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February 7, 2016 / Pidgeon Pagonis. How are your grades?’”. "Daughter Rite is a classic, the missing link between the 'direct Cinema' documentaries and the later hybrids that acknowledged truth couldn't always be found in front of a camera lens. Find out what intersex advocate Pidgeon Pagonis had to say to doctors who perform medically unnecessary surgeries on intersex babies. “Something that we say a lot is that we have not yet had our Laverne Cox moment,” said Lindahl. Kate Sosin, The 19th. The news comes after a three-year campaign against the hospital led by Wall and Pidgeon Pagonis, co-founders of the Intersex Justice Project. Kate Sosin, The 19th This circa 1990 photo provided by George Pagonis shows his child, Jennifer Pagonis, who now goes by the name "Pidgeon, " JEANNE MARKS: Mother's Day Special. It’s not right. ELISA GOODKIND & LILY MANDELBAUM: Mother, Daughter . Pagonis was the lead and co-produced this film with Shawna Lipton. The facts that conclude the documentary leave us questioning when or if intersex education will be shared more widely, and if medical institutions will respond in a way that acknowledges sex and gender as non-binary. Sean Saifa Wall, a co-founder of the Intersex Justice Project, which has protested intersex surgeries at Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago for years. “And then they’d ask me questions like, ‘How are you? Iranian official claims Israel killed nuclear scientist remotely, Read “By the time this intersex variation appeared in my family, there was knowledge and awareness of it, but people didn’t talk about it, because there was shame and stigma and secrecy.”, Left: 6 Pidgeon Pagonis. Lurie’s end to intersex surgeries marks a watershed moment for intersex rights. Eugene Robinson had four intersex surgeries as a child. The more that Wall started to talk about himself, the more his family opened up about their own histories. 2 What is Intersex Day of Solidarity? “You cannot stand W/ trans ppl & step ON intersex ppl!” Moore wrote on Twitter. “So for me, my intersex story comes out of this legacy that’s rooted in the South, that’s rooted in North Carolina,” Wall said. It was August 1956, and as a Black child in the Jim Crow South, Robinson wasn’t allowed to heal next to White patients. She returned home with a son. Arizona certifies Biden’s victory over Trump, By Nasser Karimi, Jon Gambrell, Associated Press. Pidgeon Pagonis struggled with depression and angst until meeting young intersex adults who’ve embraced their differences. All films in the #FiveFilms4Freedom initiative are publicly available until March 31, 2019. ... A NORMAL GIRL brings the widely unknown struggles of intersex people to light through the story of intersex activist Pidgeon Pagonis. I would’ve guessed Pidgeon Pagonis was a YouTuber if they hadn’t clarified they were new to recording themself in the first few minutes of “A Normal Girl.” “A Normal Girl” is a short documentary film that follows Chicagoan and intersex advocate Pidgeon Pagonis as they detail the harm they’ve experienced from genital mutilation surgery. About 70 people showed up to protest outside Lurie. “I just thought these were my doctors that I had to go to because I had cancer when I was a kid,” Pagonis said. Wall says his family was already harassed as a Black family in the segregated South. No other major U.S. hospital has ever stated that they don’t perform intersex surgeries, so Lurie was far from the only institution performing such procedures. For Pagonis and Wall, that has meant revealing details about their own traumas, sexual experiences, anatomy and family histories. She returned home with a son. In both cases, his mom “lost it,” he said. ALEJANDRO AMEIJEIRAS: Self-Acceptance Under Pressure. Intersex activists don’t have that luxury yet, says Hans Lindahl, director of communications for youth intersex organization InterAct. Since the 1960s, medical convention has been that intersex variations should be “corrected,” often through a combination of painful surgeries and hormone therapy starting from infancy or before a child can consent. Required fields are marked *. Some intersex people are born with varying reproductive anatomy or sex traits — some develop them later in life. The Downtown Winter Farmers Market is being held this year at The Gateway in Salt Lake City, every Saturday through April 17, 2021. Nearly 65 years later, Sean Saifa Wall, 41, sifts through Robinson’s medical records, looking for answers about his uncle’s story that might shed light on his own. Admission date: 10/27/90 Discharge Date: 11/1/90 Attending Physician: Dr. B. The nearly 13-minute film dips in and out of what could be assumed to be Pagonis’ bedroom, kitchen and on the