“Hi, I’m intersex, but I’ve never met another intersex person before. Where is everyone?! I want to meet another intersex person so much. Where do I find them?”
- Question submitted by Anonymous and answered by Claudia Astorino as part of Everyone Is Gay: Second Opinions
Hi, Anonymous! This is a great question – I don’t think I’ve ever met another intersex person that didn’t share these sentiments. I remember dreaming about what it would be like to meet another intersex person as a kid, wondering where they all were, wondering when it would happen. When I finally did meet an out intersex person for the first time, I felt like my heart and my life exploded in the best of all possible ways. I had been told for years and years by doctors, my family, society at large that I had to keep my body and myself a secret, that other people wouldn’t understand, that I had to try my best to be “normal” at all costs. To finally meet someone that not only understood but VALIDATED my intersex self? Was nothing less than life-changing. I count that as one of many turning-points in my life. Meeting other intersex people is important and great, and I hope that you can connect with some fantastic intersex folks soon!
That being said, WE ARE NOT AN EASY BUNCH TO FIND out in the world nowadays. That shame and secrecy I referenced just a moment ago is still the party line that a lot of intersex kids are given – and what a lot of intersex teens and adults stick to because 1) there aren’t a ton of models out there showing closeted intersex people that you can come out and live a fulfilling life and it will be okay, and 2) the medicalization most of us undergo and the intersexphobia we feel in society is a deterrent to coming out when most of us are still closeted. Intersex people looking to connect have historically had a difficult time doing so. Furthermore, doctors have not been helpful for putting intersex kids and families in contact with one another, at least in part because of patient confidentiality agreements.
But one giant thing has changed since the dark ages of the 1980’s when I was born, that’s helping intersex people find one another today: THE POWER OF THE INTERNET. There has been, like, approx. eleventy billion articles and thinkpieces on how the internet has changed social landscapes, in ways that are argued to be either awesomesauce or awfulsauce #makinwordsup #fakewordfriday #justgowithit #awfulsauceyum?? In this particular case, the internet has been enormously helpful in enabling intersex people to connect with one another – both online and in real life. In short: THE INTERNET IS RIDICULOUSLY HELPFUL, DO YOU KNOW, WHY DON’T YOU LOG ON NOW #dialupnoises #ughlikeyouknowwhatthosearenow #speakingofthe80s #halpimdecrepit
There are multiple ways you can search for awesome, out intersex people to connect with. You can search the #intersex hashtag on social media, like Tumblr, Twitter, and Facebook or Google search terms like “intersex organization” or “intersex activist.” (You may not care if the wonderful intersex people you wanna connect with are activists/affiliates of an intersex organization or not, but these are nevertheless starting points to meet other intersex people!) Follow some intersex folks and orgs that advocate for intersex human rights and/or provide support for intersex folks. If you find some people or groups you think you like, check em out online and learn more. Check out some stuff they’ve written. Subscribe to a newsletter. See if they host a chatroom, forum, or closed Facebook group you can join, where intersex people can talk with one another. (These exist out there, with some that are specific for people with a particular intersex variation.) See if the intersex folks or orgs you like give talks or workshops, or take part in or host (bi-)annual meetings you’d like to attend, AND THEN GO! Going to a real-life event is a great way to meet intersex people in person! You have the opportunity to not only meet awesome intersex folks who live far away but you can keep up with through the wonders of text message, Gchat, and Skype, but you may also find intersex people you like that live near you! And now you’re straight-up hanging out with intersex people, ALL BECAUSE YOU SEARCHED A HASHTAG ON THE INTERNETS, man are you good!
A further note: if you don’t have a lot of $$$, that’s not necessarily a problem – you can still totally go to an event! Many talks and workshops are free or donation-based for participants, and big annual meetings – which do cost money, and are hosted in different places that require travel – sometimes offer scholarships to help those in need attend. See what’s in your area or close-by, and what seems worth saving up for, traveling to, and applying for scholarships to attend.
FIRE UP YR SEARCH ENGINES, Anonymous, and go find some friends! <3
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