Install Theme

Your web-browser is very outdated, and as such, this website may not display properly. Please consider upgrading to a modern, faster and more secure browser. Click here to do so.

The Intersex Roadshow Reports

A Tumblr Companion to the Intersex Roadshow Blog
(http://intersexroadshow.blogspot.com)
Jul 2 '13

transponderer asked:

I just read the entire archive of Intersex Roadshow over the last few days (I'm reading Trans-Fusion now) and I wanted to thank you, because it was brilliant. I've rarely come across someone with such a sensible and well articulated discussion of the facts of human diversity. Definitely recommending your work to just about everyone.

Why, thank you, transponderer!  I’m honored.

Feb 13 '13

notfuckingcishet asked:

How do you feel about transgender people using the term 'assigned at birth' to describe their socialization as male/female when they identify as neither or as the opposite. I've seen this a lot and I'm quite glad that the genderbinary is being challenged but I worried that a terrible crime (surgically altering the genitals of intersex babies) is being erased from the conversation if 'assigned at birth' takes on such a broad meaning.

Hi there!

I don’t have any problem with using the language of “assigned at birth” being used by nonintersex trans* folks.  But I really do wish that trans* people, and everyone else, would acknowledge the big difference between a surgical assignment at birth and a nonsurgical one.  And I would absolutely take offense if a nonintersex trans* person implied that they were intersex to “excuse” their transition.  Nobody needs an excuse—and people who do this don’t acknowledge the terrible problem of infant intersex genital mutilation, and often spread misinformation about intersex people along the way.

My personal opinion is not necessarily that of other intersex folks, mind you.  But I’m a believer in sex/gender autonomy.  We’re all assigned to binary sexes at birth without asking our opinions.  It’s just that this process is generally way more physically coercive for intersex children.

Feb 13 '13

amanstwo asked:

What I wanted to ask about is a certain configuration - is it possible for an individual to have ovaries, a well-developed uterus, a penis and male secondary traits (i.e. flat breasts)? It's a configuration often found in pornographic fiction, used mostly to justify men getting pregnant. Does it happen in real life?

Hi there.  Yes, I am aware that this is a staple of mpreg fiction.  Some children with congenital adrenal hyperplasia are born with typical ovaries and uterus, a typical-looking phallus, and a scrotum that is empty.  These children have atypically high levels of testosterone at birth.  If they are not altered medically, they will have a feminizing puberty—i.e., grow breasts, and develop a menstrual cycle.  Generally, the period would not exit the body but be retained in the pelvis and gradually reabsorbed.  There would be no way to get sperm to their uteri, which makes pregnancy not possible naturally.  With their higher than average testosterone, they would have more body and facial hair than is typical in females—if high enough, it would suppress the menstrual cycle.  

Almost always in contemporary developed nations, such children are raised as girls, and surgically altered at birth.  The phallus is “reduced” and restructured to appear more like a typical female, and testosterone-suppressant drugs given.  At puberty, a vaginoplasty is performed and these individuals, under medical care, can become pregnant.  But they will will have breasts, hips, and, if continuing their testosterone-suppression, pretty much female patterns of facial and body hair.

In theory, a man could have an embryo implanted in his pelvis and have an ectopic pregnancy (the placenta would attach to the intestines or some other organ).  This would require lots of progesterone and estrogen to be administered, and testosterone suppression.  Most ectopic pregnancies, however, are fatal to the parent.

In any case, to be pregnant, you need a lot of progesterone and fairly low testosterone.  This means breasts, unless you have chest reconstructive surgery.

Short answer: no, this mpreg fantasy is indeed fantasy.

Jan 26 '13
Sarah or Sartjie Baartman was a Khoisan woman who was enslaved and shipped from South Africa to Europe for exhibition. She was promoted as the “Hottentot Venus,” depicted as having savagely sexual features. Advertisers made much of her elongated labia, which they advertised as the “Hottentot curtain.” After her death, her genitals were removed from her body and preserved in a jar to be goggled.The truth is that labial stretching was and remains a common cultural practice among peoples of sub-Saharan Africa. In youth, girls undergo years of such stretching, by their hand or by the hands of sisters or female friends, because having long labia is a beauty standard, believed to enhance sexual pleasure for future husbands, to increase the girls’ beauty, and to make them more marriageable.Europeans viewed this practice, when they became aware of it, as “savage” and deforming. Today, American and European women are getting surgery to embody the opposite ideal: tiny labia.  Western girls worry that their labia are too big, and render their bodies ugly.All of which goes to show that genital modification is a widespread practice with a very long and varied history—and that cultures treat their body modifications as normal, necessary, and beautifying, but those of Others as abnormal and disfiguring.I think of this every time I hear somebody exclaim in horror over the idea of genital surgery for trans people, or assert the “necessity” of surgically altering the genitals of intersex infants.

Sarah or Sartjie Baartman was a Khoisan woman who was enslaved and shipped from South Africa to Europe for exhibition. She was promoted as the “Hottentot Venus,” depicted as having savagely sexual features. Advertisers made much of her elongated labia, which they advertised as the “Hottentot curtain.” After her death, her genitals were removed from her body and preserved in a jar to be goggled.

The truth is that labial stretching was and remains a common cultural practice among peoples of sub-Saharan Africa. In youth, girls undergo years of such stretching, by their hand or by the hands of sisters or female friends, because having long labia is a beauty standard, believed to enhance sexual pleasure for future husbands, to increase the girls’ beauty, and to make them more marriageable.

