Inter/Act

A place for young people with intersex conditions or DSDs to come together, express themselves, and unite their individual stories to develop a voice for a new generation. We don’t always agree with each other, and we don’t expect you will, either.

email: inter.act@aiclegal.org

Inter/Act was founded with a grant from the Ms. Foundation, and receives ongoing support from Liberty Hill

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Happy Birthday Anne!!

Anne Tamar-Mattis— my boss at AIC — has a birthday coming up, and in her honor we’re trying to raise $1,000 dollars for Advocates for Informed Choice (Inter/Act’s parent organization)!

Anne has been part of my intersex journey since day 1. Well, day 3 probably. ;)  When I found out about my intersex diagnosis around 8 years ago, someone mentioned to me that there was a lawyer in California who started an organization called AIC that fought for intersex people’s rights. I called Anne and was all like “CAN WE SUE THESE JERKS?!” Unfortunately, I couldn’t.

Years later, I became a member of a group called Inter/Act. Inter/Act was an AIC youth project started by Anne and former youth coordinator Jim Ambrose. The first-of-its-kind group combined youth voices and intersex activism—hence the name. It provided a platform for my voice, which as a young intersex person, I wasn’t able to find anywhere else.

Years later, I graduated from being an Inter/Act member, to an intern, to a full-time staff member of AIC in which I coordinate Inter/Act and also head up operations & communications. All along the way, Anne has been INSTRUMENTAL in my growth and understanding of myself as an intersex person and advocate/activist. She has provided a necessary space where I was encouraged to envision the big picture and figure out how I (and our organizations) can help mold the future we are hoping to create for intersex children and families.

http://causes.com/campaigns/79591-honor-annes-45th-birthday-wish

xoxy,

Pidgeon

Inter/Act Youth Coordinator

Anne Tamar-Mattis (AIC) left with AIC board member, healer, and intersex activist Mani Bruce Mitchell

Top 5 things about having Swyer Syndrome

1. You save money on birth control. 

2. You have options considering motherhood; whether or not to adopt, use IVF, or be an amazing Auntie. 

3. No period until 21 (for me at least). 

4. You can wear white pants all year round.

5. Close friends celebrate your latent menstruation with a PERIOD PARTY! 

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-This list was comprised by Inter/Act member, Ali and is part of our new and ongoing Top 5 List blog project by Inter/Act. 

Find out what had everyone laughing on HuffPost Live’s Intersex and Parenting segment today 

We’re live right now!!

Join us today!! Inter/Act will be a part of this live discussion :)

http://live.huffingtonpost.com/r/segment/raising-an-intersex-child/53456b7378c90a2ff90001bb

An article about intersex and dating featuring Inter/Act’s Youth Leadership Coordinator— Pidgeon Pagonis and former Inter/Act Coordinator, Jim Ambrose. Our friend Bo Laurent is also featured in this great piece by Kat Kinsmann over at CNN… 

Last night I was googling the original clip of Alicia Menendez calling out Fox News on their bogus behavior towards intersex and trans folks after Facebook announced it’s new gender options. I then stumbled across this newer clip (which gives a shoutout to Inter/Act!) and laments Fox for their late apology. thanks Alicia and Fusion TV!

Clip —> http://fus.in/1eo9ks5

I’m No Pinecone

Inter/Act member, Ali, recently witnessed Fox News’ unprofessional and intersex-phobic response to Facebook’s new gender options. She, along with other members, wrote an open letter to the news organization. Weeks later, Fox New’s host Clayton Morris issued an apology for his rude commentary. This blog post by Alex is her personal reflection on Fox’s insensitive coverage.

When confronted with standardized tests, applications at doctors’ offices, or recently social media profiles—there are almost always only two gender boxes to fill in. We’ve grown up in a world culturally embedded with symbols of sex and gender divisions everywhere: restrooms, lockers, competitive sports, department store aisles, and toy sections. A few weeks ago Facebook revealed a progressive move to test gender norms by enabling its 1.19 billion members to choose a sexual identity and gender presentation from over 50 options. For instance, one can now choose to be labeled as intersex (sex) and genderqueer (gender presentation) if they desire.

When I heard of this news, I felt moments of relief, pride, and joy for those possessing alternative gender identities. Specifically, I was overwhelmed for the intersex community that I embrace and call home.  I’m an intersex, infertile woman and I’m perfectly okay with that. My chromosomal sex is XY, and I came into the world without functioning gonads. Like all groups of people, intersex takes on a very subjective meaning for those who experience their varying sex ambiguity as part of their daily lives. We deserve the freedom to identify and express our true identity.

Society has long stigmatized, mythicized, and sensationalized sexualities, identities, and bodies that aren’t perfectly aligned with the binary model. Facebook’s change created a path towards increased awareness of sex/gender fluidity. These new options allow for many individuals to feel comfortable embracing their minds, bodies, desires, and beliefs however they may (or may not) line up.

Unfortunately, oblivious hosts from Fox News covered the story with ignorant remarks that displayed their illiteracy of sexual variability by mocking our existence on national television. Tucker Carlson referred to intersex as “whatever that is” while Todd Starnes casually remarked, “what if you identify as a pine cone?” At first, I felt infuriated. Though, looking back I’ve realized that hearing and reading the word intersex in the media made my life experience visible to a group of people that might not have encountered the word otherwise. I’m hopeful that Fox’s mockery, and recently, their apology have challenged viewers to uncover their own biased and limited understanding of sex variation.

So now that I finally have the chance to fill in the intersex bubble on Facebook, I’m ambivalent to do so and reveal this personal information to my social media peers. Clearly such a move would foster visibility for an otherwise invisible part of my innermost self. Yet, I feel afraid and exposed putting that part of me out there in the open. However, I am working to let go of the notion that I have power over other people’s perception of me. All I can control is how I treat and love myself and others.

At least for now, I’m keeping my intersex bubble visible only to me. I accept myself as an amazing companion, lover, friend, employee, and daughter—though, I’m no pinecone. I’m just one person, but together, Inter/Act is already seeing positive changes.

When most adolescent boys in his Ugandan village were lobbing soccer balls, Julius Kaggwa was sidelined by an unusual phenomenon: He began to develop the breasts of a girl. His mother took this as a sign from the spirits that young Julius was intended to be female and she began to send him to school in girls’ dresses. The boy was mortified and became afraid to show his face in public. Life became so unbearable that he contemplated suicide.

Today, Kaggwa, 44, is the founder and director of Support Initiative for People with Congenital Disorders, the first group of its kind in East Africa to serve the intersex population. Intersex individuals are those born with indeterminate sex because of hormonal, physiologic or other medical anomalies.

http://scopeblog.stanford.edu/2014/03/04/in-uganda-offering-support-for-those-born-with-indeterminate-sex/#sthash.HVExRWVu.QO6lSmGa.dpuf

Hey, you. We have a twitter too!

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