• 42
  • 4656
Image for Orchids: My Intersex Adventure

Orchids: My Intersex Adventure

In a program airing this weekend on ABC1, documentary filmmaker Phoebe Hart (pictured) comes clean about a journey of self-discovery around her until-now hidden intersex condition.

One of the bravest and most memorable moments in Orchids: My Intersex Adventure comes as the Brisbane-based filmmaker films her interaction with the woman behind the counter of a country town op-shop.

Smiling cheerfully, she asks Hart about the presence of the camera as she hands her purchases across the counter. She also greets Hart’s explanation – that she is making a film about her often arduous journey towards self-acceptance of her intersexuality – with a single question: “Please explain further?”

It’s a question Hart gets a lot. It’s also one that she welcomes.

37-year-old Hart was born with both female and male sex organs. In keeping with the prevalent social and medical norms of the time, Hart’s parents did not discuss her intersexuality. At the onset of puberty, she was told that she would not menstruate or have children, but her mother refused to further discuss the topic.

Onscreen, Hart is visibly hesitant as she explains to the woman it means to be intersex. “I have a condition called Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome, which basically means that I am a woman with 46 XY (male) chromosomes,” she says.

There’s a moment of silence as the woman ponders the information. She eventually grins broadly and tells Hart that she thinks she is brave for telling her story. It’s an experience that Hart now describes as “one of my first real public moments of coming out to somebody. I was terrified, but she was lovely, and that was so amazing.”

Same Same spoke with the filmmaker and intersex rights activist about filming Orchids, coming out and of “the incredible joy and liberation” of moving beyond perceiving her body as “a site of pain, confusion and secrecy.”


Why did you decide to make this film?

Well, it was a long and difficult process. It was intense at times but I guess I decided to make it, in the end, because it was a subject that was really deep and meaningful for me. Once I realised I probably could make a film about it, it was initially the project that had me thinking that, yeah, one day I would do it. I got the idea that I could, and then I thought I’m not ready, so I shelved it for a while and went on making other films, developing my career, and then one day I found that I was eventually just in a place where I felt more comfortable with the project, I was a bit more out and I thought that perhaps I could tentatively begin feeling, start the process of recruiting a really small team of people to work with me on it.

Was there always the sense that you would discuss your own experiences of being intersex or did you consider chronicling the stories of others?

For a long time I did think I wouldn’t tell my own story. I think that was for a variety of reasons and I took baby steps in making the film because, at the very beginning, I was thinking that I’d love to make the film, but maybe I could convince somebody else to share their story with me. Eventually, though, I really did realise that I couldn’t expect somebody else to share that sort of journey with me unless I was willing to turn the camera on myself. Every time I’d ask somebody they’d tell me there was no way they were game to be on camera if I wasn’t willing to be on camera myself, so it was really a matter of reaching a place where I was able to go where I wanted other people to go. It gave me a bit of a wake-up call, that realisation that it was a little bit rich to expect people to go somewhere I wasn’t willing to go myself.

  • 1
  • 2

Comments

www.samesame.com.au arrow left
26587
datkindagal

datkindagal said on the 25th Jan, 2012

I wonder why they changed the doco title?

datkindagal

datkindagal said on the 25th Jan, 2012

Orchids: My Intersex Adventure
10.01pm - 11pmABC1Sunday the 29th

Matt Akersten

Matt Akersten said on the 25th Jan, 2012

Oh yeah, 'Adventure' is it. I dunno how 'Journey' got in there either. Maybe my fault since I love the word and its reality-TVness so much. Fixed. x

datkindagal

datkindagal said on the 25th Jan, 2012

it was Wild Orchids but was changed to Orchids.

Orchid is a term that describes part of my IS biology.

Orchids has a double meaning.

datkindagal

datkindagal said on the 25th Jan, 2012

I "highly" recommend this viewing.

Irene

Irene said on the 29th Jan, 2012

I don't understand why she embarrassed her mother by including that bit at the start. The mother came good in the end, so that other bit could have been cut.
Also, a very amateurish production - I would like to see something similar with professional documentary makers.

Other than those points, excellent. Well worth watching.

datkindagal

datkindagal said on the 29th Jan, 2012

you're a knob plain and simple, she shot it on cam, it was self financed. Yes and her mother was a big part of the story.

Of course it was amateur.


I am sure you could find a reason to pick the eyes out of just about anything.

Hope it all works out for you and all.

tyson

tyson said on the 29th Jan, 2012

Lovely and wonderful. She is an amazing person with a gorgeous family (hot husband) and I wish her peace and happiness.

Irene

Irene said on the 29th Jan, 2012

you're a knob plain and simple, she shot it on cam, it was self financed. Yes and her mother was a big part of the story.

Of course it was amateur.


I am sure you could find a reason to pick the eyes out of just about anything.

Hope it all works out for you and all.Dat, I really should put you on ignore. Yes I know it was self-financed. What I said was that I would like to see a professionally produced doco. Maybe on Australian Story or similar. FFS, I praised it, but you are determined to use anything I say to criticise me. Get out of bed on the wrong side this morning?

