Intersex Euphorias! Positive Experiences of Intersex Variations on and After Diagnoses:

Author: Tiffany Jones

You’ll find a lot of input from XXYs:

Jordan (intersex individual with KS/47XXY, 56yrs) said the diagnosis legitimised his sense of difference from other boys, because it: ‘Merely confirmed my androgynous, non-sexual sense of self. I knew I was different to the other boys since early childhood, but didn’t have an explanation’.

Bailey (intersex non-binary individual with KS/47XXY and ovo-testes, 25yrs) found diagnoses made them initially feel ‘very good’, commenting ‘it was a relief to me to learn that I was neither male nor female, or that perhaps I was both or something in between’. However, Bailey later was pressured by parents and doctors to be more masculine, and experienced phases of hiding their difference.

Cameron (male with KS/47XXY, 66yrs) said his diagnosis made him feel ‘good’ because it meant, ‘I knew why I had the lumps and to some extent, I felt special’. He found out about the variation when investigating his sterility later in life, and so wished he had learned about it earlier to confirm his previous suspicions about his hormonal differences and enable earlier hormonal interventions.

Ralph (man with KS/47XXY, 42yrs) had a history of negative experiences including being bullied, around his low testosterone. However, he increasingly had moments where he felt ‘good’ about himself as he became more self-accepting, and more accepted by family and friends. He stopped using drugs and increasingly disclosed identity elements to others: ‘Since ‘coming out’ couple years ago to my family and friends about my cross dressing, I have been able to accept who I am today’.

Most people with intersex variations had euphorias usually after, not at, diagnosis. Euphorias aid more affirming feelings, relations, accounts, and actions around having intersex variations. Given that Body Positivity euphoria was most dominant for this intersex cohort, most linked to other euphorias, and a response to external ideas and social stimuli; it may be promoted. Increased body positivity themed intersex community events and texts; government funding and supports; and messaging in psycho-medical approaches and texts (e.g. revising the DSM-5-TR’s deficit-based frames for intersex people) may aid earlier and wider exposure to Body Positivity euphoria and its benefits. Future studies could consider if the euphorias seen here present for other cohorts, and explore body positivity resourcing interventions.