Here's What It's Like To Grow Up Intersex

In an age of increased visibility for  lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) identity, one way of existing in the world that still seems to be shrouded in confusion for many people is intersexuality.

Essentially, being intersex means that the chromosomes a person is born with don't necessarily correspond with traditional understandings of a male/female binary. In other words, intersex people may be born with characteristics and/or chromosomes traditionally associated with both male and female individuals. 

According to the Intersex Society of North America, about one in every 1,500-2000 people are born intersex.

In the most recent episode of the PBS Digital Studios series "First Person," intersex activist Claudia Astorine discusses with host Kristin Russo what it was like for her to grow up intersex. She also talks about how doctors frequently perform surgeries on intersex babies in order to "normalize" their bodies as either male or female even though the children obviously cannot consent to the procedures. This, she told Russo, is a critical part of an ongoing LGBT movement.

"I think what the LGBT movement has been fighting for for a long time is to say regardless of my body, regardless of my identity, we should be respected and we should be treated like people and have rights that other people get to have," Astorine said. "[Intersex people] exist. We should be able to have the bodies that we're born with like everybody else without being altered. We didn't get to consent to that."

Hosted by Russo, "First Person" is a web show that focuses on gender identity, sexuality and queer community. Missed the previous episodes of "First Person"? Head here to check them out.

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