Hans Lindahl, Communications Director for InterACT: Advocates of Intersex Youth, breaks down why the 2002 novel Middlesex–which features an intersex protagonist–is so problematic in the insightful and educational video “Why Middlesex Sucks and What to Read Instead”. Bonus: it’s hilarious, a great way to learn more about the intersex experience and why intersex people oppose unrealistic, non-intersex-informed portrayals of ourselves.

The video comes in reaction to the news last month that plans have re-emerged to adapt Middlesex for television. Its author, Jeffrey Eugenides, is not intersex and didn’t consult any intersex individuals when researching the novel.

As covered in Vanity Fair, Paramount has acquired the rights and plans to adapt the novel despite the fact that intersex folks are not fans. As a whole, the community agrees that Middlesex’s intersex protagonist is not believable.

Most significantly, the intersex community has had issue with the author’s decision to make Middlesex’s fictional protagonist intersex due to his grandparents being brother and sister. Incest is not a cause of being intersex any more than it is for many variations such as green eyes or red hair, which can become more commonplace when both parents carry them. Many thus feel this portrayal of intersex development is misleading and potentially harmful to community members and family, whom are already vulnerable to prejudice and stigma.

As an antidote, Lindahl’s video shares information (at the end) on some great books and films by actual intersex people for those who want to learn about real intersex issues and lives. Please share and enjoy!