This Pride, we are seeking to raise the voices of the LGBTQIA+ community by highlighting the work we do all year around. Pride isn’t just a month, it’s how we treat people and what we do every single day that matters.
At the beginning of this year we launched our exhibition ‘Private Parts’ to platform the voices of those who are usually unheard. Co-curated with people who have shared their diverse lived experiences, ‘Private Parts’ is a body-positive space that acknowledges and celebrates health, identity, and pleasure in all its forms. One of our co-curators, Ki, is an actor, activist and DJ. He is an intersex person who identifies as transgender and non-binary. He shares with us his experience of being intersex and the importance of educating people about the spectrum of sex, gender, and sexuality.
“I’m an intersex person. I was born with differences in my sex characteristics.
If you look at my medical record, it doesn’t say ‘intersex’ on it. It says like words like ‘hormonal imbalance’ – just code words. It basically says, ‘This little girl has a hormone imbalance.’ I’m like, ‘Okay, so that’s why I have way more body hair than everybody else [and] no chest?!’
Not every intersex person has ambiguous genitalia. In fact, a lot of intersex people will go their entire lives without knowing they’re intersex. When we talk about variations in sex characteristics, that can be anything from chromosomes to genitalia, which is a huge scope of difference. (I believe there are currently 47 named intersex variations.) Unfortunately, biology is seen as very much binary, and intersex people are generally medicalised and seen as a problem that needs to be corrected. And most of the time, if a doctor tells you something, you’re not going to question it!
If I had been given more time, I would have realised I’m not comfortable identifying as a woman, which would have made the decision to go on any kind of traditionally feminine hormonal treatment very simple. It would have been a very simple ‘no’.
Intersex people can look and present really differently. I think there’s a misconception that intersex people are like tall goddess-like individuals who are the peak of androgyny. I am a short stocky lad! When I look at myself and the community of intersex people, no two of us look the same.
Being intersex is not the same as your gender. I consider myself trans (an umbrella term for anyone who identifies as not the gender they were assigned at birth) because I was assigned female at birth, despite being intersex. I was assigned female and I don’t identify with that, which is why I’m still trans, because they got it wrong when I popped out!
Sexuality works on a spectrum of ‘very straight’ to ‘very gay’, so imagine that biological sex works on the same spectrum. You’re either very typically female or very typically male – and then there’s a whole plethora of biological sex in between. Pretty much everything exists on a spectrum: human emotion, sexuality, gender… Why wouldn’t biological sex? Intersex exists in this big range in the middle!
I’d compare non-binary experience to two sides of a lake – there’s a masculine bank and a feminine bank, and then you’ve got the lake in the middle. The lake is non- binary identity. It’s a big umbrella term but a big range. I like to think it’s just like a boating lake and everyone’s out there having their little journeys. It’s alive, much like water is, and a fluid thing where people shift and change. I think that thinking of identity as rigid is silly. The only thing you can guarantee in human existence is
You can find more on the exhibition and meet all of our co-producers here.