Happy Intersex Awareness Day! I'm Emily Quinn, and I am intersex. For me this means I have Complete Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome, meaning my body is completely unresponsive to testosterone. I have XY chromosomes and undescended testes, but I have a female phenotype (breasts, vagina, etc)

Recently I came out publicly as intersex in this PSA on MTV, and I wrote a letter about it to my friends and family: http://act.mtv.com/posts/faking-it-intersex-letter/

I also wrote and voiced an animated video that aired today with this article: http://on.mtv.com/ZSdmCr

I work with Advocates for Informed Choice [www.aiclegal.org] to provide awareness for intersex people. I'm also a member of Inter/Act, the first advocacy group run by and for intersex youth! [www.interactyouth.org] I've given presentations to GLAAD, medical communities, classes, the list goes on. Awareness is SO important for our communities.

By day I work as Production Coordinator on Adventure Time. I'm young so I'm just getting started in the animation industry, but you're welcome to ask any questions! No spoilers! (Previously I interned on Scooby Doo and for DC Nation, and worked on Teen Titans Go. I was also a PA for live-action commercials/music videos/promos for a few years.) By night I've been consulting with MTV on their show Faking It, the first television show ever to have an intersex main character! It's a HUGE step for intersex awareness, and it seriously makes me cry just thinking about it. Maybe it’s the hormones?

Other cool things? I'm 4+ year vegan, competitive irish step dancer, and a mermaid. (That last one is up for debate.)

My views are not representative of those of Turner, Cartoon Network, or Advocates for Informed Choice.

EDIT: I'm taking a break! I'll keep responding tonight and this week, so feel free to keep them coming. THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT!!

EDIT: I went for a jog and am eating thai food and even though it's 12:30 at night I'm going to answer some questions. To my bosses: if you're reading this....I might be late tomorrow.

edit: It's almost 2. I'm off to bed. But I'll respond intermittently! Thanks for all your awesome questions! I'm still going to be late tomorrow.

FINAL EDIT: Thank you so much everyone, seriously. I'm going to still answer the important stuff as I find time. Thank you for everything! I think I ended up learning a lot about myself doing this.

Here's a general FAQ on intersex by Inter/Act youth: http://interactyouth.org/faq

Comments: 1139 • Responses: 52  • Date: 

Ass_Grabbo779 karma

You disgust me.

... a vegan? Gross.

emilord433 karma

Clever, ass_grabbo.

lostpatrol641 karma

With your lack of testosterone, you will probably never be a successful bodybuilder. Have you gotten over this problem?

emilord618 karma

You just had to bring it up! Of course not. How does anyone get over that??

edit: To clarify I have lots of testosterone, I just can't respond to it! If any bodybuilders need it you know where to find me.

pnewell475 karma

Can you get a serious answer to "what time is it?" at the Adventure Time offices?

What's production coordination like? Management?

emilord657 karma

Nope! We're like meerkats. Someone asks for the time and we all pop up from our cubicles, fists in the air, shouting "Adventure Time!" It's cute the first time.

The production team makes sure the show gets made, basically. They are like management in that they oversee that everyone stays on track. They're like the liaisons between the artists (which is nice because you get to interact with everyone instead of sitting holed up in your cubicle never speaking to another human) (unless you like that sort of thing in which case you go girl). I personally deal with retakes which means that once the episodes come back from Korea I make sure that all the fixes happen, like maybe a scene's missing a character, or scenes aren't hooked up properly, or something's colored wrong, etc. (aka yes you can blame me for mistakes, it's probably my fault) (well, not really but kind of)

emilord297 karma

(i use too many parentheticals)

Y__M404 karma

With as much evidence as possible, can you please present to us your argument for being a mermaid?

emilord820 karma

Am I doing this right? http://imgur.com/gallery/Edzo0YS

maxerdo343 karma

I've read your MTV post, but I'm still a little confused. Can you simplify as much as you can what Intrasex is? From what I understand, you have a vagina and testes, but don't produce estrogen or testosterone? So. Kind of hormonal gender neutral? I apologize for my ignorance!

emilord790 karma

Unfortunately, intersex (not intrasex!) is pretty complex, which is why most people don't know about it or understand what it is. But basically, it means that somebody is born with traits that don't quite fit in the "male" and "female" boxes. Because sex is a spectrum, there are so many possible variations. You could have someone like me, who starts to develop as a male in the womb but then doesn't respond to the testosterone and develops differently (androgen insensitivity). You could have someone who is like a typical female in every way, except they don't have a uterus (MRKH). You could have a typical male who's urethra doesn't come out at the tip of the penis but rather somewhere else along the shaft (hypospadias). There are so many possibilities and variations, it's hard to pin down in a simple explanation.

