Wednesday, June 6, 2012

sex change surgery advertisements on this blog

Hello, I have had some new ideas and will be writing more frequently, but first there is an issue I feel needs to be addressed. Once again, I have had to delete comments that where advertising things I thought inappropriate for this blog. It is not porn this time, but a Thai clinic advertising a "scarless" sex change. Obviously the clinic did not know about intersex issues, or they would realize what a terrible choice it was to advertise on this blog. Let me be clear, I am not opposed to sex change surgeries for transgendered people, or adult intersexuals making an informed choice. I am, however, very opposed to surgeries done on otherwise healthy intersex babies without their consent. It is dehumanizing, humiliating and robs the individual of sexual pleasure and right to self determination. Because of this, and the pain genital surgeries have caused many intersexuals, I chose to delete these advertisements.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

my hysterectomy

Hello readers, I owe you all an apology for not posting in so long, but I promise, I have a very good excuse … I was recently gutted by robots … No, really … I had a hysterectomy and they used the Da Vinci surgical robot system.

I have only two thoughts on this in retrospect, why did I not do this sooner? And why didn’t my parents take my uterus when they took my gonads? I was sore for about a week and a half but the recovery really wasn’t bad, the Da Vinci is the best in terms of being noninvasive just five little holes, not the big belly slit of the old days.

I had several reasons for doing this. The most obvious is that it was the cancer risk my uterus posed. It was small (similar to a prepubescent or postmenopausal uterus, not a typical 25 year olds) and somewhat malformed. The mixed gonadal tissues in a true hermaphrodite (like me) can often go cancerous, and there is a higher risk for the entire reproductive system. I was quite relieved when my pathology report came out clean.

The other reason I did this, admittedly, was the periods. I know, the women reading this would give me a sarcastic “poor baby” but I HATED the periods. They have no biological purpose in me, and were very embarrassing (and almost constant in my case, just another of my unexplained medical oddities, like my lack of wisdom teeth). Every time I started menstruating it felt like a slap in the face, on top of all the biological/sexual difficulties I was dealt out in life, I just couldn’t catch a break on this menstruation business, which I felt should be an obvious gimme. In any case I am no longer afraid to wear white or khaki pants anymore.

Another factor that should be noted is that they greatly reduced my hormones. I took 0.6 mg of estrogen since puberty until my hysterectomy. Now I am on a 0.1 mg/day patch. I like this so far, in theory, It’s still too early to say what, if any, effect this will have on me. I never liked taking hormones, popping pills to provide the world with a more acceptable fa├žade. So in my book a lower dose is a good thing.

In conclusion, I am happy to have this done with. It removes a serious cancer risk and makes me happier with no periods (just exclamation points from here on out). On a symbolic level, I have had horrific unwanted surgeries related to my intersexuality, but this one was completely my choice. It felt really empowering to regain some control over my body, which is really what the whole intersex movement is all about.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

porn and this blog

hello, first I must apologize to my readers, I realize I have not posted on this blog in a very long time, but I was running out of ideas and didn't want to become repetitive. I will try to write more

I am writing today to discuss an infuriating event that often occurs when you search for intersex (or trans) issues online, you inevitably run into porn sites. The reason I bring this up is because I was recently reviewing the comments on this blog and realized that most of them were links written in a language my computer could't read. On clicking these links they took me to an Asian soft core porn site. I have deleted these linked comments.

This behavior will not be tolerated. Pornography is dehumanizing, degrading, and frankly offensive. It offers nothing to the issues and discussion I hope this blog will generate. From now on I will be policing the comments and any pornographic links will be deleted.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

doctor/patient collaboration for surgical consent

Dr. Katrina Karkazis of the Center for Biomedical Ethics at Stanford University recently published a suggested protocol for parents and doctors to reach a decision about whether to operate on their intersexed babies genitals. This involves 6 steps:

1. develop an appropriate, multidisciplinary team comprised of a variety of subspecialties such as endocrinology, urology, surgery, psychology/psychiatry, gynecology, pediatrics and social work.

2. Establish preferences for information and roles in decision-making. By gauging parents preferences early in the process, physicians can decrease the risk for misunderstanding patient needs and preferences. Physicians are encouraged to perceive and address parents’ emotions, with an emphasis on open communication.

3. Perceive and address emotions, Parents and physicians are uncomfortable discussing certain topics. One example is the future sexual sensation of the child who is potentially going to undergo surgery. Some physicians do not discuss that, although it is something that parents would need to know in order to make an informed decision.

