Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Humiliated Into Submission

Today I went to the hospital to have an x-ray taken of my lungs due to a possible lung infection. After spending about half an hour in the waiting room I got called in. "Mr. Posch?" the assistant-physician asked. I got up and went to her to have the x-ray taken. I could feel every eye in the waiting room focused on me, burning a hole in my back with unanswered questions.
Thing is that this is me:

I'm 175 cm tall, and weigh about 61 kg. That's 5'9" and nearly 140 lbs for those who do not use metric. I got a size A cup and European shoe size 41. I'm one of those lucky few women who can order anything in terms of clothes online and have it fit without issues. And yet this assistant-physician didn't make a mistake. The hospital she works for has me registered as being male. Their system is linked to the central citizen registration system, Burger Service Nummer (BSN), of the government, which also has me registered as being male.

And yet I have never received any surgery while only capturing admiring looks from men. What happened here is that I'm a hermaphrodite, a person having both male and female reproductive organs, which is a condition which is a subset of intersex conditions. A wide variety of intersex conditions exist, many of which aren't as readily apparent as my condition. Ergo many people are intersex without being aware of it. It occurs in up to 1 in every 25 births.

As I explained the above to the assistant-physician as she tried to confirm she had indeed the right person with me, she asked why I didn't just have my official gender changed to prevent such confusing situations. I replied that this isn't possible since the government doesn't recognize intersex, only offering official gender changes after someone has submitted to the transsexual protocol and received sex-reassignment surgery. The thing is that in many countries, intersex is called Disorder of Sexual Development (DSD), placing it in a similar category as various birth defects and urging immediate surgery, even if the medical necessity isn't apparent at all.

Because of this, each year countless children receive surgery almost immediately after birth to 'correct' this 'birth defect'. All too often it is the physician to decides on the sex of the child. Other times it's the parents who decide, based on their preference for a boy or a girl. All too often this leads to traumas later in the life of a child, when they feel that they're in 'the wrong body', or simply object to having the choice made for them. Many so-called transsexual people are for this reason actually intersex.

In my own case, German private clinics have determined that I have a closed-off vagina in addition to the rest of the genitals, which have a male appearance, but do not function as such. I do not have a prostate, my hormone levels have been quite ambiguous since puberty for which I now take hormone-replacement therapy, and as far as can be determined I have probably never been fertile. I would love to have the closed-off vagina opened up using labia surgery, also because of the long-term health issues of having it closed-off. Further I'd like to have a mosaic test performed to determine once and for all whether I do in fact have XX/XY mosaicism, which would have led to my hermaphroditism.

Instead the reality is that because of DSD examinations aren't possible, let alone treatment for my intersex condition. All I can do is submit to DSD and get a surgery forced upon me which I do not desire and which will take away part of myself. By resisting I have had to endure over six and a half years of Dutch psychologists and physicians insisting that I was just a regular boy, that I was transsexual, that I was suffering from autoparagynaecophilia, that I was crazy, etc., while discarding the German results and faking a mosaic test in order to convince me to just follow the transsexual protocol and give up on this nonsense of wanting to remain as I am.

My refusal to give in has led to me suffering severe Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) among other traumatic disorders. The brainwashing attempts never stopped, Dutch politicians never stepped in to interfere, instead approving the DSD approach and a real intersex movement doesn't exist yet in the Netherlands, or anywhere else. About half a million intersex people in the Netherlands alone and we're being herded like tame sheep. The constant humiliation driving us into submission.

At this point I ask you to read the first paragraph again and imagine how it must have felt to me. Then imagine having to go through this at least a few times a week, always realizing that there is no way to change this.

I was born with this body and I am comfortable with it. I can see how my body is superior to that of a regular woman and know that I would never want to become 'normal', even if that's at all possible due to my experiences with this body and everything around it. My opinion on the DSD approach is that it is inhumane, humiliating and a downright violation of human rights. It leads to unneeded surgery on infants who can not give their consent, and the discrimination and persecution of intersex individuals.

It is time that politicians and physicians faced up to reality: nobody wants to walk around with a true birth defect, but nobody wants to have their bodies mutilated without their consent or approval when there is no medical need to do so.



mimi said...

You are more than what is between your legs. Actually, everyone in the world is. Surgery on children when there is no medical need seems illogical to me. (My son had a very medical need for surgery, and it was such a traumatic experience for our entire family and him, I can't imagine going through surgery for a non-medical need.)

I hope that the world starts to come to its senses. *hugs*

ali said...

is it your photo?
you are beutiful and sexy
good luck

terrinakamura said...

Maya. Wow. I hope you are able to get the support you want and deserve. I applaud your courage and tenacity and wish you all the best.

Maya Posch said...

*hugs mimi lots*

@ali - yes, that's my photo :)

And thank you, terrinakamura :)

Maricel said...

I cried after reading your story. You deserve to be who you want to be. I wish you all the best, too.