I have a vagina, but my gonads (the umbrella term for testes or ovaries or both) are testicular in nature. They do produce testosterone, lots of it, but my body doesn't know what to do with it. It ends up turning some of it into estrogen because bodies are amazing.

Does that answer your question?

edit: Yes...I know all bodies change testosterone to estrogen.

maxerdo243 karma

Thank you so much for your reply!

Yes, it does. That's amazing that your body "changes" testosterone into estrogen!

Do you take estrogen pills or anything similar?

emilord515 karma

This is going to be way TMI, but I just started taking estrogen/progesterone pills a few weeks ago because my breasts have almost no sensation, so I'm working with my doctor to change that! But other than that, I don't need hormones at all. I've had a lot of doctors try to remove my testes, in which case I'd have to take hormone replacement to make up for it. But I've been really lucky in escaping surgery, and don't need anything right now!!

edit: I spelled progesterone with a j because I do what I want.

thegreatgazoo106 karma

My understanding is that the undecended testis have a high risk of developing cancer in intersex people.

emilord338 karma

You sound like all the doctors who have tried to operate on me without my consent! And like all the doctors who have operated on my friends without THEIR consent! (Not trying to offend, just saying it as it is)

That's a common misconception which is pretty damaging to people like me. The risk for testicular cancer in CAIS women is currently estimated at the same risk as typical women getting breast cancer, and you don't see them removing their breasts "just in case." Undescended, fully-functioning testes have a high risk of developing cancer in typical men, yes. But I am not a typical man in any way shape or form, so those statistics don't pertain to me.

thegreatgazoo97 karma

As long as you are aware of the risk/reward with it.

Why would the doctors try operating on you or your friends without consent?

catzen789113 karma

I am not the AMA person, obvs. But people who are born intersex will often have unnecessary surgery performed on their genitalia to give it a more "conforming" appearance.

Thus, if a child is born and the genitals look like a mix between male and female genitalia, surgeons will perform surgery to make it look male or female. Sometimes they guess at what gender they are "supposed to be" and guess wrong.

There are some cases where surgery is required on intersex genitalia due to malformations that can cause infection or other issues. In most cases, no surgery is required, but is performed because society and the parents don't know how to handle it.

emilord278 karma

Yeah. Doctors often like to do what they call "normalizing" surgeries to fit children into a binary male and female box. They call it "normalizing" surgery. Ask most intersex people and they'll tell you it's genital mutilation. Because it is! Often times surgeries cause scarring, pain, incontinence, so many other problems. The main goal of one of the groups I advocate with is stopping these unnecessary surgeries.

There's a doctor at UCLA right now who is very uncomfortable with my testes. She wants them gone. Her idea of consent is telling me stories of children who get cancer. Literally. Her reasoning for me to have life-altering, irreversible surgery is that "this one kid completely unrelated to you and your condition had cancer this one time." I'm not belittling cancer or cancer patients at all, because I know how scary it is. But it's like telling someone who is perfectly healthy that they need to remove their arm because this other person got cancer in their foot the other day. That's not informed consent.

crwcomposer36 karma

I support your decision, but some women with a history of breast cancer in their family do get their breasts removed preventatively. It's called prophylactic mastectomy.


emilord99 karma

Oh totally! But like you said, they have a history of it. That's not what I'm talking about.

BrettGilpin32 karma

May I ask why and in what way have doctors tried to take you or your friends into surgery without your consent and wouldn't this be illegal?

emilord114 karma

I had a doctor try to do a vaginoplasty (where they essentially create a vagina) at age 18, and literally the only reason I escaped it was because I was moving out of the state two weeks later. If a doctor tells you that you need a surgery, you listen. If it was any other time in my life I would have consented without knowing what it meant, because a doctor told me I needed it. Also, like I said, I'm still getting doctors who are trying to coerce me into having a gonadectomy (removing my testes), but I'm informed enough now that I can educate them otherwise. We talk about INFORMED consent because if you say yes, but you're not told exactly about procedures, repercussions, consequences, options, etc, then that's not informed.

