Gender Stories

Intersex & Nonbinary Recognition Project

June 24, 2020 Alex Iantaffi Season 3 Episode 38
Gender Stories
Intersex & Nonbinary Recognition Project
Show Notes Transcript

Alex Iantaffi interviews Addison Rose Vincent (they/them), a 27-year-old queer transfeminine nonbinary advocate from Los Angeles, CA. Born in Canada and raised in Michigan, Addison moved to California at the age of 17 to come out as part of the LGBTQ+ community and pursue their dreams. Since graduating from Chapman University with a major in Peace Studies in 2015, they have worked for several Los Angeles non-profit organizations providing direct services to LGBTQ+ people facing sexual or domestic violence, housing insecurity, unemployment, addiction, and risk for HIV. Addison now serves as the Executive Director of the Nonbinary & Intersex Recognition Project (NIRP), a national advocacy organization working to create third gender options (X) on state IDs and help end invasive "corrective" surgeries on intersex youth. Addison is also the Founder & Lead Consultant of Break The Binary LLC, the Founder of the Non-Binary Union of Los Angeles (NBULA), and the Co-Director of History Reimagined.
NIRP: www.intersexrecognition.org
Email info@intersexrecognition.org
Break The Binary LLC: www.breakthebinaryllc.com
Addison's Instagram page: @breakthebinary

 

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Hosted by Alex Iantaffi
Music by Maxwell von Raven
Logo by Lior Allen

Narrator:

Everyone has a relationship with gender. What's your story? Hello and welcome to Gender stories with your host, Dr. Alex Iantaffi.

Alex Iantaffi:

Hello and welcome to another episode of Gender Stories. I am as ever excited to introduce you another wonderful guest. Today I'm interviewing Addison Rose Vincent. They're a 27 year old, queer, trans feminine non binary advocate from Los Angeles, California. They were born in Canada and raised in Michigan and Addison moved to California at the age of 17, to come out as part of the LGBTQ plus community and pursue their dreams. Since graduating from Chapman University with a major in peace studies in 2015, they have worked for several Los Angeles nonprofit organizations providing direct services to LGBTQ+ people facing sexual or domestic violence, housing insecurity, and employment addiction and risk for HIV. Addison now serves as the executive director of the non binary and intersex recognition project, a national advocacy organization working to create for gender options on state IDs, and now invasive corrective surgeries on intersex youth. Addison is also the founder and lead consultant Break The Binary LLC, the founder of the non binary union of Los Angeles, and the co director of History Reimagined. So welcome to the show. It's so good to have you here.

Addison Rose Vincent:

Thank you so much for having me on the show. I really, really appreciate it.

Alex Iantaffi:

Well, I love bringing this conversation to my listeners. So when I got your email, I said absolutely. I want to do this and men a lot of life happen here talking to one another. So to start with, tell me a little bit about your organization and why did you think that the gender stories listeners would be a good audience for this conversation?

Addison Rose Vincent:

Yeah, so our organization just as you said, and IRP, the non binary and intersex recognition project we go state by state and push legislation that promotes a third gender option on state IDs and birth certificates. So in California, and actually, as of today in New York, as well as in many other states about 20 at this point, now have 'x' as a third gender option for non binary and/or intersex people in those states. So it's been really exciting work and our team is developing new committees, actually took on the executive director role later last year. And so I've been doing a lot of restructuring so that way we can really achieve some of our bigger goals, including education and doing training, we really want to train healthcare workers, surgeons, parents, teachers, other community based organizations on why non binary identities are valid, but also why intersex bodies deserve autonomy and should not be subjected to invasive and nonconsensual corrective surgeries while I call them genital mutilation, not corrective surgeries.

Alex Iantaffi:

Well that is a lot of work, actually. So I want to talk about all of that and I wonder if we can kind of walk the listeners through a little bit. So one of the things I'm going to ask you is, if you can offer the listeners a definition of intersex if they've not come across that word before.

Addison Rose Vincent:

For sure.

Alex Iantaffi:

What that means.

