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Screening of the film “Orchids: My Intersex Adventure”

Directed by young Australian filmmaker Phoebe Hart, Orchids: My Intersex Adventure takes the form of a “road movie” in which Hart travels across Australia in search of the stories of intersex people. Sociology professor Janik Bastien-Charlebois gave an introductory lecture, “From medical discourse to self-narrative: becoming an intersex subject,” prior to the film. Held on May 22 2014 at UQAM, the screening was followed by a discussion period.

In the film, Hart embarks on a journey of self-discovery in order to embrace the future and come to terms with the shame and family secrets of the past related to her intersexuality. Despite the refusal of her mother to participate in the film, Hart pursues her quest to talk with other intersex people. Camera in hand, she takes to the road and reflects back on her childhood, accompanied by her sister, Bonnie, and her partner, James.

As strategies for contesting predominant discourses, practices and medical authority, the narratives and artistic expression of intersex people insist upon the need to recognize the diversity of sexual bodies. Being forced to conform, based on the pretext that this ensures their well-being, can be shown to constitute the true source of their suffering. Professor Bastien-Charlebois examined the ways in which Hart’s autobiographical and reflexive approach offers one key example.

The event was sponsored by Testimonial Cultures in collaboration with l’Institut de recherche et d’études féministes, the Sexualités, Vulnérabilités et Résilience study group, and the Chaire de recherche sur l’homophobie.

Orchids: My Intersex Adventure (2010). Director: Phoebe Hart. 60 min. English with French subtitles.