Technically it IS illegal (and for the first time ever there's actually a legal case about this in South Carolina. You can read about it here: http://aiclegal.org/south-carolina-court-rejects-attempt-to-delay-justice-for-m-c/

Vashiebz72 karma

Forgive my ignorance as well, but correct me if I am wrong you can not get pregnant, but can still have sex? This sounds sounds like every horny teenagers dream!

Also, since your testes are effectively producing estrogen, do you identify as being something other than a women more likely to adopt?

emilord239 karma

Haha yup! Built in birth control, baby. But I still have to worry about STDs - safety first, people.

As far as adopting goes...I always planned on it until I realized that I don't actually want to have kids. That has nothing to do with me being intersex as much as it's just all the other factors in my life. I still identify as a woman, I just don't want kids. Does that answer your question?

Dipheroin37 karma

Most of your examples aren't variations of sex though, they're just differences in the genitalia. Not having a uterus doesn't make you not a woman.

emilord112 karma

I agree, but it still means you don't fit perfectly in the "female" binary box.

I put those examples because I could quickly explain them in this simple Q and A format. But there are soooooo many more complicated variations that are a lot more complicated to explain. Hence why there's not a lot of awareness about intersex people!

ThisFish88812 karma

So you have a vagina and a ballsack?

emilord47 karma

Externally I just have a vagina. My testes are internal and undescended. Some intersex people may have something like that, but it depends on their variation. And it's probably not in the way you're thinking. The intersex furry tag is not a place to find true intersex people, I'll tell you that much.

TheColorOfStupid14 karma

No offense, but are you saying you have balls inside you? Like behind your vagina or something?

emilord52 karma

Yup, up in my pelvic area, abdomen-ish. Where typical girls ovaries would be.

Son_of_the_night13 karma

Are your testes able to produce fertile sperm? Could you have kids through In-vitro fertilization?

emilord23 karma

My testes are not able to produce fertile sperm (or sperm in general), and I don't have a uterus, so I can't have biological children in any way shape or form!

DannyBoyZ12245 karma

I have honestly never heard of this, but it's great you are brave enough to be I guess a poster child for awareness now.
Have you always kept this a secret as far as dating goes, what type of reactions have you dealt with since revealing this?

emilord332 karma

Thank you! I didn't start dating till I was 20 because I was so scared of rejection. I kept it a secret until I felt comfortable sometimes it took 8 months, sometimes it took a week, but I would rarely share the whole story. As I've become more involved in advocacy I started sharing more, and more quickly.

I had one partner break up with me because of it, and that was super damaging. I spent my whole life waiting for that to happen though, so when it didn't I almost expected it? Yeah, super damaging. But I've gotten over it. My current bf is incredible and I told him on our second date...also because I knew he'd eventually find out with the whole being on MTV thing, haha. But he's been so wonderful and supportive. Everyone's reacted differently!

Metalhed69126 karma

Would a guy having sex with you have any clue if you didn't tell him?

emilord343 karma

At one point in my life, yes. CAIS people have what is medically deemed a "blind pouch" vagina. I hate that term a lot, but I get it. Either way, typical vaginas have two portions. The lower portion is the actual vagina, and it grows up to meet the upper portion which grows down from the uterus. Since I don't have a uterus, my lower vagina never went anywhere. In order to have penis-in-vagina sex, I had to stretch it out with dilators - which are basically boring, medically looking dildos. The new ones now are getting fancier and fun, but the kind I had were hard, white plastic and super boring. If I had sex now, a new partner wouldn't know. But, my first boyfriend definitely knew.

Sidenote: my mom was terrified that I'd never be able to have sex. She was relieved when I told her, but also a little sad. Sorry, mom.

viviphilia176 karma

Thank you for doing this AMA and thank you for finding the strength and courage to share your story with others. I do a lot of intersex activism here on reddit because I know how important awareness is. Also, I find variations of human sex to be extremely fascinating.

Please forgive me if these questions are bothersome at all. I have read that many CAIS women have some anxiety about their legitimacy as women. As a trans woman, my legitimacy as a woman is questioned frequently and so I deeply sympathize.

