Gender identity has stirred a lot of controversy in the U.S. in recent years. While others are born males and identify as females and vice versa, 55-year-old Sara Kelly Keenan has female genitals, male genes, mixed internal reproductive organs, and now a birth certificate that recognizes her as intersex. At birth, doctors recommended surgery, so her genitals would be re-sculpted to resemble male reproductive organs, in line with her DNA. However, Sara’s father refused. Her original birth certificate was issued three weeks after her birth.
Growing up, she was raised as a woman and at 16 years old she started to take female hormones. It was not until four years ago that Sara Keenan learned about the doctors’ suggestion at her birth. She describes her life so far as filled with deception and lies, in terms of her gender identity.
Once Ms. Keenan learned she was intersex, she wanted her birth certificate to state it, as well. However, even though the string of victories brought on by transgender activists made it easier in several states across the country for an individual to shift between male and female, and vice versa, on official documents, as well as birth certificates, people who identify as intersex have it harder as they lie outside the two most commonly recognized boundaries.
Sara Keenan’s surprising victory could take humanity one step closer towards worldwide recognition of a third gender. However, Ms. Keenan is aware of the fact that not all people having trouble pinning down their gender identity will choose to legally identify as intersex. At the same time, not all parents that have an intersex child probably won’t choose for their birth certificate to show it, neither. However, Sara Keenan strongly believes that the option should be available for people who identify as intersex to officially do so.
Together with two other intersex people, Sara Keenan is now taking the first steps in getting federal authorities to recognize intersex individuals in other official documents, such as passports.
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