Demystifying the ‘I’ in LGBTQI+

By Chris Breen (Senior Lecturer, School of Health and Social Care, College of Health and Science)

In 2015 as an incidental finding at the age of 50 I found out I was intersex and had XXY Chromosomes, I was initially surprised and concerned, but the more I learned about it, the more it explained the way I looked, felt, some developmental and health issues I had experienced and why I’m now being monitored and treated for other medical conditions. Although I have had a generally healthy and happy life, it does make me wonder what difference it would have made if it had been diagnosed earlier and suspect it would affect some of my life choices.

XXY is a chromosome variation characterised by an additional X chromosome in those assigned male at birth (47, XXY) and one of 50+ intersex variations.

When Rishi Sunak said in a cheap jibe against trans people last year “a man is a man and a woman is a woman, it is just common sense” he couldn’t be more wrong and demonstrated his lack of knowledge and inbred bias.

When we talk about sex rather than gender its not as simple as a binary choice. Sex is a combination of; Chromosomal, Gonadal structures, Internal and external reproductive system, hormones, Pubertal Sex Changes, Brain Sex, Behavioural and “Cognitive” Sex.

Intersex people are born with sex characteristics (including genitals, gonads, hormone production and chromosome patterns) that do not fit typical binary notions of male or female bodies.

Intersex people like the wider population can have any gender identity and sexual orientation. However, a number are drawn to the LGBTQI+ community as they too are a marginalised group, who are often stigmatised and subject to discrimination.

Although the majority of people with XXY will identify as men, there is a number who have gender incongruence and or dysphoria or in my case gender euphoria, a celebration of the person I was meant to be and had kept hidden for most of my life.

As an institution as part of our ongoing programme of decolonising the curriculum we need to look outside our borders to the wider world and how they respect intersex and transgender people. In many countries intersex or a third gender is legally recognised on passports and other legal documents. And in other countries subsets of the population who live in a gender that differs than that assigned at birth are accepted and sometimes hold a place of reverence in their culture, Examples of this include; Argentina, Austria, Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Germany, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Indigenous people of North America, Ireland, Malta, Madagascar, Mexico, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Oman, Pakistan and Samoa.

Now I do what I can to advocate for all intersex people regardless of their identities. 


Davis, G (2015) Contesting intersex : The dubious diagnosis. [ebook]. New York: NYU Press (Biopolitics: Medicine, Technoscience, and Health in the 21st Century). Available from [accessed 9 February 2024].

InterACT (2024) Intersex variations glossary. Sudbury, MA, US: InterACT. Available from [accessed 9 February 2024]

Klinefelter’s Syndrome Association (2024) Available from [accessed 9 February 2024]

McKenzie, K (2023) Sexual differentiation of the nervous system [Lecture]

Prevet, S. E (2003) Intersex and identity. The contested self. London: Rutgers University Press.

Taylor, O (2018) 10 societies that recognise more than two genders. Listverse. Available from [accessed 9 February 2024]

Turners Syndrome Support Society (2024) Available from [accessed 9 February 2024]

United Nations Human Rights (2024) Intersex. United Nations Human Rights. Available from [accessed 9 February 2024]

Walker, M. (ed.) (2018) Interdisciplinary and global perspectives on intersex. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.


Sylvia Rivera: a positive voice in defence of the most vulnerable and marginalised

By Anna Chivers (she/her)

In the past, I have been invited to speak on behalf of the charity Mermaids [link:] at Trans Day of Remembrance (TDoR) events at the University of Lincoln. So, it was especially meaningful to be asked to speak in my own right at the most recent, student organised TDoR event and vigil, on Sunday 20th November 2022.  On Monday 20th February I have been invited to speak by the University of Lincoln’s student Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee, Humanities and Heritage School.  Please join me!

LGBTQ+ History Month - An event with Anna Chivers, an artist, carer and former Mermaids volunteer and trustee. - Date of event - Monday 20th February 6-7pm - Location NDH0020 - Funded by College of Arts EDI committee fund. Image of Sylvia zine and "mother of all gay people"
LGBTQ+ History Month event with Anna

The social impact of the COVID pandemic had emphasised the importance of connection, community and solidarity to many of us in the trans including non-binary community, where the isolating effects of prejudice and discrimination are already significant challenges. This has been compounded over recent years in the UK by a growing trend of hostile rhetoric in politics and the media, creating an environment where reported hate crimes and incidents break shameful new records year on year.


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The Zine and Queer Self Expression

Jamie Markham (BA History Student)

SEDIC (Humanities and Heritage: Students Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee) Student Representative


This past December, I was given the opportunity to create my own zine (available here on the Library website: Queer Love: An Invisible History) with the workshop that the lovely University of Lincoln staff hosted in the Library. Knowing little about zines, this event allowed me to unravel a rich queer history of self-expression. Much more than a booklet, the zine was a movement, an outlet, and a message to society. One in which allowed LGBTQ+ people to become fiercely visible in the face of oppression. Let me guide you through this rich cultural history as I take you back in time.

Picture of zine Queer Love: An Invisible History by Jamie Markham
Queer Love: An Invisible History by Jamie Markham

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