Addison Rose Vincent:

Yeah, so intersex refers to people whose sex characteristics so that could refer to genitals, chromosomes, hormones, do not necessarily fall into the traditional binary of male and female anatomy. So many common intersex traits might look like chromosome variations on x x y. As one example, some people may be born with varying levels of a clitoris or penis, and so it's it's really different to each intersex person and it's not just based on exterior genitalia or being visibly intersex, a lot of it may be interior characteristics too that make up an intersex person. Now an old term that we no longer use is hermaphrodite. And so a lot of people might know what hermaphrodite means, and that really roots from the Greek mythology of Aphrodite and Hermes, making a child named from Aphrodite. But we don't use that term anymore, because it's seen as just medical invasive and as, you know, kind of icky, so we use the term intersex now.

Alex Iantaffi:

Absolutely and I know a lot of folks here has kind of pathologizing or offensive that other term. And like you said, my understanding is also that there is an sometimes there isn't anything that's visible, and some people may even find out that they're intersex much later in life, right? It's not some people might find, you know, their parents might find out when the baby's born. And for other folks there might be in their 20s 30s, even 40s and 50s. I've known people found out they were intersex much later in their life, is that correct?

Addison Rose Vincent:

Absolutely. So a lot of intersex people face shame, stigma, isolation, growing up, and their parents and even the surgeons will tell them just to keep their experiences their bodies a secret. That there's no one else like them, there is no term or community for this. So they grew up with a lot of shame and stigma around their bodies, maybe not even understanding that they're intersex in the first place. But maybe that they're just broken or defective, there's something wrong with them too, and that they can't adhere to the female or male, strict anatomy binary. So for a lot of them, too, they do grow up with that silencing, or just lack of understanding or lack of knowledge. And then maybe one day they meet someone or read an article or get outreach to by someone, and they learn more about themselves in the process. You know, just two years ago, when I was first, you know, really getting involved with the organization. I just started back in 2017 and getting more involved in 2018. I met this one woman who was 51 years old, and she had just found out that she was intersex the year before. And she had been married to a surgeon for 25 years. And he knew that she was intersex but he didn't feel that it was his place and all those years to ever bring it up. So he knew about her, but she didn't know about...

Alex Iantaffi:

Wow.

Addison Rose Vincent:

And that's so interesting.

Alex Iantaffi:

That is really interesting and also, as a family therapist, I have to say at that moment, I was like, wow, that is a lot of repair and family therapy for that couple, that it's it's the whole thing in itself, right? I kind of want to talk about this binary, right? We do have this binary, this cisgender is binary culture, you know that we make an assumption that bodies are male or female, you know, this idea that our genitals that align with certain gender identities, and we know that that has been challenged by a science that has been challenged by community activism. And so I'm interested in the fact that your organization seems to work with, at the intersection of intersex and non binary kind of legal recognition. So I wonder if you can tell me a little bit about how do you see intersex issues and non binary issues kind of intersect with one another in your work?

Addison Rose Vincent:

Yeah, and the work that we do and passing state legislation to allow for third gender options on state IDs, I think those those gender options typically do refer to as sex. And a lot of people like you were saying earlier, a lot of people conflate or mix together gender and sex. And for many people, they are aligned to even for trans and non binary people they to align but not always, I think that was interesting in our work in passing those third gender options on that legislation on state IDs and birth certificates is that it opens a room for non binary people to be able to self identify on those legal documents, but it also creates an opportunity for intersex affirmation. And by that I mean that when babies are now born, in certain states, where there are third sex options as x on a birth certificate, we can actually tell and show parents and surgeons, 'hey, if your child is exhibiting intersex traits and characteristics, there is a third option now for them too'. You don't need to force them into a box of male or female, which then was often times feel that pressure to conform them with surgeries, conform them with socialization, put them into those boxes in so many other ways. So we're hoping that maybe we can even prevent some of that violence by having those birth certificates available in the first place.

Alex Iantaffi:

I'm really glad you're naming that because I know one of the things that intersex activists have really worked on so hard for such a long time decades and decades, really, is to stop the violence of genital mutilation. I would call a corrective surgery some people call it but this idea that somehow this babies or sometimes young toddlers, by the time surgery is done, need to have genitals that conform to societal expectations, because my understanding is that often there is no medical reason for most of those surgeries beyond conforming to societal expectations around genital appearance. Is that right?

