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Intersex support

(21 Posts)
ClareCAIS Mon 10-Feb-20 16:26:59

As an intersex woman I have become acutely aware of how my complex history is being used to promote beliefs in gender identities being more important than sex and this frequently results in the needs of people born with differences in their sex development being lost - & we have far too frequently become the collateral damage in the gender wars

If people do want accurate information regarding the complex issues that many of us face, Mumsnet is promoting dsdfamilies as their guest campaign this week https://www.mumsnet.com/campaigns/guest-campaigns-february-2020 and have been answering questions on Twitter

Hope it is OK to post here & happy to answer any questions

OP’s posts: |
ArranUpsideDown Mon 10-Feb-20 16:29:14

Clicky link: www.mumsnet.com/campaigns/guest-campaigns-february-2020

And, thank you Clare.

stumbledin Mon 10-Feb-20 16:34:20

Thanks for letting us know. Will share your links!

picklesdragonisawelshdragon Mon 10-Feb-20 16:46:08

I like the descriptors 'typical female kit' and the 'typical Male kit'!

FebruaryRainandSleet Mon 10-Feb-20 16:51:28

My first question is whether you prefer the term intersex or DSD?

BatShite Mon 10-Feb-20 18:11:41

Ahh good to see MN supporting also. Yes, its vile how TRAs try to use intersex people as a gotcha. They also seem to not actually understand what DSDs are in the first place, yet continue to use them as a 'I have a penis and a vagina anyway, so do 2% of people!!!' or whatever. I read a page a few days back, saying that the 2% is a myth (obviously) and you can only arrive at that number if you add in many conditions which..aren't really DSDs in the first place. Said page, from memory said DSDs actually occur in something like 1/1000 people. So claiming its really really common is another TRA lie.

I have read much of your work Claire, and the work you do for the intersex 'community' is great. Best of luck with this campaign

Clymene Mon 10-Feb-20 18:38:05

Hi Clare

The booklet looks really good and makes a difficult subject (quite!) clear.

I have a question - do you know what age DSD is typically diagnosed? I guess that children with ambiguous genitals might be assessed as having DSD from birth/very young but I assume it isn't until puberty for most?

ArranUpsideDown Mon 10-Feb-20 18:43:02

its vile how TRAs try to use intersex people as a gotcha.

To be fair (and I hate writing this), I've seen HCPs and people who should know far better doing this.

Including a professor of public health who specialises in sexual and reproductive health. I have to assume that DSDs did not figure as part of her original curriculum and present research area.

I've seen a number of clinicians and leading researchers present the existences of DSDs as categorical proof of sex as a spectrum etc. I've seen this used to denounce (there's no other word) various GC feminists on Twitter and skeptics such as Andy Lewis @lecanardnoir123 .

R0wantrees Mon 10-Feb-20 18:45:29

Im glad that there is growing awareness of the need to support people directly affected by DSD/intersex conditions.

Is there any idea of the amount of public money which has been given (erroneously it would seem to me) by trans rights/LGBTQ+ organisations claiming to speak for the 'I' which should have gone to people / groups directly affected & with expertise?

Ive seen the amount of patient but hard & frustrating work intersex advocates do on Twitter constantly having to correct misinformation & misrepresentation.

Are there any key things others might do or need to know to be supportive?

BatShite Mon 10-Feb-20 18:51:26

I've seen a number of clinicians and leading researchers present the existences of DSDs as categorical proof of sex as a spectrum etc.

I know, I didn't mean only TRAs do it. Yes, many people who should know better do it too, then are parotted by TRAs who say 'but look, a real doctor says it too, its true!!!!1'

The behavior of TRAs towards intersex groups and such sounds like its been horrific too. I read a statement a while back, not sure which is was on but one of the leading intersex groups anyway, saying TRAs had basically tried to make out that trans people have 'intersex of the brain' hmm Kept harassing the group and trying to latch onto them, eventually a public statement was made, distancing the group from TRAs (press for change, I think it was..or gires..same thing really)

ArranUpsideDown Mon 10-Feb-20 19:02:55

Are there any key things others might do or need to know to be supportive?

^^This. Because I've seriously been wondering if I should approach some of these clinicians/public health people IRL and ask to have a conversation with them. Or if the appropriate course of action would be to ask them to look at some material, contact DSD Families etc. (I'm caught by not wanting to add to the burden of under-resourced individuals or organisations.)

R0wantrees Mon 10-Feb-20 19:28:52

I read a statement a while back, not sure which is was on but one of the leading intersex groups anyway, saying TRAs had basically tried to make out that trans people have 'intersex of the brain' hmm Kept harassing the group and trying to latch onto them, eventually a public statement was made, distancing the group from TRAs (press for change, I think it was..or gires..same thing really)

Its discussed & evidenced on this thread:
www.mumsnet.com/Talk/womens_rights/3463920-Lets-go-back-to-2007?pg=5

PencilsinSpace wrote:
"Now who knew that GIRES was set up as the charitable arm of Press for Change?

Me!

Who knew PfC and GIRES parted ways in 2000, in large part because of the way GIRES treated intersex people and support groups?"

