With IDAHO on May 17, it is pertinent to remember why intersex is a part of the LGBTIQ alliance. Intersex people generally have a sexual orientation, however, it is more likely to be perceived as heterosexual than same-sex. We also have a gender identity, however, that almost always appears to conform to typically man or woman than gender non-conforming.

There is a notion held by some that intersex is associated with gender non-conforming and some kind of transitioning. This is rarely true of nearly all intersex. Sex transitioning with respect to intersex is meaningless.   Our sex preferences are as diverse as those of non-intersex people.

How did intersex come to be allied to others who are a part of LGBTQ activism and community? Homophobia is the simple answer. Although people with physical differences are often subjected to prejudice because of those differences, for intersex there is more to it. Intersex researchers have noted the most common concern for parents when told their child is intersex is that it means their child is gay. Intersex surgery on infants addresses those parental fears by modifying anatomies so children will become men or women in heterosexual relationships.

Many intersex, on learning of their differences as adults, are rejected by their partners because of homophobic notions that their partner is not ‘really a man/woman’. Others are pressured to undertake masculinising or feminising medical treatments and surgery so they are clearly seen to be the ‘opposite’ sex of their partner lest the relationship be thought of as somehow ‘gay’.

Although generalised revulsion against physical differences may account for some of the prejudice, the driver is fears held by many that if the sex of a person is uncertain then the nature of that person’s sexual relationships is uncertain.

Intersex people are not part of LGBTIQ because of sexual orientation or gender identity. All of us in that alliance are bound by the nature of our oppression — homophobia.

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