Last week in Cincinnati, Ohio I attended my seventh Androgen Insensitivity – Differences of Sex Development Support Group (AIS-DSD SG) conference and am still basking in the “orchid love.” There is nothing quite like it. About eight years ago I discovered the support group and attended my first conference in Dallas.
Not only was I no longer alone in my experience, but there were parents, allies, children and youth as well as intersex adults connecting with one another and experiencing a weekend of validation, safety and love like I had never experienced before. Years of pent up emotions came tumbling out – happy tears. I had found my community. My story is not unique – just talk to one of the 200 hundred plus attendees at the annual conference each year. Many describe their conference experience as life changing.
Over the last eight years as a member and now board member of AIS-DSD SG I have witnessed amazing positive transformation in the group with a rapidly growing increase of members who identify as gender neutral or male (until two years ago members were all female identifying intersex adults or parents of intersex children.)
I have witnessed an increase in families and youth finding their way into the group and forging beautiful friendships not only with peers but also with adults and intersex allies alike. And this year the group established its first diversity committee and outreach initiative, with intentional efforts to increase membership from marginalized communities.
In short, the AIS-DSD SG is blossoming into a beautifully accepting and more inclusive community.