Intersex (for lack of a better word)
By Thea Hillman
Manic D Press, 2008, 155 pages, $11.21 on Amazon
As a sexuality educator, I have some familiarity with the world of Intersex people. I have loved them, cried with them, rejoiced with them, mourned their death, and heard many of their deepest stories. When I read this book, my heart cried, and I learned a lot more than my text books tell me about gender identity.
I probably met Thea Hillman in San Francisco in the early 90's, we seem to have attended a few of the same events, but I have no specific recollection of her. Now I feel I know her well. She bares her soul in the many chapters of this (sort of) diary. She speaks of her experiences as a young child, being diagnosed with Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia, and what that experience meant to a four year old girl who was growing pubic hairs, a child who was poked and examined by many doctors, and had a total lack of personal privacy of her body. She comes back to this experience many times in the stories she tells of her life as a person who does not really know what gender she is. She speaks about her "outwardly simple though visually misleading, internally complicated gender." She speaks of her mother's prayers that she would be normal. She speaks of normal this way:
"I take the war on terror personally because the war on terror is really a war on difference, because my body strikes terror in the hearts of other Americans.
"My body and the bodies of the people I love are the most intimate sites of American imperialism. Because our sex anatomy isn't normal, they operate on us without our consent. Because who we have sex with isn't normal, they won't let us get married. Because our gender isn't normal, they don't give us jobs, health care, or housing. We work, we pay rent, we pay taxes, but because we're not normal, we don't get the same freedoms other Americans enjoy, the same freedoms American soldiers are murdering to protect.
"Normal is a weapon of mass destruction. It's just as deadly, and just like those weapons, it'll never be found"
Thea has served on the Board of Mills College and as...