View Full Version : intersex photos
Here are a few good photos of "an Intersex individual with predominately female characteristics."
Thought it might be nice to have another example of what "ambiguous genitalia" may mean. I'm going to write to her and suggest she provide a link to bodieslikeours, in addition to the ISNA and other resources.
I was in angst for a bit after looking at the link Glenn posted. While I am not keen on sex-oriented sites and truly expected one of the fake herm sites/pictures when I first saw the link and the name of the site, once I opened it became clear it was real.
It saddens me that someone feels the need to make a spectacle of herself for the purpose of "enlightenment". It looked like a circus act and reminded me that not too long ago, intersex people used to end up in circus freakshows because of their differences.
The author, unfortunately, also need somes educating as s/he is obviously clueless about a clitoris, as she called the woman's enlarged clitoris a "penis" They have also referred to us as pseudo-herms long after 1947.
She also claimed that most herms end up male, or should:
The general rule is to class the pseudohermaphrodite as a male, until/unless unmistakable evidence of the oppostie sex appears.
That is also a misinformed statement...unfortunately so. The general rule should be to just let each child grow up unmutilated and unaltered to find his/her/own identity (and hopefully not ending up as a webpage picture).
Glenn, rather than suggesting a link, perhaps you would be better to educate the site owner.
Thanks for the corrections, Betsy. I'll pass them on to the author.
I knew the site would be controversial because of its circus-like appearance (and FWIW, the rest of the site is that way too). But I couldn't help get the impression that the author is sincere in wanting to demystify her intersexuality. Can someone graphically express "I'm-different-and-that's-cool" without it coming across as "look-at-me-I'm-a-circus-freak?"
After all, 99.9% of the "hermaphrodites" on the internet are, as you probably feared this site was, pre-op M2F transsexuals. It's nice to see another attempt to provide some real information on intersexuality, even if somewhat misinformed.
BTW I'm having trouble with pronouns. I used female forms for the author because she identified herself as "predominantly female." But what is more generally the proper protocol? Ask which pronouns they prefer? Assume neutral "s/he" forms?
Thanks for posting the link and your e-mails.
However, after reading Besty's response I felt that I should reply in kind. First, I built the "Sextopia" site several years ago, and really have not updated the content on the "Hermaphrodite" page since then.
At the time that page was published the content came largely from material published on other sites that dealt with Intersex issues. The reference to the clitoris as a "penis" came directly from the original text that accompanied the photos, as well as direct quotes from a 1947 medical book discribing the condition. I left the references to the clitoris as a "non-functioning penis" in there deliberately, as that was the way it was originally published. However the point is well taken and I probably should edit some of the text to relect a more accurate perspective.....should anyone here have any suggestions please e-mail them to me.
My goal here as with the other content on "Sextopia" and the sexual discussion forum as well was to provide general information on a wide range of sexual issues - Intersex issues certainly needed to be covered here.
The text that accompanies the photos was based on the prevailing attitudes and information available in '98 when the page was written. Any misinformation was unintended, but it also why I included the link to ISNA. As for the photos, in my research I found many pics of supposed "hermaphrodites," but as was suggested here most appeared to pre-operative transexuals, or retouched images. These pics appeared to be genuine, and displayed typical Intersex characteristics in a female - as I understand them to be.
I hope I'm not getting myself in too deep here...I have no personal experiences with Intersex issues, but I am very supportive of no invasive, or sex assignment surgery on infants with ambiguous sexuality.
As for the "circus-like" appearance of the pages on the site, the design goal was to have simple, color-full pages with a common theme - in appearance and content. Also, I wanted the pages to load quickly, consume minimal bandwidth, yet be attractive enough to encourage visitors to linger and read a bit.
Also, for the record I am a "he" not a "she", and yes I do know the difference between a clitoris and a penis - LOL!!
Have a good day!
Thanks for clarifying Hermit...and thank you not for using fake pictures. As you said and Glenn also mentioned, there is a ton of photos on the net that claim to be be herms but are not. As much as I find the use of such pictures to be troublesome, if you need help rewriting, I can help or you can probably figure it out by reading some of the material here on this site and ISNA.
Glenn...I used s/he because I was unclear of the site owner's gender. It's just a way to cut clutter when I write. As far as proper protocol in referring to gender variant people, I find it is most efficient to simply ask. I often speak at gender variant and trans conferences. After getting ripped once for using the "wrong" pronoun, I now just ask how someone would like to be addressed.
07-11-02, 09:08 PM
It's nice to see one example of " Intersexed " genitals. With like anything else, each of us has genitals that look nothing like each other!
