6 comments on “Leave the Kids Alone

  1. Transmeditations’ reaction to Dreger’s article is a perfect illustration of the chasm that exists between transsexual activism and intersex activism: S/he (I don’t know the person, sorry) misrepresents the desirability the medical interventions that we know, as intersex people, can have tragic and permanent negative outcomes. How many children – how many of these transsexual activists, have had infant genital surgery? None of them? How many of them have been force-fed hormones and told they are ‘vitamins’, by parents who never even told them, due to their own phobias, that they had a condition that would help them to grow up like those around them, and chose for them a sex of living that mattered the most, not to theri child, but to themselves? None of them? Alice Dreger is speaking on behalf of all gender nonconformity, whether voluntarily or involuntary – and therefore the transsexual activist community, if Transmeditations is representative of it – chooses to ignore the wreckage of 50+ years of infant genital normalization and cryptotreatment by parents and doctors who should be trusted advisors and caregivers and instead because traumatizers.

    My mother was an RN and trained during the years that they were discovering CAH and testing steroid treatments. Surgical sex reassignment hadn’t come in then. She had had a normal girl prior to me and knew I was not the same, and so she never – I mean never ever – brought me to a doctor. I resented this greatly because, being adrenally compromised, and having internal genito-urinary malfunction, I came near to death at least twice, and could not hold my urine when I started school which was socially disastrous. When I became severely ill with chicken pox, she took time off from work and nursed me through the dehydration and high fever. She was trained, she could do it, why bring me to a doctor? It wasn’t like they would ever find out what was wrong with me; she knew it was beyond their ken, and wasn’t in a position to drag me of to the Mayo Clinic to find out what kind of novel condition I had. This is true of many intersex conditions during the early years following their discovery. My condition was described first in the literature in 1956, and it certainly was not something anyone knew anything about in doctor’s offices or the suburban hospital where I was born. The point of this long tale is: I got lucky. My mother was intelligent enough to know it was probably worse for me to be exposed to the medical community for whatever abnormalities I had: she was home during the day so she could watch me for symptoms of whatever it was, and called it a day. My mother is one of the good guys; but only because she was educated. She didn’t run screaming down the hall to say “My baby isn’t normal!” and have them take pictures of my genitals and ultrasound my vaginal canal, it was enough that she knew I was a girl; and did gender reinforcement in her own way: by never cutting my hair and never allowing me to wear pants. When I got diagnosed many years later, largely by my own efforts, I began to feel like I was truly one of the lucky ones born in the 1950’s, because even though I could never cut my hair, and I had to wear dresses, I didn’t have to go through what you went through, Michelle. I doubt Transmeditations would ever understand that, even if told. S/he doesn’t have to; however, she is wrong to speak against Alice Dreger’s advocacy for intersex persons when s/he hirself has no understanding of our needs or conditions or reality.

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  5. “A kid does not need to transition, does not need to conform to a gender role stereotype, develop a clear gender identity. A lot of this stuff just seems like reverse engineering what a lot of transsexuals tend to say about themselves as children, and projecting it onto children who may never end up transsexual, so that when they grow up they can ‘pass’ more effectively and live in ‘stealth’. If they do turn out in some way trans, as adults, they can deal with most of this stuff then.”

    I couldn’t have said it better myself. Adults transsexuals and intersex children are apples and oranges, and their experiences cannot necessarily be equated–though they do overlap when an intersex child is medically forced into the wrong gender i.d.

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