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"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.

Claudia Says:

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 GayAutostraddle, 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.*

Anyway.

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.

Right?!

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?  :)

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Click through to read more about Claudia and our other Second Opinions Panelists!

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"Guys! Some of my best friends have reproduced and the little one is to be born next spring! Half of the soon to be parents refers to me as "brother" and I’m a gender-nonconforming lady. It’s been determined that kid will be my niece/nephew. What are some alternative suggestions to aunt/uncle?"

- Question submitted by Anonymous

Dannielle Says:

“Can Harrison call me Auntie Uncle” – Actual text I sent my friend in spring of 2013.

HERE IS THE THING. Make it up. Those words don’t really mean anything anyway. Think of all the names we have for our grandparents; nana, pawpaw, ma-maw, pa-paw rick, mommy squirt, daddy jim, grandma roberts… THESE ARE ALL NAMES I’VE CALLED ACTUAL GRANDPARENT FIGURES OF MINE. These words make no sense.

I think you should 100% embrace the fact that you get to come up with something all your own. My bff is gonna have her kids call HER mom “cooter” … COOTER. It’s hysterical and the best. If I were in your situation I might have them call me Nacky. I just made it up, it means nothing, it’s not a word, and for some reason I love it.

Kristin, your kids are calling me Nacky.

Kristin Says:

Yes, yes, yes. This is awesome, and I agree whole-heartedly with DannielleNacky.

The beauty of kids is that they learn what we teach them — and so whatever it is that you want to be called will literally be how that tiny one thinks of you in their tiny brain. KIDS ARE SO MALLEABLE AND PERFECT.

Okay, so here are some adorable, gender-nonconforming name ideas for your soon to be niece/nephew/squirt:

– Zii {Your Name} or ZeeZee – I think “Zii” or “Ze” or however you choose to spell it, could be kind of cool. I found out that the plural of “aunt” or “uncle” in Italian in Zie/Zii, and also a gender-neutral pronoun is “Ze” – and ZEE is a fun and easy thing for babies to say… so maybe?!

– Puppy – I am reading a book by Neil Gaiman at the moment where one of the nicknames is “Puppy,” and I find it to be adorable and sweet and like… imagine that tiny baby calls you their PUPPY?!??!

– Shithead – Listen, Sorry… I just. I started thinking about this movie where Steve Martin has a dog named Shithead and it’s my favorite thing ever and then I pictured a two year old crying and being like, “BUT I DON’T WANT SHITHEAD TO GO HOME!” having absolutely no understanding of the fact that they were saying anything abnormal and it made me laugh at the breakfast table and then I was like, “People will get mad at me if I suggest it,” and then I was like, “Fuck it, it’s funny,” and now here we are.

– {Your Name As Pronounced By A Tiny Baby} – Kids generally try to say a person’s name for the first time and wind up creating an incredibly hilarious and amazing nickname that is endearing and perfect… so maybe you let them have a go at it once they become a mumblin’ squirt? My sister called me Nin-nin when she was tiny and most of my cousins and my grandma still refer to me as Nin-nin… also one of my friends is named Mary and her neice calls here Meanie. So.

Also congratulations and that is so exciting!!!! BABIES YOU GUYS!

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"If you have a conversation with a girl (who you like and who likes you) that goes like this: “I like the name Rue.” “I like it too… a lot.” “But I wouldn’t use it for a future daughter because I know a girl named Ruth who goes by Ru.” “But but but… damn.” and then she won’t explain what she means, does that mean that the girl definitely wants to have babies with you?"

- Question submitted by Anonymous

Dannielle Says:

I mean, yes, she absolutely wants to be impregnated with your seed. #omgsick

I vote you start a conversation with “So, now that we have a baby on the way….” and then ask her to coffee. OR YOU COULD SAY “I know you said no for Rue, so can we name our baby Primrose or you know someone with that name too? What’s going on here?” and then when she giggles… MAKE OUT ON HER FACE.

Also, I can’t really tell who is who in this situation, did she say no to rue for your fyutch baby or did you, bc if you did, then you should switch that last idea so that you’re offering another suggestion for your future child.

Also Also, you should prolly just go up to her and pull up this post on your phone and be like ‘LOL EVERYONEISGAY.COM ANSWERED MY QUESTION’ and when she reads it be sure to look at her with your eyes all wide and scary so when she’s done reading she looks up and you’re creepily staring at her… that’s the best idea… that’s what you should….do that.

