Sunday, April 27, 2008

A message of healing and hope: a holistic, person-centered approach to intersex health

Curtis E. Hinkle, Founder of Organisation Intersex International

Medical treatment of intersex people has a long history of pathologizing, stigmatizing and mutilating anyone who does not have a body which is totally “female” or totally “male” according to the definitions currently in effect for those two categories. Medical approaches to intersex variations are based on a false dichotomy, the assumption that everyone “should” be either male or female even though nature has not created such a world. The treatments are based on other false assumptions:
  • That heterosexual intercourse and reproduction are the most important contributions of an individual, despite the fact that intelligence, compassion and ability to care for others are equally, if not more, important for the evolution of humankind
  • That the sex of an intersex child is a disorder itself which MUST be treated without any input from the child at all.
  • That concealment, shame and manipulations of body parts of an intersex person will benefit the child when in fact this approach leads to trauma, a shattered sense of self and further marginalization and stigma.
The medical approach focuses on parts of a person and defines the intersex child as a disparate combination of chromosomes, genitalia, hormones, gonads and internal reproductive anatomy. This is dehumanizing. The child is not welcomed into the world as a complete, totally intact, part of the whole tapestry of nature which is constantly evolving and moving towards diversity which promotes the continued development of human potential. Welcoming diversity and respecting the wholeness of both the individual and the natural world in which we live, breathe and have our being opens human consciousness to hope, respect and finding solutions to many problems which currently face humanity, not just intersex people, but all of us.

Instead of a dehumanizing approach which focuses on body parts, we could choose to focus on the wholeness of intersex children and see this as part of their potential for development (not a disorder of sex development) and future contributions to society. This would be a radical shift from the current medicalization of sex variations but the benefits to both the intersex child and humanity itself would be enormous. This would not only promote the health of intersex children. It would promote the healing of humankind in general.

The current medical protocols based on a false dichotomy and dehumanization of intersex children are part of a wider social problem – sexism. OII has been concerned about this issue from its beginning and several years ago OII published our declaration of fundamental principles:
  • Intersex is not a medical condition: intersex refers to those individuals born of “intermediate” sex between what is considered standard for male or female in our societies.
  • Contrary to what is often asserted, the various degrees of intersex are not innately an illness or deformity. They are simply variations of the human body similar to the length of the nose, the colour of eyes, etc.
  • We reject medical categories for the various degrees of intersex, which are in fact only different reference points on a natural continuum of anatomical and genetic variations.
  • We stress the whole person from infancy through adulthood and choose not to focus on an individual's genitalia. We are people, not genitals. As people, we have a right to our own genitalia and our own identity without interference, forced treatment or other coercion from legal and/or medical authorities.
  • The basic problems faced by the intersexed are socio-cultural in nature and not medical and are a result of the dogmatic fundamentalism inherent in the current binary construct of sex and gender. Some intersexed individuals are subjected to genital mutilation in childhood as a result of this totalitarian, sexist oppression. For this reason, we denounce all forms of sexism prevalent in our societies, which is principally directed against women, the intersexed, and other communities which challenge sex and gender norms.
  • To promote visibility and the recognition of our existence as a normal and natural part of humanity will benefit not only the intersexed but all people oppressed by the sexism which prevails in our societies.
OII chooses to focus on healing, not managing body parts and defining children as disordered or sick when they are in fact not sick. The word “healing” is derived from the Old English word “whole”. Society can choose to welcome the wholeness of each intersex child and open up a place for them by making it possible for each one to affirm their own true sex and sense of self. This is a person-centered approach to healing and wholeness, one that would be of benefit to society as a whole.

The two central concepts of OII’s person-centered approach to healing are
  • wholeness
  • affirmation
We can choose to welcome children as a gift which has been entrusted to our care, as an integral part of the potential for human development as a whole, not incomplete, undeveloped beings that we control and manipulate into images and abstractions that we feel they “should” be. We can choose to accept the wholeness and oneness of life as a constantly evolving and developmental process which is to be honored and work towards harmony and mutual cooperation, not domination and manipulation. Welcoming intersex children offers hope and healing to human understanding and development towards a model based on human rights and respect for the natural world we all share as one.

