Acceptance is a tricky thing.

If I may digress from intended topic to share with you a personal story. My acceptance of the transgender community was an uphill struggle. I had accepted the “Born Male – Born Female” binary so wholeheartedly, that my brain could not compute anything that could didn’t fit in either box. It took years of undoing that mis-education for me to be able to begin accepting transgender individuals.

Though, I must confess that there are holes in this professed acceptance. It’s still currently difficult for me to fathom teens (real anyone below 18) getting gender affirming surgeries or preteens undergoing hormone replacement therapy to prevent the changes that occur at puberty. But that’s my personal baggage and, notwithstanding, journey of acceptance continues with love and respect for all my transgender Jamaican brother and sisters. Some research and a few more videos from YouTuber Skylar Kergil will surely get me where I need to be.

Now to the topic at hand. My acceptance of Intersex individuals was a much smoother ascendance in comparison and took me just under 2 weeks. I went from “What does Intersex mean?” to “How can I become an Intersex ally?” in that short period of time and it all started with this photo here:

A lady reading Golden Boy by Abigail Tarttelin on an MRT (train) in Singapore. Photo Credit: JM Wang

An impulsive purchase of Golden Boy on Amazon Kindle incited by a book cover – which subsequently led to two weeks of deep, immersive (and enjoyable reading) – culminated in me wanting to join the fight for intersex rights. But here’s the thing, how can I know that I’ve accepted people I’ve only met fictionally?

Acceptance is indeed a tricky thing.

 

If you’re anything like me when I first heard the term intersex, you’re gonna need a definition:

“Intersex people are born with sex characteristics (including genitals, gonads and chromosome patterns) that do not fit typical binary notions of male or female bodies.”

– United Nations for LGBT Equality

 

Essentially, intersex means that an individual cannot be defined as being distinctly male or female based on a host of physical or other biological characteristics.

Statistically, every 1 in 1,500 people are born Intersex, or with some variation that doesn’t make them 100% male or female. So, statistically, Intersex Jamaicans exist and are quite common. In fact, statistically, there are 1,810 Intersex Jamaicans, but where are they?

 

Jamaica’s most popular LGBT organisation, JFLAG, said this:

“While we have no doubt that there are Jamaicans who are intersex, we have not knowingly engaged or provided services to someone who is. J-FLAG is unable to provide an estimate of the number of persons who are believed to be intersex in Jamaica.”

– J-FLAG

While I hope that I’m not reading too much into this, my first thoughts upon hearing this statement were:

  1. What could be some of the issues Jamaica’s intersex community is facing?
  2. Are their particular issues being dealt with?
  3. Are they the victims of any forms of discrimination?

However, it could also be that these possibly 1,810 Intersex Jamaicans are leading peaceful and unbothered lives with no pressing issues beyond that of the regular Jamaican and much prefer to be left alone to continue their peaceful existence.

But still I’m curious to know.

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