"Am I a Woman?" in Mademoiselle

Classification: News

Press Release: 5 March 1998

Intersex activist Angela Moreno talks about how she was subjected to mutilating genital surgery and years of lies. Physicians who claim that intersex activists criticisms apply only to older surgeries take note:

Angela’s surgery was performed in 1985, by experienced specialists. The “clitoral reduction” destroyed her clitoral sensation, not to mention her mental health.

Angela is now comfortable with her intersex status, describing herself as “a different kind of woman, born uniquely hermaphroditic” and who wishes from the bottom of her heart that she had been allowed to stay that way.

Today, Angela is a proud and bold intersex activist, working to prevent other intersex kids from being made to suffer as she was. Not only that —Angela’s parents are also beginning to speak out about how harmful the traditional medical paradigm is. A sidebar acknowledges that the 40 year old insistence on early genital surgery is becoming controversial, and cites clinical psychologist Dr. Howard Devore calling for doctors to “respond to the infant’s concerns, rather than the panicked parents,” and let any surgery wait until the patient can choose for him or herself. Along with ISNA, Dr. Devore believes that children should be labeled male or female, but that surgery not be imposed.

Moreno, Angela, and Jan Goodwin. 1998. Am I a woman or a man? Mademoiselle (March):178-181+208, ill.