Matt Akersten

Matt Akersten said on the 29th Jan, 2012

Just to let you know, this program is now available to view online on ABC iView for the next two weeks. See it here: http://www.abc.net.au/iview/?series=3416995#/series/3416995

Lazzarus

Lazzarus said on the 29th Jan, 2012

Orchid means testicle... or it did.

Totka

Totka said on the 30th Jan, 2012

I missed it last night. Dozed off on the couch so am glad that it is available to view on ABC iView. I think this is something that most of us gay and lesbian folk could learn a lot more about. Perhaps the issues of inclusiveness (or lack of) might be less of a problem if we did.

Irene

Irene said on the 30th Jan, 2012



Correct. As in monorchid = a single testicle.
The flower is so named because its root resembles the shape of a testicle.

Bon91

Bon91 said on the 30th Jan, 2012

I watched about half of this program, i thought it was really fucking cool.. enlightening and emotional, if i had ABC iview i'd watch the start of it too!

Lazzarus

Lazzarus said on the 30th Jan, 2012

Correct. As in monorchid = a single testicle.
The flower is so named because its root resembles the shape of a testicle.

I knew one day all that Latin and Greek I wasted time learning would come in handy... I just never thought it would be in here ;)

flounder

flounder said on the 30th Jan, 2012



Um hate to break the news to you, but yeah it was wasted.

Lazzarus

Lazzarus said on the 30th Jan, 2012



What is wasted is your time here trying to annoy me; why don't you do me a big favour and just fuck off? :mad:

flounder

flounder said on the 30th Jan, 2012



Cos its too much fun, gotcha.

Lazzarus

Lazzarus said on the 30th Jan, 2012



Pleeeeeeeaaaaase!? You couldn't get me if I wanted you to get me.You flatter yourself flounder which is something I've come to expect.

When you think you have something remotely interesting to say then PM me and don't embarrass yourself here.

flounder

flounder said on the 30th Jan, 2012

Pleeeeeeeaaaaase!? You couldn't get me if I wanted you to get me.You flatter yourself flounder which is something I've come to expect.

When you think you have something remotely interesting to say then PM me and don't embarrass yourself here.

PM you nah, Ill embarrass myself where ever I like thanks. Why would I waste anything interesting on you by the way, who made you fucking prom queen for the day. I just dont get you faux rich. :confused:

Lazzarus

Lazzarus said on the 30th Jan, 2012



It hurts don't it? -_-

flounder

flounder said on the 30th Jan, 2012



You got a whilte flag? You better start raising it biach, bring it on!!

Lazzarus

Lazzarus said on the 30th Jan, 2012



You amuse me flounder *giggles* you actually think I care don't you? :rolleyes:

flounder

flounder said on the 30th Jan, 2012



Well you do seem to keep responding? :rolleyes:

Lazzarus

Lazzarus said on the 30th Jan, 2012



Do we know the definition of amusing?

flounder

flounder said on the 30th Jan, 2012



Whats with the royal "we" all the time you pretentious poof? :confused:

Lazzarus

Lazzarus said on the 30th Jan, 2012



You might have protected HRH *insert title* but I'm related to them: 57th in line actually -_-

datkindagal

datkindagal said on the 30th Jan, 2012

Correct. As in monorchid = a single testicle.


wrong

un-descended testis, nothing to do with monorchid see cryptorchidism .

flounder

flounder said on the 30th Jan, 2012



Of course you are dear, *yawn*. You make a wonderful queen, Im sure.

Lazzarus

Lazzarus said on the 30th Jan, 2012

Let's not be pedantic?

Lazzarus

Lazzarus said on the 30th Jan, 2012



Damn right I would.

Why are you still here? -_-

flounder

flounder said on the 30th Jan, 2012

Damn right I would.

Why are you still here? -_-

For your amusement apparently :(

megawatts

megawatts said on the 30th Jan, 2012

I didn't manage to catch it last night, so I'm watching it now on iView, and WOW. Really good - a great mix of facts and emotions.

Irene

Irene said on the 30th Jan, 2012

wrong

un-descended testis, nothing to do with monorchid see cryptorchidism .

No. You are wrong.
Monorchid is having only one testicle
Cryptorchid is having undescended testes.

Dat, I was talking about the word 'orchid' and what it means in the real and medical world. I said that it meant testicle as used in the word monorchid. I was not referring to an intersex condition or how it's used in the trans world.

datkindagal

datkindagal said on the 30th Jan, 2012

how it's used in the trans world?

datkindagal

datkindagal said on the 30th Jan, 2012

I think i liked you better when you were just an annoying troll.

suddenly now you're an expert.

Dsquare

Dsquare said on the 30th Jan, 2012

Irene is correct. Monorchidism is having only one testicle. This could be due to various reasons including failure of the second testicle to develop, surgical removal of a testicle (orchiectomy) due to something like cancer, or failure of one testicle to descend (cryptorchidism). So cryptorchism, when it only involves one testicle, is a type of monorchidism.

Isn't science fun?

biflab

biflab said on the 31st Jan, 2012

I'm sorry I missed this film. As an intersex person myself I know that the struggle of self acceptance can take years and be soul destroying.

datkindagal

datkindagal said on the 31st Jan, 2012

its on Iview for a month