I deleted and edited some of my previous posts because I was receiving scary threatening emails, and I needed to minimize my exposure to knuckle dragging sickos.
The main one that I removed was my official coming out to my fans, where I explained that I wasn't actually male, that I was born intersex and had started hormone replacement therapy.
I realise now that it was a mistake to delete those posts. One bunch of dumb-as-shit assholes threatening my life did not outweigh the hundreds of wonderful supportive comments I received, and most importantly, the one fan of my blog whose life it deeply effected. A reader explained to me that thanks to my post, when his daughter came out as transgender a few weeks later, he was armed with the information he needed to understand her and get her the help she desperately needed. <3.
Foolishly, I allowed fear to get in the way. I started on the right track, challenging war gamer's transphobia on Frothers, addressing homophobia and sexism and kicked off the 'paint it purple day' painting challenge to help educate people. But the horrors in my own life combined with the threatening emails downed me.
I am going to stand up again and own it.
Blogger will not allow me to reinstate those edits in the correct dates as far as I can tell. Therefore I will shortly reformat the post as permanent page people can link to.
Okay, for those of you who missed all this stuff, here is the gist:
I am an Iatrogenic intersex person.
Intersex refers to anyone who does not fit the medical definitions of male and female, but fall somewhere between the two. We come in many, many varieties, with variations occuring in sex chromosomes, internal and/or external reproductive organs, hormone levels, secondary sex characteristics and so forth. Basically, humans are very complex. Our sex is not absolutely male/female- but we come in shades. I am a shade (possibly an ink wash or glaze).
Iatrogenic means 'caused by treatment' aka 'someone fucked up'. I was made intersex by an anti miscarriage medication (Diethystilbestrol- a synthetic estrogen) given to my mother whilst I was rockin' out in the womb. I started developing as a boy, but by second trimester I was flooded with synthetic estrogen- so from that point onwards I developed as a girl.
Many intersex people, like myself, appear to be one sex externally when born. Many of us find out when we hit puberty, have surgery or like me, try to have children. Some of us are revealed to be intersex only in our autopsy.
|Me at nineteen- androgynous, confused and suicidal|
When I was diagnosed, my whole life suddenly made sense. Why I was androgynous, why I had no adam's apple, why I couldn't grow a beard, why lesbians would get confused around me, (and why I preferred dating them to straight girls), why I had menopause like symptoms, why I so violently reacted to mysogyny and why no matter how many times I tried to understand masculinity by reading and rereading Stephen Biddulph books- it just made no freaking sense to me whatsoever.
However, when I was diagnosed, my whole life not only made sense, it fell apart spectacularly.
Long time followers of this blog will have seen me battling with depression over a secret 'condition', become sick and finally recovering quickly after I started HRT. I came out after that, and announced I was changing my name to Delaney and using female pronouns now. Before long, my marriage ended, I became homeless, I was in hospital with a suicide attempt, was rescued by a women's refuge programme, found a job in Melbourne and rebooted my life thanks to you all donating to my gofund me. (Thank you <3). And then the threats started coming in.
If you want to watch a brilliant documentary on intersex science
Transgender as well?
Intersex people can identify as male, female, neither, both or as intersex. I identify as female. This isn't a choice. Let me explain...
Because brains develop in third trimester when I was bathed in female hormones, it constructed itself with the hardwired assumption it would be running a female body. We call this gender identity. It cannot be 'corrected' because it is actually correct already- it would be impossible to regrow that brain structure, in the same way you cannot regrow a tree trunk but keep all the branches in the same postion. I have a bad case of girl-brain.
Because my gender identity is hard coded female, but doctors (incorrectly) assigned me male- well that by definition makes me transgender.
I could not survive the crushing gender dysphoria (an extreme unhappiness with one's incorrectly assigned gender). Few people can. The suicide rate for sufferers is (just counting children and teens getting treatment alone) around 48% just by the age of 20- though in reality it is much higher. Yes folks, young children kill themselves. That is how bad it feels. Being transgender is not a joke, it's quite life threatening even before you encounter the dangerous assholes you meet who haven't got a clue what a sex chromosome actually does and refuse to read books.
