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 at aiclegal.org

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

Image and video hosting by TinyPic
hit counter

Search

Find Inter/Act on:

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!

Naturally, it didn’t take long for the shame to sink in. It ate at me, made me untrusting, sad and small. For years, it was all I could feel. I didn’t trust that anyone could love me with the knowledge of my “condition.” I kept asking myself questions like, “Am I supposed to like girls? Boys?” or “Who am I? Is it worth even trying with people because they’ll never understand.” The girl who used to chatter incessantly became stuttering, silent, angry — unable to trust her own thoughts. Shame made me into a cold, selfish person I didn’t recognize.

It’s taken me years to rid myself of shame, and even more years to start to appreciate my intellect, recognize my strengths and begin to speak out for myself and my community. But without the example of people who inspired me to be fearless and open about myself and a group of wonderful friends, I might still be in that black box of shame with room to breathe but no room to grow.

Last week, however, Fox News made me feel that shame again. Some of their commentators made me, and my community, a punchline to their joke. Instead of celebrating a move Facebook made to give its users a chance to fully express their gender or sexual identity, Fox News correspondents decided to mock it. Unable to realize their own ignorance, they snickered at the thought that anyone could identify as intersex, even asking the question, “What if you want to identify as a pinecone?”

By laughing at our identity, they proved they’d rather spread ignorance than grapple with the complexity of our truths. We are all different, and our differences don’t make us any less human. Their commentary added to the chorus of those in power who continue to force us to accept a binary that isolates and leaves out people like me. I feel so sorry for those people. They forget that if we would accept others and be more open, like Facebook is trying to do, maybe we could stop making each other feel so deeply screwed up. Maybe, just maybe, we could even make each other better.

THESE ARE OUR YOUNG PEOPLE, ELENA H. AND EMILY B. !!

Intersex woman in courageous letter to Fox News hosts

Read the restFollow policymic

(via policymic)

People with intersex conditions make up roughly the same percentage of the population as red heads. If you’ve ever come across a redhead, chances are you have come across (or know) an intersex person. Boom!

Source: http://fullfrontalactivism.blogspot.com/2012/03/compelling-statistics-on-number-of.html

In response, a group of intersex writers known as Inter/Act sent an open letter to Fox News suggesting that, gosh darn it, intersex people are people too, despite the Fox and Friends team’s ignorance of their existence and unwillingness to acknowledge their identities. They went on to suggest that sex, like gender, may not be a simple binary and that our society might just be oversimplifying things a little bit by forcing everyone into two separate and mutually exclusive boxes based on first glance at birth.

http://www.bustle.com/articles/16940-fox-news-ridiculed-facebooks-expanded-gender-options-and-thats-unacceptable

Let Me Google That For You: Intersex

Last week Fox News made fun of intersex people. (video- goo.gl/CPC7hr )

Days later, Fox and Friends host Clayton Morris apparently read Inter/Act’s open letter and issued this apology where he stated, “I’m an idiot” ( video - goo.gl/sz0tpH )

This is news that we can celebrate! Our young people saw an injustice, came together and worked hard to make Fox aware of their ignorance.

We want to thank everyone for their support in making this happen with special shout outs to Ross at glaad.org, Media Matters, Alicia Menendez, Fusion TV, Dr. Georgianne Davis and Saifa Wall, AIC and everyone that has pushed this story to the front of national headlines! 

Intersex youth are powerful!

Last week, Inter/Act youth decided to  write an open letter to Fox News to express our concerns with how they made fun of our lives in response to Facebook’s new gender options. (see video below)


This is what happened next… (be prepared to be shocked!)

Yes, that’s right. Fox new’s just (kind of) apologized to intersex people. I know, I can’t believe it either! We would like to thank everyone at glaad.org and advocate.com for working with us and publishing our open letter. We’d also like to give a shout-out to AIC’s Sean Saifa Wall (Board President) and Dr. Georgiann Davis (Friend and AIS-DSD President) for writing their open letter as well!

To have Fox News’ cruel words about intersex people acknowledged on air sends a strong message to the intersex community. While they may not understand the realities of our lives, they know that their words have the power to harm us. I hope that we can continue to educate Fox, as well as the American public more about the realities of our lives.

inter-actyouth:

image

…When viewing the on screen reaction, we felt disregarded as a butt of a joke.  We felt when watching the clip that not only did your team not know what intersex was, but they also didn’t find it worth while to learn more. People with intersex conditions face challenges everyday…

Loading posts...