Thursday, April 30, 2009

The War Within:

CAMH battles notorious reputation of Zucker’s and Blanchard’s gender clinics with scathing report

Investigative report by Lynn Conway

April 30, 2009 [V 4-30-09] [A report in progress]

Abstract: By 2007, CAMH's Ken Zucker had been widely exposed as a trans-reparatist who claimed to be able to cure gender variant children, while CAMH's Ray Blanchard openly ridiculed transsexual women as being men without penises. The resulting outrage all across the transgender community became so intense that CAMH launched a study to consider the complaints. The study led to stinging indictments of CAMH's gender clinics, and made well-reasoned recommendations on how to alleviate the problems. In response, Zucker and Blanchard have if anything intensified their ongoing war on transgenders, and are now apparently engaging in a war within CAMH to sidestep the recommendations of the study.


To download the pdf of this report: Click here

To download the html version with active links to references: Click here 

This is a service of the Organisation Intersex International

Declaration of principles from OII

Let's not hear any more intersex children screaming

performed by Gavan Coleman.

What is Intersex?

By Michelle O’Brien, OII-United Kingdom

I have been asked to provide some material from different sources, but these are requests I find hard to engage with. One is for me to provide a primer on intersex for undergraduate students. The other is to give a personal biography. I have been considering why at this stage of my life and research I am finding it so difficult to comply with these requests. This writing also comes out of a request to OII for material on intersex for a non-academic audience in a medical context.

To read the whole article: Click here to download pdf

This is a service of the Organisation Intersex International

Friday, April 24, 2009

World First: Intersex Legal Advice Service Opens in Sydney

Inner City Legal Centre is a community legal centre based in Kings Cross. We provide legal advice to people living in the inner city and eastern suburbs of Sydney. We also have a statewide Gay and Lesbian Advice Service and Transgender Advice Service.

We are now starting a legal advice service for Intersex people living in NSW.

To read the complete article: Click here

This is a service of the Organisation Intersex International

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

'Strange' Anatomies

When one investigates LGBTI anatomies, transgender and intersex bodies aren't the only surprises awaiting us in the past.

Leaving aside psychopathology in the twentieth century, it is possible to delve further back to view lesbian and gay bodies as they were conceptualised before the rise of modern evidence based medicine.

By the eighteenth century, male doctors had "discovered" the clitoris, which had previously eluded them because premodern, Aristotelian medical orthodoxy had literally overlooked it. No sooner had that happened when anxieties began to arise about the alleged 'consequences' of female self-pleasure and lesbianism. As a consequence, racist and homophobic discourses swirled around non-European women in general, and lesbians per se, in which both were viewed as 'hermaphrodites,' who were capable of woman to  woman penetrative sex due to 'clitoral engorgement.' It may sound amusing now, but clitoredectomy (female genital mutilation) was one of the prescribed 'cures' for such an imaginary 'pathology.'

To read the whole article: Click here

This is a service of the Organisation Intersex International

Monday, April 20, 2009

New book on intersex

Between XX and XY: Intersexuality and the Myth of Two Sexes 

by Gerald N.Callahan. Chicago Review, $24.95 (240p) ISBN 978-1-55652-785-2

Combining passion with current scientific information, Callahan, an immunologist/pathologist at Colorado State University, explains why our conception of two sexes is more a social than a biological construct. He argues that there are no simple, foolproof ways to determine sex. For example chromosomal structure, XX for females and XY for males, is not fully predictive because of various genetic disorders that can play a larger role. Similarly, genitalia can be quite varied and represent a continuum of difference rather than two discrete points. Callahan does a good job of exploring intersex individuals, who are neither male nor female, and argues that they need to be accepted for what they are and not viewed as defective. Further, he provides provocative evidence that surgical gender reconstruction is often unsuccessful. Although Callahan attempts to make the case that some non-Western societies have a less bipolar view of gender, his abbreviated presentation is not very convincing. He is, however, persuasive that better understanding of and respect for sex and gender variability would be far healthier for the 65,000-plus intersex people born each year and society in general. (July)