Addison Rose Vincent:

Yeah, for sure. I mean, there's definitely been excuses that I've seen. So many intersex advocates speak out about living after an invasive surgery like that. And when they try to talk to those surgeons and those doctors in those health care professionals, there's always the excuse of, well, it was cancerous. So we needed to perform surgery to protect your life or to save you from your own body. And that's a narrative also, that we see, not only for intersex people, but for trans people too. I was just watching the documentary Disclosure, and to see and just seeing to have so many, even in the last few years, there have been reoccurring roles for trans people in medical types of shows where the trans person finds out that because of their hormones, because of their transition, they're dying, and their hormones are attacking their body. And it's because they transitioned that they are now sacrificing their life. So I think it's just really fascinating the society's type of infatuation with intersex and trans bodies, and denying one group surgeries and the other one, forcing them into surgeries.

Alex Iantaffi:

Absolutely, and how much of that fits into this kind of dominant narrative of you cannot have body autonomy, if bodily autonomy means diverging from those two boxes of male and female around which we want to organize all sorts of things, you know, from architecture, to education, to family, to public life. And so, you know, the list goes on and on. Right. And, and so I wonder, also, what is the advantage? You know, I guess for babies, there is this kind of freedom for the parents, and hopefully for the child to not have the pressure to fit into those boxes. What are some of the advantages of adding a third option on state IDs for in terms of a gender marker? What else that opens up with this third option for gender markers? For both intersex folks and non binary

Addison Rose Vincent:

Well, I think that the possibilities are folks? endless, I think that there's still a lot of resistance in terms of the sectors that would be impacted down the line. So I'm thinking about educational settings, having locker rooms that are gender specific, having facilities that are gender specific to, and by having these third gender options on state ID, that it forces, educational communities, and forces hospitals and forces legal centers and forces a lot of different sectors to really think about how they're providing services, and how to make things more gender inclusive, sex inclusive, and really just push those boundaries too. I really see a world where we don't have gender abolish, or gender remove, necessarily, but we have gender filled worlds where we have many different people who can express themselves in all different ways, and that's all celebrated, and there's facilities, resources, and supportive care networks for those people. So that's, that's the dream. That's the goal. And I think that that can be possible. And it's not just through these third gender options, is through all of the work that everyone is doing together too. And like you're saying, at the end of the day, this is about autonomy. And right now we're in a time where we know we have to say and we are proudly saying that black lives matter. And this does intersect with the intersex and non binary movement in terms of autonomy, being able to, you know, be who you are without fear of retaliation, without fear of violence. And to just like I said, be who you are. And I love the work that Sean Saifa Wall and Gomez, they're both the founders of the intersex Justice Project, they've been doing these Instagram Live videos, really bringing attention to those intersections of being black and intersex. So I think this is really all important work, and we can't do it alone. You know, it's a lot of the efforts of these activists, and organizations and people in all different sectors that are making a change.

Alex Iantaffi:

Absolutely and I love that you brought in that intersection because I know you know, I'm more familiar with kind of non binary identities and movements rather than intersex identities a movement, to be honest, even though the I've touched on it, but not as deeply familiar. And I know for non binary folks, that intersection of our bodies are racialized, as well as our bodies are gendered is so vital. You know, I know so many black non binary folks who are like, it is a much higher risk for me to present as gender expansive, as gender non conforming, whatever language we want to use, compared to a white non binary person. For example, because that might attract the attention of the police, that might attract more systemic violence in a healthcare setting, or even just walking down the street right or in in a variety of situations. And so I wonder if you can speak a little bit more to that intersection of our bodies are racialized as well as our bodies are gendered in your own work in terms of some of the things that you were certain to mention.

Addison Rose Vincent:

Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I think about how I, you know, statistics kind of vary, but I've seen reports of 1.7 to 2% of the population is intersex, and anywhere from .6 to 1% of the population is trans or non binary. So we have a growing population too. And we also have a growing population in the US of racial minorities or I shouldn't even say racial minorities, I should say, marginalized racial groups, right? Black, Brown and indigenous communities to our growing by the day, and they're also embracing these intersex and trans identities too so we have a growing intersectional community in the US. And I think now more than ever, we really need to be highlighting those intersections and allowing them to lead and and advocate and, you know, for us to follow their work. So that's, you know, that's where it's at.

