Video – Being transgender is not the same as intersex

A while back the wordpress reader brought me to a blogger sharing a video about how being transgender is not at all like being intersex, as much as many transsexuals (and even crossdressers) want to claim they are similar things.  Watch the video at the blog – here.   I am not familiar with the blogger, and haven’t had the time to research the site for.  I am also not familiar with the person who is speaking in the video.   I am simply sharing this because the insights in the video were very interesting to me.

The video shows that it can be offensive, and it is illogical, to use the reality of intersex conditions in the world to argue for there not being only 2 genders.  It is illogical also to use the reality of intersex conditions in the world to argue for transgenderism (or crossdressing).  Now of course, the video is not saying that being transgender is morally wrong, but just for transsexuals to check their arguments.  I don’t agree with everything in the video but I am glad this person is setting the record straight on that issue.

“Intersex is not glamorous.”  This is one of the best quotes.  Intersex is used often by transsexuals to talk about the beauty of ambiguous gender in the world, or the beauty of people who live as both male and female at separate times.  And yet intersex conditions have caused so much pain to intersexed people.  They don’t view that part of who they are as a beautiful thing and neither do I.  They view it as something to get medical help to deal with properly, something to be overcome.  It is probably similar to how view my own bodily abnormality in my limb as something which is not beautiful and which I need medical help to address.

The speaker in the video also talks about how so many people – homosexuals, transgendered people – are wanting to find some scientific basis to prove that they were born the way they were.   I see why this is so important to people, but really it is not that important, at least for Christians.   Christians believe we are all born with desires that aren’t good, and all born with bodily abnormalities and problems.  Crossdressers and transgendered people are desperate to claim we were born the way we were, because if that is true, than we can give in and do what we want.  But that argument simply doesn’t work.  See my post – But I was born with these desires.

There is of course much more that can be said about intersexuality and those born as hermaphrodites, and I plan to tackle that subject at a later date.  It will be a short post as I am not an expert on that topic, but I’ll look at how we can think of such conditions biblically and theologically.   I’ll tackle the hard question, “did God create them that way?”  And I’ll give some suggestions as to how to even approach giving answers to that question.

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9 comments on “Video – Being transgender is not the same as intersex

  1. colormeanew says:

    I honestly cannot follow your blog anymore. I just love how anything you disagree with is a desire and needs to be fixed. I really do believe its your projecting your own issues onto others

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  2. Nicky says:

    It was my blog that showed that video. I think the reason why alot of Transsexuals who try to claim intersex is because of Justification and legitimacy. They want to justify their trans status by claiming intersex and legitimatize the fact that they were “born this way” like Intersex people. The reality is that as someone who is born intersex, it’s no fun and no party being born intersex. Your right to choose and what gender you want is taken away from you by the medical and scientific community. Alot of Trans don’t see the fact that being born intersex is no fun and no party at all.

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  3. thorin25 says:

    That is certainly your choice. I believe that anything that does not conform to God’s desires for us, is indeed something that needs to be fixed. Some things I will be able to change with God’s help in my lifetime, and some things (such as an end to all disease and suffering in the world) will not be fixed until Jesus returns and makes this world new. What issues of my own am I projecting onto others?

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  4. Vivienne says:

    OK. Some interesting points raised.
    “Intersex” isn’t the same as “transgender” because “sex” isn’t the same as “gender”. Sex is a biological distinction (chromosomes, hormones and physical characteristics). Gender is a social distinction (roles and behaviour). And to add a third term, “sexuality” is about who you want to go to bed with. Usually they coincide pretty neatly, but not always.
    It’s absolutely true that sex is not black and white, and neither is gender nor sexuality.
    Aidan Dunn (the guy in the video) is right about much of what he says. I think a lot of trans people do probably identify with intersex people, without knowing the science well enough, and use the existence of intersex people to justify their views, beliefs, behaviour, whatever. I can also understand how transgender people might be slightly envious of intersex people (you might wish you were a man with breasts or a woman with a penis) and why intersex people might be uncomfortable with that.
    I think what Aidan is saying is that what makes intersex people uncomfortable about themselves is not the same as what makes transgender people uncomfortable about themselves. I accept that completely.
    I flatter myself that I do understand the science as well as just about anyone.
    So I see a transgender person saying to an intersex person: “See, I am just like you: neither male nor female.” I see the intersex person replying “You’re nothing like me. You started off as one, and now you want to be the other. Whereas I started off somewhere in the middle.”
    As a lumper, I say to both: I understand that you both have different feelings and different biology. But, seen from the outside, you are both people who don’t neatly fit into the categories of male and female. Therefore, perhaps you have quite a lot in common after all (rejection, loneliness, doubt), even if you got there by different routes.
    The whole notion of LGBT is exactly this: an attempt to categorise people whose behaviour and predilections doesn’t quite fit. I am not a gay man or a lesbian, but I realise that despite that, I still have quite a lot in common with people who are.
    Vivienne.

