12/20/2013 09:39 pm ET Updated Feb 02, 2016

If We Can't Own the Right Labels, We Can't Expect the Wider Society to Get It Right

I'm a construct, a creation of a surgeon forcing me away from my birth and designing me so you can feel more comfortable. Your normality and complicity in a bi-sexed system led me to a life of pain and discomfort. I am a curiosity in a world of "normals."

I'm a hermaphrodite. You might also call me intersex, although I'd never thank you for it. When you were born, the doctor looked at your genitals and proclaimed you a healthy baby boy or girl. My parents were given a choice of which genitals they'd remove. I was their traumatic mistake of nature, a child born with both sets of genitals.

I've lived in your world for 40 years, and I still don't understand you, your fascination with men and women and the total ignorance of anything in between. I can't and don't blame you for your ignorance. Why should a heteronormative community take any notice of someone like me, butchered at birth by someone who would never know what it's like to be one of us?

Generally, in conversation, the uninitiated ask if I'm trans, meaning transgender. The answer is no. I wasn't born a boy or a girl, and I have no aspirations to comply with your rules that leave you wondering if "it's a man or a woman"; your ruminations, speculations and gender understanding bore me.

My main problem with being me is some of those trans women whom you have, on occasion, mistaken me for. Your ignorance is your fault, but that's not the only problem. I can work within your system of inequality, and some days I love that I confuse your tiny little mind and your closeted upbringing.

Of late, it seems to be fashionable for some trans women who lack the courage of their convictions and pride in their trans status to choose instead to appropriate the labels "intersex" or "hermaphrodite," which is spineless nonsense. Being trans isn't an easy thing. When you live in a queer space for long enough, you'll come across some scary stories. Everyone knows of tales of murderous hate projected from those whom society considers normal, those people whose sex matches their gender and who go through life without the inner conflict.

Trans women are designated male at birth but identify as female. They span the genders; they transition from point A to point B. I was born in the middle and forced to the edges by my surgeon and my parents, who robbed me of my infant vagina, gauging out my shriveled, dead womb and leaving me with a cock. I was raised as a boy and socialized as man, and I never understood the need for either.

Most trans women start off male-bodied, and though a long process of hormone replacement and surgery, they become female, as they identify. I am not a woman. I have no intention of being a woman, nor any desire to own that. In the same way, I was never a boy or a man.

When I was just 2 or 3 years old, the surgeons were trying to correct me, to force me to meet an ideal of normal acceptance. For almost 40 years, my genitals have been cut into and sewn up again in a patchwork of scars and damage limitation. When the conversation gets deeper, most people are amazed at how the system treats my people. Many express sorrow at what they see as a challenging life, but my life is only a challenge because you normal people made the world to your rules, discounting everything else as an abomination to be forcibly corrected.

In the same way, it seems to be fashionable for some cross dressers to claim the label "transgender" when really they are just men with no want, need or intention of transitioning, with a fetishistic view of women. They tarnish the acceptance of those trans women who are in treatment and would like to transition. Similarly, trans women claiming to be hermaphrodites make people like me even more invisible.

It's about time that cross dressers stopped fetishizing the trans community, and it's time that trans women stopped claiming to be intersex or hermaphrodites, but most of all, it would be great to live in a world that you "normals" didn't make, where clothes are just clothes, toys are toys and people didn't use "tranny" as an all-encompassing insult to anyone who lives outside your ingrained, blinkered, sexist social construct.