For many of us, the pressing issues might not be so much about what doctors and scientists have to discover or say about our bodies, but the shame, stigma and secrecy we endure every day.I strongly believe it is beholden on the media to attempt to describe people with intersex variations and their bodies as something more than a medical mystery or fabulous anomaly, and promote ethical debates and a re-visioning around what is considered to be aberrant and abject.They were born to typical families in typical areas of Britain, but none of them developed into typical male or females. An estimated one in 2,000 babies is born with an intersex condition or a (controversially named) disorder of sex development (DSD), which means that they are born with a reproductive or sexual anatomy that does not fit the typical definitions of female or male.This can include atypical genitalia, chromosomes or internal sex organs.A few years ago, I produced and directed an autobiographical documentary called “Orchids: My Intersex Adventure” on my story of growing up intersex.Intersex applies to an individual with a combination of male and female biological sex attributes, and it is also known as a disorder of sex development or hermaphroditism.Intersex advocacy and activism has meant that many medical practitioners and hospitals have reviewed their protocols with regards to interventions and have even led to some countries adopting a moratorium on infant genital surgeries.the United Nations condemned normalising surgeries on children with intersex variations in a Special Report on torture as cruel, inhuman and degrading. As the availability of genetic screening of embryos increases, we can expect variations like 5-alpha-reductase deficiency to gradually disappear from the gene pool.
Later, as an adult, when I became a documentary filmmaker I looked into the representation of people with intersex variations in the media some more, and it formed part of my doctoral thesis.
In modern times, medicine employs surgery and hormonal cures to drastically alter anything other than complete maleness or femininity.
Gender-assigning operations on children and infants with ambiguous genitalia for purely cosmetic reasons can have devastating long-term implications.
I was diagnosed at age 5 but did not find out the truth about my body until much later.
At age 17, finally all was made plain about my AIS and had surgery to remove my testicles.