Source: Click here

This is a service of the Organisation Intersex International

Friday, April 17, 2009

I refuse

By Andre Lorek

Founder of GendersInX 

In the past couple of years I have come to know what it is to have Klinefelter’s but more importantly, I have come to know how people see me as a Klinefelter’s person as they have different opinions on how I should be. Strange how a syndrome with a doctor’s name attached to it can change people’s minds after knowing me for so long as an unique person in my own right. As soon as they are aware that I have Klinefelter’s or that I am Intersex, which they think they have a little box fits me to a T and where I belong –  away from them.

Recently, a fellow member of GendersInX came across an article which stated that a person with my chromosome anomaly has a deficient mental capacity, is socially inept and has issues that require certain medication(s) to control or fix it. If I bought into that, I wouldn’t be here writing this up.

I have worked hard at becoming the person I am and I continue to work hard at building my knowledge of languages I knew which are three. I continue to learn about how to express myself, on how to reach people where they live and I continue to work on myself, repairing whatever damage has been done that would result in feeling less than an important part of this society. I refuse to believe that I am mentally incapacitated in any way and I continue to prove that by going to work every day and doing the best that I can, ever expanding my knowledge of computers, business logic and most importantly: people.

I have friends and I try my best to keep them for I depend on them as much as they may depend on me. I have worked hard in trying to read people’s faces, know the intricate body language that shows a person is feeling like this or like that, worked hard on trying to say and do the right things that make a person feel special because they are. I refuse to believe that little box in which I am supposed to be socially inept will stand in my way of knowing as many people as I can and them knowing me better than remembering my name.

Klinefelter’s is no picnic. Being a Mosaic is not either. In my time spent with many XXY’s, I have come to realize that most people think that Mosaics have an easier time than Klinefelter’s. We don’t. We have to strive as hard as the next person to get our life as comfortable as possible in whatever way we see fit for our own body. I refuse to accept that I have been less affected by Klinefelter’s than the next one. I also refuse to accept that Klinefelter’s is an excuse for not striving for what I believe can be a comfortable life for myself. I make no excuses for being who I am.

With the XXY chromosomes comes the child-like emotional maturity that most other people lose as they become an adult. Anger issues stem from that, not only as children but even worse when we are physically adults. I struggle with this every time I get into a situation that makes me uncomfortable. I have to believe that I am not a victim, that people are not out to bring my negative side of me to the forefront and that there are people near me and out there who do love and want the best for me. I will not accept that I have a right to be angry because every time I do, something in me dies and I will have to fight that much harder to revive that bit to continue. It’s an ongoing loop and I refuse to give up on bettering it.

I have long recognized that I am Intersex and that does not burden me but frees me to be the natural person I am. There is no fear of it and it’s not abnormal to be Intersex. I am not a special person because of Intersex, it doesn’t elevate me and it is certainly not something I have any reason to be ashamed of. Being Intersex does not give me special privileges. It doesn’t give me the ability to love more or hate more than anyone else and it certainly doesn’t open the doors for me. I refuse to believe that I am nothing but a normal Intersex person with a freedom to express myself in whatever legal form I see fit.

I don’t have a disability. I am not a sexual dysfunction. I don’t hate the people that try to put me and others like me in these infantile boxes but I do loathe their ideas that make them think they can. I and others like me prove that we are more than the tiny medical box they want us in every day by being proud of the individuals we are, the people we choose as our friends, the ones we love and the things we do every day that makes life interesting.

I refuse to believe that a person of any condition cannot be more than is expected.

This is a service of the Organisation Intersex International

Thursday, April 16, 2009

CBX2: The Age of Chromosomes is Over!

