A group of intersex, two-spirit, and trans residents in Montana filed a lawsuit yesterday suing the state over Senate Bill 458, the new law that elliminates legal recognition and protection of intersex and trans citizens.
It does so by defining sex as either male or female, based on reproductive organs and chromosomes, “without regard to an individual’s psychological, behavioral, social, chosen, or subjective experience of gender,” and then applying these definitions throughout the Montana Code, affecting everything from employment discrimination, marriage licenses, cemetery association records, and driver’s licenses.
While the law is an attack, primarily, on trans citizens ability to be recognized as who they are, it includes and erases intersex people in its efforts to do so.
Intersex people have beem fighting for decades to be recognized as who we are, rather than squeezed into male or female boxes, as SB 458 does. For example, some intersex people have ovo-testes,a blend of both male and female reprodcutive organs. Others, such as those with the variation CAIS, are assigned female at birth because they appear female, but have internal testes and XY chromosomes, both of which are typically classified as male characteristics. Under SB 458, they are suddenly legally male.
One of the plaintiffs, Eden Atwood, is a longtime intersex activist and reaident of Montana who finds herself in just this situation. We commend her for fighting this discriminatory attempt to undo the lived experience and identity of thousands of intersex people, as well as trans and Natice peoples.
“This is just as much an attack on tribal sovereignty as it is on the LGBTQ+ community,” said David Herrera, the co-founder and executive director of the Montana Two-Spirit Society. “SB 458 continues what colonization has always tried to do—which is to eradicate Two Spirit culture.”
All citizens deserve to be recognized, and we thank and congratulate the plaintiffs for putting the Montana governement on notice that erasing intersex, two-spirit and trans people is not okay!
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