I was nine years old when I asked my mother to verify that I would never have a period — just like Aunt Kacki. I pointed out passages of “Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret,” and asked repeatedly if that would happen to me. We had never spoken about Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome, the term intersex hadn’t even been coined yet. But I knew already that I was not going to follow the normal path.
I realized that I would be following my own trailblazer, I would be just like Aunt Kacki.
When I was 24 years old I was ready for a baby. We had been chosen for a child to be born in October that we would adopt. I was painting the ceiling of the nursery blue and hand painting clouds when my Aunt Kacki called.
She had discovered another dozen people just like us. We weren’t really the only people in the world who were intersex. I hung up on her for the first and only time in my life.
The next week, that baby was born and her mother decided to keep her.
I called Kacki that night. My own trailblazer listened to me cry. And she told me about meeting a woman in Chicago just like us. And they wanted to meet me. And there were at least a dozen of us!
My trailblazer introduced me to those amazing women just a few months later. She gave me a community, she gave me a voice and she gave me a purpose.
This week we are celebrating those trailblazers. Intersex Awareness Day is a day of recognition; we recognize those who stepped out of their lives and went out searching for the rest of us, we recognize those who put a face to the name of intersex, we celebrate those who have been our lifelines through the years.
There are some names we all know, but there are also those who served as our first contacts, that first voice we heard over the telephone who could say, “I understand.” We celebrate the parents who reached out to build a community for their children before they started kindergarten. We celebrate the first person we heard from after a fateful visit to the doctor. Intersex Awareness Day allows us to look back at the key people in our history and to acknowledge those who made a vast difference in our lives.
So a cheer to my personal trailblazer; my aunt Kacki. She gave me not just a family, but a community, she gave me the intersex community. She opened up my world and she showed me that I could take what I needed, help who I could and find the tools to create who I would become. She changed me and led by her magnificent example.
Our trailblazers don’t always have a wikipedia page, they have come and gone quietly but they have left a lasting impression. They shape us, and they have shaped our community.
And with all of our personal trailblazers, we are reshaping the world. In the course of nearly 20 years, everything has shifted. Just think of what these next years will bring.