Transgender Is Intersex (brief)

From Sex and Intersex. Version 0.5.2. For an in depth version, see Transgender Is Intersex (depth). For more on the subject, also read Intersex Is Transgender.

Gender defenders paint transgender and intersex as completely different categories, thus dismissing intersex bodies from undermining the Binary. While they are different, they are not completely different and one cannot be separated from the other. While there are people who are both trans and intersex, I am speaking about all trans people. I am also not referring to the theory that transgenderism has biological causes. The entire categories of intersex and transgender are, in fact, two different sides of the same circumstance, the breaking of the Sex/Gender Binary.

First, what exactly do we mean by "intersex?" I think the universal meaning is that in our heads we have a Platonic form of full female body and of full male body. An intersex person is anyone who does not have every aspect of either body but has some of one and some of the other. Trans people are generally not considered intersex because their anatomy fulfill one of Plato’s forms. That much we agree. Where we disagree is the relation of the mind to the brain and body. Whereas some believe the mind should not be considered part of the body, I think the distinction is illogical and heretical.

Our culture has a dualistic view of the world body and mind are separate. Just the words "brain" referring to our physiology and the word "mind" referring to our invisible, untouchable sense of self is demonstration enough of our dichotomy. This is a mark of our particular culture. The Old Testament demonstrates a wholistic culture where they are inseparable.  Notice how Israel lugged Jacob's bones all the way from Egypt to the Promise Land. This is because those bones were Jacob. Or notice that in Hebrew, there is only one word for both death and the grave, "sheol," because there is no difference in their beliefs. Or the single word for soul and breathing, "ruach." Your moving lungs are your life. Likewise, Jesus did not come to save our just our spirit/mind; Jesus fed, healed, and resurrected the body. Faced with Gnosticism, the early Church affirmed “the resurrection of the Body” eternally with the Spirit.

Separating mind from body is illogical from a scientific perspective  The brain is an organ, just like any other. But psychology shows the mind directly affects the brain and vice versa. You can touch the mind. Drive a railroad spike through your brain and you'll see. Every action of the mind we've traced back to the brain. Many brain disorders are expressions of problems in the brain. Alzheimer's and Down's are very mental and very physical. It is my contention that every aspect of the mind will eventually be understood physically as well.

I say all this to demonstrate that the mental/spiritual is inseparable from the physical and the mind from body. Then also, gender is an expression of the body just like everything else. Somewhere in my own brain some neurons are shooting electric charges forming my conscious thought right now that my body is both male and female.  Those neural pulses that tell me I am male are, everyone agrees, are male. Here is what is fantastic, and what only a genderqueer person can tell you: the other feelings that tell me I am female are exactly the same. I cannot tell them apart My only logical conclusion is to be consistent and say those neural pulses are female. I can look at my genitals but the neurons keep firing and the feelings remain exactly the same. Those neural pulses come from my brain cells which are part of my physical body.  You can me those feelings are delusional or errors and that's fine. But they exist.  And if those pulses are female, then their brain cells are female and because my brain is part of my body, part of my body is female. If my feelings are female, and my feelings are physical, then there is a physical connection between the physical and female.

Granted, most of me is male, even in addition to viewing all humanity as an intersex species due to our hormones. But the sex/gender binary isn't happy with mostly male, only with fully and exclusively male.  Intersex and transgender both find their definition by defying the sex and gender binary. In the binary system, sex and gender go hand in hand and therefore any violations of the binary go hand in hand.

In 2007 I read about Klinefelter's syndrome in depth, an intersex condition where appears male except that their chromosomes are XXY or XXXY instead of the standard XY. Literally male and female as containing both genetic pairs. I was struck that a number of visible characteristics fit me: tall, slender, learning disability, atypical testicular development, and infertility. Every male's testicles form inside the body where the ovaries are and descend into the scrotum before birth but mine did not descend properly like some intersex cases; when I was four I had surgery to correct them. The atypical testicles, I thought, could also have something to do with my asexual sex drive. I told this to my doctor and he arranged a karyotype test. I was extremely anxious and excited about possibly being traditionally intersex. I didn't care about thinking of myself differently; I only cared about my gender, not my sex. But I knew that if I was intersex I would have an easier time convincing Christians God doesn't control your genes let alone write your fate inside them.  The results came back negative. My doctor told me I could get tested for a mosaicism form of Klinefelter's. That test is expensive, inaccurate, and the odds are against me so I declined.

I am not advocating the trans people blindly advertise themselves as intersex. I do not. Without an explanation like I have given, that would be confusing and dishonest.  Many trans people think of ourselves as intersex and if anything, we are too quiet about it. Comparing transgenderism with intersexuality forces gender defenders to face that you cannot separate the two any more than separating sex from gender.

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