Tiger Devore, PhD.
July 10, 2013 / Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
My name is Tiger Devore, and I’m very happy to be participating in The Interface Project. My message is that No Body Is Shameful®. I was born with a difference of the genitalia that caused the doctors in 1958 to want to make me into something different than I was born as, and that’s a decision that I regret to this day. So, with me there was ambiguous genitalia and on that basis at the age of 3 months I had my first surgery and I’m now up to 21 surgeries, I believe.
The thing that they don’t tell the parents when they say this is an easy thing to fix and we can do it with one or two little surgeries before your child ever knows that something happened to it ... what they don’t tell you is that you become dependent upon surgeries the rest of your life because surgeries break down. I’m pretty unhappy with the way that I’ve been treated throughout my entire life. When people ask me ‘Well, why did I have surgeries?’ … I didn’t have any surgeries that weren’t medically necessary but they were only medically necessary because of what the doctors did to me when I was an infant.
If the doctors had left me alone I never would’ve had to have had a surgery and I could instead have been able to have the experience of my own normal functioning intersex genitalia and decided if they were ok with me, or if I needed them to be changed in any way, shape, or form. I wish I’d had that option. I wish I’d been given the chance to have the genitals of my choice as opposed to the genitals of the choice of the doctors.
For me, I guess the hardest thing was growing up not only in pain, with constant infections and constantly seeing doctors, but I was also told I could never tell anybody about this. And, now I live in a time where intersex people are gaining rights, where intersex people are gaining recognition of their identity, and where there’s a fair amount of movement in the direction of stopping genital surgery on infants, worldwide.
So, this is the thing that I’ve wished for all my life: For the terrible thing that happened to me, that was so wrong, and it was so awful, not to happen to anybody else ever again.
Finally, finally, it may be that this terrible thing that happened to me when I was an infant, this awful perpetration against my family where they felt they had no choice but to start having surgeries on me when I was less than a year old that will stop. And, instead people like me, people who are born like me now, will be able to have healthy, normal childhoods, where they’ll be able to grow and they won’t have the pain, and they won’t have the intrusion, they won’t have the disfigurement of the surgery, and the loss of sensation that comes along with that. Because steel cutting into skin means scar, and scar means ‘no sensation.’
And part of why I do videos like this is because I hope that parents and doctors and other people in power and control are going to be able to listen to stories of people like me: I’m 55 years old now.
People like me will be able to be in the position of educating them and letting them know: Don’t make this mistake again. Don’t do this to some innocent child. Don’t take from them what doesn’t need to be taken from them. ©