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Life between two genders: A Photovoice approach of being intersexual in Mexico

Life between two genders: A Photovoice approach of being intersexual in Mexico

In a society dominated by two genders, intersex people have no social place, or face barriers to have a respectful social coexistence. The intersex person presents a discrepancy between the external genitals and the internal genitals. This can lead the intersex person to what is called gender identity disorder or gender dysphoria. In order to promote critical reflection and knowledge about intersexuality, this research aims to report, from the perception of those who experience it, their everyday experience within a predominantly heterosexual culture. 

Methods: In order to have a graphic and personal exploration of living as an intersex person, we used Photovoice (Voicing Our Individual and Collective Experience) as methodology. Photovoice is a technique of participatory action research that uses photography as a tool to identify and represent problems and to propose solutions. The study included five participants who said they had experienced or be experiencing gender dysphoria. The participants attended three sessions where they were training in the techniques and process of photovoice. The instructions included thinking of some questions to be answered with the camera, taking pictures that answer the questions, reflecting on and talking about the pictures, and writing captions for the pictures.

Results: The pictures and their captions illustrated that participants’ concerns centered on body discomfort, rejection of gender stereotyped clothes, genderized social activities, hormones therapies, sex-reassignment surgery, and legal obstacles for sex reassignment surgery, and friends, co-workers, couple and family understanding and acceptance.

Conclusions: The study provides graphical and testimonial information that contributed to a better understanding of the key issues of distress, anxiety and depression of intersex people. Photovoice, also, humanized the results of research and sensitized the community for the needs and demands of respect and equal rights of intersex people.