US: What’s marriage equality got to do with intersex?

Professor and author Georgiann Davis describes the challenge many intersex people go through in discovering and identifying with a gender and how marriage plays a part. excerpt: 

Intersex people have, consciously or not, been queering marriage long before activists were fighting for marriage equality. Some intersex people, encouraged by medical providers who wanted to make sure our gender identity aligned with the sex they surgically constructed, looked to heterosexual partnering to validate their gender identity.

As it was in my case, marriage was a path by which intersex people learned to accept themselves as “real” women, or in some cases “real” men, while also pleasing their parents, medical providers, and others in their lives by assuring them they made the correct medically unnecessary and irreversible surgical decisions.

When the Supreme Court ruled same-sex marriage was a constitutional right, my social media exploded with excitement. Many of my intersex friends from around the world also shared these celebrations. But marriage has historically functioned as a heteronormative institution, and one of the primary ways intersex people have validated their gender assignment and normalized their selves. So I wasn’t surprised that the marriage equality ruling also seemed to cause some uneasiness among a few, albeit a minority, of intersex people and parents of intersex children.  Read More