Every Body (2023)

Every Body (2023)

A much-needed primer on intersex that celebrates just as much as it cries for justice



United States of America
Alicia Roth Weigel, River Gallo, Sean Saifa Wall
91 min


Proof that when a movie gets review-bombed on certain websites, you know it's got something worth saying.

What it's about

Several intersex individuals speak out about their identities, the long history of medical approaches to intersex traits, and the need to stop nonconsensual surgeries on children.

The take

Even with its haphazard construction and occasionally unnecessary and corny flourishes (what's with all the mellowed-out covers of pop songs?), there's a sense of intense, sincere pride and joy that shines through Every Body's many testimonials. Intersex people are barely represented whether in media or in legislation, and countless people still have very little understanding of what intersex is. But while this subject is usually viewed as uncomfortable—and this documentary definitely doesn't hold back in explaining the various ways intersex people are mutilated and mentally abused just to force them to conform to the gender binary—the film grounds everything by showing us how its main characters are as ordinary, creative, and full of good humor as the rest of us. So as Every Body skips through various aspects of the intersex experience, even its disorganization takes on the charm of a simple chat with friends. And either way, the discussions held here are the stuff of real courage—demanding our attention and earning our respect.

What stands out

While many parts of Every Body have a lightness to them, the devastating tragedy of David Reimer's story is impossible to shake, as it should be. After an accidental botched circumcision, Reimer was subjected to horrific sex reassignment surgery and therapy against his will—being made to grow up as a girl despite clearly rejecting female conditioning. His entire difficult journey encompasses practically every major issue that intersex activists and spokespeople are fighting for today. And it's a story that also ties itself closely to the continuing fight for trans rights, in complicated but logical ways.

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