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Thread by @delaneykingrox: "The 'I' in LGBTIQA stands for intersex. We are really common- hi, hello! Precise stats are difficult because definitions are completely arbi […]"

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The 'I' in LGBTIQA stands for intersex. We are really common- hi, hello! Precise stats are difficult because definitions are completely arbitrary. But around 1% of the population is a commonly kicked around figure. As common as redheads.
2) There is a LOT of misunderstanding about what intersex is. It literally means 'between sex'- someone who falls between the arbitrary definition of male and female. Notice that word 'arbitrary'.
3) intersex people can identify as male, female, neither, both or somewhere inbetween. The part of the brain that tells you what you are is the 'gender identity' you probably hear a lot of. It is that innate sense of who you are.
4) intersex people can have a range of chromosome types. Xy, xx, xxy, xxxxxxxx, xo and so forth, however it isn't always chromosomes that make you intersex. You may appear female, with a vagina and have XY chromosomes & internal testes ( as with Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome)
5) others of us develop traits later in life- for example, congenital adrenal hyperplasia occurs when your body doesn't produce an enzyme. There are many variations in what it means to be intersex.
6) some of us, as in my case, had rhe chain reaction in our development affected when our hormones where disrupted by external influences such as medicines and pesticides.
7) people need to understand that intersex people commonly exist, as it breaks a lot of societal issues.

When we muddy the waters defining what it means to be a man or a woman, patriarchial constructs fall apart.
8) most arguements of transgender critics simply fall apart when you factor in intersex people.
Gender roles fall apart. Exclusion based on sex falls apart. It is impossible to oppress women if you cannot define woman as a state.
9) for example. I am intersex. I have boobs. Can I show you a picture of my boobs on Facebook? Men can. Women can't. Why? Because women's bodies are sexualised and commodified.

Is mine? If not, why not? Where do you draw the line?

It falls apart.
10) what toilet should I use? How can you stop transgender women using women's toilets but let intersex people use them. How do you check? Blood tests? That won't work on us. Birth certificates? Again, most of us have the wrong birth certificate information. It is bullshit.
11) genitals? Well, some of us have ambiguous genitals. Some do not. Where do you draw the line?

We make ridiculous gender rules look ridiculous. That makes people trying to enforce them angry.

At best we get erased. Hell, watch how often the 'I' gets missed off LGBTQ
12) type @ then lgbtq to see how often we are excluded from LGBTIQA organisations.

Remember, we are around 1% of the population.
13) if you would like to know more, there is a grrat doco on us here.

14) people also try to actively exclude intersex from LGBT spaces as "one is sexuality" on is "gender".
Think about it. If you are somewhere between male and female and you are attracted to LITERALLY ANYONE ON THE PLANET you are technically at least partially gay. :p
15) any questions? Feel free- I have to get on a coach in a few hours
16) Malta is the only place that has outlawed forced surgery on babies who are intersex. Australia does it- about 1 in 1000.

This renders the child infertile, damages sexual function and can lead to gender dysphoria if they pick the wrong direction.

FORCED. ON. BABIES.
17) so pleeeeeease learn about us. Think about us. Be aware.