By Sophia Siedlberg

The New Scientist (1) published an article about a seven year old girl who was "diagnosed" as having XY chromosomes, but has a uterus, ovaries etc. As usual the popular press described what the team in Zurich had found, led by Dr Anna Biason-Lauber as a girl who had violated the rules of "maleness" and she therefore "provided a key to understanding how maleness works". There is however a bit of a bombshell for all those Chromosexuals out there who get sexual satisfaction in condemning such a child as "a genetic male". Dr Anna Biason-Lauber has discovered a more important truth here. Sex is not down to chromosomes!

CBX2 on (wait for it) Chromosome 17 acts like the real "Male master switch" and most XX females will have a working copy. So does that makes them genetically male then?

There are two key points to remember here, firstly the MSRs on the Y chromosome are not the "male master switch" (In plain English SRY is not the six pack penis gene it was said to be) and secondly the fact that the "real master switch" resides in Chromosome 17 and everyone, male or female has a copy of it.

Anyone with half a brain may start to realize that sex differentiation is more complex and in terms of chromosomes, more diffuse than the commonly held misconception of everything being on the 23rd pair of chromosomes. What Dr Anna Biason-Lauber has found is simply the fact that sex differentiation is not what people have for years thought it to be.

Look at this both ways (as most people were taught to believe the SRY on the Y chromosome is the root of all maleness): before SRY there is another "master switch" that if present and if expressing "allows" SRY to express. So SRY is clearly not the root of all maleness. Add to this the simple fact that CBX2 is found on every man and woman's genome, and resides on chromosome 17 not X or Y. Suddenly male and female are not quite so distinct. After SRY we again find a situation where all the relevant genes have to be there, have to express in a given way and they can also be found on either the X or the remaining autosomes. Rendering the “oh so sacred” Y chromosome as something that will increase the probability of a male birth but little more than that.

What CBX2 shows is that people cannot use genetics as an excuse to say to XY women, "They should be men". For ten years or so genes expressing after SRY have been shown to be as important when it comes to making someone "genetically male" or "genetically female" (If fools want to be so arbitrary about it) but now it has been found that SRY depends on a gene in the autosomes to express before SRY can. And if it doesn't, SRY or no SRY, the end result is a female.

There is no excuse now for anyone to think that XX = "Girl" and XY = "Boy". It clearly does not work that way. You are only "genetically male or female" if you have all the genes line up to produce an unambiguous phenotype of one or the other sex. Since this is also not so clear cut, even talking of "Genetic sex" is foolish, and to claim a woman or girl such as the one mentioned in the New Scientist is "genetically male" is little more than petty minded ignorance.

The next time someone says to me, "Such and such is genetically male because of their chromosomes", I will simply maintain that in order to draw such a conclusion, they are deliberately ignoring how DNA really works and as such must be "genetically pig ignorant".

The age of chromosomes is now over. Like it or not, chromosomes are not the final markers of sex and never will be.

The very second Dr Anna Biason-Lauber published her findings was the very second the imagined absolute nature of chromosomes came to an end. If people are going to describe sex in terms of genetics, they can only say it truthfully now: Chromosomes simply hint at the presence of a set of genes (Polygenic array, ah vindicated!) that would lead to a particular outcome, but nothing more.

Being male or female is not a question of genetic checklists involving chromosomes. Being male or female is an adapted state of being as I have always said, and this proves it. Genetically sex is a complex set of variations, more complex than "social constructs and some mythical gender spectrum." The real spectrum is the entire human genome and that differs from individual to individual. Someone’s approximation to a given sex is like their fingerprint, unique to them. And when people realise the full consequence of that, the two sex system and not just the "gender binary" face a very profound challenge.

Has society got the balls (or ovaries) to grasp that? Or will society still insist on saying something dumb like "XX for a girl; XY for a boy"? Only time will tell, but since Dr. Anna Biason-Lauber published that paper, the age of chromosomes should be consigned to the dustbin of history along with other mistakes like eugenics.


(1) Journal reference: American Journal of Human Genetics (DOI: 10.1016/j.ajhg.2009.03.016). Issue 2704 of New Scientist magazine, page 14.

