

Intersex is not about gender roles, that is, man or woman. Intersex is about your body, the parts that make you more or less male or female.

Intersex is not the same as transgender or transsexual. Intersex is not about transitioning. Intersex is about different anatomies.

There are four ways we come to know we are intersex.

The first is at birth where our bodies are so visibly different our intersex is easily known. Intersex people are often surgically altered at this time to try to make us un-intersex.

The second is during puberty when that happens in unexpected ways or sometimes does not happen at all.

The third way is when we have difficulties reproducing and the reason for those difficulties is our intersex. Intersex does not necessarily mean we are infertile but sometimes does.

The fourth way is by chance.

Sometimes paternity and maternity testing can reveal to someone that they are intersex.

And sometimes people who think they are transsexual can find out they are intersex during the testing procedures transsexuals have to go through.

You probably all assume you are not intersex.

Studies have shown at least 1.7% of the population is intersex. Those figures only indicate individuals who have come to the attention of medicine.

There are no absolutes for male or female – we all exist somewhere between those poles.

Intersex is simply differences around and between the possibility of maleness and femaleness.

Though I was born intersex, that word was not used to describe my differences until quite late in my life. In fact my intersex was a dark secret to me and most of those around me. I, like nearly all intersex people, had a sense of something about myself not being quite right, not really acceptable, something unspeakable.

My intersex has never caused me a moment of grief, illness, unhappiness or regret. Social attitudes to my intersex, on the other hand, have been and continue to be a cause of great sadness for me.

In my everyday life people assume they know why I am different. I am often thought to be transsexual, gay, queer, weird and I am frequently referred to using inappropriate pronouns. There is no shame in being trans, gay or queer. It is simply an outrageous assumption and an assumption that is underpinned by deeply held prejudices.

You might find yourself wondering about my body and what was done to me as a child and as an adult to “fix me up.”

I don’t talk about that to anyone but my partner and my specialist.

I’ll tell you why.

I find it really embarrassing – it is at the top end of unpleasant to speak to an audience about my genitals.

The way I was treated as a child is difficult to work out because records on intersex surgery weren’t kept in those days.

Personal stories, though riveting, have made little difference to intersex lives and intersex rights in the one hundred and fifty years since the first one was told.

We intersex have suffered the indignity of being sideshow freaks and the subject of voyeuristic speculation for hundreds of years. I’m not here to be that kind of exhibit.

I am here to tell you about intersex and that I am proud to be intersex.

Gina is the chairperson of OII Australia an affiliate of Organisation Internationale des Intersexués


Homosexuality is illegal in at least 37 countries in Africa

30 Maj

Before sharing this happy ending to a terrible story, it must be noted that Tiwonge is openly transgender and identifies as a woman. The majority of international media outlets took it upon themselves to refer to her as a man and to this couple as ”gay.” INCLUDING lgbtq news sources such as LGBTQ Nation from where this particular post comes.

Posted Saturday, May 29, 2010, Filed under: World News
A gay couple in Malawi sentenced to 14 years hard labor for holding the country’s first same-sex engagement were pardoned Saturday after a meeting between the president and the UN Secretary General.

President Bingu wa Mutharika announced his pardon of Steven Monjeza and Tiwonge Chimbalanga after meeting with U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, according to the country’s solicitor general, Anthony Kamanga.

Monjeza, 26, and Chimbalanga, 20, were jailed last week, prompting an international outcry.

Mutharika said he would release the men on “humanitarian grounds only.”

“These boys committed a crime against our culture, against our religion, and against our laws,” Mutharika said. “However, as head of state, I hereby pardon them and therefore order their immediate release without any conditions.”

But he added, “We don’t condone marriages of this nature. It’s unheard of in Malawi and it’s illegal.”

Earlier this month, a judge convicted and sentenced the two men on charges of unnatural acts and gross indecency, both colonial-era laws. They were arrested in December, a day after they celebrated their engagement.

Homosexuality is illegal in at least 37 countries in Africa, including Malawi.

Lesbian in China Attempts Suicide

30 Maj

Reposted from:

Homosexual activists are citing a lesbian’s failed suicide attempt in Anhui Province as a tragic example of the emotional pain suffered by lesbians when they are forced to marry men.

For months, Qinqin (not her real name) had considered telling her husband that she was in love with another woman. But her parents had arranged Qinqin’s marriage, and she could not bear to tell them the truth.

Instead, she tried to kill herself by swallowing pesticides on May 14 in Hanshan county, Anhui Province.

Although the 23-year-old woman was saved, the incident raised concerns over the psychological problems faced by lesbians.

The local Shichang Xinbao reported Wednesday that Qinqin fell in love with her roommate Lanlan (not her real name), 20, when they were working together in Beijing last June.

The two women were always seen together, slept in the same bed and walked hand-in-hand.

Qinqin’s fate took a drastic turn in February, when she returned home for Spring Festival. At the time, her family did not know about her sexual orientation and forced her to marry a man she had met only four days earlier.

During the brief marriage, Qinqin repeatedly asked for a divorce, but her husband refused.

”I threatened to kill myself if I couldn’t get divorced but my husband and mother-in-law did not approve,” she said.

Following her suicide, Qinqin’s parents checked their daughter’s cell phone messages and discovered her relationship with Lanlan.

The two women exchanged text messages, discussing ways to kill themselves and promising each other that they would die together.

