I was educated in intersex matters to a degree way past my previous, limited viewpoint, at the Trans, Non-binary and Intersex Conference held here in Brighton in 2018. A panel of intersex people talked of their life experiences. They were hugely varied; no story was the same. And all of them were horrific in what had been done to them, mostly by the medical profession. Their stories resonated with my own trans story, because we shared some element of being treated as the other because we didn’t match up with the strict assumptions and expectations, the rules of how a human should be, and were punished for our transgressions, for being outside the strict, unconscious stereotypes that rule our gendered world.
But for the intersex folks it was far worse. I could hardly bear to stay in the room and hear yet another tale of abuse, pain, disrespect and more. It all resonated with my own past far too much for comfort and went far further. But stay I did, because I needed to know, and I’m so glad. Because I met and listened to a group of remarkable people who taught me about another way of being, strength and integrity. And it was clear that their bodies were not the problem so much as the unconsciously gendered minds that judged and acted on some socially constructed ideas of a perfect way of being, like one of those immaculate apples in the supermarket that deny the nature of much varied apples.
One of the members of that panel was Susannah Temko, Suz, and listening to her made it obvious that she should have another place in which to have her remarkable voice heard. What a story, what a woman, how privileged I felt to spend time with her in library of the RSA in London, sharing, listening and learning. Listen to her bright intelligence, her insight, her voice that speaks from a depth of experience that tells so much of our shared humanity. As I once wrote; there ain’t no them, it’s all us.