Born Between: The Nature of Intersex A Project of Documentaries
In October of 2012, I started a campaign to raise the money to produce a documentary film on a topic I had been aggressively researching for several months. After a year of emails, making contacts, more research, mailing out proposals, and minimally successful crowdfunding campaigns, I was physically, emotionally and psychically drained. I had to step back and take a break. I never once doubted the importance or nobility of the venture.
In February of 2014, I received a message on our webpage at bornbetween.com. I will quote from that message as I explain to you the importance of a sincere educational documentary on the nature of intesex. It inspired me to work even harder to produce the film.
"In my remaining years of life I wish to be open about who I am as an intersex person. But for the most part, I'm greeted with confusion when I try to explain intersex to others, and some people have a degree of mistrust."
Most people in our society, and around the world, have no idea what intersex is. They associate it with homosexuality or transgender. It is neither. Intersex is a variation in male or female physical development. The biological sex development of the fetus is affected. The most prevalent term used in the past was 'hermaphrodite'. This is not completely accurate.
"Only one doctor at the Mayo Clinic has been totally honest with me. Yet at the same time even they fail to comprehend what being intersex has done for my persona, my gender identity."
Imagine being born with defective genitals or even worse, the genitals of both sexes. Or the organs of the male on the outside and the organs of a woman on the inside. This is Intersex. Or DSD, as the medical profession has only recently defined it. DSD is Disorders of Sex Development. A term most intersex persons consider demeaning, as I do also.
In the past, and even today, many intersex people live their lives in isolation and are embarrassed from ever having a serious physical relationship with a close partner. They are traumatized throughout their childhood and even into their adult years. Others are exposed to painful and embarrassing surgeries at birth to 'fix' their physical anomalies.
"Next tuesday I go for another ultrasound to check for more tumors and mature teratoma that may be residing in my abdomen. Since age ten I have had many surgeries to remove these teratoma. A few proved to be malignant, including a 10cm one that was attached to my so called right testis that proved to be in fact a fetal ovary."
A teratoma is a tumor sometimes containing hair, teeth, bone, and in rare cases complex organs such as eyes, hands, feet or other limbs, and may resemble a human fetus. Many intersex persons are more susceptible to certain cancers because of the biological development variations of their condition. Currently there are over 47 different variations of DSD. Not all of them are this extreme. Some of them include having a misplaced urethra opening, or having an enlarged or not completely developed genital organ. Some DSD conditions are even more benign, such as females at puberty suddenly developing male facial hair, male vocal functions and other male features.
"Another mature teratoma was not malignant. Except for the fact this one was 14.5 cm and had limbs, skin, eyes, but in a non-viable form. If you're wondering, I did feel as if I was pregnant for over 25 years, and yes, I'm sure this contributed to my gender issues."
Reassignment surgery was approved by the medical profession in the early 60's and since then, thousands have been surgically reassigned their sex at birth. Many times resulting in a painful and traumatic childhood with psychological gender identification issues throughout their lives.
"Now for the real interesting aspect, I am married and managed to have two children after many years of marriage. Despite the fact I only have one working testes and even that testes grew to less that half of normal adult size. I guess I only needed one sperm cell to make a baby."
This person's name is David. He lives in the midwest area of the United States. It is just one of many amazing stories that have been shared with me by intersex people from around the world. Two months ago a young man in the UK contacted me. He had a good job, he worked hard, lived a normal life and had a loving girlfriend. He told me he went to the Doctor just a few weeks earlier for stomach pains. After they did several tests, they found he had the internal organs of a woman. Yes, he had an an ovary and a uterus. Technically he could have had a baby. He was confused. So I spoke to him at length to assure him he was not alone, and I guided him to UKIA, the intersex support group in the UK.
These are just a few of the stories, and the reasons, I am asking you to help me raise the money to make this documentary film.
The difficulties do not stop there. The one institution that they are supposed to be able to turn to for help, oftentimes rejects them or is ignorant of what intersex is, or what they should do. The medical field is failing them also. Here is a quote from an intersex person on our Facebook page just last week.
"I figure that when the general population [including every doctor I have EVER met] clumps me into the trans category, the society is desperately out of touch while I lay dying from medical malpractice." - Yuri, Intersex Author
Society has focused on gay issues or the transgender issue. But intersex, which is an actual biological development, has been strategically ignored my media, government and society alike. It is time we enlighten our population. And it is time the medical industry addresses their shortcoming on the topic of intersex. And it is time our society and our governments have serious discussion about fellow human beings, that because of nature, just happen to be different, yet deserve the respect and dignity all other human beings do.
There are many links on this page you can follow for more information. Watch our short videos we made to promote funding for the feature length documentary. There is a 20 minute video and an 8 minute condensed version. Share them with your friends. Visit our Facebook page, bornbetween.com, for more information, comments and feedback from intersex persons and others from around the world.
Please help us spread the word. And please donate to produce a full length feature documentary film!