Hida Viloria

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Hida Viloria
Born May 1968 (age 49)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Residence Santa Fe, New Mexico
Nationality American
Occupation Writer, Author, LGBTI Activist
Known for Born Both: An Intersex Life; Pioneer in intersex and Non-binary activism

Hida Viloria (born May 29, 1968) is a Latinx American writer,[1] author of Born Both: An Intersex Life (Hachette Books), and intersex and non-binary rights activist of Colombian and Venezuelan descent. Viloria is Founding Director of the Intersex Campaign for Equality, and uses the gender-neutral pronouns "s/he," "he/r," and "he/rs" to acknowledge he/r identity as an intersex, gender-fluid feminist of female upbringing[citation needed]

Early life and education[edit]

Viloria was born in Jamaica, Queens, New York, to recently immigrated Colombian and Venezuelan parents. He/r father, a physician, and mother, an ex-school teacher, chose to register and raise he/r as female without subjecting he/r to medically unnecessary cosmetic genital surgeries, also known as intersex genital mutilation (IGM), that were routinely recommended at the time for intersex children with genital variance like he/rs.[2]

Career[edit]

In 1996, Viloria participated in the first international intersex retreat. S/he reports that, eager to meet people like he/rself, instead s/he “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]

Viloria is the author of the acclaimed, Born Both: An Intersex Life (Hatchette Book Group, March, 2017), and has been published extensively on intersectional intersex issues such Intersex Genital Mutilation (IGM), its harms, heteronormative imperatives and similarities to FGM, discrimination against intersex women in sports, racism, sexuality, legal gender recognition, and gender identity, in venues such as The Daily Beast, Huffington Post, The Advocate, Ms., The New York Times, The American Journal of Bioethics, the Global Herald, CNN.com, and others, and in he/r blog ''Intersex and Out.

Viloria is also a recognized human rights activist who has educated extensively about intersex and non-binary gender issues as a frequent speaker (Stanford, Princeton, Vassar, NYU), consultant (United Nations OHCHR, United Nations Free & Equal Campaign, Lambda Legal, Human Rights Watch, Williams Institute, IOC...), television and radio guest (The Oprah Winfrey Show, HuffPost Live, 20/20, Aljazeera, BBC Radio, KPFA) and in film (Gendernauts, One in 2000, Intersexion), and s/he continues to advocate for equality and human rights for intersex and non-binary people as Chairperson of the Organisation Intersex International (OII), the world's first international intersex advocacy organization, and Founding Director of its American Affiliate OII-USA, a.k.a. the Intersex Campaign for Equality.

Opposing nonconsensual medically-unnecessary surgeries[edit]

Viloria has been advocating publicly against the use of medically unnecessary cosmetic surgeries and hormone therapy on intersex infants and minors, aka Intersex Genital Mutilation, since 1997,[6] reaching audiences of over forty million, most notably on ABC's 20/20,[7] ''The Oprah Winfrey Show'',[8] in Spanish on the Emmy nominated Spanish language show ''Caso Cerrado'',[9] and at the UN Headquarters in New York City for Human Rights Day 2013.

In 2004, 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.[10]

Opposing "Disorders of Sex Development"[edit]

In 2006, the international medical establishment replaced the terms "hermaphrodite" and "intersex" with the term "disorders of sex development." Viloria is among a handful of American intersex activists[citation needed] who opposed the use of the term "Disorders of Sex Development" since its introduction. In 2007, s/he publicly critiqued the label and the homophobic and transphobic reasoning behind the replacement of 'intersex' with DSD.[citation needed] S/he also argued that being raised to define oneself as disordered is psychologically harmful to intersex youth:

While some doctors and parents are, according to supporters of the term like Chase (co-author of the DSD Guidelines and founder and director of ISNA), more comfortable referring to us as having "disorders" than associating with a label supported by homosexuals and transsexuals, I do not believe adopting a pathologizing label to distance ourselves from these groups is a solution, to say the least.... I know that it would have harmed my self-esteem to be raised under a term which named my difference a 'disorder.' Even complete ignorance about what to call myself was preferable as I was able to form positive beliefs about my unique qualities."

