Intersex Individual Speaks Out on the Marriage Issue
Editorial to Time Magazine Points Out Flaws of "One Man-One Woman" Definition
"Jane Doe" Bloomington, Indiana
Your March 1 articles on gay marriage and intersexed individuals: "Between the Sexes" (page 54) and "I do...no, you don't! (page 40) sum up the complexity of defining marriage in this country.
We can all debate whether marriage for gays and lesbians should or should not happen, but those of us in the intersex community dread someone defining marriage. I have Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome (AIS) and never knew until I was 35. Though I look female, I have XY chromosomes and was born with testes. It would be incorrect to describe me as biologically male or female -- I am biologically intersexed. As an intersexed person, who do my politicians think I am supposed to marry? How can they define for me marriage as one man-one woman?
I believe it will be impossible for the courts to achieve any functioning definition of "man" and "woman". Some estimates today show that 1 baby out of 100 is born intersexed in some manner. What combination of factors will our legislators or courts use to determine whether I am male or female to defend marriage? Chromosomes? Gonads? Appearance of genitals? Gender identity? Something else?
Those who support the gay marriage ban argue that the rights of gays and lesbians are not abridged because they are permitted to marry, just not to the partner of their choice. The same right exists for intersex individuals, yet without any explanation of how their sex is to be determined. I would submit that my biological reality wins over any fixed definition.
Marriage is, of course, a fundamental right. As such, every individual should be entitled to enter into marriage. Any legislation introduced seeking to bar marriage for gays and lesbians will hurt those of who are intersexed.