Nature Creates More Than Two Sexes
By Tami Hamilton
We recognize only two sexes. Nature does not.
My niece, Leah, has two children who were born intersexed. Meaning that doctors could not tell whether they were male or female at birth.
Her physicians told her that surgery was needed, and she trusted her doctors’ advice. Actually, it was not even a question but an expectation that her babies would be surgically altered.
So both of them were made female. Their enlarged clitorises were reduced and their vaginal openings made large enough to be girls. The children were also prescribed hormones to help them fill the female role they’d now been assigned. Leah’s two little ones will continue to endure years of vaginal dilation to stretch to enlarge their vaginas.
When my niece brought her babies home she dressed them in pink, as instructed. And she never cut their hair to help affirm their femininity.
The oldest child hated girl’s clothes and toys and wanted nothing more than to be a boy. But she was not allowed to be who she was and play with whatever interested her. In anger and frustration she cut off her waist length hair when she was seven and refused to wear female clothing.
Today she is confused. And Leah has lived in embarrassment over the years by her daughter’s nonconformity. Leah struggles with how her daughter feels and with how society will perceive her.
Her other child loves the role she is fulfilling and meets every expectation of what society feels a “girl” should be.
Watching my nieces grow up has led me to question where exactly our gender identity comes from. Is it put on us by the sex we are born with or is it a part of who we are taught to be? Or do each of these somehow come into play?
If my grandnieces had been allowed to figure out which role they wanted to fulfill and live out when they’d grown older, how might their lives be different? How might they feel differently about themselves?
Even though nature provides variations that lay in between “male” and “female” our society insists there are just two sexes. And so it is easier for most to choose surgical intervention than to accept the varying degrees of sex and sexuality.
This way of seeing leaves out people who don’t fit into “normal” parameters. They are left feeling they are not “right’ or are a “freak of nature.”
Think how much more comfortable everyone could feel in their own skin if we didn’t have to live up to unreasonable standards of acceptability; if we weren’t so stuck in the old beliefs and patterns. And if all sexes were recognized and honored.
I now believe that people who are intersexed should be allowed to choose how they would like to live their lives for themselves. They should not be surgically altered just to fit society’s mold.
BroadBlogs: Soon, I’ll say more on these questions: if gender is learned 1) how can we have transgendered people and 2) why is one of Tami’s nieces having such a hard time conforming to her socialized gender?
This was written by one of my students who gave permission to post the article.