streets of Chicago. Activist Pidgeon Pagonis was born intersex and underwent a clitorectomy at Lurie Children's Hospital as a child to bring their genitalia more in line with a typical "female" body. But for advocates like Wall, the campaign has also taken a deep toll. Intersex activists have long pointed to a disconnect between the gender-affirming care for trans and non-binary youth at the hospital and surgeries done on intersex children without their knowledge or consent. And those cast a pall on the gender clinic as calls to end the surgeries overwhelmed its social media channels. [19659003] Antimatter. Lie #2: Your Daughter’s Gonads Will Develop Cancer. Pidgeon Pagonis, pictured at her Chicago home, was born Jennifer, but doctors later learned she was intersex. “Since I was like 11 they would always just lift my shirt off, touch my chest and then pull my pants down and look at my vulva area,” Pagonis recalls. https://www.pbs.org/newshour/health/the-fight-to-end-intersex-surgeries-at-a-top-hospital-took-a-deep-toll-on-activists, “I would tell people here and there, but I didn’t talk about it publicly because I had so much shame.”. Discovering they are intersex was the beginning of Pagonis’ and Long’s relationship—and the beginning of Pagonis’ re-defining of themself. Learn more about Friends of the NewsHour. At 11, Pagonis underwent genital surgery, where they were asked in front of their mother and right before anesthesia if they wanted to have the size of their vagina expanded. © 1996 - 2020 NewsHour Productions LLC. THE 19TH/KATE SOSIN. Then, he came out as transgender. He had spent two years under the care of a doctor that he says studied him, asking him questions about whether or not hormones made him less gay. Wall, like Robinson, is intersex. Please check your inbox to confirm. That prestige made Lurie a prime target for a campaign to end intersex surgeries. The day has come. A letter discusses the various surgeries performed on children in the Robinson family. The surgeries and exams started before Pagonis could remember, at 6 months old. MIA SABEL. Activists have been protesting intersex surgeries since 1996, when a group demonstrated outside the American Academy of Pediatrics’ convention in Boston. “But there are areas where there are some overlaps.”. Pagonis now uses the first name “Pidgeon,” doesn’t identify as female or male and works as an artist and intersex activist against surgery. Up until the time he was 13, Wall’s mom resisted doctors’ insistence that he have surgery to remove undescended testes, he says. “We’re still so under the purview of being medicalized that I think there’s a pressure that we almost have to tell these stories at this point in our movement in order to get people to listen.”. She created Last Cut Project in 2016, a multi-media documentary project about those big life decisions- last cuts- we make to bring us closer to truly … Pidgeon Pagonis, the co-founder of the Intersex Justice Project at a protest in 2017. Eugene Robinson recovered from his double mastectomy on a hospital porch in Durham, North Carolina. Credit: M. Spencer Green/AP “Since I was like 11 they would always just lift my shirt off, touch my chest and then pull my pants down and look at … I didn’t talk about it for a while. We briefly follow Pagonis as they protest Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago with a group in Streeterville. You can find the original article here. The Intersex Justice Project — Pagonis and Wall’s organization of intersex activists of color — led its first protests against Lurie in 2017 and again in 2018, when the Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome-Differences of Sex Development Support Group held its conference in Chicago. Sarah Robinson, Eugene’s mother, brought a daughter to the hospital. Looking back, she did remember Esther. “And to that extent, I’m really proud to be where I’m at.”. “But I knew that if I took my own life, that no one would ever know what happened to me, and no one would ever know my side of the story.”. Intersex is an umbrella term for people with variations in sex characteristics that don’t fit neatly in the binary of male or female. Pagonis’ advice for parents with intersex infants? Here’s how it feels when COVID-19 symptoms last for months, Read The film puts a spin on a typical young person’s hair or makeup YouTube channel. Pidgeon Pagonis “What they told me actually, when I was 11, right before the surgery, was that it was so that I could have sex with my husband when I was older, and that he wouldn’t see or notice anything was different about me,” Pagonis said. ... A mother holds her 8-year-old daughter… Intersex operations were born out gynecology, a practice developed by James Marion Sims, who performed brutal experiments on enslaved Black women without anesthesia. The mini chalkboards urging guests to vote whether you’re having a boy or girl is up. His aunt said “‘do you not remember playing with Queen Esther as a child?’”, “And my mom was like, ‘Who’s that?’ And she’s like “‘That’s Gene.’”. About 1.7 percent of people are born intersex, according to a 2000 report by Dr. Anne Fausto-Sterling. Garofalo said the hospital has long been revising its polices on intersex care, but it had never apologized for the harm those surgeries had caused. Pagonis also shares “sex either hurts really bad, and sometimes you bleed, or it feels like absolutely nothing.”. Subscribe to ‘Here's the Deal,’ our politics newsletter. A number of staffers within Lurie pushed for an end to the surgeries, most notably transgender research coordinator Dr. Ellie Kim, who publicly criticized the practice. “We empathize with intersex individuals who were harmed by the treatment that they received according to the historic standard of care and we apologize and are truly sorry,” the hospital stated in a letter signed by President and CEO Dr. Thomas Shanley. You didn’t tell my parents the same lie. (SARAH-JI, INTERSEX JUSTICE PROJECT). Boomerang: Millennials Still Figuring it Out, South Side is an inside joke even outsiders will get. Subscribe to Here’s the Deal, our politics newsletter for analysis you won’t find anywhere else. The Downtown Alliance There are plenty of events — both live and online — going on across Utah. The tweet set off a firestorm of bad press for the hospital as an old petition against the surgeries at Lurie racked up 45,000 signatures. It’s largely considered disrespectful for reporters to ask transgender people about their surgeries or genitalia. Lurie is ranked among the top pediatric hospitals in the nation, and intersex rights activists hope that other hospitals follow suit. Still, it wasn’t until college, while doing a Yahoo internet search, that Wall pieced together that he is intersex. “I really owe Ellie a debt of gratitude for really stepping forward and not being shy about her thoughts on the matter,” Garofalo said. Pagonis wanted to know why they were experiencing puberty differently than other kids. “The truth of the matter is they are very distinct and separate populations in many ways,” said Garofalo. (Sarah-Ji, Intersex Justice Project) “Since I was like 11 they would always just lift my shirt off, touch my chest and then pull my pants down and look at my vulva area. I thought I survived cancer.”. “I did not know I had a castration, and I did not know I had a clitorectomy at that point. Pagonis attended college practically in the shadow of the hospital at DePaul University, watching doctors come and go as they studied for finals. “A Normal Girl” is certainly an educational tool in and of itself, as intersex hasn’t been acknowledged or taught in many institutions. Pictured above is Pidgeon Pagonis speaking during a protest outside the hospital in July 2018. https://www.dailyherald.com/article/20150420/entlife/150429990 3 How about elevating your intersex? ... PIDGEON PAGONIS: Growing Up Intersex. I would’ve guessed Pidgeon Pagonis was a YouTuber if they hadn’t clarified they were new to recording themself in the first few minutes of “A Normal Girl.” “A Normal Girl” is a short documentary film that follows Chicagoan and intersex advocate Pidgeon Pagonis as they detail the harm they’ve experienced from genital mutilation surgery. It was his third of four surgeries. She returned home with a son. ... 'You should wait until your son or daughter … “I think I felt really suicidal,” he said, referring to people constantly misgendering him. Wall never had cancer. Read The display listing old wives’ tales is prepared. Pidgeon Pagonis, the co-founder of the Intersex Justice Project at a protest in 2017. In this Thursday, Feb. 19, 2015 photo, Pidgeon Pagonis poses for a photo at her home in Chicago. Pidgeon Pagonis has slowly, oftentimes not so quietly risen to visibility as an activist on behalf of intersex people. Since that time, Lurie has been the target of a relentless campaign to end the surgeries, and protests outside the hospital have only grown. In July, “Pose” star Indya Moore excoriated the hospital for using their image to promote LGBTQ+ inclusion. Sarah Robinson, Eugene’s mother, brought a daughter to the hospital. So his mom agreed to the surgery. According to chicago.suntimes.com, Pidgeon Pagonis, who is a filmmaker, was born with androgen insensitivity syndrome. But a Black family with three kids whose sex characteristics varied meant they were tormented endlessly. When he was 25, he started taking testosterone, something he wanted to do as a trans person to confirm his gender. Read blogs of those affected by BRCA