The population is not 50-50 male and female folks. Never was, never will be.
18) like this thread and want more like it? Support me at ko-fi.com/dellak. I order manly coffees in girly cups because fuck gender roles.
19) answering some DMed questions. Diethylstilbestrol (DES) and the pesticide DDT are linked to intersex development. They act like estrogens and cross the placental barrier. DES was the first artificial estrogen invented and was given to pregnant women. Is now banned.
20)another dm answer: yes, you can be transgender AND intersex. If your gender assigned at birth does not match your gender identity, you are transgender. So it all depends on if the doctor guessed right.
21) intersex people should be allowed to live without forced surgery and allowed to decide themselves. My intersex friends all have one thing in common, we are angry about decisions being made for us- be it hiding information from us or forced into a gender.
22) my dms are open if you want to ask a question
23) another question: hermaphrodite is not used on humans. Mammals cannot be hermaphrodites- as in both able to reproduce as a male and female through its life. Our term was 'pseudo hermaphrodite' meaning false hermaphrodite. It was dropped and replaced with " intersex"
24) human cells get their sex settings from hormones latching onto hormone receptors. A cell doesn't intrinsically know what sex it is supposed to be. Our hormone balance and if our receptors accept hormones determines the current sex of the cell.
25) which is why hormone replacement therapy changes peoples bodie's sex characteristics. Its a majority thing.
26) another question: I identify as a woman. I chose to adjust my body with HRT to make it as womanly. I was kind of a pick n mix of characteristics before. I dont have an adams apple for example and my skeleton has female qualities like carry angle and spine flexibility
27) question from dm: yes, some of us can have children. I have a genetic son through IVF, but could never have conceived without IVF. Fertility does not define intersex people.
28) finding out I was intersex sent me on a journey of discovery. I had no information. It wasn't talked about, it isn't taught in schools. That needs to stop. We need to be a recognised part of society. Learn. Teach. Get the facts out there.
29) another dm question: do I and other intersex people feel part of the LGBTIQA community? I can't answer for other people but I don't really feel part of a 'community' as such. LGBTIQA are my people. I have a lot of queer friends but only because they are awesome people
30) "TERFs keep telling me not to use the existence of intersex people in my arguments (always preemptively) because "they have asked not to be used that way". do I have your permission to shove this thread in their faces?"
Terfs want to avoid our existence because we break them
30 (cont) firstly, TERFS want to exclude intersex people because it breaks their arguements, not out of respect for us.
Secondly, intersex people who do not understand the overlap between transgender and intersex need to read more.
Thirdly, TERFs are just idiots.
31) dm question: is PCOS intersex? This is where that 'arbitrary' bit comes in. FYI PCOS is poly cystic ovarie syndrome. It causes high testosterone levels and can lead to developing traditionally masculine traits such as balding and body hair etc.
(Cont)
It is hotly debated if it should be included in the intersex umbrella. But it is one of picking an arbitrary point on several sliding scales.

In my opinion, a lot of the issues that can affect pcos sufferers I know benefit from the same therapy and hearing intersex narratives
I met a woman one night in a pub who had pcos and she found great solace discussing what my experiences where. We had a bond. So if she wants to belong, I say she does.
She repayed me by singing me a song she improved about me. X
32) I think rather than argue about where to draw arbitrary lines we need to ask why we need those lines and how we can make systems better to embrace and support people with dignity and kindness.
33) for example, our Medicare system had cover codes locked to a gender. Ie, if you have a testis operation covered as a male you cannot have a womb operation covered.
Now all codes are available to you regardless of listed gender. This includes intersex finally.
34) thank you for all the sweet DMs. I am glad this thread means a lot to people.
Thanks for the ko-fi's people! Feels like a warm hug.
35) dm question: yes, I identify as transgender also. My narrative reads like a classic transgender women's narrative, with added slow onset puberty and quite an androgynous look through my teens and twenties. It gave me a head start with transition too. So I sit in both camps
36) sleeping pill kicking in. Any last questions before I zonk out for the trip?
37) okay. Gonna zzzzz for hours. Play nice. X
38) okay. Awake again. Very busy mentions to wake up to! A few more answers.
No, intersex does not mean you have "both bits". To explain, lets understamd homologues.

