ORCHIDS: MY INTERSEX ADVENTURE

 

 

By Phoebe Hart (Australia), 2010, documentary, 60 min.
Lieu: Plateforme (Rotonde 1)

7 NOVEMBER 2017

ENGLISH WITH FRENCH SUBTITLES

For our second screening this autumn and for the upcoming Intersex Day of Solidarity we’ll be showing the sunny and warm biographic documentary Orchids: My Intersex Adventure by Phoebe Hart, an Australian intersex filmmaker. This event is organised in cooperation with Le Centre pour l’égalité de traitement (CET) and Intersex & Transgender Luxembourg a.s.b.l. (ITGL).

After the film we will give a platform for a discussion with Kris Günther and Thierry Bosman, founders of the Intersex Belgium and experts by experience, as well as  Erik Schneider, co-founder of Intersex & Transgender Luxembourg a.s.b.l.

Here’s a message from Phoebe about this project:

I have Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome (AIS). I am a woman with 46XY (male) chromosomes. Without a doubt, I have struggled with unwarranted categorisation and medical interference. Wherever possible, I actively seek to disrupt this cataloguing and meddling with as much honesty and humour as I can muster. It’s the reason why I wanted to make this film.

I chose the title, Orchids, as these ornamental flowers are an especially potent symbol for intersex people. The etymology of the word ‚orchid‘ derives from the Greek orkhis, meaning ‚testicle‘. As such, I have appropriated these flowers as a resonant visual signifier throughout my documentary.

On a professional and personal level, Orchids: My Intersex Adventure has presented me with many challenges. At an early stage of research and development, I made a conscious decision the film should be largely autobiographical. This was important for me on a number of levels and represented a huge step in terms of self-confidence and courage. In my early life, my condition was kept a secret from me. I was confused and told to keep quiet about who and what I was. I was subjected to medical scrutiny, surgery and pathology. Orchids has allowed me to reflect on the shame and trauma of my coming-of-age experience and examine why “coming out” continues to be extremely challenging.

After speaking with many intersex men and women for many years, it has become evident to me most are happy to be intersex but unhappy with the attendant “social” problems. Every day they deal with the stigma of being intersex, being seen as “different” or “freakish” by society, and treated by doctors and family members accordingly. Medical treatment contributes greatly to a sense of social inferiority and shame, as cosmetic surgery seeks to normalise aberrant bodies, pushing individuals with intersex towards either (more) male or female. In effect, such pathology represents a social shift to sequester intersex people from the normal population. Orchids: My Intersex Adventure is a portrait of survival and courage, revising societal and historical perspectives of intersex by creating understandings of difference, which originate from a highly subjective space.

I hope my narrative will engage and move audiences. Orchids: My Intersex Adventure presents the struggles and triumphs of other intersex people throughout Australia. However, most of all, it’s a potent story of family, acknowledging the past, and moving into the future with love and acceptance.

Trailer

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