The choice is ours.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Chatty Cathy Approach to Intersex Activism

When I was a child, my sister had a doll that was rather popular for a while. It was called “Chatty Cathy.” This particular doll interested me because it could talk. However, you had to pull a string on her back to start the conversation. Pulling strings to get someone to talk who otherwise was just a dummy who really had nothing to say made a lot of sense to me. It meant that people who had almost nothing to say except a limited repertoire of stupid and often illogical ideas would speak about those ideas at the moment and in the context which was most beneficial to the person pulling the string. Their freedom of speech was not really taken from them because you could rationalize that really what you were doing was spurring debate, initiating dialog and encouraging them to express themselves.

If only the DSD activists and specialists could be more like Chatty Cathy! Well, in a sense they are. One big difference. Unethical and tyrannical methods have been used to suppress OII’s freedom of speech. Tracing it to the exact individuals involved is still a challenge. We can only trace it to the place of origin and ISP’s. It has been going on for a long time now. But the Chatty Cathy Syndrome has still been rather effective. Yes, they indeed do suffer from CCS.

Since its beginning, OII and many people with OII and its website have been systematically defamed, hacked, and blacklisted while DSD activists publish tomes and have articles published in the New York Times and other national media outlets about their freedom of speech being seriously threatened. But those of us in OII cannot even get a short letter to the editor published. So, whose freedom of speech is really in peril?

Instead of simply giving up out of frustration and giving in to their abuse of power, I felt there was one approach that should be consistently and methodically developed and used against them – “helping” them say what they really mean in front of the whole world because it was clear that what they really had to say had to be exposed so that those affected could have real discussions about their control over intersex and trans issues.

This method involved huge risks because they have the power, the degrees and academic authority. By intentionally provoking them with sarcasm, histrionic analyses and carefully chosen tropes (such as eugenics, among others), they have been making one political mistake after another and more people are starting to see what their real message is. Yes, it probably did appear (and still does appear to many people) that OII is radical, angry and irrational. That is a risk that was worth taking because the other solutions would have never been effective because it meant accepting the victimization, the suppression of our right to speak.

I started this technique many years ago in an online support group that Dreger was monitoring even though she never posted. I had noticed that once she started controlling the content on ISNA’s blog many years ago that intersex issues were slowly disappearing from the site. I wrote a post entitled, “It’s about gender, stupid”. The post was not directed to anyone in particular. It was just a general discussion about how gender, especially gender norms, often have disastrous consequences on the everyday lives of intersex people. Not long after that post, maybe a week later, this is what appeared on the home page of ISNA’s website.

“Intersex is not about gender.”

I started checking around to find out who wrote that and it appears it was Alice Dreger herself. I also found out that she was writing almost all the content on ISNA’s site for a long time. If you notice, now that she is not with ISNA, the site has published almost nothing new.

There is NOT one mention that I can find on ISNA’s website about the Christiane Völling case in Germany. That case is probably one of the most important anti-surgery cases litigated. How could ISNA not be interested in this case? With their huge medical staff, why would they not offer open and positive support? The way the case has been handled, I fear that it might not succeed in the end. But the situation could have been different had there been more open discussion about this by those who are on the medical board of ISNA. Not a word anywhere that I can find.

Instead of speaking about such an important topic, what has Alice been doing? She has been publishing one blog entry after another on her personal blog in response to OII’s criticisms. She has been writing tomes denouncing the “feminine essence narrative” and actively defending Bailey, Lawrence and Triea. These people have nothing of scientific value to defend. There simply is no science behind what they are publishing. It is political spin and gender policing.

Why the silence about Christiane Völling’s case in Germany?

Her lawsuit is an anti-surgery case that was widely publicized in Europe with articles appearing in many languages throughout the world. There was almost nothing in English except what I translated.

The reason for the silence among English-speaking experts is very simple. This is about a "feminine essence narrative." Christiane Völling was assigned MALE and her female reproductive anatomy was removed without her consent. She has proof of this and presented it in court. She won, but the surgeon is now appealing and the letters from the court still address her as "Herr Völling".

Christiane knows that she is a woman despite her assignment as male. That is the reason there is NO support from Dreger and other DSD activists of this intersex woman who has been subjected to a life of suffering.