If this is any form of intersexed hypoplasia or transgendered. It doesn't matter, This person is pleasuring their uniqueness, the heck with convention. I'd take something like that over a clitoridectomy anyday.
looks like a happy person enjoying their Atypical genitals...good for them !!! I thought the web page was tasteful compared to other sites that have so called "normal" people on them doing all sorts of things.
Last week, I went down to the Islands and was sitting at resort bar getting drink on 1800's (tequila) and rum runners. I was sitting with a group of guys. My friend got up the go to the restroom. While he was away the other guys started talking about how weird it would be to wake up with a woman with bigger feet then they did( they really were talking about the feet, strange stuff when people are drunk) the one guy was going his feet are size 13..... a woman with feet like that , then mine oh nooooo( hic-up). So, for the heck of it ...I blurted out ....Heeeeey....they are women that have huge clitoris too. The guys went what? I repeated huge clitorises ...super duper jumbo sized. They thought about it for a couple of seconds, then went yeah that makes sense. They giggled, snorted and smiled and said I bet some are bigger than so and so, He's about the size of a tic-tac (smile).
Here's to a different Lattitude (lol)
What people need to see is a well done clitorectomy, it looks like I was assulted with a butcher knife. oh....no, I'll stop I'm getting all wacked out on you people. I'm meeting that surgeon in August. I can't wait.
I don't understand why people feel the need to post pictures of Intersex genitals! Honestly I think it is in very poor taste to show these pictures, especially when they are pictures of someone doing things to themself or having someone else do it. Having pictures of IS genitals seems to be putting us on display even more as FREAKS, and NOT to satisfy someone's curiosity or educate others. These pictures put the focus back on our genitals and not on us as individuals! I think that written or verbal explainations for education are wonderful, and if really needed for some reason, a drawing of atypical genitals are satisfactory, but real pictures of a person's genitals are just simply poor taste and sad that someone feels they need to show off what they've got.
My experience in educating others has been if they have seen pictures of adult IS genitals, they become more forceful in their questions and want to know specifically what I've got and how it all works, some have even asked to see for themselves!
I believe 100% in educating others about Intersex conditions, and more importantly, our culture, but I think that these kind of pictures are totally unnecessary!!
That's my 2 cents.
07-14-02, 12:26 AM
I was just wondering what you meant by our culture?
I also think that the link was a good one, if not for the "masturbating" pic. I have examined these pics as a tool to help me solve a problem and I think it has definately helped. I posted in other areas seeking various bits of info about my own condition. See, I was assigned male (self diagnosis) based on the fact that I have scars that are in the right places for me to have this condition.
Along the underside of the penis, I have a scar runnning its entire length. Behind the scrotum, I have a scar that runs in line with the scar on the penis. This is certainly the right placement for an intersex surgery to have assigned male, detaching the "labia" to create a scrotum and freeing the "clitoris" and sealing it to create a penis. This is my best guess since I am unable to access any relevant medical records.
I do not see myself as male, so please help me find a psychologist/ or other dr that can help me. I live in South Dakota, so I need someone closer than say, California or Mass.
What I mean is that by posting pictures like these it forces uneducated people, as well as doctors, to focus on our genitals and our differences from the rest of the world instead of who we are. Many of us are happy who we are and do not feel like we are broken and in need of fixing. This is what I meant by our culture, the simple definition of culture is a group of people with shared experiences and values. We definately have shared experiences(all the doctor's visits, feeling different, surgeries for some, meds, not being accepting in some situations, feeling different, being called a freak, etc) and we have shared values as well(valuing our bodies as is, valuing our communicationg, supporting one another, and wanting to educate others.) These are the things that we should focus on, what we have in common and us as a people group instead of focusing on our genitals and/or hormones. This is one reason that many Intersexed people get upset when asked what they do or don't have, or what their chromosones show, it can be shown as a form of oppression because the doctors have used this to oppress us for years. I hope this answers your question well enough. :)
I now understand your point.
07-27-02, 12:48 AM
I wasn't offended by the link. While i understand the issues others have brought up, i have to tell ya, i was thrilled.
While i have plenty of issues with objectification, recognition is important too. Im finding it very liberating to see there are others. Would i prefer the model had posted her picture here, not had to sell herself to eat...without a doubt.
Why shouldn't we have intersex porno too?? I'd rather be desired than ridiculed or scorned. She looked real. I've been looking all my life for other women who look anything like me. And she was having a good time with her atypical genitals and i'd bet we'd have plenty to talk about. I'd be very interested in sharing notes on what we feel and how we feel.
just one persons opinion
this is my first post
Welcome to Bodies Like Ours. You'll find lots of people here just like yourself.
