Casually hearing about DSD

You’re at a party, and you’re listening to a song by Lady Gaga. And someone says, “OMG—did you know she’s like intersex?” And you freeze. You know that Lady Gaga has never shared whether or not she has a DSD.

So, what do you do?

We’ve dealt with this a lot. People—especially people who don’t know about our condition—may say things they don’t really understand about DSD/intersex variations. Here are some great tips and tricks to navigate challenging moments.

  1. You might not be upset at all.

This is totally cool. You know something about how bodies grow, and they may not. So, you can teach them if you want or you can let the moment pass. It’s not always the right time to talk, and we totally get that.

  1. If you are upset, that’s okay too.

People get upset all the time, and that’s okay.

-First, take some deep breaths and get some air.

-Then, think about why you are upset. Is it the words your friend used? Is it incorrect information? Is it because it is something private? Do you feel like them talking about it invades Lady Gaga’s privacy or is meant to hurt her? Are you afraid that your friends will know about your condition from your reaction, even if you don’t share your condition with them?

  1. After you think about it, here are some great things you can do
  • Step away from the situation and go to the bathroom/toilet for some fresh air. It’s not always the right time to talk, and that’s totally cool.
  • You could ask if they’ve heard about Emily Quinn or Katie Baratz, or Lauren from the MTV show “Faking It.” Those are people who have shared that they have a DSD. They have great stories that are real and not gossip. Or they could read about Mia talking about living with DSD right here
  • Point out that it’s a rumor, and that she’s never confirmed anything. Having a condition like diabetes or cancer isn’t a punch-line to a joke or a “crazy thing” for celebrities.
  • Your friends’ comments are probably unhelpful expressions of interest and intrigue. They probably heard it before, don’t understand it, and are tempted by rumors and gossip to share it again. It actually can be helpful for their understanding, if it’s redirected positively by pointing out that people with these conditions are real people with real lives and real stories.

Personal perspective from Mia:

“In the past, when people talk about intersex/DSD around me (especially people who don’t know about my condition), I got really upset—even if they said all the right words. For me, anything DSD was a tender subject, and I felt uncomfortable when people tried to make an “issue” of it in class or talked about it so freely. What they said sometimes made me feel judged—even though they didn’t even know about me!   It’s not an issue or a big deal—to me, it is just how my body has grown. ”