Alex Iantaffi:

Oh, absolutely. I mean, I live in Minneapolis and I don't think we could have had that vote in the city council, in terms of really starting to abolish the police and build community safety, if we didn't have openly like black trans queer Council folks who have really been leading and, and nourishing this work that really comes from black activists in our community and, and just the leadership of black trans and queer folks in the Black Lives Matter movement, right. Both locally and nationally, and black queer femmes of all kinds, including trans feminine folks is just such a debt of gratitude, right?

Addison Rose Vincent:

Absolutely.

Alex Iantaffi:

And so much to talk about, back to your work to your work and to your organizations. Do you find that sometimes there is a little bit of an agenda that might be at odd between the intersex movement and the trans and non binary movement? So for example, sometimes I've heard intersex folks say, you know, we have different identities and different experiences, and we don't want to be lumped in with kind of trans and gender non binary movements. Of course, some intersex folks also have trans or non binary identities because like everybody else have any gender, they also have a gender identity as well as sex and at birth. So I'm just wondering if there are ever any moments of tension, both around the non binary and intersex issues or any other intersectional issues that you might think are that, that maybe are a little bit harder to negotiate at times?

Addison Rose Vincent:

You know, you're you're bringing up a really interesting topic. So when we're talking about the trans community, and the non binary community, and the intersex community, right, these are all kind of separate, but sometimes overlapping things too, right? There's many non binary people who identify as trans too, they think that it's trans is a bigger umbrella that does include non binary. And there's some people who think that trans and non binary are completely separate things and same thing with intersex and intersex is completely different. I think that you know, trans and non binary communities, we're talking about gender, and intersex is more about sex, where that physical anatomy and those chromosomes, hormones, genitals, right. And so there are different struggles, there are different desires and needs of each separate community. And I feel that sometimes within trans and non binary experience and communities, there is intersex phobia, and sometimes within intersex communities, there is transphobia and non binary phobia too. Now the overwhelming majority of intersex people from reports do identify as cisgender. So the gender that they are assigned at birth by their parents by the surgeon, regardless of being subjected to those surgeries, they typically do identify with it, and they're okay and confident with that socialization. And that's good, you know, that's totally fine and so they don't need to identify as trans, they don't need to identify as non binary because they're intersex because they can identify however. But it is amazing to see again, you know, you know, sharing the name of Sean Saifa Wall and Gomez who are openly trans, non binary, intersex people, right, living at all intersections, and being of color right, being black and brown folks. So I think that it's just really interesting, how there can be overlap. There's some times a lot of distance. I think that sometimes each person you know, there's people in each community that have standards and definitions of what trans, non binary, or intersex should look like and be, and there's some times because so many of us have been isolated or alienated or even bullied or harassed or pushed away because of those identities. We now claim to them so hard that we get concerned about whether people try to take it away, or that we they try to redefine it. And we feel that sometimes that power that we now have over identities is limited. A limited resource and we can't share it. We can't expand it, or else we lose a part of ourselves. And I think that's a deeper conversation. If you're a therapist, we understand this, that is a deeper conversation that we all within this greater LGBTQIA+ community need to be having with ourselves around our own shame, what our confidence and our pride is rooted in, and how we can really support and build off of with with each other and not off of each other.