Here are my questions. I'm wondering what are your thoughts about "gender identity" and "gender roles." Do you "feel like" a woman? Do you put much thought into it or is it totally natural? Is it worth thinking about? And finally, what are your thoughts about adding the "I" into "LGBT"? Do you, as an intersex person, associate with the LGBT movement?

emilord187 karma

Hi! That's definitely a struggle that I still deal with, and that I think most intersex people deal with - figuring out what your sex means about your gender identity. I definitely feel like a woman, but there are little factors here and there that remind me that I'm different. I'm six feet tall for instance, which doesn't necessarily mean anything, but for me it's still a reminder that I'm not like typical women. I definitely check in with myself every now and then just to make sure I still feel like a woman, if that makes sense.

I think adding the I is SO important to the LGBT movement. Even though not all intersex people will agree. We all share the same feelings of shame, isolation, being closeted, etc. though, I think we can really learn a lot from each other.

queen_of_greendale109 karma

I'm six feet tall for instance, which doesn't necessarily mean anything, but for me it's still a reminder that I'm not like typical women

I'm XX and 5'10" and can feel the same. Visit /r/tall - lots of tall women in there. Being taller than a lot of guys makes me feel less feminine sometimes (read: lots of the time) but it helps to see other tall women like you!

emilord101 karma

Ooooh I might have to spend some time over there. I definitely feel you about feeling less feminine, especially when it comes to dating. I prefer to date taller than me, so that's tough when I wear heels putting me at 6'5 sometimes.

MollFlanders99 karma

Hi! What are your feelings regarding the performance of gender alignment surgery on intersex children?

To elaborate... Assuming a parent decides to let their intersex child grow up naturally and decide their gender identity for themself, what age do you believe is appropriate for acting upon said decision in a concrete (medical, surgical) manner? For example, if a six year old intersex child asserts that he identifies as male, is it appropriate or wise to begin hormone therapy to align his body with his identity?

emilord289 karma

Hi! Stop the non-consentual surgeries! All of them! Unless they're medically necessary, but usually they aren't.

I think it all depends on someone's intersex variation, but cosmetic surgery should only happen once a person is ready to fully comprehend what that means. Definitely older than six. For instance, if someone has "ambigious genitalia" (a stupid term meaning their genitals are somewhere in-between a penis and vagina) and identify as a male, that doesn't mean they're going to want surgery. Surgery can potentially mean scar tissue, nerve damage, incontinence, etc, rather than just raising the child to love their genitals no matter what they look like. ( I'm strictly talking ambiguous genitalia. I don't mean telling somebody who identifies as male and has a vagina that he hates to simply love their vagina.)

whendoirunoutofchara70 karma

What would your tips be for anybody who wants to get into animation with minimal experience of their own, what programme's/software or courses/degrees would be most beneficial?

emilord103 karma

Oh gosh...draw a TON. Just keep drawing. Programs aren't as necessary depending on what you want to do, but photoshop is always necessary. You can learn so much online that going to school isn't as necessary, but life drawing always helps, a long with the connections you'll make.

Tha_Fudge66 karma

How progressive of a company do you think Cartoon Network is?

emilord148 karma

I think they're taking a lot of risks with shows, which is really awesome. It's a very artist-friendly place to work, and the creators really have the freedom to do what they want. It seems much more progressive than a lot of the other studios, in that sense!

YeahIGotAFace65 karma

Hey, if you're still around answering questions my SO had a quick one.

Were your parents aware of your condition when you were born? If so how did they decide on a name, or is Emily a name you've chosen sometime between then and now?


emilord97 karma

My parents didn't know! Since I am completely unresponsive (CAIS) I presented as a typical female. If I was partially responsive (PAIS) I might have presented differently, and unfortunately the doctors probably would have operated to "normalize" me.

Sidenote my dad wanted to name me Elizabeth, but my mom hates the name Lizzy and didn't want me to be called that. She wanted Emily, so they compromised with Emily Elizabeth.