or HBOC. They had another operation when they were 3 or 4 years old, and another when they were 10. Pidgeon Pagonis […] Also included is Arisleyda Dilone’s film Mami y Yo yi mi Gallito (2015) which focuses on the vulnerable relationship between a mother and her intersex daughter and Pidgeon Pagonis’ photographic series Children’s Memorial Hospital Killa [CMHK] (2015) that depicts their singular protest in front of the hospital where they underwent numerous medical procedures as “corrective” measures during their childhood. Directed by Aubree Bernier-Clark for The British Council and BFI FLARE’s #FiveFilms4Freedom global LGBTQIA short-film initiative, the documentary has the potential to educate the masses in a way other institutions haven’t at all. JENNIFER YASHARI: Living with HIBM. Pidgeon Pagonis is intersex, meaning that similar to one in 2000 people, they were born with sex characteristics not easily categorized as either male or female. Since the 1960s, medical convention has been that intersex variations should be “corrected,” often through a combination of painful surgeries and hormone therapy starting from infancy or before a child can consent. Source: iStock. When Jennifer Pagonis was born in the winter of 1986, her parents brought her home to a wardrobe of pink and white, ruffles and frills. #FiveFilms4Freedom global LGBTQIA short-film initiative. Intersex advocate Pidgeon Pagonis. Spencer Green) LISTEN: Supreme Court appears skeptical of Trump’s census plan, Read Since then, the UN has condemned the surgeries — which remain legal in almost every country in the world — as “irreversible” and unnecessary procedures that can cause “permanent infertility and lifelong pain, incontinence, loss of sexual sensation, and mental suffering.”, Wall came out as gay at age 14. “I didn’t know I had a vaginoplasty, and I didn’t know I was intersex,” Pagonis said. Nov 30 It explores the historic ties between racism and harmful medical treatment of intersex people, how these medical treatments negatively impacted both activists, and much more. How the Cherokee Nation has curtailed the pandemic, Read Nov 24 We are given a slice of Pagonis’ story as they explain how they learned they are intersex, and their mom shares why she permitted a mutilation surgery on her then-daughter when they were 11 years old. Pagonis, who was raised a girl but has male chromosomes, works as … Wall says the memory “blew my mom’s mind” — for seven years she had a sister. I would tell people here and there, but I didn’t talk about it publicly because I had so much shame.”. Intersex activist Pidgeon Pagonis grew up under the female identity of “Jennifer.” While they managed to keep up an image of perfect femininity, they always knew that something was off. Years of intersex surgeries to make their body conform to the idea of the female sex had left them unable to feel most sexual sensation. Your email address will not be published. They spent 18 years in and out of Lurie for surgeries, hormones and exams. 4/13/87—Dear Mr. & Mrs. Pagonis–I am attributing her elevated blood pressure to being somewhat fearful in our exam room. In truth, Pagonis never had cancer. Double your gift now with our Year-End Match, Nation’s first known ‘intersex’ birth certificate issued in New York City, Judge rules in favor of intersex veteran who was denied passport, COVID-19 has spurred America’s first female recession, Here’s how it feels when COVID-19 symptoms last for months, How the Cherokee Nation has curtailed the pandemic, Iranian official claims Israel killed nuclear scientist remotely, LISTEN: Supreme Court appears skeptical of Trump’s census plan, Arizona certifies Biden’s victory over Trump, Tigray leader urges Ethiopia’s prime minister to ‘stop the madness’, Minnesota gives final green light to disputed oil pipeline. (AP Photo/M. Eight of his family members were intersex, Wall says. It wasn’t until they learned about intersex issues at DePaul that they realized that all those visits to Lurie hadn’t been about cancer at all. “I was like, ‘Oh, this is not fair. But on July 28, the Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago became the first hospital in the United States to suspend the operations. “They told my mom that the testes were cancerous,” Wall said. On July 28, the same day the hospital announced it was suspending the surgeries, the hospital apologized. “When it comes to surgery, we are committed to reexamining our approach.”