Intersex Myths with Taylor Chandler—My Interview with Michael Phelps’ “Cougar” Intersexed Girlfriend

“I don’t want to be a celebrity, I want to make a difference.” – Lady Gaga

This quote suits last week’s Girl Boner Radio guest perfectly—only her fame came as a markedly bigger surprise to the former interpreter who, until late September, had been leading a decidedly private life.

If you’ve read a newspaper, magazine or visited sports or entertainment publications online over the past few months, you’ve probably heard of Taylor Chandler. You’ve probably also heard countless mistruths about her, her physiology and her history.

Taylor was born intersex, a term used to describe conditions in which you’re born with sexual anatomy that doesn’t quite fit into typical definitions of female or male. She was born female, contrary to what some media outlets have said, and has always identified as such. She just happened to be born with mixed anatomy—which is more common than many people think. She also happened to meet and fall in love with one of the most celebrated professional athletes of all time, Michael Phelps.

Once the media caught wind of their relationship and she came out publicly about her physiological history, life as she knew it ended and life as “Micheal Phelps’ intersex girlfriend” began. But there’s so much more to her than all of that.

Photo Credit: Taylor Chandler via Twitter

Last week I talked with Taylor about intersex, what it means (and doesn’t), and how coming out publicly as intersex and being at the center of such intense media scrutiny have impacted her life. Our chat was equal parts inspiring and informative, thanks to her openness and desire to shift the narrative from her relationship with Michael Phelps to issues that truly matter. I’m telling you—she’s one inspiring and gracious woman.

To download or stream our interview, visit this link on iTunes:

Intersex Myths with Taylor Chandler on Girl Boner Radio

You can also listen via GVB Radio or Stitcher Radio. To learn more about Taylor, follow her on Twitter: @RealTayChaTLC.

What did you think of the show? Of Taylor’s insight? I love hearing from you! ♥

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4 Comments

  1. What role model the intersex community has gained in Taylor Chandler. As you noted in the interview, it is heartening that something so positive came out of her life-changing experience with the media. She is well-spoken and thoughtful–incredibly courageous. I am looking forward to her book. Another great interview, August!

    Reply
  2. How awesome you did a show on this topic. It is largely forgotten or only talked about as if it’s some secret that should be shh’d immediately. My biggest takeaway from my queer studies class was that the best thing you can do for intersex child/individual is let them become who they are and not to make that decision for them. The scary thing was that so many doctors would scare parents into picking a gender and that’s where the nasty phrase “it’s easier to dig a hole than build a pole” comes from. That many intersex individuals were “made” to be female when they were babies. The problem with these surgeries is that they didn’t take into account how the child would actually identify AND they lost key nerve endings in the surgery, thereby having less feeling or sexual arousal from the removal of tissue. I really hope this doesn’t happen anymore, but it’s clear to me that more dialogue is needed because so many don’t understand and don’t put themselves in another’s shoes to understand.

    Thank you for leading this conversation!

    Reply
  3. Raani York

     /  December 7, 2014

    I think this is quite a sensitive, and apparently honest interview. Do I think it’s brave? Yes. Do I think it was necessary? A clear “maybe”. It probably was but shouldn’t have been. Still: I think it was greatly done! Thank you for this, August. You’re amazing.

    Reply
  1. Intersex Myths with Taylor Chandler | August McLaughlin

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