This is a service of the Organisation Intersex International

Ackerman’s Annual Spring Conference

May 15, 2009

Gender Variance in Families: A Family Systems Approach 

Arlene Istar Lev, LCSW, CASAC Jean Malpas, MA, Discussant 

Arlene Istar Lev will present her original work steeped in systems theory, feminist philosophy, and narrative concepts. Via the lens of transgender experience, we will learn ways to transform a family’s sense of betrayal, secrecy, fear and shame to generative bonding, acceptance and loyalty. Conference participants can count on stretching our capacity to hold and honor difference and diversity in all of the families we encounter.

A model of family emergence will be featured for assisting families through the normative crises that emerge during gender transitions. This presentation will examine the clinician’s subjectivity as consultant, gatekeeper, therapist, advocate, and “helper” for all members of the family.

Date: May 15, 2009 Time: 9:00 am - 4:00 pm

Tuition: before May 1, 2009: $125 after May 1, 2009: $155

Location: Hunter College School of Social Work

129 East 79th Street, New York, NY 10075

Graduate Student tuition: $85

For more information contact: Suna Elmas, 212-879-4900, ext 111 or

To read Intersexuality in the Family: An Unacknowledged Trauma by Arlene Istar Lev: Click here

This is a service of the Ogranisation Intersex International

Monday, April 13, 2009

What is Intersex, by Michelle O’Brien

I highly recommend this article which is published on OII-Australia's website.
Curtis E. Hinkle,
Founder of the Organisation Intersex International

Excerpt from article:
Michelle O’Brien is a board member of OII-UK, and is a university academic in the UK. We will format this article as a PDF and make it available for free public download soon. Many thanks to Michelle for giving us her permission to republish it here.

I have been asked to provide some material from different sources, but these are requests I find hard to engage with. One is for me to provide a primer on intersex for undergraduate students. The other is to give a personal biography. I have been considering why at this stage of my life and research I am finding it so difficult to comply with these requests. This writing also comes out of a request to OII for material on intersex for a non-academic audience in a medical context.

To read the complete article: Click here

Sunday, April 12, 2009

She's Got Game

Women's professional tennis has cleared the way for an intersex player to compete on the tour. But with all of the questions her case raises about gender and biology, is women's tennis ready for Sarah Gronert?

By Douglas Robson

An exclusive posted April 9, 2009

Women's professional tennis is coming to grips with one of the most unusual cases in its 36-year history: an intersex player competing on the tour.

Sarah Gronert, a 22-year-old German, was born with both male and female characteristics. Gronert, who had surgery at 19 and is legally a woman, has been cleared by both the International Tennis Federation (ITF) and the WTA Tour to compete -- unlike male-to-female transsexual Renée Richards, who was forced to sue to secure the right to play on the women's tour in the 1970s. “It's a one-of-a-kind case,” says out lesbian Martina Navratilova, an 18-time Grand Slam singles champion who now comments for cable outlet the Tennis Channel.

An ITF spokesman confirmed by e-mail that Gronert “is legally and biologically a woman and entitled to play on the ITF and WTA professional circuits.” The ITF oversees the four Grand Slams and tournaments that fall below the main WTA circuit. A WTA official said the tour became aware of Gronert's case last spring and conducted a review with a medical delegate during the summer and fall of 2008. Gronert requested the review, the official said.

To read the whole article: Click here

This is a service of the Organisation Intersex International

Good News for Transgender Jews

Rabbi Kukla writes in the introduction to the Kulanu, which means 'all of us' in Hebrew, “The midrash, classical Jewish exegesis, adds that the adam harishon, the first human being formed in God’s likeness, was an androgynos, an intersex person,” “Hence our tradition teaches that all bodies and genders are created in God’s image whether we identify as men, women, intersex, or something else.”