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  5. thorin25 says:

    Hi Nicky, thanks for the comment, and for sharing the helpful video 🙂

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  6. Nicky says:

    Not a problem because I know their are Trans who are attempting to use the narrative, life experience and upbringing of an intersex person to justify their trans status. I have even seen some cases where some have used the intersex name to deny their transsexualism. What Aidan Dunn said in the video, holds true as to why Trans try to claim intersex to justify and legitimatize their existence. Their is an essay called Dangerous Intersections: Intersex and Transgender Differences by Raven Kaldera. Here’s the link to the essay, http://www.ravenkaldera.org/intersection/DangerousIntersections.html

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  7. Ralph says:

    Interesting distinction, Vivienne, and I believe a valid one. I have traits that are classically masculine — a competitive streak, a complete disregard for my appearance, oblivious to social cues, etc. — and traits that are stereotypically feminine, such as crying easily during emotionally intense situations, a preference for soft fabrics and skirts, a fear of confrontation. To claim that such a dichotomy represents being intersex would be to display a complete ignorance of biology and to trivialize the difficult life that true intersex persons face.

    It also displays an ignorance of the etymology involved. “trans” suggests a change, a crossing, from one gender to the other; “inter” suggests a static position between the two.

    Perhaps I should say I’m “intergender” instead?

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  8. Vivienne says:

    Thanks Nicky. I read Raven’s essay and found it really interesting and provocative. It seems to echo several of the points I already made above, especially the idea that transgender people affiliate themselves with intersex people to “legitimise” their situation. Another interesting point Raven makes is that frequently intersex people have had treatments (including surgery) to align them with one sex or another, which as adults they feel angry and bitter about. It never particularly occurred to me before that an intersex child might be “incorrectly” assigned to one sex or the other, but I totally see how this could happen.
    My own viewpoint is that doctors (and parents) genuinely feel they are acting in the best interests of the child by performing these treatments. The alternative (which is allowing the child to be raised with ambiguous sex) might have caused tremendous social consequences which might be equally, perhaps even more, regrettable in adulthood. I’ve posted about this very topic on my own blog under the title “Children and Gender”.
    I must say I clicked around a lot more on Raven’s site. What I found made me feel pretty uncomfortable. Raven’s very discursive, inclusive views on spirituality and sexuality sit quite at odds with my own highly sceptical, rational, humanist perspective. Not sure I’ll be going back.
    Finally, Ralph makes the point that perhaps “intergender” would be a better term than “transgender”. I agree that “trans” suggests a crossing from one to the other, whereas “inter” suggests a static position, and that “intergender” would be a better word to describe some people, particularly myself. Although I usually deplore the needless multiplication of terminology (and never stop moaning about it in my blog), in this case, I think I’ve found a new term I actually like!
    Vivienne.

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  9. Nicky says:

    The reason why, Trans try to claim intersex at the expense of Intersex people is because they want to legitimatize their existence and justify their transsexualism at the expense of Intersex people. They plant their flag on shaky ground thinking that it proves their theory. When in Reality, Intersex has nothing to do with Trans. Which is why Intersex people do not want anything to do with Trans people. I have even seen some Trans sexualize and fetishize intersex people, which turns off intersex people big time. Some even claim affiliation with out being born intersex or even having a confirmed diagnosed condition.

    As far as “intergender”, I think it’s not okay, because the word “intergender” closely resembles Intersex. It would be hard to distinguish intersex and “intergender”. Which is why I believe Intersex people would not approve of the word “intergender” because it would closely resemble intersex and it would cause confusion with society & medicine.

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