So this is part 2 of 7 part series. LGBTQIA - What do all those letters mean?
For the purpose of this blog series, I am going to give you my understanding of what each letter means…within the framework of what the LGBT community also determines the letter to mean. However, I want to be clear that it may not align with what the GLAAD or other LGBT groups have deemed the letters to mean.
But as I said last week, I believe each letter deserves its time.
So the next letter going backwards is "I" is for Intersex or Intersexual
Which by Wikipedia means:
An intersex human or animal is one possessing any of several variations in sex characteristics including chromosomes, gonads, sex hormones, or genitals that, according to the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, "do not fit the typical definitions for male or female bodies".
So just this past week , I was introduced to a parent of a gay daughter. He was super accepting and supportive. But as I began to try and explain what Live Equal does, he stopped me to ask .."What is the QIA part? " Even very accepting people connected to the community don't know what all those letters mean. Hence this blog series.
Similar to" A" for Asexual (last week's blog), many "I" intersex people do not loudly identify themselves. They have been called hermaphrodites in the past to indicate they had "complicated" genitalia but this term is largely controversial and has since been dropped. The new term of Intersex is to indicate a more open and patient stance with an Intersexual person so they can develope and grow to determine what gender they plan to claim if they decide to claim gender before surgical procedures are done to determine it for them.
In addition, "I" 's are often later lumped into another well known letters like Lesbian or Transgender since
1- it is way easier to publically identify and label...since god forbid we not label people, and
2- speaking of one's genitalia is extremely personal and hard to explain in this case; plus, it truly is no-one's business.
Medically science has seen this type of genetic make up thousands of times and is fairly common. The newest and best research indicates that nothing should really be done to an intersex child until the child can determine their own choices.
As for me, I think a parent of an intersex child has likely got to be one of the strongest parents alive. Their child will need many years of support and a good team of doctors. The child themselves will be faced with many issues most of us would never have to consider. I think it is also important here to acknowledge that each letter in the LGBTQIA doesn't have to ONLY identify with ONE letter. For many people in the community, there isn't a clear cut definition of what we are. Many identify in a fluid explanation of who and what they are and labels are more for the outside community to understand than for the individual themselves.
Lastly, I want to tell you the reader...just like an asexual person. An intersexual person has had their own journey and are truly courageous. So if you know someone that is intersexual or maybe you know a parent who just found out their baby has both sets of genitalia . Be supportive, be loving and encourage them to let their child grow and learn who they are before decisions are made. An "I" is a beautiful creation!