Hida Viloria was raised as a girl but discovered early on that he/r body was different. Unlike most people who are born intersex in the first world—meaning they have genitals, reproductive organs, hormones, and/or chromosomal patterns that do not fit standard definitions of male or female—Hida had the freedom to explore the person s/he was born to be because he/r parents did not agree to have he/r sex characteristics surgically altered at birth.
It wasn’t until s/he was twenty-six and encountered the term intersex in a San Francisco newspaper that s/he finally had a name for he/r difference. That’s when s/he began to explore what it means to live in the space between genders—to be both and neither. As s/he began to reach out to others like he/r, however, Hida discovered that most intersex people had been scarred, both physically and psychologically, by infant surgeries and hormone treatments meant to “correct” their bodies. Eager to help end this practice, Hida came out as intersex at a national and then international level.
By answering the question “Are you a boy or a girl?” with “I’m both,” Hida’s helped blaze a trail for people—particularly intersex and genderqueer/non-binary people—to celebrate the middle space where male and female are not separate and opposite but entwined. Born Both is an intimate and powerful account of Hida’s search for authentic identity and love in a world that insists on categorizing people into either/or.
Words come alive in Born Both, which Hida Viloria has written with intellectual sophistication as well as passion for intersex activism. In this memoir, Viloria eloquently tells a deeply personal story within larger structural narratives of race/ethnicity, gender, and class, making for a simultaneously pleasurable and informative read. This book will not only captivate those interested in intersex activism and gender revolution but also those who enjoy skillful storytelling.Georgiann Davis, PhD, Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and author of Contesting Intersex: The Dubious DiagnosisBorn Both is a courageous and compelling personal story that helps give us the necessary knowledge and understanding of the complex topics of intersexuality and gender fluidity. Hida Viloria has boldly brought us along on this journey of understanding and pushes us forward to become a more inclusive culture where we value everyone--not in spite of our differences, but rather because they make us perfectly and uniquely us. A must read.Jane Clementi, co-founder of the Tyler Clementi Foundation
A valuable resource for those seeking first-person narratives by intersex people.Publishers Weekly
How do you discover who you are when you are born outside of what culture has decided is possible? Hida Viloria answers this question with this moving and essential memoir, a personal history that is also something of a history of America's blind spots around gender and sex.Alexander Chee, bestselling author of The Queen of the Night
“Viloria’s personal, positive, vibrant, and emotional work of advocacy will educate and affirm.”
- Publisher: Hachette Books
- Genre: Nonfiction/Biography & Autobiography
- ISBN-13: 9781478940715