Ni fille ni garçon

Documentary
French

Region: Quebec

Year of Production: 2016

Duration: 60 minutes

A testicle and an ovary, a penis and a vagina. More and more children are born with sexual ambiguity today. The fault, in part, can be attributed to environmental factors. The anatomy of these children is not typically male or typically female. Once called hermaphroditism, intersexuality remains taboo and misunderstood. How to raise a child born somewhere between the two sexes? How does one grow up with a difference like this?

The care of intersex children has changed considerably over the years. Until recently, medical practice required correcting the baby’s sex through early surgery. Without even knowing if, later, the child would be okay with the chosen sex. This type of approach resulted in many problems.

Hélène gave birth to an intersex baby in 1995. The doctors left her in doubt for more than 3 weeks before recommending she raise her child as a girl and to proceed with the surgery that would give her a female anatomy. Hélène has followed their recommendations to the letter. Trouble is, as a teenager Maude sank into a deep depression: “Deep inside, I always knew that I was a little boy.” With her mother’s help, Maude has taken the necessary steps for a sex change and has become Justin. “With all I know now, I never should have allowed my baby to be operated on,” says Hélène.

Today, specialists avoid making decisions too quickly and performing sex-change operations too early. They work in a multidisciplinary team, in conjunction with families. This leads them to wait as long as possible, at least until the child can identify as a girl or a boy, usually around age 4 or 5.

Nevertheless, this unusual condition raises a ton of questions and concerns for parents. The parents of Sophie and Gabriel took months to sort things out. With the help of specialists who were with them at every step, they came to accept the idea of not knowing all the causes of sexual ambiguity, nor how their child will identify later, and live with their difference. They watch their child grow with love, leaving all options open. A difficult but necessary situation for the sake of the children in question.

PRODUCTION COMPANY: Avanti Ciné Vidéo

Cast/Participants: Gabriel (nom fictif), Sophie (nom fictif), Justin, et leurs parents ainsi que Janik Bastien-Charlebois, Dre Lyne Chiniara, Dre Isabelle De Bie, Dr Mohamed El-Sherbiny, Dre Ariane Giacobino, Dr Shuvo Ghosh, Dr Blaise J. Meyrat, Dre Anne Marie Sbrocchi, Lori Seller et Dr Guy Van Vliet