best told lie

Many people insist that biology creates only men and women. They also say that gender identity does not exist, because you cannot be something other than what you were told when you were born, you have to adjust to the truth dictated by your genitals and chromosomes. What they don’t say, or maybe just don’t know, is that biological sex is actually a much broader spectrum than is made out to be.

It is that the idea of ​​”biological sex” as a system that only recognizes women and men, in truth, does not fit reality, but rather it is a medical construction. For decades, the default medical practice was to perform “sex assignment” surgeries on anyone born on the intersex spectrum.

Being intersex is simply a bodily variation of people (not a medical problem, disease or pathology). Intersex people are those whose chromosomes, external genitalia, hormones and/or secondary sexual characteristics do not conform to the anatomical and physiological patterns that constitute the male/female binary system.

According to a study by the American sexologist Anne Fausto-Sterling, the intersex birth rate is around 1.7% of the population (a figure that is usually compared to the number of red-haired people in the world). Fausto-Sterling argues that one should rather speak of a “continuum” between male and female, and that “the two-sex system that is embedded in our society is not adequate to encompass the entire spectrum of human sexuality.” However, Western societies insist not only on maintaining the fiction of the two sexes, but on continuing to “punish” everything that does not fit there. A punishment that ranges from stigmatization to the violence that continues to be exerted on these bodies, by science and society as a whole.

There is now increasing evidence that surgery at an early age can cause physical and psychological harm to intersex people, with little evidence of its purported benefits. One of the risks of “normalization” surgery is, for example, assigning the person “the wrong sex” by defining one of the two options. Another risk is that, to repair errors, people are often subjected to a series of additional surgeries, counting as many as 30 or 40 surgeries. Among the physical damages appear the scars; incontinence; loss of sexual sensation and function; the need for lifelong hormone therapy; as well as psychological consequences such as depression or post-traumatic stress disorder.

It seems strange to me that all those people who oppose, for example, sex reassignment surgeries for trans people, do not say anything about this type of medical practice that is carried out without the free and informed consent of the person who is subjected to treatment. Why, if everything is based on respect for “biology”, do they hold a discourse that does not really reflect the biological reality of many people? It would be something like decreeing that only dark-haired and blonde people exist in the world, and that those people who are born with red hair are actually deviations that must be corrected and they have to dye their hair for the rest of their lives and erase freckles.

Said like this it seems funny, but it is not: this type of reasoning has dire consequences for a relevant part of the population. Based on this logic, for example, there are athletes who are prohibited from participating in international competitions, because their bodies do not match what someone defined as the only two possible options. Although there are many examples, the most emblematic recent case is that of the South African runner Caster Semenya, who, in order to compete, is forced to take pills that reduce the level of testosterone that her body produces naturally. Semenya had to stop taking them because they always made her feel sick; so, she had to stop competing. Semenya is a woman on the intersex spectrum: when she was born, she was assigned the female sex, because that is how her external genitalia are. As a woman, she grew and developed. However, the fact that she has XY chromosomes and produces a certain amount of testosterone (something she only realized after being a successful runner, and having been subjected to studies), made her someone without the right to do what she wanted. loves and in what, moreover, is the best in the world.

Despite all the evidence, many people want to continue believing that “girls in pink” and “boys in light blue” are the only possible life options: to pretend that everything else does not exist, like compulsively dyeing all redheads . Talking about intersex people and making their existence visible is a way to help reduce ignorance about the subject, and thus also the violence and discrimination that these people suffer. Because there are lies that it is time to stop repeating.

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best told lie