Kristin Says:

EVERYONE CALM TF DOWN.

Listen.

You having a conversation with a girl you like about names you like and ‘future daughters’ is a few things:

1. Totally, adorably cute. Good job.

2. Completely, incredibly, 100% not at all reflective of actually being pregnant together and naming your actual, real flesh, baby-child.

I agree with Dannielle. Go on and be like, “OMG REMEMBER WHEN WE ARE HAVING BABIES TOGETHER AND NOT NAMING THEM RUE?!” and then… #makeoutonherface

Apart from that, no, a conversation about Rue/Ruth/Ru doesn’t mean that girlnonymous wants to have your actual babies. Everyone. Calm. Down.

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“I’ve always loved babies, but lately I’ve become obsessed. I’ve been looking up names, and it’s like I have the overwhelming urge to have a baby. I am no where in the situation where that would be plausible, let alone a good idea. I had a little break-down last week when my father told me he didn’t believe in gay adoption. I guess the reality that it could be really difficult for me to have a child hit me. Do many people usually feel like this?”

- Question submitted by Anonymous

Dannielle Says:

You guys, remember in JUNO when she got pregnant? It’s like THAT COULD NEVER BE ME… and it’s soooo depressing. I mean, no, it’s not depressing bc like, if I got accidentally pregnant right now my life would be totally different and I would cry all the time bc I would be pregnant and wanting to drink pickle juice while crammed in a car and touring high schools…so like… it would be bad timing, BUT YOU GET MY POINT.

The thing about being unable to have chitlins with two uteri or two peni or a uteri and peni that aren’t able to make babies is that sometimes it can take upwards of five years to get approved for adoption, or it can cost upwards of 50k to get a surrogate. It’s expensive and you wait forever and it can be so draining and terrible and I am already dreading the day BUT ALSO HAVE YOU SEEN THIS:

because if some part of you doesn’t squeeze and squish and melt and make a noise that stays in your throat…you and i have nothing in common…

I think that most of us hit a stage in our lives where we just wanna smash our cheeks on a baby cheek. I also know wtf you’re feeling when you say you’re getting discouraged and sad bc it will be such an ongoing intensive experience and that is SO HARD to actually wrap your head around.

It will take time and it will be worth it. All you can do now is know your dad is COMPLETELY WRONG IN HIS CLOSE-MINDED WAY OF THINKING, and there are so many of us who feel exactly what you feel.

Kristin Says:

Well. Here’s the thing. It absolutely does NOT have to be that hard to have a baby. Dannielle gave some examples that can be true, but are also some of the extremes of the situation.

I have friends who tried for six months to have a baby through the way of the sperm bank, and they were so discouraged and giving up hope because nothing was working… and then an incredible friend of theirs stepped forward and said he wanted them to try with him as the donor. They literally flew out to where this boy lived, used a plastic syringe to move the sperm from a cup to my friend (#sick) and got pregnant. THE FIRST TIME. WITH NO DOCTORS AND JUST A SYRINGE AND SOME GROSS SPERM.

No offense, sperm.

I also just learned about a place here in Manhattan called Spence-Chapin that does adoptions on a sliding scale based on income, and where they work with the women who are pregnant to make sure they are taken care of (an important and often overlooked part of the adoption process), and where the wait for a baby is typically between 6 months and 2 years.

So, let me tell you that, while I understand it being an overwhelming feeling, when you are ready for a baby to be a part of your life, you can make that an absolute reality. It may not be as easy as boning your loved one in your bedroom, sure, but it certainly doesn’t have to be a drawn-out, never-ending battle.

As far as your dad is concerned, I am going to stop short of calling him ignorant (although that is an incredibly frustrating concept that many people have AND I CANNOT POSSIBLY UNDERSTAND), and tell you to ask him if that means he doesn’t think you will be a good parent. Ask him why he feels this way, and try to talk to him about the way you see things, and the reasons you know you will be a good parent to a child. It may take him some time, it may never be something he agrees with, but you should at least begin in a place where you are trying to help him understand that any baby would be the luckiest pipsqueak on Earth to have to loving parents. Then show him this picture of Romeo, who has two moms and is the happiest, cutest little shit I’ve ever known:

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