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It’s Pride Month! And I’ve loved the coverage and spotlight on LGBTQ stories and inspiring people all month plus Instagram is full of pictures of friends at Pride Parades throughout the countries, there are freshly painted rainbow sidewalks in cities, including my own (Philadelphia), and one of my very best friends even chose this month to come out as bi!
But this video I saw this weekend from Pop Sugar has stuck with me as it’s about a topic I don’t know very much about: Intersex.
If you can’t watch the video now or are like me and hate watching videos unless it’s 9am, 11am, 1 pm, 3 pm or 4:45pm, let me introduce you to Emily Quinn.
Emily Quinn is a Intersex Activist and intersex woman herself (I’ve watched a TON of her videos, and I’m actually not 100% sure that’s how I am supposed to refer to her, so apologies if I’m all wrong.) Emily was born with XY chromosomes (traditionally “male” chromosomes) and has internal testes. She jokes that “It takes a lot of balls to talk about this stuff“ (cause, you know, she has them!).
Emily presents as female, and she found out she was intersex when her mom took her to the gynecologist when she was 10. Intersex runs in her family, so I believe they always knew it was a slight possibility. She has a form of intersex (ugh, definitely not using that phrase right) called Complete Androgen Insensitivity which means her body is unable to respond to androgens. As she has XY chromosomes and internal testes, her body produces testosterone. But having Complete Androgen Insensitivity means her body doesn’t know what to do with the testosterone, so it ignores it. As a result, she developed external female genitalia and doesn’t present in the “typically male” ways (aka hairy and smelly).
No, literally. As I learned in this video below, Emily doesn’t sweat, have body odor, grow body hair or even get acne. Once she went an entire MONTH without a shower because her body doesn’t produce the typical oils that most of us do, therefore no one even noticed she hadn’t showered.
While Emily presents as female (proven further by her gorgeous, curated Instagram feed!), she can’t have biological children as she doesn’t have a uterus or ovaries.
Intersex people are 1.7% of the population, which is the same statistic as redheads. Our TN readership might be higher in redhead population than 1.7% (Thanks Outlander), but that means it’s pretty safe to say we have some intersex readers here (Hi guys!)).
I am fascinated by this. I love learning about things I don’t quite understand and want to try to understand better. As my experience has been quite “Born with XX chromosomes, female presenting, got period at age 12, heterosexual, white girl,” I recognize that I have a very narrow understanding of a LOT of what other’s experiences are. In fact, through Emily I learned that LGBTQ has expanded to LGBTQIA+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Tran, Queen, Intersex, Asexual, All others) which is a mouthful, but I’m going to try to remember it!
Emily Quinn is an incredible young (mid twenties) activist and speaker, and as the Intersex community is much larger than I ever realized, I think it’s great that she has an outlet to encourage others, educate people like me and inspire other Intersex kids and adults to know they’re not alone! Plus, it gave me an excuse to make a really cute TN Pride Logo which we should’ve done on June 1st!
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