4. Define concerns and values, common parental concerns include fears of teasing, ensuring that the child looks “normal” and using the least treatment intervention possible, all of these things come into play when deciding about surgery, but families rank them differently and it is integral to understand what they want to achieve with surgery and whether the operation will be able to achieve it.

5. Identify options and presenting evidence. Once an understanding of the parent’s needs and goals are established, a presentation of all treatment options and subsequent consequences should be objectively made to the parents. This should realistically explore the risks and benefits of treatment; examine parents’ ideas and assumptions while correcting their misperceptions; and ensure that they understand the nuances of the complex situation.

6. Share responsibility for making a decision. A shared decision must be made by the parents and the team. At this point in the process, parents should possess a technical understanding of the situation while the team will have an appreciation of the families best interests and hopes.

This decision making process does sound like a very small step forward. At least the parents are not panicking and making a rushed decision without all the options and outcomes made known to them. That being said, this suggested process still misses the most important point, it is NOT the parents or doctors decision to make, the only person who has the right to make such a decision is the intersexed individual. Anything else is a serious violation of their human rights and bodily integrity, often with disastrous physical and psychological consequences. The only protocol that is needed is to wait until the child is old enough, and give them all the information to make an informed decision.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

anti-intersex drugs

A medical paper published recently in Australia recommended prenatal screening for congenital adrenal hyperplasia female fetus's and treating them with dexamethasone to prevent "behavioral masculization" including "same sex attraction and tom boy type behaviors" (there is a much higher statistical rate of both in CAH girls).

I find this absolutely disgusting, it is incredibly homophobic and transphobic. So your little girl isn't the beauty pageant contestant/cheerleader/ballerina you were hoping for, does it really matter? No parent-to-be knows what their child will be like, but they adapt and love them anyways, they don't try to drug out who they are, or will be. This non-consensual medical intervention is little better then genital mutilation, it is the strict enforcement of gender stereotypes at the expense of the humanity, individuality and power of choice of the intersexed individual. It also contributes to the view of intersex as a pathology.

I also find the thought of prenatal testing for intersex conditions very disturbing. The strict social enforcement of gender roles, coupled with the fact that doctors treat intersex babies as social emergencies, could equal a lot more prenatal intervention, or abortions of intersex fetuses, all in the name of conformity and fear of anything different.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Review of "Fool for Love" by Lisa Lees

I just finished the book Fool for Love by Lisa Lees (available at Amazon, or at lulu.com, a self publishing site). The writing style was a rather choppy, and referenced a lot of things that most intersexuals already know, however I enjoyed reading it and would highly recommend it. Its always nice to see yourself in print, which doesn't happen very often for us extreme minorities.

Fool for Love is a love story between two high school students, an intersex girl, Jamie, and a genderqueer butch lesbian, Carys. What the book covered very well is the emotional complexities of relationships with intersexuals. Relationships are difficult enough for "normal" people, but for intersexuals they can get extremely complicated.

Just look on any intersex discussion forum and you will see that intersexuals have a lot of apprehension about relationships and often downright terror about sex. They are afraid that they will be rejected if the object of their affections knew, or if they know, they are interested out of some strange fantasy. For many, if not most intersexuals, their genitals have been a source of have been a source of great emotional anguish, and sharing them with another is simply to emotionally painful.

This is why I liked Fool for Love, it showed that in spite of all these fears, love can prevail and intersexuals can have a happily ever after.

Monday, June 28, 2010

the amusing risks of ultrasounds

Hello readers, remember a few posts ago when I wrote about using humor at an ultrasound to ease the tensions? Well, I got the results back from the ultrasound and wouldn't you know it, it said I had ovaries, even though my gonads had been removed as a small child, they went so far as to say my reproductive system was "unremarkable". To say I was shocked by this would be an understatement. There were only four explanations I could think of:

1. The surgeons removed the wrong thing, and I still had my gonads

2. The ultrasound had been misread

3. Like some of my hermaphrodite brethren, the earthworms and sponges, I had the ability to regenerate lost body parts

4. There was a mix up and I was given someone else's ultrasound result (I hoped this was not the case because some poor "normal" lady would be in for an even worse shock then me if she got my ultrasound)

As it turns out, it was number 2. In a case of scotoma, the ultrasound tech expected to see ovaries, and thus mislabeled loops of my colon as ovaries. The moral of this story is when things seem weird, ask questions of your doctors, that's what they are there for.