Alex Iantaffi:

I love the idea of building with each other, right, because very few things are kind of so polarized, and yet we live in a world of polarities. And so I'm really interested in this idea of kind of building with each other. And of course, this kind of legal gender status, gender recognition, on ideas is one of this place where this kind of activism, and we can come together, which is kind of what are your organization does. I wonder if there are also times when people might feel that having a third gender on an ID, for example, closes things down, as well as opening them up for it. For example, I have talked with folks who have chosen not to have an X on their ID even though they could because first it can create problems with the fact that passports you know, so it creates a conflict between state and federal in the US. I know for me, as somebody who has a green card, I've been advised not to change any of my state ID because then it might mess things up in the, you know, citizenship process later on. But also know people who have a fear of this will make us more visible. While we are under a hostile government right now to some degree. And could this create a danger for non binary and intersex folks, if that, you know, if there is an x on our ID, it's pretty easy to round around us up. I've literally heard people say that and, and I can hear the intergenerational trauma of, you know, visibility, and also the privilege of who gets to be visible and who gets to kind of blend in and maybe not be visible in this moment in history. Right. Am I making sense? I know, I'm throwing a lot of stuff at your once. But just I just really wanted to go there if you're open to it.

Addison Rose Vincent:

Yeah, absolutely. Well, first of all, I'm just saying, you know, I'm glad you opened up the door to about intergenerational trauma, too. And so I think that when you're talking about the fear, and the concerns around how state violence would react to this type of legal recognition is just so important to recognize and for us to also address too. And, you know I think that's something that we even have concerns about, too, is something that how our current political administration could use these forms of recognition and celebration and visibility against us. I think that in the work that we're doing, there's been an overwhelming amount of people who are hungry for this type of recognition, though, and who I have been pursuing these options to. So I think that just even just having the availability, and the option for people to decide is important, right? Because without that option, people don't have the opportunity to choose, there's not that autonomy, there's not that choice. And I think that just providing that option, regardless of the administration that we're under, is really important for our work in advancing to create more gender full, and more gender full world. Now, I'm hoping that the Trump administration will come to an end later this year was as we vote, well, I can't vote myself, I'm actually a Canadian citizen. I'm going through the permanent residency process. I can't vote myself, but I highly encourage whoever is listening just to get him out of office and that's all I'm gonna say.

Alex Iantaffi:

I'm on the same boat as you why I joined that plea to anybody who can vote.

Addison Rose Vincent:

I'm just like come on. But that's, that's where I'm at right now. And I think that this work still needs to continue on because it's, it's beyond the Trump administration. This is something that is again, a small step in a bigger picture, a bigger long term sustainable picture and and a road towards a more gender full world. So....

Alex Iantaffi:

I love that expression of a more gender full world. I know that when I do training, I would say, you know, the, the idea is not that we just canceled gender or you know, I've been homogeneous androgynous gender that we can actually match as an androgynous is its own beauty. But the idea is that everybody can express their gender in you know, in a way that is liberated from settler colonialism and all this other forces that have kind of shaped cisgenderism. Right. So I love that expression of genderful. Are there any particular even under this administration for the last almost four years. Are there any particular victories that your organization is proud of, in terms of the work you've been doing? You know, we have really seen that increase in states who recognize that fair adoption pretty in a pretty rapid manner and I wonder if there's something that you're particularly proud of that the organization has contributed to?

Addison Rose Vincent:

Absolutely. I think that that's all really been really exciting about that, with helping states pass that legislation. I think that even under the Trump administration, there have been a lot of political advocacy successes for the greater LGBTQIA+ community. And I, you know, I'm really proud and really excited about what we've done and what we will continue to be doing this year and over the past couple of years too. You know, we worked with New York legislators to0 and organizations and you know, successfully passed an X marker, and after birth certificates, which goes into effect today. You know...

Alex Iantaffi:

Thats amazing.

Addison Rose Vincent:

And I've been always proud to to have been involved in the organization, when we actually were able to pass and lobby, the X gender marker option here in California. So I'm just really proud as someone from Los Angeles to be able to know that my friends and myself have this option. It's just really empowering and really exciting. Beyond that, too, we're still building partnerships with intersex organizations to continue to write legislation to ban knee surgeries, these invasive, on consensual surgeries. And you know, just to see the victories to with the Supreme Court wins over the past week with workplace protections, as well as with DACA too. I think that these are all really important things that, that although they may not be exclusive to the intersex or non binary community, they do intersects with these identities and with these experiences, too. And beyond that, too, I think that during COVID-19, I've been really proud to sign on to various different letters to Congress people, and to senators, as well as various different politicians throughout the US to really promote more funding for TGI organizations, especially those that are led by people of color, black, brown, indigenous folks, too, who are trans, non binary and intersex. So it's been a lot of good work and I know that we're in a in a lot of chaos. But I think that sometimes it's in chaos that some of the most beautiful moments come out and the most incredible and strong organizing can sometimes come to fruition.

