Yesterday we watched "XXY" in cinema.
Alex is a 15-year-old teenager with a secret. Soon after her birth her parents decide to leave Buenos Aires to make a home out of an isolated wooden cabin tucked away in the dunes of the Uruguayan shoreline.
XXY begins with Alex´s parents receiving a couple of friends and their 16-year-old son Álvaro from Buenos Aires. Álvaro´s father is a plastic surgeon who accepted the invitation because of his medical concern for their friend´s daughter. The inevitable attraction between both teenagers forces them all to face their worst fears…
Rumours are spreading around town. Alex gets stared at as if she were a freak. People´s fascination with her can become dangeours.
I loved the film. The atmosphere, the way the actors play, and the story. The incapacity of our societies to accept that people don't have to be clearly men or women is here dramaticaly obvious.
Intersex people can live with both man and woman genitals. Most of the time, their genitals are something between men and women. Around 1.7 to 4% of the population is intersex (so it is not rare! ) But in almost all cases, the doctors will operate the baby in order to cut off the penis. The person then has to take female hormons her whole life to fit the female role that the doctors gave to her. They call that "normalisation". But it is mutilation.
The word "normalisation" says everything. Fit the norm, or you don't exist, or are a monster.
The norm calls people with a vagina "women", and wants them to love people with penis ("men"), and to be soft, sensitive, clean, emotional, passive, literary, to wear skirts, to raise children etc ("feminin"). The norm wants people with a penis to love those with a vagina, and to be strong, intellectual, scientific, actif, etc ("masculin").
So imagine if you have both vagina and penis ! This is IMPOSSIBLE ! That's why they have to operate the very young babies to remove that proof that yes, basically, it is possible.
People that don't fit that pattern do have to fight with looks and comments, small or big problems. Intersex, "feminin" men, "masculin" women, gays, lesbians, bisexuals. Sexual orientation, gender expression are some of the most important base in our societies. Since centuries we are told that it is like that (how many time we heard that !), so we can understand that it is hard to think different. And the pathetic "mars/venus" kind of books (which are scientifically incorrect !) try hard to consolidate people in their binary cliché.
But is is a necessity. Get away of this binary system of thinking humans. Humans are more diverse then this. And it's a pitty to see diversity as a risk. Diversity is rewarding for the society.
Links about intersexuality :
intersexualité.org ( french, english, german)
intersex initiative (english)