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Today Is Intersex Solidarity Day

From the website Organisation Intersex International Australia :

Today is Intersex Solidarity Day and Herculine Barbin‘s Birthday. OII Australia and Organisation Intersex International would like to invite others to join us each year by commemorating November 8 as Intersex Solidarity Day.

Between 1856-1858 Herculine Barbin studied at Oléron’s Normal School and received her degree. At 21 she became a school teacher and met Sara, the youngest daughter of Mrs Avril, the headmistress of the school. Gradually, the friendship between the two girls turned to love. But, when acting on their feelings for each other, Sara realized that Herculine was not made like most girls. Herculine was forced to resign from her job and after a medical examination required by the authorities who became involved in the matter, she was then forced to live as a man. Herculine became Abel but when he returned to the village, Mrs Avril refused to let him see Sara. On a cold February day in 1868, Abel Barbin’s dead body was discovered, the victim of an apparent suicide by carbon monoxide poisoning from the small stove in his apartment.

From Wikipedia :

Barbin began to suffer unexpected pains. When a doctor examined her, he was shocked and asked that she should be sent away from the school, but she stayed.

Eventually, the devoutly Catholic Barbin confessed to Jean-Francois-Anne Landriot, the Bishop of La Rochelle. He asked her permission to break the confessional silence in order to send for a doctor to examine her. When Dr. Chesnet did so in 1860, he discovered that even if Barbin had a small vagina, she was bodily masculine and had a very small penis and testicles inside her body. In modern terms, she had “male pseudohermaphroditism“.

A later legal decision declared official that Barbin was male. He left his lover and his job, changed his name to Abel Barbin and was briefly mentioned in the press. He moved to Paris where he lived in poverty and wrote his memoirs, reputedly as a part of therapy.

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Lyndon Evans

Lyndon Evans