We are a NJ based organization. Our board members are spread out around the state but most of Bodies comes together from western NJ in Hunterdon County. We are about 1 hour outside the city. I'm in there a couple of days a week at a freelance job I somehow manage to keep.
07-27-02, 01:14 AM
thanks for the very prompt welcome. practically real-time. always a pleasure to find other night dwellers.
Welcome aboard, and thanks for the feedback!
10-27-02, 10:39 PM
I finally found the courage to check this out. I do understand the concerns of some here. I don't want anyone to be exploited, IS or non IS, but then again she has every reason to be proud of what she has. I am happy for her that she escaped normalizing surgery.
Personally, I find her pictures absolutely gorgeous! I would have been delighted to discover that someone I was close to and had decide to become intimate with, has such a gift.
I wish I had been able to find a surgeon who could have somehow magically been able, and wiling, to restore me to the way I was before I was normalized. I really thought about asking Dr. Brassard to do just that, but I realized it was not possible, and he may have decided not to do my surgery had I asked. I agonized over that to be honest. Well better to have what I have now, than what they did to me as a child.
Beautiful pictures! Really. I envy her. I really do.
Sorry if I am mistaken about her gender pronoun, but she sure seems to be a she to me. I would be hard pressed to think of her any other way. I hope I do not offend anyone.
Just beautiful, and good for her!
I wish I had been able to find a surgeon who could have somehow magically been able, and wiling, to restore me to the way I was before I was normalized.
I think magic being the key word, Natasha. Fortunately, there is some study being done that has been successful at growing penile tissue (which could just as easily be clitoral tissue) in a lab. Hopefully someday they'll be able to replace what they took away from us and threw in the trash.
I posted a link to the study in an earlier thread somewhere.
10-28-02, 11:06 AM
Nice to see you again. I know you have been busy as all get out, and I missed you Betsy.
My understanding is that both organs are formed from the exact same leydeg [sp?] cells, and a "penis" is just a clitoris which has developed further.
In my case what they took from me, was everything else 'but' that. They did masculinizing surgery on me. I don't know if what I had was exactly the same as what she had in the photos, but I know it was similar. So I don't think the technique you speak of would have helped me. Unless they can do 'that' too. Something tells me they have only done research on growing phallus tissue though. [wink]
It really angers me that they insist that such natural variations are unacceptable, and knowing such special genitals are perfectly healthy and functional, and all the trauma and even deaths normalizing surgery causes, they do it anyway! Unbelievable!
Seeing these picture makes me kind of sad too. I feel a mixture of envy, and nostalgic sorrow.
A change in personnel in the newsroom I freelance at and that sniper stuff threw off my schedule the past couple of weeks. Glad I am back too!
Glad you liked the pictures, Natasha. I always had a hard time really understanding the clinical, Grey's Anatomy style of line drawings, so I wanted to find pictures of a real live person! I won't even discuss the hundreds of sites I had to wade through to find something genuine.
P.S. Close - I think it's spelled 'leydig'.
10-28-02, 02:46 PM
I can't tell you how glad I am you are back Betsy, really. I didn't know you are newshound. Cool. I would love to hear more about that sometime.
Glenn thank you for posting those photos. I am sure they 'were' hard to find. There are so many fake ones out there. Beats the so called non exploitative clinical ones, all to pieces.
Maybe it is just me, but despite the association with exploitation, that I too had to get through, I see her as being proud of her specialness [sic]. Perhaps that is just my projection, but she sure has every reason to be. "Noodity" doesn't bother me, and neither does sex. All good stuff, but I don't care much for porn personally.
I was just unable to see this as porn for some reason, though she is 'very' attractive I must say. .... =)
11-21-02, 05:45 PM
I am a journalism student at the University of Southern California and I am working on a project for my sexual diversity class on media coverage of gay, lesbian, transgender and intersex communities.
My topic focuses specifically on intersex individuals. I would like to speak to a handful of intersex individuals and get their perspectives on how they think journalists cover or should cover intersexual stories. I'd like to know what they miss, sensationalize, fail to understand or what they have learned to capture and improve over time.
My project needs to be about 10 pages long and its due on Wednesday Nov. 27. It will not be printed anywhere, it's only for a grade -- an A I hope :)
I would appreciate any help you can provide. Please e-mail me at xxesmexx@<hidden>
10 pages...an A? 6 days? Oh nelly...there are people spending a lifetime doing that kind of research and haven't found the answers yet.
11-21-02, 07:52 PM
Thanks for responding to my message.
My project should go pretty quickly as soon as I put together people's perspectives on media coverage.
What do you think of the journalists' coverage of intersexed people? Do you think its fair? How do you feel when you read stories discussing the option of surgery for intersexed babies, for example? Or it's use of the word hermaphrodite?