I have so many people to thank for having helped OII, some who are not directly associated with OII but who have been open to real discussion of intersex issues. I feel very positive about the future because real science based on data from the real world, not the narcissistic rants of political correctness or bigotry (which often form marriages of convenience), will ultimately prevail.

So, if you find that some of OII’s articles are “over the top” at times, remember that we have had no other way to get our message out but by provoking the people who are suppressing our freedom of speech to show their true intentions.

Therefore, in conclusion, I would like to stress OII has been a champion of DSD activism in the sense that we have been actively involved in “Defending the Speech of Dummies”.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Homochromosexuality: A new psychiatric disorder

13 April 2008
What is homochromosexuality? Before defining this mental illness, it would be better to look at psychiatric disorders in general, specifically psychosis, and then discuss more fully how this particular psychosis affects not only those suffering from it but society in general because this particular psychosis is presented by many influential leaders in religious, medical, feminist and other ideologically based social groups. As a result of the influence and power of those suffering from this particular psychosis, their delusional thinking has made this a more generalized psychotic delusion than other psychotic states. In other words, this particular psychiatric disorder tends to be a massive psychotic state affecting whole populations which has made study of this psychosis extremely difficult and even impossible in some areas of the world.

Psychosis is a generic psychiatric term for a mental state often described as involving a "loss of contact with reality." People suffering from it are said to be psychotic. People experiencing psychosis may report hallucinations or delusional beliefs, and may exhibit personality changes and disorganized thinking. (1)

What are the symptoms of homochromosexuality? The most salient characteristic is the rigid, irrational delusion that sex is dimorphic and that chromosomes determine the real sex of an individual. This obviously combines irreconcilable thought processes which are contradictory and causes those suffering from homochromosexuality to illogically manipulate data to fit their irrational need to refuse the fact that people are extremely diverse and that there is a spectrum of sex variations in the natural world. Despite the fact that data prove that there are not just two sexes and that the sex development process is very complex with numerous parts of the body being involved, all of which can take different pathways within the same individual, these people stubbornly cling to the idea that there is a marker somewhere for the “true” sex of an individual and that there are only two sexes. Whereas the general population often shares this delusion, it is not a psychosis in most people because they are not obsessed with the delusion to the degree that many researchers, religious leaders and certain radical feminists are, who often spend a large part of their lives in useless research and polemics to defend their delusional thinking. However, the damage of this psychosis affects the general population in very tragic and sometimes deadly ways. One of the characteristics that homochromosexuals have in common is their fetish for chromosomes as the most important marker of a person’s true sex despite all the evidence to the contrary.

Let’s consider this fetish for chromosomes which seems to be the most basic symptom of this psychiatric disorder. Essentially, fetishism is attributing some kind of inherent value or powers to an object. For example, the person who sees magical or divine significance in a material object is mistakenly ascribing inherent value to some object which does not possess that value. (2) For quite a while now it has been established as a scientific fact that a “Y” chromosome does not make one male and in fact the “Y” chromosome is not a reliable marker for determining the sex of an individual. For example, there are XY-females who have become pregnant and given birth, some more than once. (See also footnote 3) There are individuals who have no Y chromosome who have fully developed male anatomy. Despite all the facts, this fetish for chromosomes appears epidemic among certain ideologically based groups. Just recently, there was an amendment proposed in the state of California which would have defined a man as anyone having at least one Y chromosome. This was felt necessary because the proponents of this amendment were more interested in their homochromosexual idea that marriage should be only between a man and a woman and they felt they can define exactly what a man and a woman are by chromosomes – their fetish – despite the fact that we know that hormones, gonads, internal reproductive anatomy, and many regions of the brain are all involved in determining the sex of an individual. However, these little bits called chromosomes are held up as having some magically divine power to define the sex of all people despite the scientific proof to the contrary but this obsession is caused by the other comorbid symptom of this psychosis which motivates their incessant quest to find some magical fetish which would define what a man and a woman are: their irrational delusion that there are only two sexes and everyone is really a male or a female. Reality proves otherwise.

This epidemic psychosis, homochromosexuality, is ravaging whole populations and causing severe suffering because it breeds sexism and prevents individuals from developing their full human potential. It is used to keep people in their “proper” place as determined by the psychotic leaders who charismatically spread this fetishism. Women are really very different from men they claim and this little chromosome proves it. “Look at this”, they say. “It is magical. It is God’s proof that we are different.” This is psychotic. Science proves that chromosomes do not have these magical powers.

