PCOS and Intersex?

I’ve never created a post before at Feministing Community, but since I don’t have a web-based forum of my own, I thought I would try putting some ideas out this way.

I’m wondering if anyone out there who has typical signs of what allopaths classify as ‘polycystic ovarian syndrome’ (regardless as to whether or not you adhere to that medical system or its diagnostic practices or categories– I don’t, personally) chooses to identify as ‘intersex’ on that basis alone? Although it appears that this ‘condition’ is usually not grouped under an intersex classification, I see no obvious reason that it should not be; it is caused by a particular genetic formation and is thus present — even if not yet manifest — at birth.

As a person with a mix of ‘female’ and ‘male’ secondary sex characteristics presumably attributable to this condition, I am considering adopting intersex as an identity category, and am wondering what others, particularly intersex people themselves, feel about this? (I have never felt I possessed an ‘essential’ male or female gender identity myself, but have generally gone along with my socially ascribed female one — my female-typical fat distribution makes my ‘femaleness’ un-hideable. Yet my ‘male’ facial/body features often complicate maintaining/performing this identity.)

I can see an intersex identity being advantageous in the sense of helping me/others become more open and public about the ‘male’ characteristics (male-typical body and facial hair; masculine facial features and musculature; male-pattern baldness) that many of us possess  but generally minimize/hide. I also think this would help in moving us away from the allopathic construction of PCOS as a ‘disorder’ in need of ‘treatment’ — or equally oppressive, as a ‘risk factor’ in need of ‘professional monitoring’ — and toward its acceptance as a legitimate form of human embodiment. Yet, since many more people have PCOS or similar genetic hormonal ‘conditions’ than have traditionally been classified as intersex, I wonder if the existing intersex community would fear being ‘swamped’ by the potential influx or having their identity or politics diluted in some way? I really have no idea and am genuinely curious.

(Note: Please don’t comment unless you’re committed to honouring the non-ableist and anti-medicalization tenets of my position; i.e., no "But PCOS cauzes teh terrribal diseesez!!!111!" Living causes dying, in all people, without exception.)

Thank you.

Disclaimer: This post was written by a Feministing Community user and does not necessarily reflect the views of any Feministing columnist, editor, or executive director.

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