This Argentine film, written and directed by Lucía Puenzo, is one of the most sensitive and lovely explorations of the intersex experience I have seen. This film does a beautiful job of showing the tremendous pressures and tensions that gender-related expectations place on people who do not fit ordinary categories of “male” and “female,” as well as their families. At the same time, it also explores the power and drama of waking up to one’s own sexual desires, especially in non-heteronormative situations.
Incidentally, one out of 650 people usually classified as male at birth has “XXY syndrome” (also called Klinefelter’s syndrome), in which a person has chromosomes of both genders and may develop some secondary sexual characteristics usually associated with women. (Consider those odds! Most of us know enough people that the odds are we DO know someone in this situation, whether they have chosen to share this with us or not.) Clearly, gender is not binary—i.e. we are not just male or female. Society ought to challenge the assumptions, so prevalent in our language and our society, that there are only two, and those determine the ways that we should live and act. Why do we need gender categories anyway?