Hida Viloria

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Hida Viloria
Born May 1968 (age 47)
New York City, New York, United States
Nationality American
Occupation Writer
Known for Early Gender fluid, Intersex activist and author
Website hidaviloria.com

Hida Viloria (born May 1968) is a Latinx intersex American writer,[1] activist and author of the upcoming memoir Born Both (Hatchette Book Group, January 2017). Viloria uses "s/he" and "he/r" pronouns to acknowledge he/r identity as an intersex, gender fluid feminist. He/r father, a Colombian physician, and mother, a Venezuelan ex-school teacher, gave her the right to bodily autonomy by choosing to register and raise he/r as female without subjecting he/r to medically unnecessary "normalizing" genital surgeries, or intersex genital mutilation (IGM).[2]

Education and Career[edit]

Viloria attended Wesleyan University, and later transferred to the University of California, Berkeley, where s/he graduated with high honors and high distinction with an Interdisciplinary Studies degree in Gender and Sexuality.[citation needed] S/he writes in publications such as The Advocate, the The Global Herald and in her blog Intersex and Out on Tumblr, and he/r essay, "What's In A Name: Intersex and Identity" [1] was published in the college textbook, Queer: A Reader for Writers, by Oxford University Press, in January, 2016. Viloria has educated extensively about intersex and non-binary gender issues as a frequent lecturer and on television, radio (Oprah, Huffpost Live, 20/20, Aljazeera, BBC, KPFA) and film (Gendernauts, One in 2000, Intersexion), and continues to advocate for equality and civil rights for intersex and non-binary people as Chairperson of the Organisation Intersex International (OII), the world's first international intersex advocacy organization, and Founder and Executive Director of its American Affiliate OII-USA, a.k.a. the Intersex Campaign for Equality.


In 1996, Viloria participated in the first international intersex retreat. She reports that, eager to meet people like herself, instead she “met people who’d been traumatized and physically damaged by cosmetic genital surgeries and hormone treatments they’d been subjected to in infancy and childhood, and it moved me to become an intersex activist.”[3][4] In 1997, Viloria appeared in the first U.S. documentary about intersex people, Hermaphrodites Speak![5] In 1998, Viloria appeared in an interview on the Montel Williams show.[citation needed] In 1999 she appeared in Monika Treut's groundbreaking, award winning documentary Gendernauts, and spoke about being intersex and also what is today known as genderqueer, although the word wasn't in use yet at the time.[citation needed] In 2002 Viloria was interviewed on 20/20.[6][7]

Hida Viloria testified before the San Francisco Human Rights Commission in 2004, on the need to ban medically unnecessary cosmetic genital surgeries on intersex infants and children.[8]

In 2007, Viloria was interviewed by Oprah where she likened society's lack of understanding of intersex people to what people of mixed African-American and caucasian race sometimes experience, saying, "Society pressures you to choose sides, just like they pressure mixed race people to decide, you know... 'Are you really black? Are you really white?'" She went on to say "I have both sides."[9][10]

Hida Viloria lobbied for the equal rights of South African track star Caster Semenya, who was stripped of her right to compete as a woman in August 2009, after gender verification testing revealed she may be intersex. She garnered international support for the rights of intersex female athletes, calling newly proposed athletic regulations for intersex women "unfair and discriminatory",[11] and telling Inside Edition she believed Semenya was tested “simply because she didn’t make more of an effort to look like society’s ideas of female.”[12] In October 2010, Hida Viloria served on the International Olympic Committee’s meeting of experts on intersex women in sports in Lausanne, Switzerland, where she lobbied against adopting regulations which require intersex female athletes to undergo medically unnecessary medical procedures in order to compete as women.[13]

With Spanish hurdler Maria José Martínez-Patiño,[14] Viloria has argued that Olympic sex testing is applied in a way that targets only 'butch' women, those who are "masculine looking".[15][16] Upon the release of the I.O.C.'s final regulations for intersex women with hyperandrogenism in 2012, she collaborated on an opinion piece with scholar Georgiann Davis[17] and also told The New York Times that the issues for intersex athletes remain unresolved: "Many athletes have medical differences that give them a competitive edge but are not asked to have medical interventions to 'remove' the advantage.... The real issue is not fairness, but that certain athletes are not accepted as real women because of their appearance."[18]

Viloria appeared in the documentary Intersexion (2012), directed by Grant Lahood,[3] and later that same year, spearheaded the first unified, global call for human rights by and for intersex people.[19] Viloria was also one of three intersex people selected by the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association's ILGA-Europe affiliate to co-organize the third International Intersex Forum in November/December 2013, in the Mediterranean nation of Malta.[20] Shortly thereafter, on Human Rights Day, December 10, International 2013, Viloria became the first openly intersex person to speak, by invitation, at the United Nations, at the event "Sport Comes Out Against Homophobia", along with fellow "out" pioneers, tennis legend Martina Navratilova, and NBA player Jason Collins.[21][22]

Viloria continues to advocate for human rights for intersex people as a frequent lecturer, consultant, and in numerous radio [23] and television interviews, in Spanish [24] as well as English.[25][26] In 2015, s/he was featured in the books Lichen, a sound and photographic work on the theme of body and gender, by French artist Pierre Redon, and The Human Agenda: Conversations about Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity,[27] with trans comedian Ian Harvie and others, and in videos for the United Nations' Free & Equal Campaign for LGBT Equality,[28] and for the web-based project Gender Talents, by artist Carlos Motta, that engages movements and discourses for gender self-determination within trans and intersex communities.[29]

