Other NJ News

Flemington's Openly Intersex Election Victor May Be Nation's First

583c178535f564461e74_betsy_driver.JPG
Betsy Driver Credits: Curtis Leeds / TAPinto Flemington-Raritan file photo
583c178535f564461e74_betsy_driver.JPG

FLEMINGTON, NJ – The way Betsy Driver sees it, her victory in the Flemington Borough Council race marks a first for a U.S. election.

Driver, a Democrat, won the election along with independent Michael Harris. Both are newcomers who unseated two incumbent candidates. Although it was a crowded race, many in the borough think Driver won more votes than any other Flemington Borough candidate ever.

But Driver notes her election contains a “footnote.” She believes her victory makes her “only the second person in the world who is open about [his or her] intersex status to be elected to public office.”

Sign Up for E-News

The other is her friend Tony Briffa. Briffa is a former mayor and deputy mayor of Hobsons Bay, a city in Victoria, Australia.

The concept of intersex individuals confuses many, according to Driver, who has made it her mission to advocate for intersex persons and to educate the public about them.

“My intersex advocacy is something I am very proud of,” Driver said. “Whenever possible, I enjoy educating people about what it is—a congenital difference in sex characteristics.”

What intersex is not, Driver said, is transgender, hermaphrodite or a gender issue.

Intersex refers to people born with variations of sex characteristics that differ from what medicine considers standard male or female. It may be obvious at birth, or it may not be outwardly apparent.

Driver’s advocacy is rooted in her life story.

“When I was born, the doctors who delivered me were unable to clearly tell my mom and dad whether I was male or female,” she said. “After a couple days, they found a uterus and ovaries.”

A test determined that Driver's chromosomes were standard female, or XX.

“From that moment forward, my body was medicalized and surgically altered without my consent,” Driver said.

It was done to make her “conform to what the doctors felt a female body should look like.” It started when she was only eight months old.

The interventions continued until her mid-to-late teens. The surgeries and hormonal treatments were intended to help her body look and behave more female, “even though [she] always knew [her] gender was female,” she said.

Driver suspects some of the hormone treatments given to her as a teen were partly responsible for the breast and ovarian cancers she would be diagnosed with decades later.

During her childhood, Driver said both of her parents and she were told there were no other children with a body like hers. She knows now that was not true.

In 2001, shortly after discovering the truth about what was done to her body in childhood, Driver  co-founded the world’s first online peer support organization for people born with intersex variations.

“Bodies Like Ours was truly ground-breaking,” Driver said. “People throughout the world discovered they were not alone despite a lifetime of being told otherwise.”

A few years later, in 2003, Driver started Intersex Awareness Day “so that people could anchor education efforts around a common day.”

Since then, Intersex Awareness Day has been recognized by many governments, including the U.S. State Department. The U.N. has marked it with proclamations and informational publications.

Driver has traveled the world as she works on a book of stories and photos of people with intersex variations. Estimates of how many people are affected by differences in sex characteristics range from .2 percent up to 1.7 percent, according to Driver.

But intersex was not part of Driver’s campaign platform; she ran as a conventional candidate.

“The people have spoken,” Driver said. “I think a mandate regarding the future of downtown Flemington has been issued by the residents.”

TAP Into Another Town's News:

Sign Up for E-News

Livingston

Evolve Cycle And Fitness Presale Happening Now!

May 18, 2018

CALDWELL, NJ - Evolve Cycle and Fitness is now offering 10 classes for only $90. That’s only $9 a class when you purchase before its official Grand Opening on Friday, June 1, 2018. 

Only two weeks left to take advantage of this limited time offer! Call Martha at 973-979-5919 or click here to sign up.

Evolve Cycle and Fitness is a Premier Fitness Boutique ...

Save Up To 20% at CNP Treasures

WEST ORANGE, NJ — Are you still looking for the perfect gift for your mom or that special someone in your life for Mother's Day? Then CNP Treasures has you covered! Save up to 20% at CNP Treasures located at 14 Northfield Ave in West Orange.

Come by this weekend so we can help you find the perfect gift! Offer expires Sunday, May ...

Upcoming Events

Wed, May 23, 7:00 PM

Livingston Community Center (lower level), Livingston

NJ-11 Congressional Candidates Debate, hosted by ...

Education Government Law & Justice

Carousel_image_858d52d71559e8db11c1_35608_125981954105061_273496_n-1

Thu, May 24, 6:30 PM

Heritage Middle School , Livingston

Livingston Public Schools Presents: 6th to 7th ...

Education

Carousel_image_27a1c651521c971f9a4d_1cdb218c0a6934197fac_b2a4cff22151f502f44b2552724bef71_xl

Thu, May 24, 7:00 PM

Livingston Public Library, Livingston

Understanding Hearing Loss

Health & Wellness

Montclair HS Student Reported Sexual Assault in All-Gender Bathroom, Officials Say

May 17, 2018

MONTCLAIR, NJ - According to published reports on Wednesday, Montclair Police officials are investigating allegations of sexual assault reported to have occurred in a bathroom at Montclair High School.

Montclair police officials state that officers received a report about an incident at the high school of a sexual nature that occurred around 3:18 p.m. on Monday. The ...

Still Time to Register for Livingston's Fall Intown Soccer

May 14, 2018

LIVINGSTON, NJ — Although a late fee may be applied as of May 13, registration is still open for the Fall 2018 Intown Soccer season in Livingston, including the high school co-ed program.

Livingston Soccer Club's (LSC) Intown program is all about sportsmanship, making friends, getting some exercise and learning a bit about soccer along the way. LSC provides the following ...

10-Year-Old Cancer Patient Receives Donation from Randolph Hockey Family

May 21, 2018

RANDOLPH, NJ — While the inter-town hockey battles on the ice between Randolph and Roxbury are fierce at every age level, when it comes to real-life battles off the ice, there is no hesitation to offer help to their neighbor.

Such is the case with a recent gesture of unity and support from the members of the Randolph varsity hockey team, when they came together to ...

A Royal Pain

I went to a big wedding over the weekend.  It was in England.

I like to think I was invited, but according to the Royal Guards and the Thames Valley Police I was not.  But more about that later.

You see, not too long ago I received an evite addressed to me from H&M@royalwedbot.co.uk.  Curiously, it was in my spam folder with a warning message. For an evite it was pretty ...