Intersex Writer and Activist



Born Both CoverBorn Both: An Intersex Life (Hatchette Books, March 14, 2017), is a candid, provocative, and eye-opening memoir of life, love, and gender identity as an intact intersex person, as well as a call to action for justice for intersex people.  Now available for pre-order!

Advance Praise for Born Both

Hida Viloria was raised as a girl but discovered early on that he/r body was different. Unlike most people who are born intersex in the first world–meaning they have genitals, reproductive organs, hormones, and/or chromosomal patterns that do not fit standard definitions of male or female–Hida had the freedom to explore the person s/he was born to be because he/r parents did not agree to have he/r sex characteristics surgically altered at birth.

It wasn’t until s/he was 26 and encountered the term “intersex” in a San Francisco newspaper that s/he finally had a name for he/r difference. That’s when s/he began to explore what it means to live in the space between genders–to be both and neither. As s/he began to reach out to others like he/r, however, Hida discovered that most intersex people had been scarred, both physically and psychologically, by infant surgeries and hormone treatments meant to “correct” their bodies. Eager to help end this practice, Hida came out as intersex at a national and then international level.

By answering the question “Are you a boy or a girl?” with “I’m both,” Hida’s helped blaze a trail for people–particularly intersex and genderqueer/non-binary people–to celebrate the middle space where male and female are not separate and opposite but entwined. Born Both is an intimate and powerful account of Hida’s search for authentic identity and love in a world that insists on categorizing people into either/or.



Queer: A Reader for Writers (Oxford University Press, 2016), by Jason Schneiderman, is part of a series of brief, single-topic readers designed for today’s college writing courses. It includes an interdisciplinary mix of public, academic, and cultural reading selections to provide students with the rhetorical knowledge and analytical strategies required to participate effectively in discussions about queer theory and culture.

Chapters include numerous pedagogical features and are organized thematically around a range of issues and topics that fall under the queer umbrella. Viloria’s essay, “What’s in a Name: Intersex and Identity” (originally published in The Advocate), is found in Chapter 6. Intersex Lives.



the_human_agenda_mediumIn The Human Agenda: Conversations about Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (Trans Uber, 2015), LGBTQI advocate Joe Wenke speaks with some of the community’s leading change agents. In these wide-ranging and probing conversations, amazing people share their personal and professional stories along with their profound commitment to freedom and equality.


IAN HARVIE, comedian: “It is brave to be yourself.” CARMEN CARRERA, performer and fashion model: “We are one human race. Some women have penises. Some men have vaginas. What’s the big deal? ANDREW SOLOMON, writer: “I think there is a tyranny of the norm… But actually what science indicates is that diversity is what strengthens a society or a culture or a species.” HIDA VILORIA, writer and intersex activist: “Doctors want to make sure we grow up to identify as men or women, and the truth is, even with the surgeries going on, some of us don’t. My body is androgynous. It makes sense that my gender identity might be too.” 

Also featuring Gisele Alicia (AKA Gisele Xtravaganza), Dr. John Allen and the Rainbow Support Group, Ash Beckham, Rabbi Amy Bernstein, Elegance Bratton, Aidan Key, Hina Wong-Kalu, Y-Love, Dr. Jonipher Kupono Kwong, Kevin Fisher-Paulson, Dr. Mark Maxwell, Dr. Carys Massarella, Kristin Russo, Andre St. Clair, and Timothy Young.

Interesting fact: At approx. 1.7% of the population, Intersex people are as common as red-heads. “Everyone’s met an intersex person, you just may not know you have.”