First Publication Date in Turkish: 07/05/2011
Intersex individuals are not just a bunch of reality show materials, they are between us and they are silent. They are the least spoken part of queer world. Most of them live as heterosexual, homosexual, married or single and ordinary citizens. But all of them carry bitter memories, deep traumas. I’ve never met another intersex individual but i’m an intersex and i know that all of us are wounded both physically and emotionally. I know all the things we’ve been through at the cost of normalization.
With these text, my aim is not to expose myself or not to remind myself my bad memories. I write because i want to leave the things that choking me up and that hurts me, behind. Silence poisons us and the antidote is speaking, saying “i exist”. I write because i want you to know what an intersex individiual live.
When i was fourteen, all of my coevals were menstruating and ovulating as conscripts who will secure the continuity of generations but there was no change in my body. The first gynecologist i’ve been carried away by my parents said that i have a thick hymen and this can be managed with a small operation by scratching the hymen. And another gynecologist realised that my clitoris is bigger than “normal” and said to my parents “Why didn’t you take action about this before? This girl can’t find a husband with such situation!”
After this clitoris thing, i’ve been transferred to a faculty of medicine for chromosome tests. During all these events i wasn’t aware of anything. My parents were taking me to every kind of doctors, hospitals, laboratories, they were doing blood tests, ultrasonographies, scintigraphies and many other medical practices to me but nobody explained to me what was happening. Sometimes my parents used to talk in whispers with doctors and i used to try escaping the consulting room in panic and wondering what they’re talking. An endocrinologist was periodically examining my breasts to see if they’re developing or not. During this examinations my parents were always in the room. And than the injections began…
They enjected me some forbidden medicine, i’m not so sure but i think they were some hormones and other shady things mostly used for abortion. And than came the pills, estrogen and progesterone. They gave me Premarin, a pill made from horse pee and they gave me some other pill which was originally used for heart diseases but it was in test process for stopping the development of body hair, beard, etc. So i became one of the test subjects for this pill. Again without my permission and without any given information of course. After these, i had my first period but this bleeding actually weren’t about ovulating, i don’t have ovaries, this bleeding was only a fake thing to make me believe that i’m an ordinary, proper woman.
I was generally a tender, fragile child. I loved both pink dresses and cowboy suits, Barbie dolls and race cars. I was closed, at the same distance to boy and girl friends, loving loneliness. I remember i mostly preferred to stay at home and draw some things like imaginary city plans to the papers or changing the borders on world atlas by pencil.
In highschool years i was in love with one of my classmates. While all of the girls in the class were flirting boys i had thrilling, stormy feelings for this girl. When i was 17, i had my first sexual experience with another girl from the school. When she saw my big clitoris, run of events changed and we had a one sided intercourse, i satisfied her but she didn’t touch me. We did this several times. I couldn’t feel that i’m a person worth loving, i felt lonely and wrong.
Same summer, my family said there is a cyst and convinced me to a surgical operation. They transferred me to a shrink, she asked some questions like “Do you like cinema?” and “How are you”… Only thing she said that seems important was that i wont’be able to make a chilld, never. This was all i know about all that medical clutter. When i woke up after the operation, besides my abdomen i saw a bandage on my clitoris too. When i asked this to my mother, she answered “We circumcised you” trying to smile.
At the end of the summer which i’ve been operated, i began to university education. This was my first experience out of my family’s home. I was going to live alone for the first time in my life. But i was like a ruin. İ didn’t have any idea about who i am and i was still a child at te age of 17, a child who has been fooled by her parents and doctors and her genital organs has been cut. I was scared of people, i didn’t love myself and i was thinking that i’m defective because of the manipulations they did to my body. I was thinking that i was as alone as a Martian in world and there was nobody understand me. There was always a wall infront of me because i didn’t know the truth, i was bumping on this wall again and again. Our student apartment was on a basement floor, there was a small living room and just one bedroom and we were four students. İn the beginning i was going to classes but after a while something pulled me to deep. I didn’t continue my education. I used to go on long walkings especially at night, looking at the ligths of apartment blocks i used to think that “there is no place for me”. I felt comfortable only at train stations, staring at horse chestnut trees. And than, a new life started to grow at the edge of my wall.
I started writing a diary in form of imaginary letters. I had an imaginary boyfriend called Inan. He was a leftist revolutionist, he was adventurer, sensitive, strong with long and curly hair and a tall body. He was visiting me when he was not in probation or participating in actions. I didn’t believe this story but it nourished me, it kept me afloat somehow. I was writing and writing this imaginary man. And someday, the bell ringed. I opened the door. There were two policeman asking me if i have any information about the stolen car in neighborhood. I said no, i’m a student and don’t have a car or information about the cars in the neighboorhood. They asked some questions about school and such other things. They waited in front of the block for nearly 10 or 15 days, i encountered them whenever i go out. They were not there for the stolen car. Months later i learned that they were investigating me, my roommates read my letters and called the police by the help of a relative of a roommate, this relative was also a policeman. They thought that all the things i wrote was real and i was with a leftist “terrorist”. They followed me and realised that i was not seeing anyone. They believed that i’m weird. I’ve been sent to my parents’ home back.