Gnomeseason29 karma

So you're secretly the little girl from Clifford, The Big Red Dog?

emilord52 karma

spoiler alert: yes.

sunflower_sungoddess19 karma

So, if you presented as a female, how did you discover that you were intersex?

emilord7 karma

I went to a male gyno when I was ten. He poked around a bit, did an MRI either at that time, or later, and told me. CAIS actually runs in my family, and my aunt saw a few indicators that she thought might mean I'm intersex. So we went in! I'm actually a little vague about this all and really need to talk to my mom about this, now that I'm thinking about it.

kittycatparade13 karma


emilord5 karma

First name and middle name! And I surprisingly don't get them very much! I've always wanted to do a group halloween costume where I dress as her and like, five of my friends dress as clifford.

iron_cassowary52 karma

I've only met one person who openly identified as intersex and they also had some flavor of AIS. This person presented masculine and used men's bathrooms because of some extremely negative experiences using women's bathrooms. "All intersex folk are different" seems to ring true here; when I clicked on this thread, I expected to see someone who my brain could not decide if the person I was looking at was male or female, which I experienced with my intersex acquaintance, but instead, I saw someone who was strongly femme, someone who's appearance was not obscurely androgynous, which was not my expectation.

Here's my questions:

Do you think that intersex should be viewed as a gender itself? Would you want intersex to be a valid gender designation on a driver's license, for example? How would your more androgynous amigos like to see the whole bathroom issue addressed once and for all? Do you identify along the gender binary, or do you genuinely feel like you are in no-man's land (sorry couldn't resist the word play)? Or is intersex just an addendum to your gender identity? Or is it separate to you entirely? I wouldn't expect every intersex person to have the same perspective on all of this stuff, but I am curious to read about your varied experiences and opinions.

emilord9 karma

Thanks for your questions! No, intersex should not be viewed by the general public as gender. It is a sex. Sex and gender are entirely different! Intersex people can identify anywhere on the gender spectrum, and I think some intersex people use intersex as an identity. But when talking about intersex people, the general public should not confuse sex with gender. If that makes sense?

Personally, I identify as intersex female but I guess that means intersex is an addendum to my female gender identity. For me, identifying as only female glosses over my entire history and lived experience. Identifying as female puts myself into a box that allows people to make assumptions about me that aren't true, and it feels fake to deny everything I've gone through. It gets confusing because I also experience a lot of sexism (especially in animation) for being a very female presenting person, so I also identify with feminist issues.

As far as the bathroom issue...it's tough for a lot of people. At a recent intersex conference the signs were changed on all the doors so that there was a women's restroom and a gender neutral restroom. It was so empowering and wonderful to have that, especially for those who don't identify with the gender binary. Plus, I just loved watching all the guys who weren't at the conference get so confused when choosing a bathroom.

thumz44 karma

What can the creative community (including us Redditors looking to join a creative career) do to better represent the intersex community, and what should we avoid in that endeavor?

emilord57 karma

I think any sort of art or infographics that people want to do is really great and helpful to raise awareness, but check with an intersex person to make sure you get your facts right! At this point not doing something is better than pushing out incorrect information. I think including the "I" in LGBTI is really important too, in general.

fluffyxsama45 karma

As a trans person, I kind of feel the opposite about the LGBT thing. I think that it is unfortunately necessary, but that it gives people the idea that somehow trans=gay. Also I think a lot of the LGB community don't have a clue what being transgender means, and couldn't care less about issues that trans people (and intersex people) have to face.

EnbyDee38 karma

I agree, I've often wondered why gender and sexuality were in the same acronym when they're different topics.

emilord37 karma

I can see that, totally. That's why I like MOGAI just because it groups marginalized sex, sexuality, and gender issues as a whole, instead of tacking on all these other issues onto the LGB acronym/movement. Even though they're all separate issues, they also share a lot of the same feelings of shame, isolation, confusion, being closeted, etc, and that's what's important. I think we can grow and help each other a lot because of that.

Human_Sandwich34 karma

What makes you a mermaid? Is it something you're born with or can I become one too? I enjoy swimming, so if I can become a mermaid and never work again and frolic in the ocean with the crabs and sea sponges, that would be super neat.

