Samantha Paige first heard of Pidgeon Pagonis’ powerful story of growing up Intersex through a video clip produced by Human Rights Watch. Paige wanted to learn more about Pagonis’ experience of discovering they were Intersex at age 19 and the subsequent deconstruction of a believed identity, gender and (false) cancer diagnosis. In this raw, vulnerable episode, Pagonis discusses a childhood defined by a struggle to conform to a familial and societal definition of “normal.” They had been told a believed, yet constructed story of a childhood cancer diagnosis, built around the notable differences in their body and development as well as the scars on their body. It was not until Pagonis attended an advanced psychology class in college where Intersex was outlined that they discovered they had actually been born with the very condition being taught. Pagonis underwent three medically unnecessary surgeries at age 1, 4 and 11, as well as years of traumatizing interactions with the medical world. They share here about their rediscovery of self as a nonbinary, queer activist and filmmaker in the context of reality over protective lies. Pagonis speaks beautifully to the universal experience of living with trauma and creating a life that feels like one’s own.
To connect with Pidgeon and learn more about their work, please visit their website or their Instagram. To view Pidgeon’s powerful documentary film, “The Son I Never Had: Growing Up Intersex,” please contact them directly through their website.