— Hida Viloria[11]

Addressing discrimination against intersex women in sports[edit]

In 2009, in response to the treatment of black South African track star Caster Semenya, who was rumored to be intersex, Hida lobbied as an independent intersex activist for equal rights for intersex female athletes on television [12] and in print on CNN.com.[13] In February 2010, as Human Rights Spokesperson of the Organisation Intersex International (OII), s/he authored a petition to the International Olympic Committee demanding that intersex women athletes to be allowed to compete as is, and be de-pathologized,.[14] The action resulted in Viloria being invited to participate in the International Olympic Committee’s October 2010 meeting of experts on intersex women in sports, in Lausanne, Switzerland, where s/he lobbied against adopting regulations which require intersex female athletes to undergo medically unnecessary medical procedures in order to compete as women, and against athletes being referred to as individuals with "disorders of sex development".[4] As a result of Viloria's advocacy, the IOC and IAAF discontinued its use of "disorders of sex development" to describe the athletes in question, and replaced it with "women with hyperandrogenism".[4]

Viloria has argued since 2009 that Olympic sex testing is applied in a way that targets 'butch,' or masculine-looking, women.[15][16] In 2012, Viloria co-authored an article in the American Journal of Bioethics, with intersex Spanish hurdler Maria José Martínez-Patiño, the athlete responsible for overturning the IOC's long-standing mandatory chromosome testing policies, which critiqued the IOC's proposed regulations for women with high levels of naturally occurring testosterone (aka hyperandrogenism).[17] Upon the release of the I.O.C.'s final regulations for intersex women with hyperandrogenism in 2012, s/he collaborated on an opinion piece with scholar Georgiann Davis[18] 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."[19]

On Human Rights Day, 2013, Viloria became the first openly intersex person to speak at the U.N., by invitation, at the event "Sport Comes Out Against Homophobia", along with fellow "out" pioneers, tennis legend Martina Navratilova, and NBA player Jason Collins.[20][21]

In 2014, Viloria advocated against the IOC and IAAF's regulations for women with hyperandrogenism on a panel on the Aljazeera television show The Stream.[22] S/he also wrote about the interphobia and common misunderstandings around naturally occurring testosterone which drive sporting regulations for intersex women, in The Advocate.[23]

Birth registrations[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.[24][25][26]

In April, 2017, Viloria became the second American recipient of an intersex birth certificate, issued by the city of New York.[27]

National and global affiliations and activism[edit]

In spring 2010, Viloria joined the Organisation Intersex International, or OII, the first international intersex organization, was appointed Human Rights Spokesperson, and began lobbying against discriminatory regulations for intersex women athletes. In Spring 2011, Viloria was voted Chairperson of OII, upon founder Curtis Hinkle's retirement.

In the fall of 2011, Hida founded the American affiliate of OII, OII-USA, aka The Intersex Campaign for Equality, to work for equality and human rights for intersex Americans. He/r first action, in December, 2011, was contacting former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to request inclusion of intersex people in human rights protocols and protections. In early 2012 s/he received a response from the U.S. Department of State in early 2012 affirming the importance of including the intersex community in human rights work[28]

In 2012, Viloria spearheaded the first unified, global call for human rights by and for intersex people, in a letter signed by thirty leading intersex advocacy organizations, to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights .[29]

In 2013, Viloria served as one of three intersex co-organizers of the Third International Intersex Forum in November 2013, in Malta, which led to the creation of the Malta declaration, the most widely agreed upon statement of human rights' demands by the international intersex advocacy community.[30]

In 2016, Viloria became a board member of Genital Autonomy America (GA America), an advocacy organization working with groups worldwide who are seeking to end non-therapeutic genital cutting of all female, male, and intersex infants and children.

