|The AIS Support Group Australia recognises the difficulties faced by parents of individuals with AIS and other intersex conditions.
Often, these difficulties and stresses can flow onto other family members, such as brothers and sisters, grandparents, aunts and uncles as well.
In recognition of this, we have an Parent's Liaison Officer who is a member of the AISSGA committee. Please contact us to be put in touch.
"mother and daughter" by rent-a-moose, 2007. Creative Commons license.
Here is an article written by our previous Parent Representative:
Shame, guilt, disappointment, embarrassment, confusion, isolation, fear! Which of these emotions did you experience when your child was diagnosed as AIS, PAIS, CAIS, of indeterminate sex, Testicular Feminisation, Intersex or any other title given to your child's condition? I experienced them all over a period of 30 years since my child was born. Like you, I had no support, counselling or understanding by the broader community.
What could I tell my parents, family, friends? If only I had the wisdom and enlightenment that I believe I have now. Now I am able to say, What does it all matter?? After all, first and foremost, like in every other aspect of life, is our children's happiness. Throughout their lives, we make decisions on their behalf, on what is best for them. In their formative years we decide their religion, their education, what they should eat and wear etc. We make these decisions based on advice, opinions of experts, so-called experts, friends and our own life experiences. We are not infallible. We make mistakes in some or all of these areas. Why should we expect that we will not make a mistake when it comes to gender assignment. After all, we were guided by what we thought were the experts.
When my daughter was in her teens and being a typical, difficult teenager, I spoke to a variety of people including a spiritualist. I have got to be the world's greatest sceptic and tend to "pooh pooh" anything which can't be explained scientifically, but she gave me some simple but excellent advice. Advice which seems so obvious now but was a gem that I have tried to treasure and embrace since then. She told me never to close the door on my children. Four simple words that I hope will always allow me to be there for them no matter what. My daughter and I are very different people. We don't think the same, we don't live the same, we don't dress the same, we don't even eat the same. We have had many differences of opinion but I hope that she knows that I am always there for her in times of need and that I support anything she does in life that satisfies and fulfils her needs (providing it is legal and doesn't harm anyone else).
Finally, we have to remember that we brought these children into the world - they had no choice in that - therefore we have an ongoing responsibility to them. If our children were born blind, deaf, with a hole-in-the heart or any other condition, we would do everything we could to ensure them the best quality of life and happiness possible. How is their gender condition any different?
Articles & Resources
By O'Rourke, M. The Weekend Australian. March 19-20, 2005.
When the midwife passed Andrew and Megan O'Brien their new baby, they were thrilled to notice that he was a boy, even though an earlier ultrasound had foretold a girl.
Prepared by the Consortium on the Management of Disorders of Sex Development
An invaluable resource for understanding intersex, and how to talk to your child about intersex.
"Family Love" by Angel Shark, 2006. Creative Commons license.
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Last update: 4 October, 2012
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