Birth Registrations and Normalizing Surgeries[edit]

With the advent of a new German law assigning visibly intersex infants to an 'indeterminate' gender, Viloria has argued that this approach to birth registrations fails to provide adequate human rights for intersex people, and fails to address the most critical need: for an end to normalizing surgical and hormonal interventions on infants and children.[30][31][32][33]


  1. ^ http://hidaviloria.com/about/articles-essays-other-published-work-by-hida-viloria/
  2. ^ Viloria, Hida (September 27, 2011). Dispelling The Myths: My Experience Growing Up Intersex and Au Naturel. http://www.bodieslikeours.org/index.php/our-lives/22-hida-new-story Bodies Like Ours. Retrieved 18 September 2013.
  3. ^ a b Intersexion, Ponsonby Productions Limited, 2002
  4. ^ Viloria, Hida (April 11, 2010). Gender Rules in Sport – Leveling The Playing Field, Or Reversed Doping? (April 11, 2010). The Global Herald. http://theglobalherald.com/opinion-gender-rules-in-sport-leveling-the-playing-field-or-reversed-doping/14837/. Retrieved 18 September 2013.
  5. ^ Hermaphrodites Speak! (1997) Intersex Society of North America. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BwSOngdR7kM. Retrieved 18 September 2013.
  6. ^ "Hida Viloria comes out as intersex and non-binary on 20/20". Organization Intersex International. 14 March 2010. Retrieved 2 March 2015. 
  7. ^ Viloria, Hida (18 September 2009). "Commentary: My life as a 'Mighty Hermaphrodite'". CNN. Retrieved 2 March 2015. 
  8. ^ Patel, Sunil (November 25, 2005). San Francisco Human Rights Commission on Intersex (pdf). Gay and Lesbian Health Victoria. http://www.glhv.org.au/report/san-francisco-human-rights-commission-intersex-pdf. Retrieved 18 September 2013.
  9. ^ Oprah, Oprah, 2007
  10. ^ What Intersex Local Hida Viloria Didn't Tell Oprah: How Hermaph-tivists Pander To Homophobes, SF Weekly, October 3, 2007
  11. ^ Brigham, Roger (March 11, 2010). The IOC's unkind cuts. Bay Area Reporter. http://oii.org.au/7291/bay-area-reporter-iocs-unkind-cuts/
  12. ^ Inside Edition. "Hermaphrodite Runner" (September 16, 2009). http://www.youtube.com/edit?video_id=9HwLfvKPAZY&video_referrer=watch&ns=1. Retrieved 18 September 2013.
  13. ^ Viloria, Hida (April 11, 2010). Gender Rules in Sport – Leveling The Playing Field, Or Reversed Doping? (April 11, 2010). The Global Herald. http://theglobalherald.com/opinion-gender-rules-in-sport-leveling-the-playing-field-or-reversed-doping/14837/
  14. ^ Well, Is She Or Isn't She?, SI, September 7, 2009
  15. ^ Reexamining Rationales of “Fairness”: An Athlete and Insider's Perspective on the New Policies on Hyperandrogenism in Elite Female Athletes, The American Journal of Bioethics, Volume 12, Issue 7, 2012.
  16. ^ Is sex testing in the Olympics a fool's errand? Jon Bardin in Los Angeles Times, July 30, 2012
  17. ^ Olympics’ New Hormone Regulations: Judged By How You Look, Hida Viloria and Georgiann Davis in Ms. Magazine, July 30, 2012
  18. ^ Viloria, Hida. Letters to the Editor. The New York Times (June 23, 2012).
  19. ^ https://oii.org.au/21442/open-letter-un-high-commissioner-human-rights/
  20. ^ 3rd International Intersex Forum in Malta, ILGA-Europe, 22 July 2013
  21. ^ Sport Comes Out Against Homophobia, UN Live United Nations TV, December 10, 2013
  22. ^ At UN human rights event, Navratilova and Collins decry homophobic violence, United Nations UN News Centre, December 10, 2013
  23. ^ World Have Your Say
  24. ^ Caso Cerrado (Case ClosedBebé intersexual #700, Caso Cerrado, October 2013
  25. ^ Is being intersex a third gender?, Huffington Post Live, November 2013
  26. ^ http://stream.aljazeera.com/story/201409031709-0024124
  27. ^ http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/24913580-the-human-agenda
  28. ^ https://www.unfe.org/en/actions/intersex
  29. ^ http://gendertalents.info/portrait/hida-viloria-organization-intersex-international-oii-los-angeles/
  30. ^ Germany’s Third Gender Law Fails on Equality, The Advocate, November 2013
  31. ^ Germany’s Third Gender Law: Not What Intersex People Most Need, The Global Herald, November 2013
  32. ^ Why We Must Protect Intersex Babies, The Advocate, September 27, 2013
  33. ^ Cosmetic Genital Surgery/Sex Re-assignment of Intersex Babies is wrong: Case Closed, Hida Viloria, September 2013

External links[edit]