Europeans viewed this practice, when they became aware of it, as “savage” and deforming. Today, American and European women are getting surgery to embody the opposite ideal: tiny labia.  Western girls worry that their labia are too big, and render their bodies ugly.

All of which goes to show that genital modification is a widespread practice with a very long and varied history—and that cultures treat their body modifications as normal, necessary, and beautifying, but those of Others as abnormal and disfiguring.

I think of this every time I hear somebody exclaim in horror over the idea of genital surgery for trans people, or assert the “necessity” of surgically altering the genitals of intersex infants.

Jan 2 '13
Let me tell you about bluebanded gobies.  In this hermaphroditic species, the greatest number of offspring are produced when most of the fish are laying eggs.  So they form mating groups or families, typically of 3-7, in which one of the gobies’ bodies shifts to sperm-producing mode, and the rest shift to egg-laying mode.  The fish that takes on the inseminating mode needs to be robust, because it must continuously mate with the rest of the fish.  When mating groups form or change, the members all swim about actively, zipping toward one another.  (Actually, this behavior is quite common, and regularly occurs between all of the bluebanded gobies, including the egglaying ones in established groups.)  What determines which goby in a new group will take on the sperm-producing role is the behavior of the other fish.  A goby being zipped at by a zippier fish will dodge out of the way.  This gets called “submission” by scientists, but could just as well be termed “peacekeeping,” and would most accurately be simply called “getting out of the way.”  By engaging in this dance of zipping about, a new group of gobies determines which of the fish is the most energetic and robust.  Often it’s a large fish, but that’s not always the case.  That fish shifts to sperm-producing mode (unless it is already in that mode), and the others shift to egg-laying mode (unless that is already the case).
This story is sadly distorted in most sites and articles about the bluebanded goby.  To find out more, see my full post here.

Let me tell you about bluebanded gobies.  In this hermaphroditic species, the greatest number of offspring are produced when most of the fish are laying eggs.  So they form mating groups or families, typically of 3-7, in which one of the gobies’ bodies shifts to sperm-producing mode, and the rest shift to egg-laying mode.  The fish that takes on the inseminating mode needs to be robust, because it must continuously mate with the rest of the fish.  When mating groups form or change, the members all swim about actively, zipping toward one another.  (Actually, this behavior is quite common, and regularly occurs between all of the bluebanded gobies, including the egglaying ones in established groups.)  What determines which goby in a new group will take on the sperm-producing role is the behavior of the other fish.  A goby being zipped at by a zippier fish will dodge out of the way.  This gets called “submission” by scientists, but could just as well be termed “peacekeeping,” and would most accurately be simply called “getting out of the way.”  By engaging in this dance of zipping about, a new group of gobies determines which of the fish is the most energetic and robust.  Often it’s a large fish, but that’s not always the case.  That fish shifts to sperm-producing mode (unless it is already in that mode), and the others shift to egg-laying mode (unless that is already the case).

This story is sadly distorted in most sites and articles about the bluebanded goby.  To find out more, see my full post here.

Oct 27 '12

freys-son asked:

Can you speak to the differences between the the term "hermaphrodite" and "intersexed"? Is the former considered rude in general?

The word hermphrodite comes to us directly from ancient Greek mythology, in which the god/dess Hermaphrodite was the offspring of Hermes and Aphrodite.  Today, the word hermaphrodite is used by scientists to mean having reproductive capacity as both male and female, either simultaneously (as in snail procreation), or serially (as in many fishes).

In the U.S. today, few people who are born sex-variant use the word hermaphrodite to describe themselves, because it seems to them to imply that they are creatures of myth, or that they have duplicated instead of intermediate sex characteristics.  In America, people use the word intersex, or refer themselves as people with DSDs (Disorders of Sex Development).

In Europe, there are a larger number of people who call themselves “herms” instead of intersex, but in the U.S., it’s generally considered rude or clueless by most.

I, personally, don’t mind the word hermaphrodite at all, while I would never call myself “disordered” and dislike DSD terminology.  But my position isn’t typical of U.S. folks born sex-variant.

Oct 21 '12

xianagf asked:

So I wanted to ask you what you think about something I saw on 9gag, but apparently I can't put links in here. So, just go to 9gag and search for "Nobody will ever know". What I'm talking about is a Sudden Clarity Clarence meme that says: "No one will ever know whether it's more painful to give birth or ti get kicked on the nuts". Anyways, what do you think?

That’s easy: giving birth.  Unless someone kicks you in the nuts for an average of 12-36 straight hours, of course.

Oct 21 '12

everythingamnot asked:

Am intersex, that c.a.h classic term, am an 80s baby. I reside in the Midwest and am Mexican. Am glad I found your blog, oh so very glad :) I didn't ask a question, just wanted to say hi.

Yay, everythingamnot!  Hello to you :).

Oct 12 '12
Sep 11 '12

boringhornyqueergirl asked:

Hey, it's probably kind of late (by a couple months), but welcome to Tumblr! I just read every post on your blogspot blog, and it was ridiculous how much of it was relevant to issues I've been thinking about lately (medical necessity of gender dysphoria treatment, the normative sex/gender typology, how I should view/approach intersex issues as a trans person, and also how best to ask about gender/sex/sexuality on surveys). Anyway it was pretty much brilliant/informative and yeah. :x /fangirl/

I never thought I’d encounter a fanstingray!

Thanks for your support, and I’m glad my Blogspot posts relate to what you’ve been thinking about.