WhiskeysFault29 karma

Seconded, but is it possible for someone to get in on the mermaid gig part-time? Maybe on a weremaid type basis?

emilord93 karma

Did you guys know there are actually professional mermaids? Like legit, they get paid to swim around in the name of ocean conservation and awareness. Hannah Mermaid is my hero: http://www.hannahmermaid.com/ As soon as I'm done with animation and advocacy I'm becoming a full-time professional mermaid. You can too, Human_Sandwich! Follow your dreams!!

dremonster000929 karma

Have you had any negative reactions to your announcement?

emilord78 karma

So far, nothing crazy. A few sly remarks here and there. If I'm being completely honest I tried to do it as intelligently as possible. Being backed by MTV during the coming out process doesn't really allow for people to be jerks as much, you know? I think that helped give me a lot more support than I expected. A few of my friends came out around the same time because of all the buzz around Faking It, and some of them didn't fare as well as I did, which really sucks. I've been lucky to be surrounded by some pretty cool people.

Edit: I should probably have cleaner language. Sorry, mom.

double edit: There haven't been too many negative reactions since my announcement through MTV. But when I've told people in the past just one-on-one there have definitely been negative reactions.

WhiskeysFault23 karma

A few of my friends came out around the same time because of all the buzz around Faking It

That's awesome, it sounds like more intersex awareness can really have a positive chain reaction! Before consulting, did you consider that the show might inspire other people to come out?

Terribly sorry they have experienced some negative reactions though. Was it at least easier for your friends since they weren't alone in coming out?

emilord22 karma

Yeah, to both things! We at least hoped it would not only inspire others to come out, but also bring out other intersex people out of the woodwork who didn't know there were others like themselves, or didn't know that they were intersex. All of this has happened!

And it has been easier for them because there are a lot of private facebook groups that we connect on. Having those connections to people who share your experiences is really important and life-changing, and helps us not to feel alone.

xxchelle26 karma

Hi Emily! What made you decide to go vegan? What's your favourite snacky food/guilty pleasure?

emilord56 karma

I read some books and watched some documentaries about veganism, they opened my eyes to the American meat and dairy industries. Once I had the knowledge there was no turning back! And for me it's all encompassing - animal rights, environmental benefits, health benefits. Everything. It just makes sense!

edit: Oh! And guilty pleasure is cookie butter from Trader Joe's, probably. But I love all the fake vegan products that companies are coming out with!

Tiek00n25 karma

I saw in one of your comments that you have a boyfriend. In general, do intersex people tend to be attracted to people of the opposite phenotype (people with female phenotype being attracted to men)? I know there will always be some that don't have the same sexual preferences/tendencies as most others do, but is there a general rule of thumb?

emilord46 karma

I think yes, as a general rule of thumb! The same statistics of LGBT people in the non-intersex population seems to ring true for the intersex population. I think there probably tends to be more fluidity amongst intersex people, as people figure things out, but that's more my assumption.

I think depending on intersex variation there are also higher statistics of LGBT people.

Bardfinn17 karma

What's your favourite tune / type of tune to step to? Jig / Mazurka / Polka / Reel / Slip Jig / etc.?

Do you play any ITM (Irish Traditional Music) instruments?

What is your favourite tune?

What motivated you to begin step dancing?

emilord33 karma

Siamsa from Feet of Flames! Seriously, it's so good. It makes me happy everytime.

And I love slip jigs the best because they're so graceful, but hornpipes and double jigs are really fun and hard.

I started dancing when I was 10? 11? I don't really remember. We have a huge Irish family (Quinn) so my cousin got my sister and I into it!

axon__axoff16 karma

A couple questions about being intersex: 1) Did you know you had CAIS as soon as you were born or did you not find out until later? If it was later, how/when did you find out? 2) I know you said that you cannot biologically have children... but since you have testes, does your body still create sperm? shouldn't you physically be able to pass on your x or y chromosome as a male would? Thanks so much for sharing! This is very interesting!

emilord49 karma

I found out when I was ten! I went to the gyno which was really creepy when you're ten, and he did a pelvic exam and I had an MRI. I think he told me there in the office, but I was uncomfortable with the whole thing.

My body doesn't create sperm...I think I'd have to respond to testosterone to do that. I have no way of passing on my genes! Thanks for asking!

catzen78926 karma

What caused you to go the gyno at that age? Were there symptoms of this syndrome that meant that you needed an exam, or was this just a check up sort of thing?

emilord7 karma

My aunt also has CAIS, and saw some similarities between us. She told me mom to take me in, and the rest was history! I think the big clues were that I was pretty tall, had large feet, and supposedly because my ring finger is longer than my index finger, which is a trait that is specific to typical male development? I'm not entirely sure on that still.

