Born Both: An Intersex Life

By Hida Viloria
Read by Hida Viloria

10.91 Hours 03/14/2017 unabridged
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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 gender-queer/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.

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Summary

Summary

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 gender-queer/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.

Editorial Reviews

Editorial Reviews

Hida Viloria's touching and generous memoir shines a beautiful light of understanding not only on what it's like to discover, explore, and own one's identity as an intersex person, but also on what it means to be human. Through heartbreak and humor, Viloria writes with welcome candor and insight--and shows us that there is so much more beauty, brilliance, and complexity than can ever be contained in the categories 'male' or 'female.' Sam McConnell, producer of HBO's The Out List and The Trans List
Intelligent and courageous, [Born Both] chronicles one intersex person's path to wholeness, but it also affirms the right of all intersex and nonbinary people to receive dignity and respect. A relentlessly honest and revealing memoir. Kirkus Reviews
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 Diagnosis
Born 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.” Booklist
“As [Viloria] traces her journey to understand herself and her body, her voice elicits the emotions necessary in the tender and painful moments, and she does well with characters’ voices. Overall, Viloria provides a powerful look at self-discovery and transformation.” AudioFile

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Author

Author Bio: Hida Viloria

Hida Viloria is a writer and intersex activist, chairperson of the Organization Intersex International (OII), and founding director of its American affiliate the Intersex Campaign for Equality, also known as OII-USA. Hida’s mission is to obtain equality for intersex and nonbinary people as part of a broader vision for a world that accepts and values difference of every kind.

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Details

Details

Available Formats : Digital Download, CD
Category: Nonfiction/Biography & Autobiography
Runtime: 10.91
Audience: Adult
Edition: English