Born Both: An Intersex Life

352p. Hachette. Mar. 2017. Tr $27. ISBN 9780316347846.
Through short scenes and vignettes, Viloria, who is intersex and prefers the pronouns s/he and he/r, chronicles he/r life, from growing up with a tyrannical father to working as an activist and advocate for intersex and nonbinary people. S/he was outed in college, and he/r parents cut off support. After comments from sexual partners, Viloria realized s/he was intersex and built a community. Along the way, s/he fell in and out of love, went back to school, and explored he/r gender presentation and identity. He/r personable, chatty style comes through whether s/he's relating the details of romantic relationships, detailing the nervous thrill of meeting Oprah Winfrey, or explaining he/r positions on issues facing he/r community. Viloria's thoughts on pronouns and the language used to describe intersex people are especially compelling. Though s/he touches on complex subjects, including rape, domestic violence, racism, and genital mutilation, he/r comfort in who s/he is and he/r desire to create a better world for intersex people permeate the ultimately hopeful narrative.
VERDICT An affecting work for fans of memoir or those who wish to learn more about gender identity.

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