Otherwise I would have found out when I didn't get my period. A lot of my friends had hernias when their testes tried to descend, but that didn't happen to me!

LiloLou11 karma

Although you have XY chromosomes, could you get pregnant because you have a female phenotype?

Tiek00n23 karma

From her post here: http://act.mtv.com/posts/faking-it-intersex-letter/

I don’t have a uterus or ovaries, which means that I can never have biological children.

emilord36 karma

Exactly. No uterus. No ovaries. No possible way for bearing children! Infertility is pretty common among intersex people.

ticklemeozmo10 karma

As a Cis-gendered straight white male, I understand that I am not allowed to have an opinion on "minority" anything, but my friends (male, female, black, white, gay, straight) all find something to tease each other about, ESPECIALLY the thing that makes him or her unique.

I personally feel that joking about something (not in a vicious way) brings me closer to understanding it and accepting it, do you have a similar rapport with your non-intersex friends or with other members of the intersex community?

emilord33 karma

Well-put, cis-gendered straight white male! Tumblr would be proud of you.

But yes....I personally try to joke about it as much as possible, which is nice now that I've been public. I was having a convo on twitter the other day with my married male friends, and one of their wives is pregnant. My male friend was like "Sorry, I can't get pregnant." and I was like "Yeah, story of my life." or something along those lines. And my intersex friends and I send snapchats back and forth like "I miss you almost as much as I miss my testicles" or something (my friends whose testes were removed). It's empowering to joke about it! And it's good to be in a place to see it with humor. I wasn't always there.

SumnerSolstice10 karma

Hi Emily! I hope I'm not too late for the AMA.

Could you share what you think defining yourself as intersex has changed about your relationships (with your SO and others in general)? Eg., How would you say it differs from a person who's announcing their sexuality?

And thanks for your help on Adventure Time, it's great to have some quality cartoon I can geek out with my young cousins:)

emilord30 karma

I think it's affected me and my thoughts about relationships more than my relationships, to be completely honest. Some people have had a hard time handling it, but for the most part being intersex is something that nobody knows about it. People are excited to gain some knowledge about the topic, but that's the hard thing about coming out. When you come out as gay people know what you're talking about. Coming out as intersex requires long conversations, diagrams, and reddit AMAs. :)

EDIT: Oh, and no problem! Thanks for watching. It keeps us employed. :)

that_is_so_Raven9 karma

What are your thoughts on Breaking Bad?

emilord54 karma

Reddit's probably not the place to be saying this, but I've never seen it! I don't watch things, like, ever. How I made it this far in animation baffles everyone.

DrDiaperChanger8 karma

Fetch the pitchforks!

emilord4 karma

Yeah, I probably WON'T mention that I haven't seen star wars or indiana jones or other important movies. Don't tell anyone!

bitchredditor8 karma

What does it mean to be unresponsive to testosterone?

Bremstrahlung17 karma

I'm imagining really weak arms. Just kidding.

emilord53 karma

I actually DO have really weak arms, actually! But my legs are pretty killer from the irish step dance, IMHO.

But basically it means that my testes produce lots of testosterone, but I either don't have the receptors to accept said T, or my receptors aren't turned on. Seriously, my testosterone levels are higher than a lot of guys, but my body doesn't know what to do with it. So, some of the T turns into estrogen through a process called aromatization which is how I got my lady lumps.

MarrowWanna12 karma

This is fascinating (no sarcasm). Do you know your ng/dl for testosterone? The average range for males is ~300-1200, when you say "higher than a lot of guys"

do you mean supra physiological levels or within the average range?

emilord24 karma

I don't have my records in front of me right now....but I'm around 700. So I'm exactly average for the male range?

I only know of a few others who still have their testes in, and they're around the same, I think.

pain-and-panic8 karma

I remember watching a documentary on intersex people. One person/woman said that they regretted getting a Vaginoplasty. That before her parts self lubricated and had some function and now it was just a dead hole. If it's not TMI do you self lubricate? Do you feel your sex drive is effected by an immunity to testosterone? I have heard of Male to Female Transgender women getting a boost in libido from progesterone. I've also heard progesterone can help round out the shape of the breasts.

emilord5 karma

Yes, that's happened to a few people I know. I do self lubricate! And I have a pretty high libido, so I don't think it's effected. I think because my body has all the hormones it needs, that my sex drive isn't affected by my testosterone insensitivity. I was just having a discussion about this the other day, that intersex people will fall on the sexual/asexual spectrum just as much as anybody else. Hormones play a part but I also think it also has to do with brain wiring, too.

