Between+XX+and+XY:+Intersexuality+and+the+myth+of+two+sexes

I was outgoing funny vivacious sympathetic and a

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Unformatted text preview: ist she didn’t expect she’d live to see twenty-four. One night that November Dianne attempted suicide and failed. “A voice from nowhere said, ‘Not yet. Hang on just a little longer.’ I wept, and I wept,” she said. “Someone or something was telling me there was something worth waiting for.” A few days before Christmas that year, one of Dianne’s old Toronto friends called and told her about a doctor in Trinidad, Colorado, who was helping people like Dianne. The doctor’s costs were far less than the European clinics Dianne had heard about. The next day, Dianne called the clinic and related her story. The doctor asked to see all of Dianne’s records. She sent them the same day. 96 Between XX and XY For the first time, Dianne dared to imagine that she might have a normal life. The wait seemed interminable. She even tried talking to her mother about what was going on, but it was useless. Dianne went so far as to tell her mother about the near suicide. Her mother said it would have been better if Dianne had killed herself. And when Dianne finally said that, regardless of her mother’s feelings, she had to go to Colorado, her mother said Dianne could never come home again and could never again speak with family or friends. Her message was clear, but Dianne had made up her mind. If the doctor would have her, she was going. The doctor finally called and said he would take the case, pending an in-person examination. When Dianne told him she had only half the required money, he paused for a second and said, “Come on down anyway.” “That was it!” Dianne said. “I sold everything I owned and left twenty-four years behind with nothing but a suitcase in my hand. I had no idea what lay ahead, but it couldn’t be any worse than what was behind!” On Thursday of that week, Dianne met with the doctor in Trinidad. She explained how she felt, he examined her, and they finalized their decisions. If it was a girl that Dianne wanted to be, then so be it. The day after Easter Sunday, the anniversary of Christ’s resurrection, the doctors operated on Dianne and gave her what she had always wanted, a woman’s genitalia. Dianne was reborn. A week later, Dianne was in Ontario, Canada, and within a few days she had a new job and a new apartment. For her, another life had begun. Here, where no one knew her, Diane could physically and mentally be the girl she had always wanted to be. I was suddenly and finally free, and I quickly discovered that I was much different than I had ever suspected. I was outgoing, funny, vivacious, sympathetic, and a horrible flirt! As much as I had a taste of freedom in those few years in Toronto, it was nothing like actually being free! I suddenly had lots of friends, more than my share of suitors, and was truly happy for the first time. I no longer had anything to hide and no limitations. I was Where Our Sexes Come From 97 a bad girl! I was full of life, sensuous, and wild! It was finally a time when I could experience myself in my totality. The doctors in Trinidad recommended she follow up with staff at a clinic in Ontario. And for a while, Dianne did regularly visit the clinic. It turned out she was one of very few patients they had ever followed much beyond surgery. The staff was amazed at Dianne, and so was Dianne. Suddenly she was the woman she had always wanted to be—a healthy, happy, normal woman, and that surprised everyone at least a little. For Dianne, all of her former doubts about who she was just disappeared. “I was simply a sexually and emotionally repressed young woman who had finally cast off the repression and had taken flight. By my thirties my career was on the upswing, and I was living with a man who loved me very much.” At age forty, Dianne finally met her birth mother. At that point much of what Dianne had suspected became real. I learned some details about the first few weeks of my life and began to get hints that there was something unusual about me at birth. It is likely that I was born with some degree of a DSD (disorder of sex development) that left me neither fully “normal female” nor “normal male,” which explains the odd circumstances of my “mixed-up puberty.” Whatever the state of my tiny body, it was “corrected” (as much as possible at that time), and I was put up for adoption as a boy. There is little doubt that many members of the family and some family friends knew of my circumstances, as such knowledge would explain their acceptance of my “difference.” It is also likely that this fact accounted for my mother’s absolute refusal to accept my expressions of femininity. The “expert opinion” at the time was that nurture shaped the human being, and “raise it as a boy and everything will be fine.” Once the coals of Dianne’s suspicions had been brought to full flame, she began to read about intersexuality and the people it affected. 98 Between XX and XY In one of those books Dianne found a picture of a twenty-something person who looked exactly like what Dianne thought she would...
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