What groups of the population are most affected by homochromosexuality? One group which suffers a particularly pernicious form of this psychotic delusion is a group of researchers involved in intersex research and research on homosexuality and transsexuality. It is this group which replaced the term “intersex” with “DSD”, short for “disorders of sex development” (a diagnosis which includes a whole array of “disorders” which were previously not intersex at all) and the reason this group suffers from the most pernicious form is because they are studying the very sex variations which prove that sex is not dimorphic but they insist that it really is. Their fetishism for chromosomes is evident in their diagnostic descriptors for each DSD. Each descriptor must start with the chromosome of the individual followed by an incongruent marker which would explain why it is a “disorder” of sex development. (4) It is incredible what magical powers these people see in chromosomes despite the fact that their own research shows that chromosomes do not a man or a woman make. It makes rational discussion with such unreasonable people impossible and at this time there is no effective treatment to help these individuals.

Another group that combines mythical thinking with their fetishism for chromosomes is found among religious leaders, especially in the Catholic Church and many fundamentalist evangelical churches also. In this group, the delusion is more understandable but nonetheless just as devastating to the general population. It is understandable because they are not basing their delusional thinking on science as alleged by the DSD researchers. They are basing their delusional thinking on mythical understandings of the Bible and religious dogma which often contradict scientific data. To read the incoherent thought processes of a typical religiously-oriented homochromosexual, click here. (For more homochromosexual vignettes: Click here or here or here)

Certain radical, separatist feminists are also responsible for spreading this psychosis and one of the most well-known is Germaine Greer. She has refused to consider women with androgen insensitivity syndrome as women and refers to them as “incomplete males”. (6) They are XY she states and one cannot change one’s chromosomes. The problem with her thinking is that there are XX-men and in many cases no matter what a woman with AIS would do, they are not going to be able to be a man because their bodies will not respond to the hormone necessary to virilize their bodies. Her delusional thinking that women are some magical class of people that she can define in a manner to preserve the sacred myth that there are only two sexes and women are very different from men has led her to the altar of the same fetishistic worship – homochromosexuality.

Research is only beginning in this area. No one has been able to find a cause for homochromosexuality. However, some researchers feel that it is possibly genetic and they are working to determine the cause. Their research has an eerie resemblance to some researchers who are using intersex people to try to find the cause of homosexuality such as J Michael Bailey, Eric Vilain (7) and Sherry Berenbaum. Unfortunately these researchers have damaged their own research by proposing a method of prenatal screening for homochromosexuality if the cause is ever found to be genetic. They feel there is no other treatment that would cure this psychotic disorder and therefore feel it would be more pragmatic to eliminate this from the gene pool. They have begun to write a paper very similar to the paper that J Michael Bailey wrote. J Michael Bailey has been interested in finding the cause of homosexuality (and using intersex people to help find it) and at the same time he has written a paper in defense of prenatal screening for homosexuality (8) once the cause would be found and in defense of allowing parents to abort such fetuses. This solution is disturbing to many people and so is the research by some groups who are homochromophobes. Even though homochromosexuality is a serious illness, these people should be treated with respect and it would be more humane to look for solutions to this problem that would be less violent and also take into consideration that there may be some important reason for this genetic anomaly in the human population.


More recent research on homochromosexuality proves that this psychosis has found its way into poor countries where XX fetuses are terminated, simply because it is believed they are girls, and girls are less desirable. So they say. (Also, we wonder how many XX males have been "cleansed"). Forensics is now just coming to the conclusion that homochromosexuality isn't all it is "cracked-up" (pun INTENDED) to be. Male DNA at a crime scene or female DNA at a crime scene is now coming "under investigation”.

There is a particular form of homochromosexuality which often eludes psychiatric diagnosis and as a result there is a new diagnosis for this extremely dangerous type: autohomochromophilia. Autohomochromophilia is characterized by insisting that one is not a homochromosexual but nevertheless obsessing on the idea that really the current identity politics which divide people into just two categories – those who identify as female and those who identify as male based on some physical feature – is fundamentally valid and they become enamored by viewing themselves as important and scientific as the well-established homochromosexuals who continue to spread their psychotic delusions. One classic case of autohomochromophilia is Alice Dreger who has written: "why it is silly to think of your sex as being what you think your chromosomes are." (9) However, she has spent a lot of her life defending binary homochromosexuals and preserving the male/female identity politics implicit in such homochromosexually-challenged social systems and in so doing has inflicted much damage by erasing intersex and insisting that we are all really males or females with a disorder of sex development.

