I will be getting back to the alphabet later on this week. As buffer between A and B, I will be writing a review of the novel Golden Boy by Abigail Tarttelin (spoiler alert).
Golden Boy is an excellent book, well written for teenagers and adults. It explores the difficulties of growing up intersex. It explores the coming of age of Max, a teenager who is intersex. He strives to be a perfect guy, but is secretly intersex. The story is ultimately about how he accepts this. Golden Boy is a pretty realistic portrayal of an intersex life told in a simple, nonthreatening way. I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to better understand basic intersex issues from a personal/social perspective. Max was concerned about being accepted, finding love, something I think all intersex people struggle with. We should take heart that Max did find love and was accepted in the end. There are many people who can accept and love us as we are.
Golden Boy also shows the darker side of being intersex. Max was raped in the beginning of the book. I have always felt that intersex people are at greater risk for rape. We are the object of fetishes, and in Max's case, seen as a non-gay alternative for deeply closeted self loathing people. I hope Golden Boy will start a conversation about safety in the intersex community.
I learned something important from Golden Boy, I believed that if intersex people didn’t undergo surgery and could make that choice for themselves with their anatomy preserved, their lives would be better. I still believe this, but Max was left intact and struggled with the idea of identity choice. He desperately hoped his doctor would tell him is “real” sex is. He was also resentful toward his parents for not making that choice for him. Even when given autonomy, it is still difficult to be intersex in the world, but slowly we find our way.