Basically male bits and female bits all start from the same bits. The clitoris and penis for example
38 cont) the scrotum and labia are homologous. If you look, the scrotum had a line down the middle- that is where the labia would be seperated.
Ovaries become testes and descend.
38 cont) so some but not all intersex forms have ambiguous genitalia. Somewhere between the homologous parts. Others appear externally one sex but internally another. Or appear as one sex bit change over time.
38) the misunderstanding people have is that a penis is the equivalent of a vagina on a girl. Actually the scrotum is the equivalent. The penis is the same as the clitoris (which is why it is vital you can find it ;) )
38) you further need to understand mullerian ducts to get were the vagina, fallopian tubes and womb form from, and why hormones (AMH) cause these to wither away when the SRY gene region on the Y chromosome is present.
39) intersex people do not need ambiguous genitalia to be labelled intersex. For example, Complete Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome (CAIS) is where cell receptors that usually lock onto androgens (male hormones) do not. You can have XY chromosomes, get testes but...
39) your body ignores all the androgens your testes produce and you appear completely female- with a vulva. However, your body would receive AMH so you would not get the upper third of the vagina, fallopian tubes or womb. No periods. XY chromosomes does not equal boy.
40) I have a flood of dms asking for advice, however I am not a qualified therapist. I highly recommend finding a gender therapist, as they are a strong grasp of intersex development. Mine was fantastic. Look for clinics dealing with LGBTIQA issues to help track one down ♡
41) woke up to 1000+ likes and lots of DMs. My apologies if I don't get through all the answers. Amd thanks for all the touching messages! You are NOT alone. You are naturally occuring and are valid.
42) obviously questions about my genitals have occurred, all I will say that I have Scrödinger's knickers.
43) I was finally diagnosed in my thirties. Many of us find out only when trying to start a family. Some of us find out after surgery, others are only discovered in autopsy. Even if doctors notice in childhood, it was often covered up or ignored
44) yes, happy for you to share this info on podcasts and in your classroom talks. Also happy to talk about it (though I work full time as an art director so have a hectic schedule)
45) a DM question "a friend of mine was told that it's wrong to use 'assigned [gender] at birth' to describe non-intersex people. What's your opinion on this?"

Rubbish. Everyone is assigned a gender at birth. Cis men are AMAB, for example. They are just happily so.
46) dm question. No, YOU'RE awesome. ♡
47) that House episode used very outdated terminology and misgendering on the female model with testicular cancer. She would be termed CAIS now and her pronouns would be she/her and House is an asshole.
48) dm answer: I try to keep things simple and just tell folk I am a 'lesbian woman'. They don't need my medical history to form an opinion or work with me. They just need to know not to set me up with their male mates when I whinge about being single.
48 cont) but I am actually 5 on the kinsey scale. Saying I am a homoflexible intersex transgender woman sounds like a clusterfuck to your average person. I mean... I AM a clusterfuck, but that's irrelevant.
49) jeesh, lots of dms. Hi hello!

Answer: Klinefelters is where you have XXY chromosomes. It comes in mosaic form too which is less obvious. As you have a Y chromosome you have the SRY gene region so tend to appear male but with longer arms and other defining characteristics.
49 cont) mosaic form is like being a tortoise shell cat- splotches of you are XXY and splotches are XX, or XY etc depending on where the cells failed to divide properly. Very rare.
50) all embryos start as proto female and become male through a series of androgen hormone baths triggered by a chain reaction starting with the presence of the SRY gene region (usually on the Y chromosome or translocated).
So in a way, all men have transitioned :p
51) when your cells die and are replaced, sex hormones bind to receptors on the cell. That receptor then moves into the nucleus and activates or deactivates genes. The cell then takes on male or female qualities from that. So....
51 cont) after years of HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy) my cells are replaced and my tissues are now behaving as with any typical female. My skin and hair is soft, I have an extra fat layer and my extra muscle has atrophied. HRT rewrites you. People dont seem to realise this
51 cont) I now have the same risks of osteoporosis, breast cancer and have the same metabolism. I have to adhere to womens recommended alcohol limits, for example.
51) so yay, I am now a cheap drunk!

