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by Curtis E. Hinkle
Thursday, Mar. 09, 2006 at 4:18 PM
Many of us in the intersex community feel marginalized, ridiculed and excluded from groups which speak for us.
One binary please, supersize
The McDonaldization of Intersex activism
By Curtis E. Hinkle
After reading the following article :
I started thinking about how many of us in the intersex community feel marginalized, ridiculed and excluded from groups which speak for us.
Imagine a world in which the main division between individuals were size. This would be the first thing noticed at birth and would have to be indicated on the birth certificate.
Imagine a world in which big people dominated little people and made it very difficult for a little person to become a big person and vice versa.
Imagine a world in which medium sized people could not exist legally without being designated as a big person or a little person.
In this world, here are the possible solutions for granting personhood to medium-sized people: forced starvation or forced feeding so as not to have that dreaded ambiguity because we all know that everyone really is a big person or a little person. They might just be a big person born with a defect which makes them look more like a little person or vice versa.
In order for big people to remain in power, the division must be legally and socially imposed on all members so we all know our place as a big or little person.
Here are some consequences of this legally imposed norm:
1) Big people can only marry little people and vice versa.
2) Big people are entitled to more money, power and prestige.
3) Little people are to take care of the everyday needs of big people.
4) One can change from a little person to a big person only after having been diagnosed as mentally ill and then agreeing to forced feeding under a doctor's supervision.
5) No one can ever become a medium-sized person. That is illegal.
A group of people which is medium-sized (Group A) feels marginalized and decides to fight the oppression of the binary size-based system because they feel it is oppressive and imposes unnatural treatments on them to make them fit in. They also feel that their natural size is not recognized and that their identities are erased in such a system. They feel that classifying people by size it not necessary and only reinforces oppression not only of themselves but others. One should simply be a person and have the rights under the law that all others have. Another group of medium-sized persons (Group B) feels that the binary division based on size is perfectly fine because they know that they really are a big or a little person and feel quite comfortable with this binary division.
My question is: Which group of medium-sized people is being exclusionary and marginalizing the other group?
Next question: Group B alleges that Group A is fighting for a sizeless society. Is that really the truth?
No. Group A is fighting for the right of people to be any size and to have the same rights as everyone else regardless of size. They do not feel that size is something that will just disappear. They feel it is not something that should be imposed on people against their will and with only two possible choices - big or small. They wish to put an end to sizism.
One argument often used by intersex binarians to marginalize intergender and transgender members from our community is the following :
"Many people who are not intersex also identify as intergender.
Many people who are not intersex also identify as transgender."
We would like to state the obvious:
Many people who are not intersex also identify within the binary – that is not something specific to intersex either and it does not make binarians a more "valid" group within the intersex community.
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