Alex Iantaffi:

Oh, absolutely. There was... I was walking around my neighbor the other day, and there's a beautiful mural that says 'beauty from the ashes', you know, and for me, it's really that reminder of like, we need to take the moments of celebration and have joy in the small victories, even though we know there's so much more work to do, because those are the moments that nourish us as a community, right? Okay, we can take a breath, and then we can keep doing the work because there is so much work to do, especially in an intersectional movement, and talking about work, you know, and you mentioned COVID-19, I think one piece of that work is education because I know many folks are also afraid of interfacing with a healthcare system that is discriminatory. I know, for myself as a visibly an open trans and non binary person, I don't want to end up on a ventilator, with nobody to advocate for me. And you know, it's bad enough when I've had to go to the emergency room way too many times as somebody who's disabled and interface with providers. And so I wonder if you could say a little bit more about the work your organization does around educating professionals and educating communities and educating the general public around why is this work important? Why does this work matter? Why is it important to treat everybody with dignity and respect? You know, no matter what our sex or gender?

Addison Rose Vincent:

Absolutely, so I think that education is part of the work right and it's about really addressing some of the ignorance some of the miseducation and let's be frank too, we all have been mis educated we all carry around our own intersects phobias. Transphobia, non binary phobia, racism, classism, all those types of oppressions, we carry those with us. So educating and providing a space for people to be vulnerable, to learn, to grow, is just part of the process a key part of the process. So starting later this year, we'll probably be launching a lot of trainings and workshops online and potentially in person and based on COVID-19 in order to educate surgeons, medical care professionals, teachers, schools, parents, in particular on non binary identities, but in particular intersects a ton of intersex bodies and normalizing it for them too. And, you know, sharing facts like that, like I said, 1.72% of the population exhibits intersex traits to and that's as common as being redheaded right? So it's, it's, you know, the these types of things that we can bring up will help normalize and create a space for people to take a sec and take another moment before they make the decision to have that surgery for their children, to make the decision to force their child into a box, to shame their child about who they truly are, they'll take a moment and go, 'Oh, hey, I remember that training. Let's see how I can apply this to my life. Let's see how I can really reframe this moment and create a more empowering world for my child, or for my patient, or for my students, whatever that be'. And however it applies. But we do have our education committee working together right now, they are forming those workshops, that content, those materials, and maybe even have our own podcasts or maybe some sort of blog. So that way we can share our work and make it as accessible as possible.

Alex Iantaffi:

Absolutely, I have to say I always said I'm an accidental entrepreneur, and then accidental podcaster, because I was like people kept telling me, you should have a podcast. And then there was a Podcast Movement challenge. I was like, I should do that. There were seeds. Sometimes there are little breaks, when there's too much life, but it has been really satisfying. So I definitely recommend going for it. I think that people are hungry for stories that are not covered in the, you know, dominant media and the mainstream media. And I think we I think as trans and queer and intersex folks, we're used to creating our own spaces, right? If there isn't a space for us, then let's create our own spaces. And I think we're good at that. So I'm looking forward to that podcast, if your organization decides to go down that road. I am also interested that you're so passionate about your advocacy and about your work. And I'm curious about what brought you you know, when you founded organization, you've you've done a lot of work. What has brought you to be this passionate? And really to focus your energy on this work of advocacy?

