Thursday, May 22, 2014

The Locker Room Question

Hello all. When I was giving my talk at Ohio State, I suddenly realized one of the biggest fears parents have. What if someone sees my intersex child … gasp … naked! This is a legitimate concern (I guess I’m a little slow not to have seen it earlier). Baby sitters changing diapers, sleep overs, locker rooms, there are occasions that this might happen. My advice to all parents sweating over this is to relax. These situations are really not that bad. Have a relative you trust baby sit. Host the sleepovers. Public bathrooms have privacy walls around the stalls. Locker rooms usually have bathroom stalls you could change in (I did this in gym class in high school*). My point is, for every one of these “scary” situations, there are easy ways to work around them. That being said, parents should be aware that in the 50s and 60s intersex children's genitals were photographed for medical texts book in an invasive, voyeuristic manner. Given this history it is impotent to protect our children from being exploited, but don't lose perspective over this. The risk of being seen naked certainly is not a good reason for genital surgeries. Your child’s genitals don’t define them as a person, and don’t have to be public knowledge. Let them know they are loved no matter what they look like, or how they identify.

*I had genital surgery as an infant; no one would have realized I was intersex just by looking. Thus, I didn’t change in the bathroom stall out of fear of being outed. I was just shy, modest and uncomfortable with public nudity.

No comments:

Post a Comment