Born This Way

On Special Assignement this Sunday at 21:30

Intersex is a general term used for various manifestations of reproductive or sexual anatomy that do not fit the typical definitions of female or male. It is estimated that approximately one in 500 people in South Africa are born intersex and one in 1500 worldwide.

“There’s a lot of intersex conditions that don’t have abnormal genitalia or minimally abnormal genitalia at birth and only present later on when different parts of your body switch on at different times,” explains Paediatric Endocrinologist Professor David Segal.

The rights of those born intersex are frequently violated with babies killed, abandoned or operated on to avoid the perceived shame on the family.

“When you are born intersex, with both genders there is nothing wrong with you,” says Dimakatso Sebidi, who doctors operated on as a baby, to “normalise” the appearance of her genitals. She wishes things had been done differently.

Nthabiseng Mokoena was also born intersex but was not subjected to genital surgery. Nthabiseng urges parents to wait for intersex children to grow up before operating on them so that they can have a say about what happens to their bodies.

“When you are born as an intersex person, the fundamental rule that the medical fraternity tells you is that you are the only one, that’s why we need to fix you,” says Dimakatso. 

BORN THIS WAY was produced by Lindile Mpanza.

Watch Special Assignment, broadcast on Sundays at 21h30 on SABC 3.

Contact Special Assignment: 011 714 5419

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