Saturday, 18 January 2014

Intersex And The Abortion Issue

When it comes to the issue of abortion I have always been a strong supporter of the pro-choice, deciding about your own body side of the issue. It wasn't until I discovered that I was intersex that this issue became personal to me. Not just because some have suggested that intersex babies should be aborted before they're born, or because I took on a female identity. The reasons which made abortion into a personal issue for me was simply put the many parallels which exist between it and the difficulties encountered simply by being intersex.

Both have the issue that an overbearing system of very unpleasant people wish to dictate to a large group of individuals what they can and can't do with their body. They want to say that a woman can not and possibly is incapable of deciding about an issue like terminating a pregnancy. They also want to say that an intersex individual should be 'corrected' physically as soon as possible, even if that entails lying to the person, or doing it years before it turns into a self-aware child or teenager. Same with the many lies surrounding abortion.

It's curious how in both types of situations it concerns largely real, medical and psychological issues whereby an individual suffers immeasurably, but is denied the care which would solve their direct problem. In both cases the denying of care results in suffering, poverty, suicide, depression, social isolation, death through lack of medical attention and so on. Yet in neither case a reasonable reason is given. We're not talking about hypothetical situations here. Whether it's a life-threatening issue during a pregnancy, a family unable to support another child financially, a girl or woman who got raped, a person not understanding their body, someone worried about an unusual puberty and the like, they're all real, every day things.

Why was I denied medical care in the Netherlands? Why did physicians and psychologists feel this incessant need to lie to me? Why did I get harassed and ridiculed by regular Dutch people for merely expressing what I thought was my problem at that point?

Why are so many women being denied medical care? Why do physicians and psychologists often feel the need to lie to them? Why are regular people harassing and ridiculing these women for merely suggesting a reasonable solution to their problem at that point?

Every day women die because they were denied an abortion. Every day women die because they sought salvation in an illegal abortion under hazardous circumstances. Every day women commit suicide because of the shame of being pregnant. Every day intersex babies are mutilated for life to hide that they are intersex. Every day intersex people die because they couldn't bear the shame of merely being themselves.

Even if any of these things didn't happen every day, wouldn't it still be horrible if it happened even just once a year? When society makes one's body into one's enemy, or something which is growing inside of it into a monster, that's when things have become completely wrong. It's not society's prerogative to denounce or judge people for what they do with their bodies or what they call themselves. People are people, with a large variance between them, physically and in their opinions. To then go and judge others for being different is tragically humorous.

In the end it comes down to the tyranny of the powerful minority setting the rules for the meek. Even before I took on a female role I considered myself to be a feminist, as I could quite well see how much of the patriarchal society was weighing down on women and girls. As a very unusual woman myself through my experiences and also my occupation I can honestly say that I would never settle for anything less than men would get. Simply because there is no justification to do otherwise.

We women do not determine the reproductive rights of men. When we started taking the pill it was about our own bodies and our own health and reproductive rights. We do not set rules for whether men should be able to use viagra and other aids. We don't institute rules which limit how often a man can have sex and that he should be married faithfully to the first woman he impregnates for the rest of his life. If this was a matriarchal society we might have, but it isn't. In this world we have to fight just to not have others limit our freedoms out of pure discrimination on our physical sex.

That's the bitter fight between the sexes which never should have been. A newer fight is the one by those without a stereotypical physical sex, such as yours truly. I have the option to freely switch between the official genders of man and woman due to my physical characteristics. I have noticed that while some think that this is awesome, others perceive me with a profound lack of understanding or even outright fear. To them a person like me is a violation of what they perceive to be the natural laws, threatening their way of living and thinking. This is the direct reasoning behind the systematic eradication of intersex individuals which takes place every single day around the world.

And we are the meek. We women and intersex individuals alike. Yet we are the majority. We don't have to be ruled by the tyrannical minority of closed-minded individuals. We can stand up and be heard. We can set our heels in the sand and refuse to move an inch, as the anti-apartheid movement in the US and South-Africa did last century. Regardless of how public our discrimination and harassment is, the response is the same.

If I had been born a regular woman I'd have thought about this the same way, most likely. If I had been born a regular man I'd have thought about this the same way, most likely. Regardless of how one is born or how one changes during one's life there is always this overwhelming notion that one wishes to have the freedom to do with one's body as one desires. Whether it's covering it with tattoos, piercing it with metal, injecting or ingesting various types of substances whether harmful or not, affecting the natural functioning of one's reproductive system or any of the thousands of other things one can do, it's all our own personal responsibility.

The most important part here is that of an end to all the lies. End the lies about abortion. End the lies about intersex. Stop with the secrecy and shame. We're grown people who can discuss this as mature adults, not a herd of gawking chimpanzees, barely suppressing the urge to fling poo at the other for disagreeing on anything.

I'd like to think this much is at least possible in today's society if we have this grandiose mindset of calling ourselves 'civilized'.


1 comment:

Stephan Borer said...

Hey, thanks for your speech it comes from hearth. It's the same I think in every country of this planet. So long as we have some ignorance of white staff and any others, there will be no change. We need some people like you for dealing that war we still have to do.