Is Alice Dreger a homochromosexual in denial? A latent homochromosexual? An ego-dystonic homochromosexual? Or is she just lying which is one of the most typical symptoms of an autohomochromophile? Obviously, her faux “intersex” activism and her binary, sexist views prove the latter.

There is some research which is proving a link between homochromosexuality and folie à deux (literally, "a madness shared by two") which is a rare psychiatric syndrome in which a symptom of psychosis (particularly a paranoid or delusional belief) is transmitted from one individual to another. The same syndrome shared by more than two people may be called folie à trois, folie à quatre, folie à famille or even folie à plusieurs (madness of many). Recent psychiatric classifications refer to the syndrome as shared psychotic disorder (DSM-IV) (297.3) and induced delusional disorder (folie à deux) (F.24) in the ICD-10, although the research literature largely uses the original name.

See also: and
(4) Table 2: An example of a DSD classification
Sex chromosome DSD’s include:
(A) 45,X (Turner syndrome and variants)
(B) 47,XXY (Klinefelter syndrome and variants)
(C) 45,X/46,XY (mixed gonadal dysgenesis, ovotesticular DSD)
(D) 46,XX/46,XY (chimeric, ovotesticular DSD)
46,XY DSD’s include:
(A) Disorders of gonadal (testicular) development
1. Complete gonadal dysgenesis (Swyer syndrome)
2. Partial gonadal dysgenesis
3. Gonadal regression
4. Ovotesticular DSD
(B) Disorders in androgen synthesis or action
1. Androgen biosynthesis defect (eg, 17-
hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase deficiency, 5a
reductase deficiency, StAR mutations
2. Defect in androgen action (eg, CAIS, PAIS)
3. LH receptor defects (eg, Leydig cell
hypoplasia, aplasia)
4. Disorders of AMH and AMH receptor (persistent
mullerian duct syndrome)
(C) Other
(eg, severe hypospadias, cloacal extrophy)
46,XX DSD’s include
(A) Disorders of gonadal (ovarian) development
1. Ovotesticular DSD
2. Testicular DSD (eg, SRY+, dup SOX9)
3. Gonadal dysgenesis
(B) Androgen excess
1. Fetal (eg, 21-hydroxylase deficiency, 11-hydroxylase
2. Fetoplacental (aromatase deficiency, POR)
3. Maternal (luteoma, exogenous, etc)
(C) Other (eg, cloacal extrophy, vaginal atresia, MURCS, other syndromes)
Source: Consensus statement on management of intersex disorders
I A Hughes, C Houk, S F Ahmed, P A Lee, LWPES/ESPE Consensus Group
(6) Germaine Greer's "The Whole Woman"
(7) “Because all Klinefelters that have a Y are male, whereas Turners, who have no Y, are females. So it's not a dosage or the number of X's, it's really the presence or absence of the Y.” Quote from Eric Vilain
Source of the above quote: When a Person Is Neither XX nor XY: A Q&A with Geneticist Eric Vilain
(Please note: It appears that the homochromosexuals who wrote the proposed amendment that defined a person as a man if a person had one Y chromosome had read Eric Vilain’s “research”.)
(8) Homosexual eugenics paper by J. Michael Bailey

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Sex versus Gender

Exposing medical violence and dishonesty
by Curtis E. Hinkle
March 29, 2008

Medical specialists complicate and erase intersex experience and visibility by insisting that sex is a biological fact and gender a social construct.

The first harm done to many intersexed infants is what is called "assigning a gender". In other words, the intersexed child is actually being assigned a "gender identity" (not a sex because the sex is considered to be "ambiguous"). However, the same specialists write that there is no clear understanding of how a child develops a "gender identity". Then after having assigned a "gender identity" to the intersexed child, the specialists choose the sex corresponding to the "gender identity" assigned and that is what they put as the sex on the birth certificate and other documents. If the medical specialists were logical in their use of the terms "sex" and "gender" (but this is illogical and that is why I do not accept that sex and gender are two distinct categories in a linguistic sense), they would refuse to put a "gender identity" on a birth certificate as the sex of the infant but that is precisely what they do. Therefore, the birth certificate of an intersexed child does not state the sex of the child; it is the child's "gender identity" as determined by the experts, not the children themselves.