. Pagonis thought that because of the cancer, they would never be able to have a baby. Hospital Course: patient underwent a clitoral resection and recession without difficulty. Nearly all characteristics Long described matched what Pagonis had experienced, and after verifying their health records they found a chromosomal difference matched as well. Thank you. Two of his nine siblings had undergone similar operations, but his relatives never talked about the fact that androgen insensitivity syndrome, a genetic intersex condition, ran in the family. Pagonis and Wall garnered support and educated the public by sharing intimate personal stories. Instead of telling them I was born with cancer, you hyped the risk that my “underdeveloped ovaries” which you decisively referred to as “gonads” – and really were my undescended testes – would likely develop cancer if left intact. “I was so angry,” he said. But he wasn’t metabolizing the testosterone the way most people on the hormone do. That’s when Wall decided to start organizing for intersex rights. However, Lurie has enjoyed a sterling reputation among LGBTQ+ people since 2013, when it opened one of the first pediatric gender clinics in the nation under the leadership of Dr. Robert Garofalo, a nationally-renowned expert in transgender health. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Nov 30 This leaves viewers with an idea of how millennial parents have more resources available to them in order to make more informed health decisions, unlike parents just a few decades ago. The film also introduces viewers to a 10-year old intersex person whose mom details how she rejected genital mutilation surgery when a doctor suggested it for her child. Although intersex surgeries were popularized in the 1960s, doctors had been doing them for years before, as Wall’s family history shows. This fantastic piece in The 19th features in depth, illuminating interviews with Intersex Justice Project founders Pidgeon Pagonis and Sean Saifa Wall. ARTHUR GROSS-SCHAEFER. CHICAGO (AP) — She was born to a young Chicago couple, named Jennifer, and grew into a beautiful long-lashed child with wavy dark hair, big brown eyes and a yearning, Sarah Robinson, Eugene’s mother, brought a daughter to the hospital. SARAH-JI, INTERSEX JUSTICE PROJECT. All Rights Reserved. via Ted Eytan, MD, Ted Eytan. Gallo is not the only intersex person in the world of filmmaking. Your email address will not be published. LILY PARROTT & LAURA STAHNKE of MIGRATION COLLECTIVE. The YouTube-channel like filming seems to draw a link to young people who have not learned about intersex health at all. Learn more . Doctors would ask Pagonis if they had questions. Skiing may not spread coronavirus but slopes still risky, says U.N. This story was published by The 19th. “She was like, ‘why do you want to wear men’s clothes, men’s underwear?’”, But Wall’s oldest aunt reminded his mom about his intersex uncle, now deceased. Samantha Paige is an artist and mother with a passion for life. MELINDA ALEXANDER: Healing & Self-Love. Nov 27 According to the activist, the surgery they experienced at Lurie Children’s Hospital left them feeling physically different, even though they were told they wouldn’t experience any nerve changes. Since November eight is Intersex Day of Solidarity 2018, PinkNews identified that as an intersex behaviorist Anick identified to 3 intersex activists to develop intersex, "LGBTI + I is invisible , " Contents 1 What does intersex imply? Pagonis' father remembers being told by three doctors at Children's Memorial that his daughter was born with "cancerous ovaries," which, in reality, were internal testes. 8/28/1997—Jennifer is an 11-year-old. For 19 years, Lurie patient Pidgeon Pagonis also believed they had survived ovarian cancer. Early in the process, the organizers of the 23rd annual United Nations Association Film Festival realized that this year's theme - "The Power of Empathy" - … She saw his older intersex siblings suffer through their own operations and thought they were unnecessary. And largely lost in this moment is the history of intersex surgery itself. Under Garofalo’s leadership in the Gender & Sex Development Program, Lurie became the first hospital in the United States to adopt a trans-inclusive policy for its young patients. Lurie is ranked among the top pediatric hospitals in the nation, and intersex rights activists hope that other hospitals follow suit. Nov 30 By Randy Myers. From a room with several Frida Kahlo images on the walls and colorful non-binary posters, we learn that Pagonis had always felt “different,” though they couldn’t place a name on the feeling until Lynnell Stephani Long, another intersex person, spoke with students at their college. “I mean, the truth of the matter is that it has been uncomfortable for me at times,” conceded Garofalo, who does not oversee intersex care at the hospital. “And also, I was so unlucky that I had this ‘urethra problem.’”. Seven years she had a castration, pidgeon pagonis daughter I did not know I this. 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