June 1, 2013 / Edwardsville, Illinois, USA
When I was a young child I didn’t know I had complete androgen insensitivity syndrome (CAIS) nor did my parents. Here’s a picture of us (Georgiann holds up family photo). Don’t I look cute? Oh, that’s me. Um, gosh, I look really cute there, don’t I? We didn’t find out that I complete androgen insensitivity syndrome until I was about 13 or 14 years old and I had abdominal pain. My parents were told that I had CAIS, but I was not.
Years later I went ahead and had surgery to remove the internal undescended testes. I was not told what they were actually removing but rather I was told I had cancer (winces). Flash forward, I obtained my own medical records and I saw that I had CAIS, which meant I had XY sex chromosomes. I was pretty shocked! (Holds up ridiculously goofy photo of self) So, yeah I was nervous about it. I took my records and threw them in the dumpster because I didn’t want to ever talk about it.
But then a few years later I was sitting in a doctoral feminist sociology class reading some really cool stuff by some really cool people and I thought 'Wow, I’m really interested in this.' I was like, here I was throwing my records in the dumpster. So, I thought, ‘You know what? Let’s crawl out of that dumpster, and let’s think how I can bridge my personal connection to the topic and my professional interest.’ And that’s what I did.
So, I first told my mentor at the doctoral level. Here she is (shows photo of mentor and self). Um, ignore my hair-style, I really didn’t care for it too much then. And she warned me she said, ‘You know, Georgiann if you study this it’s going to be public knowledge. Are you ok with that?’ And I was like, huh? (Shows ridiculously goofy photo of self. Again.) So I decided to test the waters and write a paper in that class about intersex conditions and when I shared it first with my graduate school friends, here are my graduate school friends, (shows photo of graduate school friends) they were all super supportive, and I was like, ‘You know what? I’m going to do this.’ And, that’s what I did. So, I started studying it and you know what? It was incredibly liberating.
Anyhow. You are not alone. OK? And if you’re feeling abnormal, if you’re feeling like you don’t fit in -- that’s OK. I think a lot of people feel that way about a variety of different things, and I’ve been there. Now look! Years later I’m sitting as an assistant professor of sociology at a state university.
I don’t have this yet (holds up a picture representing the dream of publishing her first book) but I hope to soon! I forgot one of the most important things that I should’ve remembered! Oh, what is wrong with me? This is my French bulldog, Penny, (holds up photo of Penny) sometimes referred to as Boobaschnookles. So, you’re not alone. You have me. You have Boobaschnookles, and I’m sure you have a lot of other supportive people in your life too as I did. So I wish you the best, contact me if you need to, and remember No Body Is Shameful®. ©