Hormone replacement therapy is true magic. Your cells actually don't know what sex they are supposed to be- hormones lock onto receptors on the cell and activate male or female codes DNA sequences. You literally regenerate into a different person hidden within your genome! It's like being a timelord in slow motion.
|HRT is magic: features softened with an extra fat layer, shifted muscle mass, atrophied jaw muscles, soft skin, fatter lips... And weirdly I now look a LOT like my sister. Oh, plus a fringe that I really should do something about- that isn't HRT, that is being a miss lazy bum|
It's been several years since I started replacing my old cells with fresh female ones. By this stage there isn't a speck of me you can look at that is male. Not a hair on my head, a cell of my skin, a freckle on my face. Sure, my bones will take five more years to cycle, but meh- everything else is great. I look, feel and even smell female (I can even get away with wearing a trade show t shirt two days in a row and smell fresh as a daisy :p). I no longer 'sweat', I 'glow'. ;)
These days, I go about my life as a regular Jane. People call me 'miss' or 'ma'am', I use female toilets and changing rooms and no one bats an eye, I pay more for haircuts (dammit) and old ladies ask me if I have found a nice husband yet (no. Thanks.). None of my clothes have fucking pockets and it shits me to tears.
Oh and those confused lesbians I used to fancy? Well now I date lesbians. I identify as a lesbian (though if you look like Tom Hiddleston or Alexander Skaarsgard- rowr... Clearly I am not THAT gay).
I am a welcome and valid member in feminist groups. And I even lived for twelve weeks in women's only refuge when my life fell apart. I went through IVF as a lesbian couple and had nurses trying to remove me from the hospital until they realized I was actually the spouse and biological parent. And I am now a mother to a beautiful son.
In other words, my life is a woman's life.
That said, I will always be intersex and transgender. And I refuse to deny that fact. It isn't something I had any choice over. But it is something I am willing to risk my life over.
To wrap this section up, I just want to remind you that I use female pronouns (she, her, bitch) and legally use the title Ms (mizz). My passport says female, my medical details say female and I had to have a doctor confirm this to get a letter to get those. So suck it up, fuzzball, I am a chick.
Slaanesh and wargaming intersex
Games workshop has literally demonized my kind for decades now in the form of the Slaanesh Chaos faction. Slaves to Darkness is packed full of 'hermaphrodite' references and the wonderful Tony Ackland made some pretty cool illustrations that do not depict hermaphrodites but actually what we call 'gynandromorphs'- creatures that are half male and half female- literally split down the middle.
Humans, incidentally, cannot be hermaphrodites. Scientifically speaking, 'Hermaphrodite' means an organism that can reproduce as both male and female during it's life. Frogs and Snails and Fish can do this... but humans are mammals- our hormones fight each other for dominance, so we can be intersex and some of us can reproduce as one sex- but never hermaphrodites. Sorry, I know for some of you this will make Slaves to Darkness grate on your precise, syntactically correct minds. :P
|Jes Goodwin sculpts a chaos gynandromorph (not a hermaphrodite) one boob and a bulge oh how we laughed- at the time. Of course it isn't very funny to me now.|
Look, I actually love Slaanesh and collect all the models because I find them smoothly familiar, and also very sex positive. I approve of removing hermaphrodite references but keeping the sex positive stuff. Also, as I have demonstrated with SCIENCE- everything GW ever wrote is incorrect... Though we *do* have lobster claws and an insatiable draw to chaos... but we are not hermaphrodites and gynandromorphs.
I will leave you with a lovely gynandromorphic Minotaur Tony Ackland drew. God, I adore this man's work! He is the pencil master.
Thank you for listening, and we will return to normal service shortly with miniature painting.