"I’m a girl, but I recently found out I’m intersex and will never have kids. I feel so shocked, and I’m so scared to tell people. How can I get married? How do I handle this?"
- Question submitted by Anonymous and answered by Claudia Astorino as part of Everyone Is Gay: Second Opinions.
Hey there, Anonymous!
I understand where you’re at. Intersex people are great and fantastic, but we’re living at a time in history where many people still misunderstand intersex as a medical condition that needs to be “fixed,” or something to be ashamed of. I hope that your parents and clinicians know that your intersex self is also great and fantastic just the way you are! If learning that you’re intersex wasn’t a positive experience, I am sending you a virtual ((((hug)))) if you want it and some helpful links to resources on intersex basics: from your own Everyone Is Gay, Autostraddle, and the US chapter of Organization Intersex International(OII-USA).
For extra self-care, I recommend this video featuring a baby otter that was recently rescued and adopted by Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium, I LITERALLY CANNOT STOP WATCHING IT, IT’S LEARNING HOW TO FLOAT, I can’t. *brain explodes.*
So, MS. FANTASTIC (can I call you MS. FANTASTIC?), you’re in good company – some intersex people are reproductive, and some aren’t. There are some intersex people, like me, who weren’t really interested in having kids in the first place. There are other intersex people I know who have had a really difficult time knowing that they wouldn’t be able to have children who were biologically related to them, who had their own DNA.
This, however, absolutely doesn’t mean that you can’t have kids or get married! Lots of intersex people who want to have kids DO have kids through adoption. The kids that you raise and love and nurture are 800% as much your kids as any kids that would be biologically related to you.
If you have a brother or sister, and it’s really important for you to have a kid that’s biologically related to you, then you might also want to consider surrogacy, where you can use your sib’s DNA to have your kids. That being said, I know multiple intersex people that have adopted and love their kids to pieces. Being intersex will in no way prevent you from having LITTLE FANTASTICS running around!
The same goes for finding a partner and getting married. If you find another person you want to have kids with, THAT’S GREAT – YOU CAN! Just because you wouldn’t be having your own biological kids doesn’t mean you won’t have kids. Your future partner will love you and want to be with you for you, and that means being on board with adopting your kids. You seem to be afraid that you’ll meet someone awesome and they’ll walk away because you wouldn’t be having biological kids together. Although this probably sounds like a super-painful scenario, in all honesty, if this happened, you’d actually be DODGING A BULLET. If a potential partner can’t accept all the FANTASTIC that you are? Then they’re not worth raising your kids with anyway.
A final thought: we’re all raised in a world where we’re told that, after puberty, our bodies “should” be able to do all these things. When you learn that your body, in fact, doesn’t do all these things as an intersex person, it’s easy to think that this means there’s something wrong with you, since you “can’t” do these things. I’m here to tell you that just because you don’t get a period and won’t give birth, that doesn’t mean that your body isn’t able to do something it’s “supposed to do” – YOUR BODY IS DOING WHAT IT’S SUPPOSED TO BE DOING ALL ALONG. Or that somehow you’re less of a girl or a woman because your body doesn’t do these things. Not all of us are comfortable or okay with this knowledge – especially at first – and I am not trying to minimize your feelings about this. At some point, though, after you’ve processed all this more, I’d encourage you to reframe thinking about what your body “can’t do” (= is “supposed to do”) to what your body doesn’t do. <3
MS. FANTASTIC, it’s difficult to figure out what’s going on and how you feel and where you’re at when you first learn you’re intersex. Know that there’s a community of intersex people out there with love and support, and we even have websites. And also out there, is a person you’re gonna raise some kids with. And your kids are going to be amazing.
Sounds pretty fantastic, doesn’t it?