Dani Coyle Inter_Sexy portrait Dazed 100
Inter_SexyCourtesy of Inter_Sexy
“I want to expand my intersex portrait series and work on a documentary to represent our diverse stories and experiences

Inter_sexy

Age - 25
 Berlin, Germany
@inter_sexy
Inter_sexy
“I want to expand my intersex portrait series and work on a documentary to represent our diverse stories and experiences

Dani Coyle, otherwise known as @inter_sexy, is an artist, activist and writer from Swindon, UK, now living in Berlin. One of Coyle’s most recent projects is the ongoing portrait series Inter___face, which aims to both humanise intersex people and highlight their diversity. “I grew up believing that being intersex was a curse,” Coyle remembers. “I spent so much time being unimaginably angry and sad, until one day, after years of feeling nothing but shit about myself, I realised I had two options: to continue to hate myself and my body, lying endlessly to those I loved and grow old and bitter with no-one truly knowing who I am, or have a whack at learning not to hate myself, live my truth and instead be part of building a more inclusive and empathetic world that celebrates difference.”

Deciding to go with the latter, Coyle came out as intersex, and threw her life into campaigning for intersex issues; she helped activist organisation Voices4 – founded by Dazed 100 alumnus Adam Eli – in holding the first Intersex Awareness Day action in Berlin last year. She’s also starting to work with brands to improve intersex visibility, becoming a #CKeveryone ambassador for Calvin Klein, and working with Dazed 100 2020 nominees Digi-Gxl to put on exhibitions showcasing femxle, intersex, trans and non-binary artwork and voices. “All of the work I do stems from that shame I harboured in the past, and so I guess it’s just my way of processing and healing,” she says.

How is your work unique to you? 

Dani Coyle: Doctors told me I was rare, implied I was a freak, and said I would never meet anyone else like me. They told me that my ‘condition’ was comparable to winning the lottery (but without the cash prize). Creating and conversing allows me to unpack all of these negative messages, thoughts and feelings I internalised over my childhood: the shame, guilt, otherness, disgust. I now understand this to be an inherently queer experience of growing up in a cis-het world that wasn’t built for you. I am the outcome of these experiences: they’ve moulded my identity and perspective. My work is an extension of me, they are one and can’t be separated, and so this is what makes my work unique: no one else can tell my story. 

How do you want to influence the future? 

Dani Coyle: My main goal is to have every person on the planet know what intersex means, because it’s difficult to have a meaningful conversation about our rights if they don’t know we exist! I want to influence the future by being visible in a world that tries so hard to erase us. I want to claim autonomy over our bodies and narratives. I want to use my non-binary body to break down the archaic, socially constructed idea of binaries. I just want to exist publicly and have a good fucking time doing it, because that is a political act in itself. 

What creative or philanthropic project would you work on with a grant from the Dazed 100 Ideas Fund?

Dani Coyle: I’d expand my intersex portrait series Inter___face, and also work on a documentary film to represent our diverse stories and experiences. So far I’ve photographed eight people (myself included), and already I’ve seen the impact that this kind of work can have through the messages of gratitude I receive from people like me. It’s the first project of its kind on this scale, and so (if I do say so myself), it has the potential to be groundbreaking not only artistically, but as a piece of documentary research. 

The problems I face currently with expanding this project is that, even though we make up 1.7 per cent of the population, it can be difficult to meet “out” intersex humans IRL. Much of our community connection is online, which is a fantastic luxury of the internet, but logistically it’s difficult to meet, photograph, and interview people in a truly personal manner. With funding, I would be able to travel to other intersex people in their homes and communities. I could photograph them, spend some real time listening to their individual story, and gather a strong library of footage for the documentary. I’d also use the funding to ensure that each person involved is paid properly for their time and contribution to the project, which I consider to be of paramount importance. 

“I just want to exist publicly and have a good fucking time doing it, because that is a political act in itself” – Dani Coyle AKA Inter_Sexy

Besides the creative outcomes, I’d like to use this project as an opportunity to create stronger connections across the intersex community. By conversing and exploring how our geographical conditions affect us all differently, and in being able to dedicate some real time to this project, my hope is that I can find new ways of overcoming our barriers in order to bring us together. There is strength in numbers, but only when we are connected. 

Amelia Abraham

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