To read the whole article: Click here

This is a service of the Organisation Intersex International

Friday, April 10, 2009

2009 National LGBTI Health Summit

The 2009 National LGBTI (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex,) Health Summit - in collaboration with the Bi Health Summit (August 14, 2009) will focus on “Health Through the Life Course” and is dedicated to preserving and improving the emotional, physical, spiritual, intellectual, psychological, environmental, and social health and wellness of LGBTI people; a diverse range of communities who each experience significant health disparities because of our sexual orientations and/or gender identities.

As 2009 marks the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, Chicago is especially proud to host this year’s Health Summit. The passage of Prop 8 has not only put LGBTI concerns back on the front burner for our community, but more importantly for our own allies. LGBTI health care is being revered as its own grassroots movement. Moreover, LGBTI health care is incorporating the whole person mentally, physically, spiritually rather than being disease-based.

This is a service of the Organisation Intersex International

Thursday, April 9, 2009

The Fools who would be king for a day.

By Sophia Siedlberg.
© 8 April 2009

Many years ago, back in the days of human sacrifice, people would appease various deities and providence by sacrificing other people to them. One interesting "reward" for whoever was unfortunate (or fortunate depending on your point of view) to end up being sacrificed was to spend a period of time being treated like royalty by being given all the privileges that those planning to do the sacrifice could give.

There is a new "religion" if you like and it is called sexology, and those it sacrifices are people this new religion had previously tormented. These sacrificial lambs for the slaughter suddenly find themselves being given the power to lord it over everyone the sexologists don't like. And these "Kings for a day" do seem to take some very interesting forms. One is a "Republican Muslim she-male prostitute" who is also an expert of quantum mechanics and has the right to decide who gets bullied by those in charge of this new religion. Another is an anesthetist who was subject to dismissal from a clinic after doing genital examinations of a patient under anesthetic. Now she describes herself as an "Autogynephilic Transsexual". There is another who claims to be "the genuine article" when it comes to being intersexed, but the truth is, while this person may have an intersex condition, this is not why the new religion accepts them, they are accepted because their "narrative" (social history) fits with the dogma of this new religion.

To read the complete article: Click here

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

New CBC Documentary has Schamasch as expert

According to CBC, this man is now the media expert on intersex athletes in sport.

Schamasch is an Athletes’ Foot Specialist …


Saturday, April 4, 2009

Gratitude to the International Intersex Community

This is what INTERSEX people can do. This is something that has NEVER been done before in the intersex movement - an international community of INTERSEX people providing support and information about intersex worldwide.

Look at our
home page

You will now see a button for
Arabic just beneath the Chinese calligraphy. The Arabic site is now online with a wealth of information and also has a forum for support.

We now have very talented intersex people from Northern Africa, Taiwan, many countries in Europe, North America, South America, New Zealand and Australia.

We have an official
OII-Australia now with a very beautiful website.

We have a very talented and active group in

We have an
art gallery of work by intersex people from all over the world.

We have writings and other articles on intersex in many different languages by intersex people from all over the world.

This is something we can all be very proud of. This is a FIRST.

I thank all of you for your wonderful work and commitment to human rights.

In solidarity,
Curtis E. Hinkle
Founder of OII

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Can you help?

If you can help Charles Tabu, please do so.

For any assistance, Tabu’s uncle Jonah Musagala can be reached on 0751604633. Good Samaritans can also deposit money on Account No: 1031100040339, Post Bank Jinja Branch

This is a service of the Organisation Intersex International

Hope for Jinja ‘hermaphrodite’

Tabu wants to be a man since he has been living like one since childhood. He is sexually active and frequently gets sexually attracted to women. PHOTOS BY PAULINE KAIRU
An ultrasound scan, hormonal and sex chromosome tests have confirmed that Tabu has more biological male features than the female ones, write Pauline Kairu and Solomon Muyita
Sixteen-year-old Charles Tabu has had to live with the agony and pain of hiding a deeply entrenched secret pertaining his sexuality.