Media[edit]

Hida spoke about being non-binary, also known as genderqueer, in the groundbreaking, award-winning 1999 documentary Gendernauts.[31]

In 2007, on The Oprah Winfrey Show, Viloria likened society's lack of understanding of non-binary people, and the pressure non-binary people experience to identify as men or women, 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?'" S/he went on to say "I have both [sides].".[32]

In early 2015, s/he was featured in the web-based project Gender Talents, by artist Carlos Motta, in which s/he discusses the many harms produced by, and erroneous presumptions about, Intersex Genital Mutilation.[33] In September 2015, the UN's Free & Equal Campaign for Equality produced a video of Hida[34] in conjunction with the release of their groundbreaking resource the Intersex Fact Sheet,[35] and in 2016 Hida was one of the "Intersex Voices" featured in the Free and Equal Campaign for Equality's Intersex Awareness Campaign.[36] In addition, s/he has also advocated against Intersex Genital Mutilation via essays,[37][38][13] and in he/r memoir Born Both: An Intersex LIfe.[39]

Selected bibliography[edit]

Book reception[edit]

In January 2017, Kirkus reviewed the memoir saying: "Intelligent and courageous, [Born Both] chronicles one intersex person's path to wholeness, but it also affirms the right of all intersex and non-binary people to receive dignity and respect".[40] In May 2017, The New York Times reviewed Born Both, saying: “Viloria does us the even greater service (it’s more of a gift, really) of showing us what it means to live not just as both a man and a woman but also as a third gender that eventually emerges as the right one.”[41]

Honors and awards[edit]