Then all during their lives, people are concerned about the "gender identity" of the individual. It can become exasperating because each little difference detected can become enormously important and exaggerated as a sign of non-conformity to the gender identity imposed by the experts.

Then when one consults a physician, "gender identity" issues can become the focus rather than the real health problems that need to be attended to because we are perceived within a bi-gendered lens and if one does not agree with the "gender identity" discourse, then one is made to feel the problem is in our mind, not the mind of the physicians.

How many hours have been lost discussing gender issues with doctors instead of getting actual health care? How many times have we had to explain we are not in the doctor's office to talk about our identity but because our feet hurt, for example?

Navigating all this dishonest discourse throughout one's life saps one's energy and has done little if anything to improve the lives of intersexed children and adults.

If one asks the specialists what a "gender identity" is, one is often given a definition such as this:

Gender identity is a person's own sense of identification as male or female.

If gender identity is a person's own sense of identification, how can these same specialists justify assigning a "gender identity" to an intersexed child? How can these specialists predict the future and know the "person's own sense of identification"? One reads in their own protocols that they cannot predict someone's personal sense of identification as male or female. This is not scientific. This is dishonest. It is a hoax.

We are told that gender is social and that sex is biological. Then we are told that our sex (that is our legal sex classification) is really our "gender identity" which many of these same specialists state is not biological. Therefore, if "gender identity" is not a biological fact, why use this concept in place of the sex of the child on their birth certificate? This is because birth certificates which state the sex of an individual are using that term in a way which has redefined sex as a "gender identity", which proves that competence within biology is not what is being applied. This is a social exercise, a social construct. It is not about biology.

If other sciences used terms in this contradictory and dishonest manner, they would be exposed as not being scientific at all.

To state that gender is a social construct but that sex is a biological fact can at first appear logical but the actual use of these terms proves that this semantic distinction is not valid because the semantic field of the word "gender" overlaps and intersects the same semantic field as the word "sex" in English and it does this in medical discourse about the topic and in legal discourse also.

It is impossible to categorize all people into two distinct biological sexes. We are not even aware at this time of the degree to which sexual orientation and sex identity are linked with the sex development of an individual. However, we do know that these categories would not be as functional without a binary construct of sex and gender which is the fundamental principal justifying such categories.

Sex is a social construct and so is gender and often they are one and the same if you look closely at how medical and legal discourse are defining and categorizing people.

Why OII denounces transphobia and the pathologisation of intersex people

Now, I hope it is clear that it is not necessarily the word "gender" which bothers me. It is the notion that sex is a biological category and that gender is purely a social construct which I find troubling and inaccurate.

It is important to expose the dishonesty of what the experts are trying to tell us.

The sex of an individual is not really a biological fact as that term is used medically and legally and intersexed children prove that sex as used in medical and legal discourse is really an identity (not a biological reality) that is imposed on children.

However, the doctors admit that one cannot predict a child's identity or personal sense of self as a male or female. Nevertheless, this does not stop them from imposing a gender identity on the child and that becomes the SEX of the individual.

If doctors really are convinced that the "gender identity" of a person is the real sex of the individual (and it appears that the protocols in effect would confirm that they do in fact believe that this is the case, otherwise why put a "gender identity" as the sex of a person on a birth certificate?), then it would be logical to conclude that any person who is not in agreement with the identity imposed is better placed to declare their TRUE SEX since in essence we are dealing with an identity and not biological facts which can be substantiated.

It is not the word that causes so much harm. It is the dishonesty of how the specialists use this word which causes so much harm.

It is only the individual person who can determine their own sense of self and their identity and not a doctor. If one disagrees with the doctor's imposed "gender identity", one is not ill. The person who is violently imposing his own definitions and using his medical and legal power to erase and damage another person's most initmate sense of self is the one who is part of the problem and the society which would knowingly condone this needs to be questioned, challenged and eventually given the help it needs to enlarge its vision of human rights.