For the first 42 years of her/his life, Hiker Chiu (???) didn’t know who she or he was. Born and raised a girl, Chiu liked to play with dolls and dreamed of getting married and having babies. Then at the age of 10, her body stopped growing. While other girls reached puberty, Chiu waited for her first period, which never came. And her breasts didn’t develop as her classmates.
“My world collapsed. I was living in fear, not knowing what I would become,” Chiu says. Being a person whose body doesn’t easily fit in with what is considered standard for female or male, Chiu felt alone. The unexplained scar on her/his belly only deepened a sense of secrecy and shame.
It wasn’t until decades later when s/he came across XXY, an Argentinian movie about a 15-year-old intersex person, in 2008 that Chiu began to understand who s/he really is. In 2010, Chiu made the debut public appearance as an intersex person at the LGBT Pride Parade in Taipei, becoming the country’s first and so far only openly intersex advocate.
“It started out simply: I want to find others like me,” the 47-year-old Chiu says.