The newspaper said Qinqin’s parents were shocked by the truth, and now contemplate sending their daughter for counseling to ”correct” her sexual orientation.

Aqiang, the online name of a well-known gay rights activist based in Guangdong Province, told the Global Times that many gay people forced into heterosexual marriages cannot find happiness.

”Forced marriage hurts not only the couples, but also the family on both sides,” he said.

He said in China, especially in rural areas, women are pressured to marry at a certain age because they are expected to have children and raise a family.

”Many gay people told me their another half refused to grant them a divorce because they would lose face and the divorce might have a bad influence on the children,” he said.

Policing & Profiling: Arizona’s Racist Law and Transphobia

30 Maj

A Dad’s Speech About Homophobia

29 Maj

Too Fabulous For Words

29 Maj

I can’t even think straight…

29 Maj

The other day a woman told me she identified as heterosexual, but also as queer. She then asked me if SFQ is open to people like her as well? The answer to that one is easy. Is SFQ an organization that welcomes the straight people who don’t feel like they think straight? Absolutely.  In honor of that sentiment, here is a repost* from Quiet Riot Girl:

I’ve been heterosexual for as long as I’ve been sexual, openly since I was about 14. I don’t think too much about what went before. I do remember playing some pretty weird games with my Barbie Dolls. But that is another story.
By heterosexual what I basically mean is ‘I like boys’. I like the way they move and talk. I like the way their bodies bulge out of their clothes in different ways from how girls’ bodies do. In recent years I confess I have developed a shallow but refined respect for the athletic male form. I dated a climber for a few, giddy months. I suffer from vertigo. But I would march up hills and stand with him, peering nervously over the edge of the rock to examine the route, because it gave me a chance to see that beautiful torso in its natural habitat. The upper body of a fit male climber is a kind of perfection in my eyes. Once you find it it’s difficult to go back to the more common, flabbier, less defined variety of the species.
So, despite my aesthetic appreciation of beautiful women, and my are there some beautiful women in the world (Monica Belucci anyone? Scarlett Johannson before she went all Hollywoodised? Sandrine Bonart, Jenny Lewis, that redhead I saw on the tube the other day) I am straight. Except I can’t bring myself to identify as ‘straight’, not really. I’m not a prick. I wouldn’t insult my lesbian and gay friends by claiming the political status of being ‘bi’ or ‘queer’. I know I enjoy all the privileges of a straight, white middle class woman living in a heteronormative society. This is not a coming out letter. But I don’t feel straight. I don’t think straight. I don’t do the things many of my straight peers do.
Perhaps this is becoming more of an important issue to me because of my age. I am 39 and I don’t have kids. I don’t have a partner or a mortgage, or an interest in talking about kitchen design. I feel alienated from some of my friends who do have those things, and who seem to gain some comfort from them, some kind of identity. I can’t open a newspaper or magazine without reading about the habits and desires of ‘people like them’, people with townhouses in Dalston or Clifton or Chorlton. People with pushchairs that have a place where you can put your capuccino while you’re on the move. People who see themselves, to a greater or lesser extent, in the media, in politics, in the farmers’ market on a Saturday. I don’t see myself any of those places. I am not even sure who I see when I look in the mirror.
Then there’s sex. I am not very ‘straight’ when it comes to sex, apart from the gender of the people I tend to have sex with. My longest relationship was with someone who would have been gay, if it wasn’t for the fact he had a girlfriend (me). We liked anal and doggy style, we both lusted after River Phoenix in My Own Private Idaho, we both looking back on it were probably submissive, which wasn’t exactly a recipe for fulfillment. Many years later I’ve explored that submissive side of my sexuality, and that hasn’t felt very ‘straight’ either. I know everyone is supposed to be experimental these days, but in reality, in my reality, that does not seem to be the case. I have only had embarrassment and misunderstandings when I have tried to discuss some of my pecadillos, over a nice cold glass of sauvignon on my straight mates’ patios.
They say ‘the personal is political’ and I’d say the opposite is also true: ‘politics is personal’. My politics separate me from some of my closest friends and potential ‘comrades’: people who on the outside look just like me, whose resumes would read like mine: white, middle class, heterosexual, feminist, left-leaning. But it sometimes feels like there’s a chasm between us that will never be crossed. I don’t even try to have the discussions because I know where they would lead. But I know from their comments and throwaway remarks, that most of my straight feminist friends don’t share my interest in supporting transwomen, or sexworkers, or people (including me) who wish to enjoy pornography without feeling dirty or ashamed, or people (including me) whose sexuality sometimes means they prefer a bit more ‘slap’ than tickle.
I love reading and talking about sexuality, and in this I find great solace and what? comradeship? sisterhood? a sense of belonging? I don’t know. But if you like Foucault, Todd Haynes, and Del LaGrace Volcano, if you read Anais Nin and Melissa Gira, Bitchy Jones and Christopher Isherwood, there’s a good chance that we will get on.
A very dear friend of mine, who does get where I am coming from, said one day ‘you’d make a good lesbian’. I would that were true, but unfortunately I’d make a crap lesbian. I like cock too much. And the lovely cockerels that provide me with it. But maybe you could think of me as a gay man trapped in a straight chick’s body, or a gay chick that fancies gay guys. Think of me how you like. I may be straight on the surface, but underneath I’m definitely some kind of dyke.
*Note: It is recommended to follow the link to the original post in order to experience the discussion surrounding these thoughts in the comments’ section