For the intersex community, ‘Every Body’ exists on a spectrum

Intersex advocate Alicia Roth Weigel discusses the nature of intersexuality and challenges faced in a society adhering to rigid gender binaries, as documented in Julie Cohen’s film ‘Every Body.’

Defining intersex: Intersex individuals are born with physical characteristics that fit neither the typical ‘male’ or ‘female’ categories.
* Alicia Roth Weigel, born with androgen insensitivity syndrome, discusses her condition in the context of societal misconceptions about binary gender norms.
* Intersexuality is not widely understood yet by society and exists on a spectrum like sexuality and gender.

Personal account: Weigel opens up about her personal experiences and the physical and psychological impact of forced medical intervention during her childhood.
* As an infant, Weigel had her testes removed due to an overstated risk of testicular cancer, leading to complications later in life.
* The experience led to a loss of body hormones and a sense of shame and isolation that affected her self-perception and mental health.

The broader picture: The film’s inspiration came from the story of David Reimer, a man forced to live as a girl due to a botched circumcision in infancy.
* Despite reassigned gender during childhood, Reimer eventually developed a male gender identity.
* This case highlights the psychological distress caused by forced gender assignments and has significant implications for the intersex community.

Current challenges: Current laws aimed against the trans community directly impact intersex individuals.
* There are laws that deny surgeries and hormones to trans people who consent to them but continue to enforce the same on intersex children without their consent.
* Weigel emphasizes the need for lawmakers and society to expand their understanding about intersex individuals to protect and support them.

View original article on NPR

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