XOXY makes clear how binary notions of gender and sex embedded in U.S. health care contribute to life-long harms of intersex persons. This candid personal narrative shows us an intersex woman who refuses to be erased and chronicles the flourishing of an intersex movement that she helped build. An important and engaging read.
—Charlene Galarneau, Ph.D., Sr. Lecturer, Harvard Medical School Center for Bioethics
An intimate, searing memoir of an intersex life, XOXY lays bare the trauma of being betrayed by the medical profession, and details how one person finds empowerment through community and advocacy.
—I.W. Gregorio, urologist and author of None of the Above
You will laugh, cry, and get furious alongside Zieselman as she beautifully shares her raw and unbelievable story that will change everything you thought you knew about bodies, identities, and the white, straight, well-to-do mother next door.
—Georgiann Davis, Ph.D., author of Contesting Intersex: The Dubious Diagnosis
Zieselman is a caped and capable crusader for change, and her book is filled with glimmers of hope for the current and future generation of intersex children. This book is for anyone who has ever felt different, or has stood up against judgment or intolerance, and for anyone who wants to understand what’s at stake.
—Sherri Groveman Morris, JD, Founder of AIS Support Group USA
Zieselman’s riveting account of secrets and their consequences should motivate physicians to end the damaging, nonconsensual approach to intersex management of children, and inspire many who have endured similar medical trauma. Her turn to activism for intersex people everywhere as director of interACT is nothing short of remarkable.
—Elizabeth Reis, Ph.D., author of Bodies in Doubt: An American History of Intersex
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kimberly M. Zieselman is an intersex woman, lawyer and the Executive Director of interACT: Advocates for Intersex Youth, with more than 25 years of experience in advocacy and nonprofit advocacy.
She served on the board of the AIS-DSD Support Group, the largest intersex support group in the US and participated as an expert consultant to the UN Office of the High Commissioner. Kimberly is also a signatory to the historic YP+10, the supplementary document to Yogyakarta Principles which outlines individual human rights based on Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression, and Sex Characteristics. She regularly consults on intersex media projects and has been quoted and/or published in outlets including, USA Today, New York Times, Washington Post, BBC, CNN, and The Advocate.
Kimberly currently lives in southern Vermont with her husband, twin daughters, two cats and a dog.
Intersex describes someone born with sex characteristics (chromosomes, reproductive organs or genitalia) that don't line up with typical definitions of either a "male" or "female" body.
Nearly 2% are born intersex.
Kimberly and her mother. c. 1966
When learning she was intersex, Kimberly was told her condition was so rare she would never meet anyone who shared it. That doctor was dead wrong! Not only has she met countless other intersex people, she now stands at the forefront of their mission to be heard. Reading Kimberly’s evocative memories of her journey from cheerleader to soccer mom to national intersex advocate and activist spoke to me on a deep, universally human level. After all, we’re all longing to understand who we truly are, and be accepted and loved unconditionally. Kimberly is helping to lead a revolution that will change the world for the better - not just for intersex people, but for everyone.
— Carter Covington, Executive Producer,
MTV’s Faking It
In XOXY Kimberly Zieselman details the shame, secrecy and lies she’s faced as an intersex person since her childhood. Her perseverance and strength in the face of the powerful medical establishment makes for an astonishing story that you won't be able to put down. Kimberly played an essential role in helping me tell my own story to the world, for which I will be forever grateful. This book will help readers understand intersex, and the need to protect the bodily autonomy of all intersex children.
— Hanne Gaby Odiele, Model and
You’d be forgiven for assuming the memoir of a white straight cisgender woman in suburban Massachusetts wouldn’t be a story of profound self-discovery in a marginalized community; you’d also be wrong. Therein lies the power of XOXY—in a raw narrative, Zieselman delicately guides you through her own journey as an intersex woman, a mother and a lawyer, and perhaps a not-so-unlikely activist.
—Kyle Knight, Senior Researcher,
Human Rights Watch
"If I was told I could change things and take away my intersex variation, I absolutely wouldn't because of the path it's put me on, building the family that I've built and putting me in contact with so many amazing people through this community. It's really opened up my world. My focus now is on raising awareness and ending medically unnecessary, irreversible surgeries on intersex kids.”
~ Kimberly Zieselman, October 26, 2016
The author's book profits will be donated to interACT, the world's largest nonprofit advocacy organization focused exclusively on protecting the bodily autonomy and human rights of children born with intersex traits.
Please make a donation to interACT to help continued awareness raising, intersex youth leadership development and advocacy to change laws and policies
impacting intersex kids.
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