*shrugs*
52)dm question. Re: Non binary gender. From a science standpoint we understand gender identity is hardwired into us early on, it is nature not nurture. There is a terrible story about David Reimer/ John Money/Milt Diamond that highlights this...
52) basically imagine the brain is a motherboard. Male and female are the same board. However the dip switches are set differently for gender identity. If yours match the one doctors assigned you by looking at your exterior genitals you are cisgender...
52) but it can get set to somewhere between. That is non binary.
Gender fluidity appears to be where the mechanism fluctuates but I have seen no studies on this.
52) and so I will leave that topic for a later date.

Basically we suspect that our brain knows what gender it is supposed to be based on hormone exposure at a specific moment of development in utero.

There isn't a humane way to test this is humans though. We can in rats.
52) mess with a rat's hormones in utero and it can make male rats behave like female rats and vice versa.

So gender identity is most likely hard coded based on hormone exposure.
52) which is why giving a trans woman testosterone wont make her feel like a man. Her gender identity is wired in already. No going back.
You can support me writing and generally being alive and stuff here ko-fi.com/dellak. I just bought a cooked brekkie thanks to you. nom nom nom. X
53) dm question: I am a feminist, which means equality across all genders. Feminism is inclusive and should be intersectional otherwise it isn't feminism.
TERFs are actually supporting patriarchial concepts, and are not feminists.
54) dm q: yes, new studies show male and female brains are identical. Especially in performance. Women's brains are denser packed because the skull cavity is smaller. There are microscopic differences such as the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis- which I liken to dip switches
55) any arguement men have superior brains is patriarchal bullcrap. Read Cordelia Fine's delusions of gender to see how studies have been bent and misread to oppress women.
55) I had the pleasure of seeing her at the Sydney Opera house and she is hilarious to boot.
Re: bed nucleus of stria terminalis...


Also modern scans show different grey matter configurations along sides of brain in trans people placing them midway between sexual brain dimorphism
Okies... gotta go to work. Have a great day everyone. X
55) surprisingly few idiots so far. Three bans.
So TERFS try to argue they support intersex people. This is a lie. Again, it is the war to have scientific legitimacy. That belongs to intersex people and transgender people. It is little more than a dividr and conquer technique
Terfs means trans exclusionary radical feminists. Firstly, they are not feminists. They attack women, trying to enforce a perceived binary where there is none. They warp facts to fit their ideology. History will not remember them fondly.
And I would be cautious of anyone trying to drive a wedge between LGBTIQA groups. That is clearly being up to no good.
If in doubt, research
Dm question: no, I am not doing this for attention. If I wanted attention I could get that from all the cool video games and films I worked on. This is about education.

You know if you need attention you can just ask your friends, right?

Next question. :)
Dm: intersex people can be transphobic. Hell, I have met transgender people who are transphobic.
Facts are facts- there are biological causes to being transgender. Being intersex doesnt qualify you to make shit up about trans people.
Dm: this one for Toni. Gender identity is the neurobiology that tells a person who they are. This is physical and immutable.
Gender presentation and gender roles are societal constructs. These are bullshit and mutable.
The question you had mixes gender identity into the others
So... my brain says I am a girl. I can't change that. I get gender dysphoria if I try.
My culture says girls should wear skirts and wear makeup- thats gender presentation.
Girls should be housewives is gender roles.
The latter two are arbitrary and usually unhealthy.
Dm question: how do intersex people come to terms with forced surgery/ forgiving parents.
Those are personal stories that intersex people need to tell! Let us make films and books and games to talk about our own experiences.
My folks had no idea DDT on the farm would effect their child, nor the DES prescribed to stop miscarriages was worse. If anything I am angry at the pharmaceutical companies that continued to sell known dangerous substances.
Well this thread is going nuts. I will check back in at lunch time. Fingers crossed my phone hasn't melted.

Thanks all. X
Holy shit, over 5,000 likes already. Wowzers!
So I am flooded with DMs so I can't thank everyone personally for the kind words. Lots of people are coming forward and that is magic.

