It’s that time of year again. It’s Pride Month, a time when the LGBTQIA+ community gathers to celebrate our history and the many ways there are to be queer with parades, festivals, music, and, of course, lots of rainbows. What a better time to spread some love and intersex pride?
For those who may not know intersex refers to those who were born to bodies considered non-standard for male or female in terms of chromosomes, hormones, gonads, and/or genitals and is the “I” in LGBTQIA+. Since intersexuality comes in a variety of manifestations we be can found in every gender, sexuality, class, race, ethnicity, religion, culture, region, and time period. Some of us are straight. Some of us are queer. Yet all of us have a stake in LGBTQIA+ liberation in a world where interphobia, transphobia, femmephobia, homophobia, biphobia, and acephobia form interlocking systems of subjugation in which any deviation from the gender binary in body, sexuality, expression, or identity is met with cruelty, abuse, violence, and erasure. There can be no intersex liberation without trans, gay, lesbian, bisexual, queer, and asexual liberation and vise versa. That is why intersex presence at Pride is critical. It is high time people learned the “I” does not stand for “Invisible.” We exist. We are not impossible. We are not disordered. We are not aberrations. We are here. We are everywhere.
So many of us have experienced shame, stigma, secrecy, and erasure living in a binary gender caste system that deems us to be impossible. Still we survive and even thrive. Yes, many of us have stories of pain, trauma, and shame that need to be shared, but we also have stories of joy, hope, and pride. Those are the stories we need to tell: stories of love and acceptance; stories of courage and hope; stories of wellbeing and vitality; stories of healing and perseverance; stories of pride. Let’s tell more of those stories for Pride month and all year round. The world definitely needs such stories, especially in the current political climate.
In the United States we are now living under an administration with a dangerous anti-LGBTQIA+, anti-woman, anti-immigrant, basically anti-every-minority-group, “America first” agenda. Every day brings new shockwaves. Federal bathroom protections for trans schoolchildren have been rolled back. Multiple attempts at a Muslim travel ban have happened. Deportations have increased. Threats to women’s healthcare and reproductive rights have multiplied. Environmental protections are coming under attack. The list goes on and on. At the same time many Pride events and the larger LGBT+ movement are being coopted by dominant capitalist, colonial, white supremacist, heteronormative, and patriarchal traditions in the form corporate, military, and police sponsorships. A good example of this form of cooption is Well Fargo’s sponsoring of Capital Pride while continuing to invest in the private prison industry that harms so many queer and trans lives. Not to mention the respectability politics, biphobia, and transphobia that infects much of the mainstream gay (and sometimes lesbian) movement, which tends to focus only on privileged, cis, white, gay men and leave out women, trans people, gender nonconforming people, multisexual people, and people of color.
In the midst of the current administration’s dangerous agenda and the trends of cooption at many Pride events we must come together across our differences and remember the radical roots of Pride. The reason why we have Pride in June is to commemorate the Stone Wall riots. The first Pride was literally a riot. And it wasn’t just any riot. It was a riot with trans women of color at the forefront who sparked revolutions. We must remember this history and own it. After all, this is protest; not a parade. In our activism we must remember there can be no sexual or gender justice without ability, racial, economic, and environmental justice and recognize the necessity of intersectional praxis that centers the most vulnerable in our society.
That is why this Pride month I am recommitting myself to love and social justice work that is truly intersectional within my communities. I will tell share my story as an intersex person openly and honestly. I will enjoy the celebrations and wave my rainbow, nonbinary, bisexual, and intersex flags proudly. I will remember those have gone before me and resist injustice like they did at Stone Wall and beyond.