Mighty Hermaphrodite Dishes On Being Intersexed

With all the brouhaha over runner Caster Semenya’s gender and rumors that Lady Gaga is a hermaphrodite, it seems like intersexism is really on people’s minds these days. So we’ve very glad that 39-year-old chick Hida Viloria published an essay on CNN.com this week telling us what it’s like to be intersexed. Hida didn’t out that she was a hermaphrodite until she was 26. Sound crazy? Well, Viloria’s body looks just like most women’s—she gets her period every month and can get pregnant. The only thing is that her clitoris is very, very large. When Viloria was growing up, her conservative parents avoided talking about gender and sexuality. She didn’t get any corrective surgery or take estrogen pills because her father, a doctor, was against it. Now Hida, who holds a degree in gender and sexuality studies from Berkeley, is writing a book called Mighty Hermaphrodite about her experiences. The book will be out next spring.Realizing she was an intersex person helped Hida realize why she has some so-called “masculine traits,” such as being aggressive and liking girls. She empathizes with others who have to question their gender, like Semenya. This athlete has identified as a woman her whole life and is now finding out, on an international stage, that she isn’t “completely” female. And she may be penalized for something she didn’t know about and has absolutely no control over. [CNN]

Seems like it’s about time we rethink those stringent gender categories of ours, eh? What do you think?