Amsterdam, The Netherlands / April 23 2017
Hi, my name is Kitty Anderson. I'm 35 years old, I live in Reykjavík, Iceland, and I'm intersex. I was told when I was 13 that I had an androgen insensitive body. So, my body doesn't respond to testosterone in the same way that most bodies do. I had surgery as a child to remove, what I was told was, non-functioning gonadal tissue. It wasn't until I was 22 that I learned the fact that I had been born with testes. Internal testes.
That was kind of rough for me because when I was told I also found out that my mother had known since I was six weeks old. For me that was a hard moment because it was such a huge breach of trust that people could keep something like this from me for such a long time. I had a lot of shame at that time in my life because I was told that I wouldn't find other people like myself. Then, two years later I found someone just like myself when my cousin was born. That point in time made me realize that even though I was having these feelings of shame about myself that they weren't really valid or real. It was something that had been done to me which caused me to feel these feelings of shame.
And, my mother said, "Well, look at your cousin. Do you think that way about her?" I really couldn't imagine thinking about another person in the same way that I was thinking about myself. I started coming out to some of my friends when I lived in Australia for a year. This fear that I had that people would freak out was sort of never realized. Like everything I got told when I was a teenager. It was all lies. Every time I went to see my doctor he would tell me, "Well, you can't talk about this. This is private. If you tell people they will have bad reactions." My cousin went to the same doctor and got the same lessons taught to her. At that time we realized that hiding this information about someone from them was not the way to go.
Kids are smart. There is no information about a child that a child is too young to be able to understand or process. This entire teaching of it being so difficult for society that they're not able to understand. It's complete hogwash. For any parent of a child with a variation in sex characteristics. What your child needs is love. What your child needs is unconditional acceptance. Accept and love your children for who they are.
For doctors thinking there's still a need to take drastic medical measures to normalize us, you really have to examine what your motivation behind that is. If it's a motivation of disgust, if it's a motivation of this body not being acceptable enough, that means you are projecting your own values on to a child's body, at a very young age, before they can actually tell you what they want.
For doctors who work with intersex adults you need to start listening to the people who come to you. Realize that they've often gone through traumatic events before they show up at your door. And, that they know who they are. We see a huge level of gatekeeping and bad medical advice going out to adults as well.
For governments you need to start looking at what the UN is saying. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, UN Committee against Torture, Cruel, Degrading or Inhumane Treatment, all saying the same thing: The current treatment paradigm has to end. We need one that is based on psychosocial support. Not normalization.
Everybody is precious, everybody is important, and No Body Is Shameful. ®