neumarkt, austria / may 2 2013
Hello, my name is Alex Jürgen. I live in Austria and I’m 36 years old. The day I was born the doctor couldn’t say if I was a boy or a girl. They just saw that I had a ‘too small’ penis, and they discovered that I had XY chromosomes, and I had internal testes. So they said I’m a boy and my parents gave me the name Jürgen, and they raised me as a boy for the next 2 years.
A little bit later the doctor comes to the decision that it would be better for me to raise me as a girl because … they told my parents I will never look like a boy, my breasts will grow with hair on them, and I’ll get cancer in my testes if they aren’t removed, and that everybody will laugh about me. From this point they dressed me in pink skirts, they let my hair grow, and changed my name to Alexi. At the age of 6 they removed my penis. At 10, they removed my testes. I was told that something’s grown wrong on my body which is quite the same as my cousin’s sixth finger. But I asked myself, ‘Why do I have to go to the hospital so much? Why are there so many doctors looking at me, and why do they take so many pictures of something which has just grown wrong?’
At the age of 12 we learned in school about male and female anatomy and one day I sat down in front of a mirror with my anatomy book and started discovering myself and it didn’t take long for me to see that it wasn’t the same – the book back to me. The book. Back to me. No. The floor under my feet disappeared in just one second, and I didn’t know what I was. ‘Freak’ was one of the words that came to mind, and I wanted to talk with the doctor immediately because I felt that I couldn’t trust my parents anymore.
As the doctor told me about my testes everything got worse, and I lost myself completely. At the age of 14 they started giving me female hormones and my breasts started growing followed by an artificial vagina at the age of 16. I really tried to be the girl others wanted me to be but it didn’t work. My hormones drove me crazy. My body and my soul started feeling strange, and I started burning myself with cigarettes and cutting my wrists. At the age of 17 I started taking heroin and tried to commit suicide three times until cancer came along to save my life at the age of 19. It was leukemia.
After several weeks in a coma I started thinking for the first time about what was going wrong in my life, and I came to one point: I had to start to love myself the way I am -- easy to say, much harder to do in a world with only two extremes of male and female. Four years later I called in to a radio show about plastic surgery and talked about surgeries you cannot choose. It was the beginning of a new life, an open life, and that same year I started a documentary called Tintenfischalarm which is ‘Octopusalarm’ in English. For more than 3 years a camera followed me around as I discovered the truth about myself while looking at ways of living around this male/female system. This eventually led me to the point to remove my breasts and change my sex on ‘the paper’ back to male.
Now, I live in a small house in the countryside, completely open. All my neighbors know about my real sex, and it’s just great to be able to be the person I really am, an intersex person: Long story, short told. Thank you, bye-bye! ©