I thought I’d apologize for and share that the reason it’s taken me SO long to write something new is that my mom passed away this year. Being a sensitive, emotional type, and her death being unexpected, it knocked me for a loop. And then another. And another.
Now however, I feel her spirit very much alive and living through me, inspiring my work. It’s not something I realized before, because my mother was not an activist and was never even happy about my being one until, thankfully, the very month before she died. But nevertheless, she’s one of my biggest inspirations because she’s the one who first taught me that all humans are equal. Was she critical of certain behaviors? Hell yeah! But she never indicated to me that anyone was less than anyone else just because of the way they’d been born.
It’s such a simple message really, but one that has eluded much of humanity. My latest essay in the Advocate examines this phenomenon by looking at the historic attempts to pathologize the LGBTI community, and how this is still impacting intersex people. http://www.advocate.com/commentary/2014/05/14/op-ed-whats-name-intersex-and-identity
When I shared this topic with a friend last night, who is not an activist or particularly political, she said, “But it’s [being intersex] just a natural variation right? Why would people call it a disorder?” She went on to say that she found it bizarre that things like gratuitous violence are accepted in our culture, but some have such a hard time accepting that not everyone is born male or female.
She, like many others, gets the message: there is no need to deem those who are different from “the norm” as inferior. While there are many reasons why the pathologizaton of intersex people persists– some of which I explore in my Advocate essay – I think it’s important to remember what history has taught us. Just because something is being permitted to happen today doesn’t mean that it’s right.
And if it’s confusing to distinguish between what’s okay, and what’s considered acceptable today but will be considered bigoted or a downright human rights atrocity in the future, just keep that simple message in mind. If your words or actions are based on the belief that a group of people is somehow inferior, whether you live to see it or not, you’ll have been on the wrong side of history.
Thanks for reading!