Addison Rose Vincent:

Yeah, I think, well, I've been involved in advocacy work, I think ever since I first came out, and when I moved from Michigan, to Orange County, California at the age of 17. And keep in mind that coming from Michigan, I thought all of California was is you know, sunshine, golden land, everything was perfect, everyone's liberal, and I end up in Orange County. And it is really conservative college campus, where there is a bus of you know, Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan, right, really conservative had figures and politicians. And that's where I come out. And I realized really early on into being out versus gay. And then a couple years later, as non binary and trans, that I felt so alone, actually, I think at the time that I came out as trans, I was the only trans person that I know of, openly trans person on campus. And before that, there were other queer people, but no one really trans I my time when I came out. And so I felt so alone, so isolating. And I realized that I needed to speak up for myself, I needed to advocate for myself, or else nothing was going to happen, I realized that if I wanted trans visibility on campus, if I wanted non binary visibility in Orange County, I was going to have to do it myself. So that's where my advocacy passion first started, was really to sustain myself to be able to provide a platform for myself. And in the process of being so out and visible and doing that work, I was actually able to bring in more trans and non binary students to campus and including having more students on campus come out as trans and non binary, because I was there first, right, or because I've walked those steps first. And so knowing the change that one person can make by just living their authentic self, and advocating for themselves, is amazing. So I just took that and I just kept running with that passion. And that excitement of being able to create a better world for myself, and create a better world for my friends, my community, strangers even too. And that's why I've gotten involved in this work. I've worked with various different parts of our greater LGBTQIA plus community, with survivors of violence, people who are living with or at risk of HIV. And I've taken on this role as executive director of the non binary and intersex recognition project, because I just think it's a really exciting and different initiative, I don't see a lot of or other organizations doing something like it. And I think that it's a really, really necessary thing that isn't quite addressed or taken seriously even. But it still has a really serious impact. So I love it's like an underdog kind of organization and I love that I'm able to lead this now and really revamp it and take it to the next level and increase our impact by tenfold.

Alex Iantaffi:

I love that passion and I really hear you because I think sometimes that can be that culture of scarcity in our movements. You know, there are so many issues that we need to pay attention to right? You know, prison abolition is super important for, you know, queer communities of color. And like immigration is a super important issue, housing, violence, all of those are important issues. And there's something about recognition that's also so important, right? It's so basic to us as human, to want to feel seen and valued and recognized for who we are and feel there is that space. And so how can we find a way of holding all these different pieces of the work? We can't do it individually, right, so we do it in communities, so as long as we can, although this different pieces and work in this different ways? You know, that's so important because recognition, it feels so core, maybe it's because I'm a therapist, right, but it feels so core, you know, if your scene is such a, it's such a fundamental piece, I think, for humans to feel seen and recognized.

Addison Rose Vincent:

Absolutely. I completely agree, I think, to be seen, to be loved, to be celebrated. I think those are all definitely, definitely core needs of any person. I think that even during COVID-19, has made it really hard for people to connect with each other to be seen, and to be celebrated the way that they typically would have been. And I know that COVID-19 has been incredibly difficult for a lot of our queer, trans and intersex youth, who, you know, just are losing maybe those spaces, or maybe they're at homes now, where they're facing higher rates of violence and harassment or rejection to it's been really heartbreaking to read reports of people, you know, young, queer trans kids being kicked out of their houses during COVID-19. So I think that it's, you know, again, another time, and now more than ever, we need to be rallying behind our queer, trans and intersex youth.

Alex Iantaffi:

Absolutely and what a great time to have this conversation during pride month. And I know I've talked to a lot of people were like, well, what this pride month means during the time of COVID-19, and also during the time of an uprising of kind of Black Lives Matter. And then uprising, also of really recognizing that keeping communities safe, needs to mean something very different if we want to keep all of our communities safe, right? So I'm just really, really grateful to be having this conversation. It feels very, very timely. I know that I could keep talking about this, and I want to be respectful of your time. I could keep going on for a long time. I love interviewing folks. Is there anything we haven't talked about yet that you really were hoping to cover during this conversation?

Addison Rose Vincent:

Yeah, I think that for anyone that's listening to who is intersex, who is non binary, I just, you know, want you to know that you are not alone. And that you have, there's so many resources, including our organization, including Alex too, there's so many people who are here to listen to you and who understand and who are ready to rally behind you as well. You know, in part of knowing that we're not alone, is also knowing our history and knowing that non binary and intersex identities and experiences and bodies have been around since the dawn of time. And we see these types of traits and other species even to but when we go back centuries before colonization, and even after colonization, in Hawaii, with Mahu, and the Samoan islands with the phosphine. With, you know, here in indigenous America and Turtle Island, there's Two Spirit people who've been embracing masculine and feminine traits who have had bodies that go beyond male and female. And I think knowing our history and knowing that those identities in that culture and those experiences have survived colonization, it survived imperialism have survived so many different challenges. Just proves how resilient we are as people and how resilient we are as a community. So just know that you have the power inside you and that you are amazing and wonderful. And again, you're not alone.

