Mappa Mundi

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I tore off the first index finger of my right hand whilst hurtling down hill on a mountain bike years ago. I was in Surrey at the time. Well, I was in a pickle, truth be known.

I used to ride hard in those days, and hold the ‘bars like Kenny Roberts: first index finger and thumb gripping the bars, the remainder wrapped around the brake levers. Trouble was I was heading downhill at speed, and airborne. The bike stopped before me, and in compliance with the laws of physics, I took off over the bars, with only my right index finger securing me to the bike. You know the rest.

I got my head stitched at a military hospital after a tank hatch dropped on my bonce. That was in Surrey as well. I can’t say any more. I’m not allowed.
My knee was all my own fault. I went along to support a few chums in a charity six- a-side footy competition, and ended up making up the numbers in the team. I snapped two cruciate ligaments that day, and did irretrievable damage to the cartilage. That really was a bummer. The surgeon told me I needed a knee replacement when I went for the second op. I told him I didn’t fancy that, what with still being only in my 30’s. He agreed. So I toddle about doing the best I can without.

Mountain biking is a no-no these days, for obvious reasons.

I have other scars. Some are visible, some are not.

The first was acquired in Oxfordshire, courtesy of a man called John Money in Baltimore, Maryland, USA. The less said about him the better. Well, just this: in my opinion he was a charlatan. There, said it.

I acquired a few more scars along the way. One in Cambridgeshire, several in London, and one, very memorably, in Paris, France I’m definitely not telling you about!

Je ne regret rien!! Ha!

Our bodies are a map of our lives. The wonder of it is that they endure so much, and still keep giving.

My life’s identity was determined for me by others. Hence some of the scars. The hardest ones to deal with were those I carried in my head. The relentless refusal of others to hear what I needed to say, to listen to me.

It took its toll. It tore at my soul.

My body is a construct of what others’ believed was best for me. They were wrong.
I live within it’s constraints. Boundaries made by the decisions of others. They did not break my spirit. It was a close run thing, but ultimately it forged a determination to see that others do not have to endure what I lived through.

It is wrong to impose artificial values on another person, for the easement of everyone else’s peace of mind. Intersex medicine has developed to serve the needs of those who are not affected, by changing those who are born intersex. One person enduring surgery they do not want, that is not mandated by medical need, is one person too many.

I intend to stick around long enough to see the day when medicine serves the needs of those of us born intersex. A day when we can engage with clinicians to decide what interventions we want, and talk openly about our life choices.

I don’t think that is too much to ask.

LJ. 2014