Intersex: the line between male and female
Fri, 11 May 2012 10:55p.m.
By Laura Frykberg
When a baby is born the first thing parents want to know is whether its a boy or a girl - but in one in every 2000 births the doctor or midwife will not be able to tell them.
A new documentary, Intersexion, tells the story of intersex people - whose bodies are neither distinctly male nor female.
“The midwife picked me up and said ‘oh my God, it’s a hermaphrodite’, and when my mum told me that I was in my early twenties and she started screaming, so she had obviously gone back to that place,” says intersex person, Mani Mitchell.
Mitchell began her life as a boy called Bruce, but a year later, her ambiguous genitalia was operated on and she became a girl.
She took part in the documentary to find out if she is alone - and she is not.
“They decided to remove my clitoris because it was too big for a normal girl,” says Mitchell.
“As a culture we not talk about genitals and we do not talk about genders and this is an issue which is not talked about – it’s surrounded by lots of shame and secrecy.”
Mitchell says she has never been confident enough to have a romantic relationship, but the documentary shows others who have.
Intersexion is playing as part of the Edge Documentary film festival which begins in Wellington next week.
If it is successful it could hit mainstream cinemas, but Mitchell just wants those who do see it to come away having learned one thing.
“We’re also just very ordinary, we’re people like anybody else.”
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14/05/2012 11:06:07 a.m.
wow, and the gays and lesbians think they have it hard....this must be quite difficult for the kids and the parents to cope with. Thank goodness we are maturing as a country and more becoming more accepting
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