What I have learned. . .

. . . from the two spirit people I know, and what I have learned from what intersex people have written, and my own reluctance to speak for those of different lived experience, is that it is inappropriate to include those whose lives are different in one’s own identity.

It is so hard for people to realize that gender is something people grow into, rather like a total body suit, that differs from age to age, from geographic location to geographic location.

And then there is the sex of a person.

Most discourse on transgender email lists suggests sex is something solely determined by the genitalia observed at birth by the doctor who exclaims, “Its a boy!” of “Its a girl!”

What we know from intersex people is that this is not always possible–not the baby’s gender but the baby’s sex.

And the ambiguity is not always at the level of visible, morphological anatomy/sex. So why would we make the assumption that birth-assigned sex is always correct?

While a baby may grow up to be uncomfortable with the body suit society shoves the baby into, there are those whose body itself is uncomfortable, from the moment of birth, but the baby has not the words. And, from the moment it does have the words, it is not permitted to use them.

Anymore than the person the baby grows into is permitted to use those words on transgender email lists–without suffering the very exclusion that lead them to the list in the first place; without the stigma of being called the reason for the failure of the equality movement, on email lists–and elsewhere.

It is easy to get away with the oppression of transsexual people after they have been defined out of existence in the last 20-30 years.

It is far harder to oppress two spirit and intersex people, in the interests of their equality, of course, because there are other parts of their lives, as well as the very characteristics of their lives which some take as the path to oppress them, which immunize them from the “equality” oppression, unlike transsexual people.

There are organizations that advocate for intersex people, run by intersex people–such as the Organization Intersexual International–and those that advocate for two spirit people, the latter based in the more traditional ways out of which the modern notion of two spirit grew.

The melancholy for transsexual people is that there are only organizations that advocate for transgender, or, less likely, organizations that advocate for LGBT people, which often means just gay and lesbian people.

Who will advocate for transsexual people?

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