A new documentary called Every Body celebrates intersex lives and offers viewers new insight into the struggles and joys of living as an intersex person.
The documentary profiles three intersex activists who share their stories in an honest and vulnerable way. After being told to stay silent about their experiences for so long, these interviews show viewers that intersex identities deserve to be talked about and “just existing as an intersex person is grounds for celebration”.
Intersex refers to anyone born with variations in sex characteristics. This can include chromosomes, gonads, sex hormones, or genitals that do not fit the stereotypical definitions for male or female bodies.
Too often, when a child is born with intersex characteristics, doctors intervene with nonconsensual surgeries in an attempt to fit the child into the binary. These interventions are rarely medically necessary, and they usually negatively impact the course of intersex lives.
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Director Julie Cohen said when making the documentary, she aimed to portray not only the pain and challenges that intersex people face, but also the joy.
Activist Alicia Roth Weigel (she/they) said they enjoyed the opportunity to share details about her experiences in a more three-dimensional way than they typically experience, especially compared to the two minutes they usually have to testify before legislatures.
Sean Saifa Wall (he/him) told The Advocate Channel, “I have had my fair share of media opportunities, and I think often what happens is that it’s kind of shown in a two-dimensional way”. Wall added: “I hope that people come to this film with curiosity, not only about the content but about themselves, about what they’ve learned about what they’ve internalised about biological sex and gender.”
River Gallo (they/them) also described the film as “a beautiful opportunity” to explore their own feelings. They said: “There are certain things that I talk about in the documentary that I’m still in the process of figuring out myself. I seem inspiring and powerful, and I am those things, but also, I’m so insecure about who I am.”
River also told Them: “I think that despite it being uncomfortable, sharing my trauma and sharing what the medical establishment has done to me and to my body and to my family — I know that sharing my story could save somebody’s life. And I don’t mean that lightly.”
In this current political climate where LGBTQ+ identities are often misrepresented, the film provides the background and understanding we need.
In recent years, countries across the EU, including Ireland, have called on the United Nations to protect intersex persons in their autonomy and right to health. Locally, Intersex Ireland advocates for intersex people and calls for an end to unnecessary surgical procedures.
The Every Body intersex documentary is now available on major streaming platforms, including Amazon Prime Video.
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