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Born Both: An Intersex Life
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Born Both: An Intersex Life


"Fierce, brave, and a clarion call to celebrate our differences."---People

From one of the world's foremost intersex activists, a candid, provocative, and eye-opening memoir of gender identity, self-acceptance, and love.

My name is Hida Viloria. I was raised as a girl but discovered at a young age that my body looked different. Having endured an often turbulent home life as a kid, there were many times when I felt scared and alone, especially given my attraction to girls. But unlike most people in the first world who are born intersex--meaning they have genitals, reproductive organs, hormones, and/or chromosomal patterns that do not fit standard definitions of male or female--I grew up in the body I was born with because my parents did not have my sex characteristics surgically altered at birth.

It wasn't until I was twenty-six and encountered the term intersex in a San Francisco newspaper that I finally had a name for my difference. That's when I began to explore what it means to live in the space between genders--to be both and neither. I tried living as a feminine woman, an androgynous person, and even for a brief period of time as a man. Good friends would not recognize me, and gay men would hit on me. My gender fluidity was exciting, and in many ways freeing--but it could also be isolating.

I had to know if there were other intersex people like me, but when I finally found an intersex community to connect with I was shocked, and then deeply upset, to learn that most of the people I met had been scarred, both physically and psychologically, by infant surgeries and hormone treatments meant to "correct" their bodies. Realizing that the invisibility of intersex people in society facilitated these practices, I made it my mission to bring an end to it--and became one of the first people to voluntarily come out as intersex at a national and then international level.

Born Both is the story of my lifelong journey toward finding love and embracing my authentic identity in a world that insists on categorizing people into either/or, and of my decades-long fight for human rights and equality for intersex people everywhere.

Title:Born Both: An Intersex Life
Format Type:Hardcover
Number of Pages:352 pages
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    Born Both: An Intersex Life Reviews

  • Crystal Starr Light
    May 31, 2017

    Bullet Review:Rounding up to 4-stars because while this memoir is flawed, it is bringing something to light that is HUGELY important in our society.I venture to say that the first half is the stronges...

  • Barb
    Apr 30, 2017

    I'm so glad that Hida Viloria shared her life experiences in this memoir, she is amazingly candid about her anatomy and sexuality in a way I thought was helpful to understanding her experience. I thou...

  • Laurie
    Jun 09, 2017

    When Hida Viloria was born, the doctor took he/r father (also a doctor) aside and they had a quiet conversation. Whatever the doctor told he/r father, he rejected, and Hida was presented to he/r mothe...

  • Kate Scott
    Mar 31, 2017

    An illuminating memoir by an intersex activist. It’s not particularly well-written and I think it could have been shorter but it’s an important book on a topic that isn’t talked about enough....

  • Julie Endres
    Mar 25, 2017

    This is a fascinating subject to me and the author has obviously been through things I can't even imagine. The book itself though contained too much political background of the movement itself to hold...

  • Laura
    Apr 23, 2017

    Not the book for me, but I'm grateful to be introduced to this topic, and plan to read up on it more. I'm glad that Intersex people have more support now than during the time the author grew up.In com...

  • Bookolage
    May 28, 2017

    (Please excuse the absence of italics. I don't have the time to reformat everything for Goodreads.) Nowadays, Lord Alfred Douglas’ “love that dare not speak its name” dares to speak its name –...

  • Donia
    Mar 17, 2017

    I picked this up at the library not knowing what to expect. I think it is a worthwhile publication for those struggling with the mixed sex issues and I appreciate the authors candor...but... I have ve...

  • Anna
    Nov 04, 2016

    Review forthcoming in Publishers Weekly. This memoir by activist Hida Viloria offers insight into the personal journey of an individual who grew up with only a vague sense of he/r physical difference ...

  • Holly Kaplan
    May 09, 2017

    I picked the book up to learn more about the topic and to develop further understanding. I was disappointed in its length (way too long) and poor writing style (redundant and not descriptive). The aut...