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I Was Born Intersex, And Didn't Discover It Until I Was 21

18/08/2017 14:15

What is it like to be born intersex? originally appeared on Quora - the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.

Answer by Maya Posch, born as hermaphrodite, surviving a binary society:

I was born a hermaphrodite, but didn't figure this out until I was 21. The main reason was the highly conservative country I grew up in (the Netherlands), which prevented me from learning about intersex even being a thing for so long. I only learned about it while doing research on the internet and stumbling over the term on Wikipedia.

Now, twelve years later, I have had plenty of time to evaluate how I feel about being intersex/a hermaphrodite.

When I was born, I was written down as being a boy and grew up with that identity for the first two decades of my life. Throughout that time I felt uncomfortable. Not in the way that a transsexual person would feel with gender dysphoria. I felt that I'd rather be a girl, but felt I could accept that I wasn't one.

In that sense finding out that I was not a boy, but intersex, was somewhat of a relief. It gave me a reason for why I had felt uncomfortable with a male identity. Doubly so because during the few years before that moment I had let my hair grow out and this apparently had everyone convinced that I was a girl.

I like being a hermaphrodite, as it's an identity I feel comfortable with, unlike with my previous male identity. I do feel very sad that it took me twelve years to get to a point where I got some medical help, though. Just getting doctors to admit that one is intersex, let alone getting serious medical help, is very hard. I had to move to a different country for it.

Most recently my body went through a second puberty whereby my ovaries began to produce normal amounts of female hormones, changing from the previous state where my body produced far too little testosterone for a guy (before the orchiectomy) and far too little estradiol for a woman, making me effectively neither.

It's nice to have a body now that feels both grown-up (in a female fashion), but without having to surrender my identity as a hermaphrodite.

I just hope that I get this last bit of medical help now, with a reconstructive surgery for the female side. With that over and done with I feel that I can finally move on from this point.

The fact that I was born intersex was simply far too important this past decade. It shouldn't be. It should be as normal as being a plain old man or woman. That it isn't still upsets me.

On the bright side, I did escape a "normalisation" surgery (genital mutilation) which gets routinely performed on infants with ambiguous genitals, removing their ability to make choices about their own bodies. That I have the choice now is a good thing.

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