And you're right about progesterone! It helps develop the nerve endings and tissues of the arreola, too!

LibraryGeek4 karma

Emily states in her introduction that she developed a vagina because her body doesn't respond to testosterone. All fetuses actually start out more "female" and then testosterone changes the gender in utero. At that time is when penis develops, gonads become testes (rather than ovaries) and descend, etc. Human development is fascinating! When you realize how much has to happen in a certain sequence and how much changing and moving of physical features takes place (ie, development of sex characteristics, development of the face, development of the GI system), it really is a wonder that the majority of infants are born without any problems.

emilord7 karma

I've always said it surprises me how people are born NOT intersex. There are so many places where sex possibly might not line up (chromosomes, hormonee production, hormone response, gonadal development, genital development, secondary sex characteristics) that I'm seriously shocked that intersex people are only 1 in 2,000 people. Humans are fascinating!!!

serenityhays446 karma

I figure you live in Atlanta? do you go to Dragoncon? and if so do you do cosplay?

emilord24 karma

Cartoon Network Studios is based in Burbank, CA! Our network offices are in Atlanta, but the creative offices are in Burbank with the rest of the animation industry. I haven't been to dragoncon yet, and I don't cosplay much. I love costumes and dressing up but wouldn't consider myself a cosplayer! I'm being Marceline for halloween (and my bf is being Marshall Lee because we're being doing a gross/adorable couples costume)

ichaosdevice3 karma

What was it like working for DC Nation? And favorite hero?

emilord8 karma

It was fun! It was just getting started, so it was cool learning about how they plan out the programming blocks w/interstitial, commercials, etc. I never thought about planning all that out.

And wonder woman! I'm 6 feet tall with long black hair. #representation

sephrinx-3 karma

What the fuck is intersex?

  • Edit: nvm

emilord11 karma

cheers, mate!

Boonaki-4 karma

I hadn't heard of this birth defect before, can you shed some light as to why this condition isn't better known?

emilord23 karma

Well....I'd appreciate it, as would all intersex people, if you wouldn't call us birth defects. I developed differently, but I wouldn't call myself defective. And looking at it like that causes a LOT of problems for intersex people.

But it's unknown for so many reasons. The biggest being that there's so much ground to cover in regards to intersex people. The variations are so vast that it's not an easy thing to simply bring up. We also spend a lot of our lives being told not to tell other people, or that we're the only people like ourselves that we'll ever meet. That can be really shameful. The shame makes us not talk about it, which perpetuates this vicious, cyclical shamed silence over and over again.

Penroze-12 karma

I don't really understand why you think you're somehow different from other women. From your description, you feel like a woman, identify as a woman, largely have the external plumbing of a woman, but can't have children. Before the advent of technology, nobody would have thought you any different than any other woman. You're tall, but 6 feet isn't that unusual. I assume you don't have a uterus, so no periods, right?

So I guess I don't really get it. If nobody had ever told you you were somehow biologically different, do you think you'd ever have known?

emilord11 karma

I'm not trying to get snarky here...but maybe I can shed light on some of the things that AREN'T talked about as much. Like going to a doctor multiple times a years since I was ten, tons of invasive exams, doctors checking you out from all angles, treating you like a lab rat or a guinea pig? Doctors, parents, friends, random strangers on the internet (which is my fault, but still) feeling like they have the right to know about your genitals and sex life and to make decisions about your body? Doctors telling you you can't have sex, or that they have to "build you a vagina" (both things not true). Being constantly reminded practically everyday from fourth grade until literally the day you die that you don't get a period, that you can't have children, that you're "different" "special" "unique." Is that enough to feel different for you? It's hard to make people understand a lived experience like this when it's packaged so neatly on MTV, but that doesn't mean there's a lot more to it then the simple explanations that I've given to the general public.

Also... that's just me.

I'm speaking out because I'm in a place where I'm finally able to do that. I'm in a place where I can help raise awareness for all my friends with other intersex variations that have had a much more difficult time of it than I have.