But recently when peers at school learnt of his sexual abnormalities causing him to be branded a hermaphrodite, he could not bear it anymore. He not only kept away from school but also attempted to commit suicide. Luckily, his uncle counselled him and promised to find a solution to his problem.

Although his mother gave him male names, she knew he had both the male and female sex organs – a thing that seemed to bother her mind because Tabu was her first born. Before the mother, Rose Nabyana, thought of settling down to have other children, she abandoned Tabu with one of her brothers Jonah Musagala at a village in Wanyange, Jinja, in 2004 and she has not been seen again. By then, an 11-year-old Tabu who was in Primary Four at Katonte Primary School in Mayuge had started developing breasts.

The uncle, who’s a security guard at MM College at Wairaka in the suburbs of Jinja, was initially oblivious about Tabu’s sex disorders – it only came to his knowledge late last year when he saw Tabu’s fully grown breasts and he received his menstrual periods.

“He came to me crying in November last year. He revealed his condition to me and told me how he has been hiding it from other people and I. He said he was going to commit suicide,” said Musagala, who immediately sought help to correct Tabu’s condition.

It is apparent that the youngster who has developed a slouching posture, probably in an attempt to hide the full breasted chest is very uncomfortable with his condition. He seldom looks up throughout the interview as he painstakingly tries to respond to queries.

In his interview with Daily Monitor before tests were done on him, Tabu wished to remain a man, since he has been living like one since childhood, he is sexually active and that he frequently gets sexually attracted to women. “I want to be a man. I have been living as a man from childhood,” Tabu said.

As if to grant his wish, doctors at the Jinja Referral Hospital, who have done an ultrasound scan on Tabu’s reproductive organs as well as hormonal and sex chromosome tests, have confirmed that he has more biological male features than the female ones.

“We checked and he has no uterus,” explained Dr Benon Wanume, the Jinja Hospital medical superintendent. “What appeared like a vagina below his penis is actually his urethra that defectively opened at the bottom side of his penis and not at the end. He has testicles but they are atrophic (poorly developed).”

According to Dr Wanume, it is the abnormality on his testicles that has made Tabu develop breasts and seem like a hermaphrodite, because they (testicles) cannot produce enough antigens in his body to counteract the estrogens.

Estrogens are hormones from the ovary which are responsible for typical female sexual characteristics, whereas antigens are secreted from the testicles in males and are responsible for the male sexual characteristics. The Jinja Hospital does not have the facilities to correct the boy’s condition, so he would be referred to Mulago Hospital for an operation to, among others, correct the position of his urethra on his penis.

“Also, more antigens have to be pumped into his body to counteract the estrogen, so it can reverse the growth of the female-like features on his body like the breasts,” explained the medic.

Dr Wanume said what appeared like menstrual periods on Tabu late last year was a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI), “Given that his urethra is so close to his anus,” making it easy for him to contract an infection.

According to the doctor, conditions such as Tabu’s are common and can be medically corrected. “I know it’s a torture to the victim,” said the doctor, adding that Tabu needed serious counselling because he is already tortured by the feeling that he was probably a woman.

Mr Musagala says he just figured out that his sister, Ms Nabyana had abandoned his 11-year-old child with him claiming that she had a business deal in Nairobi, Kenya, only never to return.

“She neither told me about the abnormality nor the boy’s father. I actually bet she too doesn’t know Tabu’s father because she was a bit unstable with men – I know she was involved with several of them at the same time.

On top of his own family of five children, Musagala narrates how he has lived on the edge to sustain all of them together with Tabu with his meagre monthly earning of Shs70,000.

He tells of how this discovery has destabilised the family. “We want to help the boy but we probably wouldn’t afford to offer the kind of assistance the boy needs, all I have been doing is praying and believing. But every morning we wake up and the problem is still with us until now, we have resolved to go open with the problem and seek whatever assistance we can get.”

For any assistance, Tabu’s uncle Jonah Musagala can be reached on 0751604633. Good Samaritans can also deposit money on Account No: 1031100040339, Post Bank Jinja Branch