In April, 2013, Viloria's intersex advocacy organization OII-USA was selected as a finalist for the Kalamazoo College Global Prize for Collaborative Social Justice, administered by Kalamazoo College's Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership. Viloria's memoir Born Both: An Intersex Life was selected by Bustle (magazine) as one of "The 20 Best Non-fiction Books Coming in March 2017",[42] and as one of six books in People magazine's "The Best New Books" list in April, 2017.[43]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://hidaviloria.com/wp-content/uploads/Bibliography-Hida-Viloria.pdf Hida Viloria Bibliography
  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. ^ Intersexion, Ponsonby Productions Limited, 2002
  4. ^ a b c Viloria, Hida (April 11, 2010). Gender Rules in Sport – Leveling The Playing Field, Or Reversed Doping? (April 11, 2010). The Global Herald. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-05-14. Retrieved 2013-12-10. 
  5. ^ Hermaphrodites Speak! (1997) Intersex Society of North America. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BwSOngdR7kM. Retrieved 18 September 2013.
  6. ^ http://www.isna.org/node/14/ "Caught in the Middle," Inside Edition, September 11, 1997
  7. ^ http://abcnews.go.com/2020/story?id=123917&page=1 Controversy Over Operating to Change Ambiguous Genitalia, ABC 20/20, April 19, 2002
  8. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q8LyyNvY6e4 Growing Up Intersex, The Oprah Winfrey Show, September 19, 2007
  9. ^ Cosmetic Genital Surgery/Sex Re-assignment of Intersex Babies is wrong: Case Closed, Hida Viloria, September 2013
  10. ^ 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.
  11. ^ Viloria, Hida. "Hida Viloria Tells Us What She Really Thinks". sfweekly.com. SF Weekly. Retrieved June 4, 2016. 
  12. ^ Inside Edition. "Hermaphrodite Runner" (September 16, 2009). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9HwLfvKPAZY Retrieved 18 September 2013.
  13. ^ a b http://www.cnn.com/2009/HEALTH/09/18/hida.viloria.intersex.athlete/ My LIfe as Mighty Hermaphrodite, CNN.com, September 18, 2009
  14. ^ OII’s Petition to the IOC: Depathologization & Fair Policies for Intersex Athletes (February 25, 2010). http://oii-usa.org/3062/oiis-petition-to-the-international-olympic-committee-ioc/
  15. ^ Well, Is She Or Isn't She?, SI, September 7, 2009
  16. ^ Is sex testing in the Olympics a fool's errand? Jon Bardin in Los Angeles Times, July 30, 2012
  17. ^ 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
  18. ^ Olympics’ New Hormone Regulations: Judged By How You Look, Hida Viloria and Georgiann Davis in Ms. Magazine, July 30, 2012
  19. ^ Viloria, Hida. Letters to the Editor. The New York Times (June 23, 2012).
  20. ^ Sport Comes Out Against Homophobia, UN Live United Nations TV, December 10, 2013
  21. ^ At UN human rights event, Navratilova and Collins decry homophobic violence, United Nations UN News Centre, December 10, 2013
  22. ^ http://stream.aljazeera.com/story/201409031709-0024124/ No Games for Women with Too Much Testosterone, Aljazeera, The Stream, September 3, 2014
  23. ^ Stop Freaking Out About Intersex Athletes, The Advocate, September 18, 2014
  24. ^ Germany’s Third Gender Law Fails on Equality, The Advocate, November 2013
  25. ^ Germany’s Third Gender Law: Not What Intersex People Most Need, The Global Herald, November 2013
  26. ^ World Have Your Say
  27. ^ http://oii-usa.org/4301/nyc-issues-second-intersex-birth-certificate/ NYC Issues Second Intersex Birth Certificate! Intersex Campaign for Equality, June 21, 2017
  28. ^ OII receives reply from US Department of State to OII Chairperson Hida Viloria's letter asking for intersex inclusion in LGBTI - not LGBT-only - global human rights efforts OII-USA, February 23, 2012
  29. ^ http://oii-usa.org/1040/oii-usa-director-hida-vilorias-call-inclusion-intersex-human-rights-today-united-nations-high-commissioner-human-rights-navi-pillay//
  30. ^ 3rd International Intersex Forum in Malta Archived 2013-12-26 at the Wayback Machine., ILGA-Europe, 22 July 2013
  31. ^ E.D. Hida Viloria in the Groundbreaking GENDERNAUTS April 23, 2013, Retrieved 23 June 2106
  32. ^ Oprah, "Growing Up Intersex," Oprah, 2007
  33. ^ http://gendertalents.info/portrait/hida-viloria-organization-intersex-international-oii-los-angeles/
  34. ^ What Does It Mean To Be Intersex? United Nations Free & Equal, September 4, 2015
  35. ^ http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Issues/Discrimination/LGBT/FactSheets/UNFE_FactSheet_Intersex_EN.pdf/ Intersex Fact Sheet, United Nations Free & Equal, September 4, 2015
  36. ^ https://www.unfe.org/intersex-awareness/ Intersex Awareness Mini-Campaign, United Nations Free & Equal, October 26, 2016
  37. ^ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/sex-positive-intersex-positive_us_58e6d8d7e4b0acd784ca56cd/ Remember: Sex Positive = Intersex Positive, Huffington Post, April 7, 2017
  38. ^ http://www.advocate.com/commentary/2013/09/27/op-ed-why-we-must-protect-intersex-babies/ Why We Must Protect Intersex Babies, The Advocate, September 27, 2013
  39. ^ http://www.hachettebookgroup.com/titles/hida-viloria/born-both/9780316347846/ Born Both: An Intersex LIfe, Hachette Books, March 14, 2017
  40. ^ https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/hida-viloria/born-both/ Kirkus Review, Born Both, January 4, 2017
  41. ^ https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/24/books/review/memoir-human-body.html/ New in Memoir: The Intersex Body, the Dead Body, the Body in Grief, Meghan Daum, The New York Times, May 24, 2017
  42. ^ https://www.bustle.com/p/the-20-best-nonfiction-books-coming-in-march-2017-41528/ The 20 Best Non-fiction Books Coming in March 2017, Bustle, March 1, 2017
  43. ^ http://hidaviloria.com/born-both-selected-as-one-of-peoples-best-new-books/ The Best New Books, People, April 3, 2017

External links[edit]