Roshaante Anderson, an intersex man, spoke to UNILAD’s Minutes With Series about what it was like to find out he was intersex when he was aged 11. (YouTube/Roshaante Anderson)
Intersex activist Roshaante Anderson wants people in the LGBT+ community and allies to remember there’s an “I” in the acronym, and there are voices that need to be heard.
Anderson, who is an intersex man, told UNILAD‘s Minutes With series that he didn’t find out he was intersex until he was 11-years-old. He told UNILAD that he was raised as a girl because he was born with a vagina and internal testicles so it was hard to tell when he was younger that he was intersex.
Anderson, who has a YouTube channel where he talks about his life as an intersex person, said he thought he “looked like a girl” when he was growing up, but “according to the whole of my school and everybody that’s known me in the last 25 years”, he “looked like a boy”.
“There was nothing about me that screamed girl other than the fact that I had a vagina hole,” Anderson said. “I had never hung out with any of the girls. I’d never interacted with them. I’d never related to them.”
He said the “constant comments” about how he was different from the other girls his age made him realise how different he was. Anderson said: “I knew when PE [physical education] or something was gonna come up – something where it involved sports activities or anything to do with gym class – I knew that the girls were going to start.”
He said he wasn’t “allowed” to change in the girls shared school facilities because his clitoris – which he defines as a clitoris “loosely” – “is like a very small d**k”. Anderson said it was a “constant battle” and “double-edged sword”, “24/7”, to find out who he could get “changed next to” because of his body.
He even said other people’s parents would come up to him “in shock”, saying “there’s no way you’re a girl, you’re a boy”. Anderson said he was even asked to lift his shirt a lot because “people didn’t believe” he was a girl.
“Because of the way I am, I didn’t see it as offensive. I just saw them as dumb,” Anderson explained. “Because if I’ve told you that I’m one thing, and you’re telling me that I’m not another thing and you’re 30, 35, that makes you look stupid.”
He said doctors discovered his testicles during an ultrasound after he complained of abdominal pain. Anderson said that “everything made sense” at that moment. He said he already had a hunch that he could be intersex because of his “need” to be both a boy and a girl.
“I wanted one minute to just literally put on something nice and look like a girl, and the next minute put on something nice and look like a boy,” Anderson said. “Because I could do both, trust me I was a beautiful girl.”
He continued: “I just feel like I got so much respect being a man than I did being a girl so I just thought to myself, ‘Well I might as well be a man then.’”
Anderson admitted a lot of decisions were “swayed by other people’s opinions”, but his identity was also something he wanted because he knew he would have always wondered what his life would have been like if he was a man. Though he said, he did think about what his life would be like if he lived it as a woman.
Anderson said he started living as a boy from the age of 13 onwards, and he started on hormones a few years later when he was 15. He said he “loved” his transition and called it some of the “best times of my life”.
Anderson said: “I was going to the gym every day. I was really using the testosterone to build what I think should have been built a little while ago.”
When it came to dating, he said he would always “out of common courtesy” say: “You know I’ve got a small d**k, or I’d be like oh you know I got a pussy.”
He admitted that sex is “definitely different” with different genders. Anderson said his sexual encounters with men would be “less passionate”, and he’d be “out the door” when it was over. But with women, he said it was more “romantic”, and he could “be the guy”.
“I think I prefer sex with women,” he said. “But the feeling with men when I had a vagina hole was nice, like, I’m not gonna lie… but women give something that men just don’t give, I don’t think.”
He said he underwent metoidioplasty, the surgical creation of a penis using existing genital tissue, and phalloplasty – the construction of a penis through surgery by taking tissue from a donor site like the forearm. Anderson said that he went through both medical procedures because he wanted “two d**ks”.
“I wanted to make sure I could penetrate with both of them as well at the same time because what guy wouldn’t want to have two d**ks,” Anderson said.
He said one of the things that he wished the general population could understand about being intersex is how “alien” it feels. Anderson said: “I feel like an alien 24/7 even right now sitting here I feel like an alien because I’m talking about something which I didn’t ask for.
“I would have loved to have either been a natural-born beautiful woman with, you know, a husband and a few kids that drive me crazy and a big house and all that kind of stuff.
“Or I would have preferred to have just been a regular male with a normal working penis and a wife and a few kids that also drive me crazy.”
He said he wouldn’t have wanted “so much confusion” because the “confusion is immense”. Anderson said he wanted others to normalise being intersex and “don’t make a big deal” of someone being intersex just because it’s different.
He explained that the conversations around trans inclusion had pushed him to do more videos about what it’s like to be intersex. Anderson said “intersex has only just been included” in the wider LGBT+ community, and he wanted “intersex to be something people think about when they think of trans and any of the LGBTQIA”.
“I want them to think about the ‘I’ and the ‘intersex’,” he said.