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Seeing a golden opportunity, Lynnell’s doctors manipulated her mother’s financial status and turned the situation into a charity case anyway. Exploitation specific to Black intersex patients has yet to be researched.Lynnell’s doctors, I imagine, took one look at Lynnell’s mother and decided a poor Black woman wasn’t powerful enough stop what they had in store for Lynnell.It’s only in the past few years that single Black folks are sitting on boards, or in staff positions of our organizations.There’s also never been, to my knowledge, any Black clinicians present at our Continuing Medical Education (CME) sessions that happen before our support group conferences each year.Yet, it’s important to note that as oppressed people, we are still capable of participating in the oppressing others.The few times I’ve witnessed our community attempt to break down white supremacy and talk about racism, white intersex people successfully shifted the conversation, almost immediately, back to a conversation that centers them and their experience with intersex oppression.“It’s only fair that white intersex activists start to acknowledge, as much as their embodiment can hold, the shameful and disgusting emotions that come up after hearing the bitter truth and realities of Black folks and people of color.”In taking Saifa’s advice, we can create positive ripple effects throughout our whole community.Doing the work to steer our movement towards becoming an intersectional, anti-racist, intersex movement is a win-win for everyone involved!
I attended the intersex conference to realize what it could feel like to finally stop hiding.
I was constantly pushing back against his patriarchy and racism.”“I think there’s some intersex people who really see those intersections, who really are affirming of people of color, but for the large part I feel that the level of anti-black racism awareness ranges from hostility to apathy.”I asked if people ever seemed to care and he replied, “When funding is involved. Or, when a group wants some representation of diversity—but I found they wanted a Black face, but weren’t necessarily committed to issues around anti-Black racism.” Saifa pointed out, “In the world, I’m confronted with anti-Blackness, and it’s par for the course, but it’s particularly more devastating when it’s from intersex people. Because I think, ‘Oh, you understand.’I asked Lynnell why she entered that support group meeting dressed in leather, sunglasses, and the rest of her leather daddy alter ego outfit.
She responded, “Because I was the only Black intersex person there.” Lynnell shouldn’t have to feel the need to protect herself like that in a room that was supposed to feel like home, a room where she was supposed to be able to let her guard down amongst people with similar experiences.
In creating this type of environment, it appears our community hasn’t yet been able to connect the dots between Black and intersex people’s oppression — which Saifa reminded me are both rooted in state violence — and our liberation.
Black intersex folks who’ve lived in isolation and have dealt with segregation in their daily lives shouldn’t have to contend with similar experiences once they’ve finally found, and entered our community.
I’m not talking about highly visible institutionalized segregation like the Jim Crow era when Saifa’s uncle, who was also intersex, was forced to sleep outside on the porch of his hospital after a surgery.