Alex Iantaffi:

Absolutely. I often love to talk about ancestors of identities or experience queer ancestors, trans sisters, gender expansive ancestors, right? It does provide a sense of strength and resilience to feel connected to something larger than us, especially when we might feel not great about ourselves in the year now. That is wonderful. Thank you so much. And is there a call to action that you might want to share with our listeners and maybe specially listeners who may not be trans and non binary or intersex and who do want to support your organization or really want to do More work in this area? So this is a good time for you to share the call to action if you like.

Addison Rose Vincent:

Yeah, absolutely, I definitely encourage if you're interested in learning more about our work or supporting our cause, you can visit our website, which is www.intersex recognition.org. And on that main page, as of now to the end of June, we have our give out day fundraiser and give out days every June 30th. And it's the only day of the year dedicated to annual giving, donating, fundraising, for LGBTQIA plus organizations in the US. So if you're interested in donating to our cause, you're more than welcome to up until the end of June. And beyond that we're still accepting donations of course, on our on our website, too, so you can donate there. But I will say though, that you know, as much as we need your support, I definitely encourage listeners, people who want to get involved to actually, you know, donate first to black, trans and non binary and intersex led organizations. So, check out the work of the Intersex Justice Funding project or intersex justice project, check out the work of the Marsha P. Johnson Institute. Here in Los Angeles, we have the Unique Woman's Coalition, which is the only black trans woman led organization for black trans women. There's lots of different organizations to consider. If you ever need more information, you can always reach out to me at addison@intersexrecognition.org.

Alex Iantaffi:

Wonderful and if people want to follow the work of your organization, on social media are there particular places where you kind of show up on social media so that people can follow the wonderful work you're doing?

Addison Rose Vincent:

So we're definitely revamping our social media right now. I will say that so just feel to be a little patient with us as we get up to date with our social media, but we do have an inner Instagram page and a Facebook page as well as a Twitter page. And you can follow us on Instagram in particular, that's @intersecrec and you can follow more information about our campaigns upcoming opportunities. And if you're even interested in joining us as a volunteer with any of our six committees with marketing, research, development, volunteer coordination, policy legislation and education, feel free to reach out to me we can talk more.

Alex Iantaffi:

That is wonderful. Thank you so much for your time, thank you so much for sharing such wonderful wisdom and insight and hard work with our gender stories listeners and gender stories listeners as ever, thank you for your support. Thank you for your patience. When I take a few weeks together, Debbie said out, but I hope those episodes are worth waiting for. And also, if you want to find out more about gender and you want a really good introduction, you know that there is How To Understand Your Gender available at your independent bookstore. And also Life Isn't Binary. And in the fall, there'll be a new book, especially for you providers called Gender trauma, and it's on healing, historical, cultural and social trauma around rigid gender binary and how that impacts different bodies. So thank you so much, Addison, this has been such a wonderful, delightful time. Thank you so much for being on gender stories. I'm really grateful for your work. And I know I will benefit from your work and so many other people will benefit from your work. So you also have my gratitude for what you do every day.

Addison Rose Vincent:

Thank you, Alex, for just creating this platform in the first place for having me on. You're doing incredible work every day, with this podcast, with being a therapist, with everything that you're doing. I'm just so so excited and proud of you and grateful for everything that you do for the community. So thank you.

Alex Iantaffi:

You're welcome. I love this mutual admiration trans and non binary, folks. We're all like, Oh, my God, you're amazing. I love you. I love you. I'm so glad you're in the world. Listeners if you are missing community, I hope that this gives you a little taste of how we can find community with one another, even through a conversation and my wish for you in this Pride Month is that you can find community and support and even if you can now find community where you are that technology can connect you to other folks so that you can find some of this joy for yourself and thanks for listening