Facing Body Discrimination And Violence As An Intersex Person

I am much more than my body parts.
03/13/2017 12:59 pm ET Updated Oct 31, 2017

I am a Genderqueer, Intersex individual. When I was born I had a feminized urethra and other female-like qualities, including a labia. As an infant, I underwent three non-consensual, irreversible genital normalizing surgeries to change my biology ― the common Intersex experience. I say this because, as I begin to better understand my identity, I am confronted by the societal constructed idea that we as people are defined by our body parts. Particularly those few parts between our legs.

I am much more than my body parts. I know all men, women and Intersex individuals are as well.

In my home town of Dexter, Michigan. I was sexually assaulted countless times by men, and harassed sexually and non-sexually by others as well. I recall going to report a harassment experience to an officer at the Dexter City police station and was confronted with a remark that noted I would not be protected because I was not a woman or black. “I am not my body.”

People threw garbage at me inside my high school bathroom facility. I had been repeatedly humiliated and objectified on the basis of being perceived inadequate, but “I am not my body.”

I have been told not to use certain restroom facilities based on what genitals people “think” I have. I use the restroom of my choice only when others allow it. “I am not my body.”

I have been raped twice by a family member, and “I am definitely not my body.”

Some people objectify others and see certain individuals as reproductive organs rather than their entirety. This is a problem and it’s called body part discrimination. Sometimes when I walk down the street, I worry about being assaulted and murdered. These are real world dangers I face as a Genderqueer, Intersex person. I know people who carry mace because they worry about sexual assault. As a survivor, I worry about them and about myself too.

When somebody objectifies a person as a sexual object, or diminishes the experience that I or others like myself hold when pursuing our lives differently, in cases where an individual receives degrading insults for having perceived inadequate sexual characteristics; I find it wrong and that this should change. It hurts a person’s sense of self, and it affects everyone from every demographic and background which make this topic of conversation a huge issue.

The change needed here starts with a difference in mindset.

  • People are not things but wholesome individuals
  • People are all different and should all be respected regardless of their differences
  • People’s’ bodies are beautiful and nothing less
  • People are all People; do not discriminate
  • And consent is not necessary, It’s required

Here is a quote by a humbled man who I feel sets a respectable standard for each and every person to live by, the Dalai Lama: “Follow the three R’s. Respect for self. Respect for others and responsibility for all your actions.”

Visit this official Intersex website for any questions you may have about intersex people.

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