BY THEA RICHINSON
Since June is Pride month, it is important to acknowledge all of the identities under the LGBTQ+ spectrum. For example, the intersex identity. While it is celebrated during Pride month, in Europe, November 8 is known as Intersex Day of Remembrance. The day was chosen as the same day as Herculine Barbin’s birthday, a French intersex person from the 1800’s.
An intersex person is someone who is born with the sex characteristics of male and female. For a long time, and still to this day, when an intersex person is born, the doctors and parents choose if the child would grow up to be “male” or “female”. In the case of Herculine Barbin, the choice was female. When she was an adult, she was told that she had more male features than female and that she was misgendered at birth; however, she felt female and identified as such. After the doctor’s examination, she was forcefully reassigned male by the court, tried for gender fraud, and was subjected to invasive medical exams. She later killed herself in her home. Her experience is not an isolated one, and for a lot of intersex people, choosing “one or the other” at birth is not the right thing to do, and can be very damaging to the child as they grow up. Caster Semenya, Pinki Pramanik, Dutee Chand, and Santhi Soundjarden are some of the people who share experiences with Herculine.
This day is celebrated to bring awareness to intersex rights and struggles, and how damaging it is to force the gender binary on people.