I often see trans activists and their allies laughing at the idea that not everyone has a “gender identity”, so I’m going to tell you a story that proves it. This will also explain a bit about my condition so it’s quite personal. Then we’ll see who’s laughing.
Okay, so my condition (MRKH) isn’t usually evident at birth. On the outside everything is normal. It wasn’t until I started puberty that there was obviously a problem, when I didn’t get my period like all the other girls. Because it’s a gynaecological matter, you have to wait until you’re a bit older for a referral. This also allows for the fact that maybe you’re just a late developer and your body might catch up. So, I spent a good few years worrying about it.
My condition is what’s called a VSC (variation of sex characteristics) or DSD (difference of sex development). In the case of MRKH, this means I have XX chromosomes but my internal reproductive organs did not form properly. So, I have a couple of pointless ovaries, a tiny womb and Fallopian tubes and no cervix. Anyway, I obviously didn’t know that so I imagined all sorts of scenarios. I had some sketchy knowledge about other intersex conditions (information about MRKH specifically is very har to get hold of) and worried I was a boy and people hadn’t realised. I didn’t feel like a boy, before some trans activist leaps in to tell me I must be a man (it’s happened before), but neither did I feel like a girl. I could have been anything as far as I was concerned. My body didn’t tell me, neither did my brain.
I know this all sounds daft but, you know, I was pretty clueless.
Anyway, when I eventually got referred, one of the things they told me they would do was chromosome testing. I spent weeks, in between having the test done and getting the results, panicking that they’d come back and tell me I was a man. I wondered if I’d have to reinvent myself, if I’d have to go around correcting people and telling them they’d been mistaken when they thought I’d been a girl. Again, sounds daft, but I was completely confused.
Obviously, the results came back “normal” (I’m using quote marks here as I do not want to exclude my intersex sisters for whom this is less simplistic) and none of my worries came to fruition.
Anyway, it just shows that there is no inner sense of gender for everyone. It’s nonsense. Anyone that claims it has never really explored what that means really. They’re assigning too much meaning to preference. This is also why I reject the term “cis”. No one has a right to tell me about the relationship I have with my body. No one has the right to erase this part of my story. That is what that label does. I know this is the same for many women, not just women with intersex conditions.
On a final note. I often see trans activists larping as intersex and claiming that “cis” intersex people agree with them. I have yet to meet an intersex person who would use that label. I’ve yet to encounter an intersex org that welcomes it. Even this extremely trans friendly page, from a different intersex org, that talks about the ridiculous notion of “cis privilege”, acknowledges it is not a term to be used for people with intersex conditions.
So, you know, just to finish off, don’t laugh at me when my experience fails to prop up your ideological beliefs, even though you’d use my condition as a weapon in your pseudo-science. And don’t call me “cis”.
Thank you for taking the time share your knowledge in these articles Claire. I read your article about Caster Semenya on Miranda Yardley’s site when you were (thankfully temporarily) banned from Twitter and hoped that you would keep blogging.
Thank you also for sharing your personal experience in this article. You should not have had to do this to drive home the message about “Cis” being a meaningless construct, invented in an attempt to validate the equally meaningless “trans identity” as per the “transgender umbrella”:
On the other hand, a plus of the “trans debate”, and there is a much needed debate, is the increased visibility and understanding of intersex conditions through work such as yours.
If you have the heart for it, some other topics that I would love to see you address:
1) Your status as intersex:
I have seen repeated allegations by trans activists that you are not intersex “and have admitted it”. These assertions are never referenced, so far as I have seen, so I have no idea where they stem from.
Perhaps this is another case of definitions being a moving target, as in someone only being ‘trans” until they detransitioned and then they “never were really trans” however much surgery they undertook and how many years they lived as “trans”? ie. “Intersex” is what we define it when we want to include as many people as possible but something different when we want to exclude certain people? I don’t know, I have never seen an explanation but this would fit with the general “pick and mix” approach of trans activists.
2) Debunking sex is a spectrum chart “For Dummies”;
That mad “Beyond XX and XY” chart – pulling it back into a bimodal distribution in chart, tabular or some sort of graphic form. Not that it has ever persuaded me that “sex is a spectrum” but an easy to understand “Beyond XX and XY – The Truth” graphic would be really neat!
3) Intersex Pride – Intersex Insights:
Before intersex gets swept aside by the trans juggernaut in the same way as transsexuals are being buried when no longer useful to be appropriated. Various contributors or, at the very least, quotes.
Thank you again for the articles. I wish more people would realise that they should not rely on Social Media and free blogging platforms as their sole repositories. The way things are going with trans activist control over internet censorship we will be back to samizdat publications by snail mail if not pigeon post soon.
Hi Clare, do you fund your own work? If so do you have a donate link?
Hi, I have a PayPal people can donate to. Thank you so much, every little helps! https://www.paypal.me/mrkhclaire
Your welcome, only just spotted your reply, assumed I’d get a notification, didnt tick the notification box! First world problems!
So happy to meet you online!!
Very interesting post. I wonder if you regard the term “intersex” as even appropriate for your condition. You have no male characteristics. You’re a female who has some female organs that didn’t form properly. Human have 10 fingers but if they are born with 9 or 11 we don’t call them “interspecies”…
To be honest, the term intersex doesn’t really mean what people think. It was first coined to describe how different factors interplay in reproductive development.
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