Aug 1, 2013 9:04 PM by Jacqueline Quynh

Missoula concert, Interface Project aim to raise awareness of intersex issue

MISSOULA - Most people identify as male or female - it's not a difficult question, but for intersex people the answer isn't so easy. Reporter Jacqueline Quynh has a look at growing up intersex, and the project aimed at raising more awareness.

"I was born looking totally normal," Interface Project co-founder Eden Atwood said.

She was like the other little girls growing up; "Until I hit puberty. [I] never went through the puberty stage like all my girlfriends," Atwood recalled.

That's when tests were performed and revealed she was intersex. "Internally, instead of ovaries, I had internal testes," she explained.

Atwood's parents decided to have those organs removed, with doctors placing her on an estrogen replacement regimen.

She's just one of a small percentage of people born intersex. The term describes a variety of those born with either genital or reproductive organs that don't fit into the definition of a male or female.

"So what still happens when these kids are born - there's still a great deal of fear and panic when these kids are born on the part of scared parents, and prejudice and lack of awareness on the part of the medical professionals," Atwood said.

She's now a successful performer and recording artist who wants to fight for others to have the choice she did not get, through the Interface Project.

Atwood and her partner Jim Ambrose, who is also intersex, are campaigning to capture and share stories of others living with the condition.

"It's not freakish, it's nature," Atwood said.

She hopes this will stop the practice of "normalizing" surgeries done to intersex children, and raise awareness and acceptance.

"There are a lot more choices than you think, about how a person, about how a human life can be expressed," Atwood concluded.

The Interface Project will host a benefit concert called "Soulsville" on Friday, August 2, featuring pop/rock star Huey Lewis, at the MCT Center for Performing Arts Center in Missoula.

Click here for more information about the Interface Project and the concert.

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