ABC’s ‘Backroads’ shines a light on the experience of being intersex

The ABC’s Backroads program shared the story this week of Tasmanian Rob Wilson who is a world famous chicken breeder. The chicken obsessed farmer also shared his experiences of being intersex.

Wilson explained that he was born with both male and female genitals, and while doctors performed surgery just a few days after his birth, he was left with a lifetime of medical challenges as well as facing bullying and stigma.

“Basically, I went to the toilet like a male, so they decided alright I was going to be male, so they stitched the female up.”

The medical challenges began when puberty hit, because unbeknownst to him, he began mensurating, and his body was reabsorbing the blood, leaving him with high iron levels, that lead to other medical challenges.

Rob Wilson went on to live as a male, marry, and have children. He didn’t become fully aware of his medical condition until he was in his fifties.
He discovered he was born with a chromosomal condition known as 48, XXXY syndrome, which affects between 1 in 17,000 and 1 in 50,000 boys and men. He struggled to find suitable in Australia but found doctors in Ukraine were the world leaders in treating his condition.
Ukrainian doctors had more experience due to cases linked to the Chernobyl nucelar disaster, and he’s travelled to the country each year to get treatment that brings his hormones to more manageable levels.
Wilson has been applauded for sharing his story and helping foster more understanding about intersex conditions. advocates warn however that there is still a lot of unnecessary procedures carried out on intersex people today.
Tasmanian representative for Intersex Peer Support Australia, Simone-lisa Anderson, said it was time for the Tasmanian government to implement changes that have already been recommended.
“We congratulate Rob on speaking out so honestly about the surgery and stigma he endured.”
“Unfortunately, these unnecessary procedures continue to be inflicted on young Tasmanians today.”
“We call on the Tasmanian Government to implement the recommendations of the Tasmanian Law Reform Institute and ban medically unnecessary procedures on children with intersex variations.”
In 2019 the Tasmanian Law Reform Institute conducted an inquiry into legal protections for intersex Tasmanians and found they were lacking. The TLRI recommended law reform to ban medically unnecessary procedures. The State Government is yet to act.
Watch Backroads on ABC iView.
OIP Staff

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