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We need to respect people for who they are."An estimated one in 2,000 babies is born with an intersex (or "unisex", as XXXora prefers) condition or a controversially named "disorder of sex development" (DSD).This can include atypical genitalia, chromosomes or internal sex organs."My work is very much influenced by my life and this unresolved issue." She has committed herself to creating a series of all of nature's hermaphrodites for the rest of her life. She adds that all of her work, which embodies self- portraiture and optical illusions, is akin to a personal handprint."I predominantly work with optical illusions, as in many respects I was born an optical illusion."Self-taught, XXXora has always made art. XXXora breeds them and one picture from a series called "The Crying Alchemists", which focuses on the type of horses she breeds, was recently sold for £15,000.While she looked up to men who were "very feminised", she saw early on how society treated them."I remember as a child looking at newspapers and seeing Boy George described as 'Mr or Mrs Weird.' I thought, 'Fuck, that's me, I have to assimilate.' I thought no one would want me if they knew who I was.A turning point came when I realised there were men who were attracted to me for who I was. Yet, there is still a huge taboo for those who choose to shun binary gender classifications.It became the norm to operate on these children in the 1960s; in the belief that they were helping the child, doctors assigned their gender and operated to reinforce it – sometimes without the parents' informed consent.Although there are no comprehensive statistics on the number of operations still carried out, it is believed some babies and children will undergo such surgery in Britain this year.
Then there's her name – crafted around ideas of chromosomes, derogatory Spanish slang, and an inversion of the hardcore XXX symbol (which she tells me originated in the brewing industry as a sign of premium strength)."I hate pigeonholes," she says. For me, it is about finding archetypes and reclaiming words.
Xxxora has previously given her support to a campaign led by a group of intersex women.
Now, however, she has launched her own Silver Bo(x) Campaign, petitioning the UK Government to recognise those born with a reproductive or sexual anatomy that does not fit the typical definitions of female or male, and to stop such infants undergoing non-consensual and irreversible surgery to "fix" their sex.
It is believed to be the first series of pieces exploring the role of the hermaphrodite in nature.
She will also be holding a regular film exhibition on the same theme at the Cinema Museum in south London from next month and will feature in an exhibition called Art for Youth at the Royal Academy of Arts in October. Rebecca Wilson, chief curator and director of artist development for the Saatchi Art website, on which XXXora is featured, says that her "works are arresting, challenging and have an urgency to them which is very powerful"."Art is a megaphone and a loudspeaker," says XXXora, explaining how it is critical to her campaigns.
It is important to realise that the black-and-white binary that is in people's heads is neither scientific nor accurate.