I can't help diagnose you, I am a nerd who reads a lot not a doctor, so please seek proper medical advice is you suspect you are intersex. :)
I can't answer all DMs but I will give it a red hot go.
Also thanks for all the ko-fi love, so many kind messages. X
Okies- dm question re: my pronouns.
My pronouns are she/her/mistress/bitch.
My adverbs are loudly/boldly/bravely.
Dm question: DSD is a term that means a Difference of Sexual Development. It used to be a 'Defect' but we now understand that intersex occurs naturally and it is stigmatizing to say it is a defect when you are an awesome and perfectly good human.
You can say "I have a DSD." You dont say "I am DSD".
Either way, it makes us sound like a medical issue. :/
Some types of intersex are caused by medical issues. CAH can be life threatening, for example. But we are not conditions, we are people.
Intersex doesn't need 'fixing'. We ain't broke, we are just a variation.

If we have issues like gender dysphoria, sexual disfunction or cysts as part of the deal- we should have the choice for medical aid. But it should NOT be forced on us.
Society should understand we exist and allow us the right to do so, rather than take a knife to us to try and make us fit the binary.
Likewise, as adults we should be free to choose how we express our gender, if we want to change our bodies and so forth.
Another DM: laws that bite us? Well, I am not legally allowed to be listed as my biological son's birth certificate as mother in Australia. I am listed as 'parent'.

That bites.
Consider which Gaol someone would go to. Men's or women's?
Dm: I am a person. I am not the entire intersex community. I can't answer on behalf of everyone. All I can do is draw attention to facts and figures. Never take one person as a representative of a whole group.
I am a shitposter who happens to be intersex. I am pointing at stuff. Go check it out. The world is an amazing place and humans are waaaaaay more complex ans interesting than most think.
I like Buffy and fantasy miniatures. I am pretty sure not all intersex people like Buffy and fantasy miniatures.

I also think some organizations do not represent the people they claim to represent.
A dm question: yes I think hormone disruptors like DDT amd DES should be banned, being intersex is only part of what they do to you. DES causes clear cell vaginal carcinomas, for example. It is bad bad stuff. We probably dont know what else it is doing to our epigenetics
I am really swamped with DMs, thanks for all the lovely messages. Glad this made a difference to lots of you who felt alone or confused.

Also a big high five to all those who are not LGBTIQA+ who are thanking me for the lesson. Please don't stop here- lots of cool stuff to learn
Okay a good dm. What is the difference between intersex and non binary?
Non binary refers to someone whose neurological gender identity is not at the poles of the spectrum- not male, not female but comfy somewhere in between or other than. It describes how you experience.
Oooh here is a good question. Can intersex be gay?

1) Okay let's break this down. First, what bit of you falls in love? What bit of you decided what you are attracted to?

Not your genitals. Not your body, right?

It is your brain.... so...
2) "gay" refers to someone who is attracted to the same gender as themselves. Note the word gender there.

If your brain is hardcoded to male, and you like just men... well, you have a bad case of gay brain.

So yes.

However...
3) if you see yourself as neither boy or girl and you like just boys.... are you gay?

No. The term 'gay' includes your gender and that you are attracted to.
A better term here is androphile (lit. Loves Males) as it does not include your gender.
Gynophile means liking females.
4) I personally am attracted to mostly tom boy through feminine women and non binary people. Oh and most of The Avengers cast, for some reason.
I describe myself as a gay woman. It is more complex than that, but it it is easier to explain to people.
Another dm: if I could wave a magic wand a be any gender/sexuality etc, what would I pick?

Uh. Rich? Is rich an option?
Having gone through this journey has made me kind. With my upbringing, if I was a cisgender lesbian, I am not sure I would have turned out as open minded. But if I can keep that aspect? A cisgender lesbian who looks like she should be cast in a starwars film please. :)
And rich.

But mostly in Starwars.
Whoah, nearly 14,000 likes.

Dms still open btw.
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