Phoebe Hart, “ORCHIDS: My Intersex Adventure”

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A documentary by Australian filmmaker Phoebe Hart aired on Showtime earlier this month.  Here’s the distributor’s description of the film “ORCHIDS: My Intersex Adventure”:

Gen X filmmaker Phoebe Hart always knew she was different growing up – but she didn’t know why. This award-winning documentary traces Phoebe’s voyage of self-discovery as an intersex person, a group of conditions formerly termed hermaphroditism. Learning only in her teens that she was born with 46XY (male) chromosomes, Hart now seeks to understand her own story and the stories of others affected by this complex and often shameful syndrome.

With help from sister Bonnie (also born with the same condition) and support from partner James, Hart drives across Australia, interviewing individuals whose struggles and victories mirror and differ from her own. Some advocate systemic change ending shame and controversial genital surgeries, while others debate coming out or staying closeted with a stigmatized secret. Questioning rigidly defined constructs of gender, sexuality, and normality, often with lively good humor, ORCHIDS is the first film to look at intersex from a positive perspective. Its engaging portrait of survival, courage and reconciliation will speak to a variety of audiences and spark lively discussion about what it means to be perceived as “different.”

The film has won several awards (see here) and may be of interest to those teaching Law & Sexuality or Feminist Legal Theory.

Folks might also want to check out this short clip of the Dr. Hart’s presentation at TEDxYouth Brisbane:

Receiving notice of this film was a good reminder to me that documentary films are a unique and valuable method of storytelling and advocacy.

-Bridget Crawford

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