Sunday, May 25, 2008


We start with a fairly typical family, Mom, Dad, and 15-year-old daughter Alex. Another family comes to visit, bringing their slightly older son Álvaro. (Alex's mother doesn't mention that she invited Álvaro's father specifically because he is a plastic surgeon.) Alex and Álvaro haltingly approach each other, carefully testing each other's trustworthiness. Alex, though, has a secret: she has an intersex condition, in this case resulting from having XXY sex chromosomes instead of the more common XX or XY, resulting in a condition called Klinefelter syndrome. In the vast majority of cases, the parents whose child is born with an intersex condition are pressured to surgically and hormonally alter the child to choose "male" or "female." Alex's parents resisted the pressure, deciding to let Alex make the choice of one surgery, the other, or neither. Álvaro, of course, has a few secrets of his own, which complicate his interactions with Alex and her friends and add a poignant dimension to his relationship with his father. The situations of both teens are handled with sensitivity and depth, making a real winner of a film. MUST SEE.

XXY, dir.

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  1. Is it just that I'm paying attention, or are there more stories about intersex these days? I mean Middlesex was even an Oprah Book Club selection!

  2. I think awareness and visibility are increasing, as witnessed by the number of places one sees LGBTIQQ instead of just LGBT or the old G&L. The medical community is much more aware and open, since around 0.1% of all children are born with some sort of intersex condition, which is thousands per year in the U.S. alone.

  3. As the partner of a surgeon who oversees gender (re)assignments, I hate to say that the community at large is not as aware or as open as one would think unfortunately. Things are definitely progressing thanks to films like this, however, so there's cause to be encouraged.

  4. This is a great film. Won audience award at Frameline. Realistic, not pandering or preachy.