I hope to learn as much as I can from this project so that when I graduate in May, I will be wiser in my coverage of issues dealing with sexual diversity in my articles.
11-22-02, 05:11 PM
Well first off the word Hermaphrodite, is something most IS people do not like, for the record. I say most because there may be others that could careless. For me it just sounds so wierd! LOL
I personally believe the media has completely ignored this issue when it comes to the mass population. I do not think that if the TRUTH about the infant surgeries was put on 20/20 or Nightline etc. specials, the majority of people would ever not rise to protest and support organizations that are taking on the medical arena that has completely botched the whole thing with IS people.
Because Intersex evidence goes against the separation of sexes as being the only natural thing ( and power is derived from such assumptions kept in place) for a person to be born as, you know good ole male female only stuff, we are left out of the fold. So many people do not even know IS people exist. With some stats showing the numbers as 1:500 babies being born with atypical genitals, how is this not suggificant, and how is it not normal??My own opinion here,
People that support surgery on infants are not even thinking clearly, they only care about social norms being met, and to hell with the quality of life a child can have if they are allowed to be kept in tact, the way they are born! Having docs play god and decide what sex you are is wrong, down right cruel!
The laws are also all flawed in the US surrounding your rights to changing your labels on Birth Certificates etc. all depends on how screwed the state you were born in is! No consistency what so ever in the laws. And no human rights being addressed for babies that cannot speak for themselves, or for adults that can and go unheard, seen as freaks, instead of the normal people we are.
So what is my opinion of media coverage?? They do not report things that they do not see as being of public interest, they do not report things accurately without adding sensationalism to it, making it a freak show, but it is sad, because if you ask me, and when I do talk to people in the mass public, they are down right in shock that such things are happening in the US and the public is being left in the dark from it. So if you ask me, it is under reported and totally lop sided to the docs that are covering their asses being heard not the people who's lives have been effected.
I can handle the ignorance of people that actually support the docs and their freakish ideas, because I believe they are few and far between, what I can't handle is the fact that the truth about what is happening is not being heard for the Medical outrage it in fact is....there would be a public out cry if people really knew the truth! But what little I have seen, has been docs on the news and in articles excusing and lying about data they say supports what they have done. There is NO supportive data for the crap going on. But research can render you whatever results you would like them to if you work at it enough. Sometimes even with little effort of twisting things. It does indeed come down to the bottom line....money! A surgery for altering a babies genitals is expensive and is covered by Insurance, surgery to alter or correct if you will a adults genitals is considered elective and is not covered by insurance, now does that not lead to a lot of questions on it's own???
While you are in college there is the idea that we can go save the world, make changes, do things that others failed to achieve, and you know grab it by the tail. But in my opinion, as a Social researcher myself, the world does not allow those of us that want to really make a difference to budge, unless we do so in a very non traditional sense....the games run so deep my friend!
Yes you can make a difference! Just remember that it will require doing so in ways that will require you getting very creative! Because the field you are desiring to enter, is one that is largely oppressive and very busy kissing ass to money machines around them. it is truly all politics, so reach outside the traditional routes if you really want to make a difference...I sure have had to as a Sociologist, but the rewards are great...just remember you stay broke this way! LOL Ok, this too is my opinion, but I think you were asking for our opinions, so I was feeling free to write it ...hope this is the stuff that you were asking about.
If you read through out this site, you will also find a lot of good info for your project. Please write with any specific questions that you have, and while some may not feel at ease to answer, I will do my best to help you out. As a teacher and a not so long ago College student, I do understand the passion that goes with this type of project... it is hard for people to open up so please understand that ok? And also realize just because I tell you something does not mean that all people feel as I do. I am only speaking for myself! What you may be attempting to do is far more complex than I think you realize, and that is what Betsy is saying to you. But a good professor will realize it as well. You may want to narrow your focus to how IS people feel towards the media, or something like that, the rest seems to me to be too broad. Just a suggestion here.
Well take care and good luck!
Good to hear from you again...I hope your neck is happier soon.
You said in part "the world does not allow those of us that want to really make a difference to budge". Couldn't agree more. After getting out of college, and entering the "Real World", one of the things that made the strongest impression on me was just how much energy was devoted by corporations and institutions to KEEPING THEMSELVES ALIVE. Forget doing-a-good-job, or making-the-customers-happy -- most places exist to make sure they continue to exist!
I'm much too young to be this disillusioned...
11-24-02, 09:03 PM
It is so sad that this is the case. Truth is not what the world cares about, power and keeping things in place is!
And avoid using ones that are 2.5 years old.
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