Mamello Mon 10-Feb-20 19:30:55

My sister has dsd. She is outraged by the colonisation of her condition by TRAs. However what is frequently missed by those conflating trans issues with dsds is that many dsds come with other health conditions and having to fight on all fronts becomes exhausting. But she is more than willing to talk about or comment on her experience and how it has absolutely nothing in common with gender dysphoria, agp etc.

BatShite Mon 10-Feb-20 19:39:28

"Now who knew that GIRES was set up as the charitable arm of Press for Change?

Hmm I didn't know it was like that, but did know that they were basically the same. Didn't know PFC decided to break away because of the intersex thing though, that must have pissed them off. was such a big 'thing' that they had to publically distance themselves. Of course its a huge thing when some randomer tries to get into intersex support meetings and such to change the narrative and make it all about trans..honestly hmm

ClareCAIS Mon 10-Feb-20 19:49:24

Thanks for the support & great questions - I’ll have a good look at them all so can answer them properly. If people are on Twitter, follow dsdfamilies as they are answering questions alongside the Mumsnet campaign

mobile.twitter.com/dsdfamilies

Thanks and I’ll write more later

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LangClegsInSpace Mon 10-Feb-20 20:55:03

I'm pleased to see Mumsnet supporting this. I had a look at the new Story of Sex Development booklet and it explains things really clearly.

Besides making a donation how can we best be supportive?

Cascade220 Mon 10-Feb-20 21:00:09

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

FemaleAndLearning Mon 10-Feb-20 21:14:55

Hi Claire are DSD people on the whole happy/unhappy being part of LGBTQI +?

ClareCAIS Tue 11-Feb-20 10:31:26

Thanks again for the questions and I've tried to answer a few below

1) My first question is whether you prefer the term intersex or DSD?

This is a really hard question to answer as I don't think there is ever any ideal terminology - and I don’t think there is any real consensus either. I can understand that intersex is a punchy term when being used politically & that some people feel very strongly that it represents them – but it also leads to a lot of misunderstanding, especially that we are all somewhere ‘in-between’ and then evil doctors toss a coin, assign a sex and surgically alter our bodies accordingly. This isn’t the reality for most and I think differences in sex development is a fairly good and useful term as it is medically recognised and more appropriate when discussing these issues with children or with parents following the birth of their child - telling a new parent that they have an intersex baby who is a third sex or neither male or female, is probably never going to be helpful & is more likely to push parents towards wanting surgery & keeping things secret. I feel that a better message is that it is OK to be different. Many people hate that it is also referred to as Disorders of Sex Development and prefer to use Variations in Sex Characteristics. It’s all a bit of a minefield & this seems to be becoming more complicated as much of the language we did use, is now taken up by trans rights activists.

2)I have a question - do you know what age DSD is typically diagnosed? I guess that children with ambiguous genitals might be assessed as having DSD from birth/very young but I assume it isn't until puberty for most?

Ambiguous genitalia is incredibly rare and is always treated as a medical emergency as it can be associated with life threatening medical conditions. It will always involve multiple investigations & MDT involvement – and definitely know quick ‘toss of a coin’ – and thankfully in the UK, we are moving towards medical/surgical intervention being a last resort and only when medically necessary.

Many are diagnosed much later, those of us with CAIS are usually diagnosed at puberty when we don’t start our periods – although some are diagnosed as young children due to having hernias caused by internal testes. There are over 40 different DSDs (that are known) with very varied differences

3) Is there any idea of the amount of public money which has been given (erroneously it would seem to me) by trans rights/LGBTQ+ organisations claiming to speak for the 'I' which should have gone to people / groups directly affected & with expertise?

Follow this on Twitter as definitely some good evidence of this in Scotland

twitter.com/ForwomenScot/status/1226986868744605697?s=20

4)Are there any key things others might do or need to know to be supportive?

More than anything it is not to use people with complex medical histories to win points in online debates – and follow dsdfamilies www.dsdfamilies.org as they are doing the work to support children and families through the many complex issues they might face.

5) Hi Claire are DSD people on the whole happy/unhappy being part of LGBTQI +?

I think again this is very mixed – some people feel very strongly that we should be part of LGBTI? and even go as far as describing people with differences in their sex development as ‘queer bodied’ and I can see that we have faced similar issues around shame and stigma. However, there are also definite differences as we are not a sexual orientation and have very specific and often complex medical needs – and our voices and needs are far too often lost in the push to represent everyone.

I hope some of this makes sense and thanks again for the questions and interest - and any support for www.dsdfamilies.org would be great or just follow on Twitter

OP’s posts: |
DuLANGMondeFOREVER Tue 11-Feb-20 10:43:42

Can you recommend any resources that deal with the women’s sports issue from a difference of sex development angle?

I’m keen to preserve women’s rights to competition with other women, but mindful that women with intersex conditions don’t get accidentally thrown under the bus as we battle to keep trans athletes out on the basis of a functioning Y chromosome/male puberty,

Clymene Tue 11-Feb-20 11:19:26

Thanks, Clare - really appreciate you answering my question

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