In this country of 300,000,000 plus people, there are currently three individuals who possess a birth certificate identifying themselves as INTERSEX. I am one of them.
That does not mean that there are only three INTERSEX people living in the United States. Oh no, not by a long shot. It just simply means that our society is embarrassed by our very being, and refuses to acknowledge that freaks like us even exist. Based on their superficial judgment, they decide where we best fit, cramming us into either the M box or the F box, even if we really don’t fit in either.
From our earliest moments of consciousness, we are taught to repress ourselves rather than to express ourselves.
So how many INTERSEX people are there? It’s hard to say, because of the different criteria people use to determine exactly who is INTERSEX and who isn’t. There are a multitude of INTERSEX conditions, so the numbers vary wildly depending on which criteria is being used. In addition, some symptoms do not manifest themselves at birth, but rather later in the child’s development, typically during puberty.
If ambiguous genitalia is the sole basis for determining if a person is INTERSEX, then the number is relatively low, about .018 – .05 percent of the population. The only reason the medical establishment acknowledges this small sampling of the INTERSEX population lies in the fact that they can not be ignored. Plus, it fits into their misguided belief that intersexuality is a disorder that needs to be corrected.
Anne Fausto-Sterling, a noted Professor of Biology and Gender Studies at Brown University, disagrees with the limited definition of INTERSEX as being defined solely by genitalia. According to her extensive studies, people with various INTERSEX conditions comprise approximately 1.7 percent of the population. That figure was also cited in Blackless, et al, and is considered the most accurate figure by the Organization Intersex International.
To put that into perspective, there are approximately the same amount of red-headed people living in the world today. Imagine filling out a form with only two boxes for hair color, blonde or black, and insisting that a red-headed applicant choose one or the other, because they’re the only options that our society is willing to recognize.
As of last December, there are now three options available on a New York City birth certificate. No other state or municipality in our country currently offers an INTERSEX option, not at this current time, though California’s Governor JerryBrown has just signed the Gender Recognition Act (SB 179) into law, a law that adds a non-binary gender option for all state documents..
While both Oregon and the District of Columbia have recently started issuing non-binary driver’s licenses, neither of them extend that third option to their birth certificates. And while the new California law wouldn’t specifically address INTERSEX people like myself, the gender neutral option would make our lives so much easier by providing us with matching identification that doesn’t pigeonhole us into a category in which we don’t belong.
In addition, California’s Gender Recognition Act does away with most of the red tape that the Transgender community had to go through to change their name and gender on official documents. No longer will we need to appear before a judge to change our name, or “clinically appropriate treatment” for changing our gender, or unwarranted scrutiny at the DMV. All that will be necessary is a sworn affidavit stating that the request is to change our legal gender to match our gender identity, and that we’re not doing it for any fraudulent purpose.
But this is only the beginning of our struggle, because the victories we win in progressive states like California and Oregon, as well as forward thinking municipalities like New York City and the District of Columbia, affect us solely in those places. The Federal Government only recognizes Male and Female, and with the current administration, it is extremely unlikely that they will join the “gender revolution.” Conservative states like North Carolina and Texas will continue to judge us, deny us our rights, and treat us like second-class citizens no matter what our state IDs say. And their representatives will continue to pander to their constituent’s bigoted beliefs rather than do what’s fair and just for all of us.
We do not demand any special privileges; we only ask for our inalienable right to self determination.