My name is Jackie Green and for as long as I can remember my biggest fear in life was that someone would find out that I had XY chromosomes – a fact about me that you can’t see, feel, or sense in any way. Yet I still found myself afraid of what others would think if they knew.
I was born with Complete Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome. Like many individuals with this intersex variation, I was told it was best to just keep it “quiet.” People wouldn’t understand; I would be judged or worse if they knew my diagnosis. More than one doctor told me over the years that they had never met anyone like me before, and I was likely to never meet anyone like me either.
That was the furthest thing from the truth. As I got older, I discovered groups online like the AIS-DSD Support Group, and of course interACT. I would be lying if I said I accepted that I was intersex right away. In fact it was quite the opposite.
I found myself angry at other women with my variation, “Why are you saying you are intersex!?” I thought, “Can’t you just say you are a woman!?” I was afraid; I was afraid how they defined themselves reflected on me, and who I was.
It wasn’t until I met Emily Quinn, also a proud intersex woman who works with interACT, that I understood: this wasn’t their problem, it was mine. She explained to me what intersex meant. It didn’t mean I wasn’t a woman, it just meant that I was born with sex characteristics that don’t match up to what society says makes a female.
I started to think back on my life, all the shame I felt about myself, all the fear I felt that someone could know the truth, and the worst: all the lying I did about why I had to have an operation at 15, and why I took daily hormones after that operation. I realized there are other children born like me, and they are scared and think they need to lie about who they are – like something is wrong with them. There isn’t anything wrong with them and I want anyone born intersex to know: there isn’t anything wrong with you!
I am now happily married! I have a daughter my sister carried for me using donor eggs, and my husband’s sperm. Best of all, I accept who I am and am proud to be different and to be part of the 2% of intersex people in the world. I am currently the 2017 Ms Michigan US Continental, and am using this title to promote my platform: “I am one of the 2%: Advocacy for intersex youth”.