Monday, November 2, 2009

Here Comes the (sort of) Bride

Very soon, the courts of this country will discover the problem the International Olympic Committee has had for years, man and woman are not easy to define. The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) refers to marriage between 1 man and 1 woman as if they are obvious, self evident catagories. If this horrible law, and other state laws persist, not only will it continue to hurt gays, but it also puts intersexuals in an ackward spot in regards to the legal validitiy of their relationships. What happens to the intersexuals who are in straight marriages? Under a strict interpretation of DOMA their marriages could be declaired nonvalid in some states. What about intersexuals who consider themselves gay and want to enter a same gender marriage? By definition, can an intersexual be gay or staight? Technically they would have to marry another intersexual with the same condition for it to be a same sex marriage, and that could look gay or straight to the outside world, depending on how the participants choose to live. For those who transition later in life, it gets even more complicated. Some states uphold the gender transsexuals transitioned into as their legal sex, while others do not. For example Texas and Kansas courts have said chromosomes are the determiner of sex, allowing transsexuals in same gender relationships with a cisgendered (gender "normal") person to get married, but ironically transsexuals in a different gendered (straight) relaitionship with a cisgendered person cannot. For intersexuals this gets even more confusing since some of us, like me, have ambiguous chromosomes. I wonder, in Texas and Kansas, could I legally marry anyone, or no one. It is true what they say, sunlight is the best antisceptic. These homophobic laws are meaningless when faced with the reality that their catagories are arbitraty and all but impossible to define. Any two consenting adults who want to get married should be able to without regards to sex or gender. To do otherwise is a blatently discriminatory and mean spirited. It is unjust, and for transexuals and intersexuals, needlessly complicated. Support love, not fear and hate.


  1. Just wanted to give you a kudos for this enlightening blog. I am currently enrolled in a Biology of Gender class and it has been engaging being properly informed of the spectrum.

    I am biologically female, socially on the androgynous side, and a heteromantic (possible asexual). As such, I'm really tired of the ignorance that stems from the gender binary.

    If you knew of any good sources for the role or lack thereof that homosexuality plays in intersex individuals, I would tremendously appreciate it. I am currently researching topics for my final paper.

    Also, I'd like to hear your opinion on transsexuality in Iran.

  2. I feel your pain, there is not a lot of good information out there about intersex and homosexuality since the issues they focus on are quite different. A good book which mentions this queer inclusion is Changing Lesbian Norms by Angela Aragon, also many intersex organizations websites (OII, ISNA, Intersex Inititve, ect.) have a page dedicated to LGBT issues and how they relate. As for my feelings about transsexuality in Iran, at least their leadership recognizes and has legalized transsexuality, that is more then a lot of countries. On the other hand, they should not be legally obligated to go through with the sex change surgery (many transsexuals opt not to not have "the works"). It also makes it impossible for Iranians to have any sort of androgyny, if they are intersexed or genderqueer, there is no option for them to live as such. Also they pressure gays to have a sex change, which must cause much anguish since they are secure in their gender identity.