SEAN SAIFA M. WALL
BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS, U.S. / JULY 21 2013
Hello, my name is Sean Saifa Wall. Yeah, I’ve been asked to submit a video.
I think the one thing that stands out to me, we’re at the last day of the AIS/DSD conference here in Boston, and I’ve come away feeling a mix of feelings but I think one of those feelings is just a feeling of gratitude for my Mom, and thinking about how fierce my Mom was and how she advocated for me and for my siblings.
I’m one of seven people in my family who have AIS. I believe I have partial AIS and I think it’s definitely something that runs in our family, and my Mom was really adamant about ‘no genital surgery’ and really confronting the medical providers that were administering care. She was very staunch in saying that ‘my children deserve genital integrity’ and ‘do what needs to be done’ but ‘do not mess with their genitals’, and I’m so thankful. I’m thankful to her.
Mom, if you’re watching this I’m thankful to you because I wouldn’t be the person I am today without your advocating for me. And I’m really touched and I’m really thankful. And, yeah, that’s what I want to say. That’s what’s on my heart to say right now. Even though some people have had genital surgeries and other people have not that No Body Is Shameful®. Regardless.
You know, sitting here I’m thinking about recently I was on a panel at Emory University in Atlanta. That’s where I live: Atlanta, Georgia! It was a panel at the Emory School of Medicine, and there were different people represented. There were trans folks, gay folks, religious gay folks, it was all folks and then there was me, I was the person with AIS, I was the intersex person. And when I told my story (well, part of my story, can’t tell the whole story in a few minutes) but I think there was an eagerness on the part of these first-year medical students to learn more. I think they were really interested in being the best doctors that they could, and there were probably some in the audience who could care less.
But I feel like when I was talking about my own body, my own experiences with medical providers I felt from the audience that they were attentive, and I wish there were more opportunities for medical providers and for effected individuals to come into contact. Because I think we can learn from each other. I think there is stuff that we can learn from doctors and I think there is stuff that doctors can learn from us.
I definitely am filled with a lot of hope especially seeing young effected individuals who are running around and playing and just being kids! I think it’s so inspiring that we are contributing to a generation of empowered young people who are going to lead us and who are going to lead this movement that we are creating, and it makes me feel so happy, and fills my heart.
So, yeah, I’m really thankful. I’m really thankful that these young people are going to carry the banner that No Body Is Shameful®. So, yes, it makes me … I have a silly grin on my face because I’m happy! So, thanks for listening.©