When i came home, my father made just one comment about all the things happening: “It’s not important to be a man or a woman. The real important thing is being a human.” He didn’t say anything else about my intersex situation, until he dies because of kidney cancer at the age of 47. My parents were thinking that i can live without any sexuality, according to them i could pretend like i don’t have a body. Several months after the surgical operation, i was still confused and bumbing to walls in my mind. I was trying to get used to my new body, my clitoris was reduced, i was only 17 and curious about my body, before the operation i’ve never used my vagina, i was always thought sex with clitoris in it but now it was not working right. Vagina became an obsession to me. I wanted to know that if i can use my vagina like a proper woman in sexual intercourse or not. Someday i get on to the car of a man i’ve never known before. He drove us to the mountain road. He touched me but i stopped him. After this incident, i couldn’t eat, speak or smile properly for 2 weeks. He found my phone number and called, i was scared. I went to a shrink.
The shrink spoke to my parents first. My parents wanted him not to tell anything about my intersex situation to me. But he told me, after a while. I was trying to be completely woman that days, i was cartoonishly woman. At my 18th birthday, i learned that i’m an intersex with a xy/xo turner syndrome, i have %88 xy chromosome, that surgical operation was not about an ovary cyst (İntersex people in thirties are under a big risk of uterus cancer but the surgeons didn’t remove my risky uterus, instead they removed my undeveloped testicles inside and resized my clitoris. Medicine is not in the service of human health, it’s the little helper angel of system who wants to manipulate human body according to its ideology). And i was not insane for creating an imaginary boyfriend. Shrink said that imaginary boyfriend of me, İnan, was maybe how i imagine my “male half”, who i want to be. Now i was a little aware of myself.
And then my father retired and we moved to my mother’s hometown, a small town. After a short time, my father died. After my father’s death i gave myself to working life. I loved a married woman, i tried to be lovers with a man, but both of these relationships didn’t work. For nearly ten years i behaved like i don’t have sexual feelings and don’t have right to love and to be loved. Sometime, i began to corresponding with an afroamerican and bisexual woman. I was lonely and telling her the things bothering me. She realised that i was on a crossroad, i should live my own life or i could end my life, i was stuck. She asked me why i didn’t come out to my mother. My mother absolutely knew that i’m an intersex but she didn’t know that i’m into women. Somenight i told my mother. We talked about my sexual identity and sexual orientation for the first time. This was part of my turning thirty movement. I left my mother’s home and moved my own house, i began relationship with a woman and changed many things in my life at the age of thirty. From seventeen to thirty, it was so sad that me and my parents lost so many years without talking. Now i’m on a journey, a journey of discovering myself and discovering life. I’m still quite coward, there are deep wounds in my soul, i’m trying to feed and develop my soul with these wounds. I’m trying to stop blaming myself for things, it’s difficult after hearing that you’re a wrong being for years.
The woman i met and dated just after i came out to my mother, was a very sophisticated character and i felt in love to her heavily. We had many common things intellectually, we shared some very beautiful and romantic things. She was a soft butch, i found her very attractive with her boots, cargo pants, short hair and beautiful green eyes. But i felt myself like a defective half woman in the relationship. She was a lesbian and i was an intersex, i was questioning my femaleness. In the beginning everthing was good but after a while she criticised my dresses, my style, my weight and lots of other things. Same expections in a heterosexual relationship was in homosexual relationships too. I had to be a specific kind of woman, i had to behave according to social gender codes. She used to live in big city, that was another problem for our relationship, i felt outsider in her life with her friends. Besides all these problems, i was still traumatized because of my surgical operation, i had some problems during sexual intercourse, most of the time i wasn’t able to reach satisfaction because of surgical manipulation in my clitoris. I was going to shower and cry there after sex, when i was making love, there were operating theatre lights in front of my eyes. She left me. I learned many things from her, with this painful experiment i learned that i should never give the right to criticise my body, my sexual identity to someone, if i could love who am i, she couldn’t criticise me in that way.
About my sexual identity, i love being a woman but i don’t have borders about being a woman anymore, i’m an intersex woman, i’m a feminist, fat, sometimes manly – sometimes girly woman. I’m not like other women, i don’t have to be like other women. And i’m not scared about changing my mind, maybe i want to choose another sex someday, maybe i choose not to choose anything.
Now i want to know other intersex people in my country. I know there are many intersex people there, they’re sitting in their rooms with walls on their minds, they think that they’re lonely and they’re wrong, they’re defective. But they’re not lonely and they have to urgently know that they’re not defective.