The Rich Roll Podcast
The Rich Roll Podcast
Rich Roll
Kendra Little Is Becoming More: Broadening The Gender Identity Conversation
1 hour 50 minutes Posted Dec 23, 2019 at 1:00 am.
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“You don’t have to be intersex to be able to relate to my story. Everyone is going through something they don’t feel like they can share. This story is for them as well."
Kendra Little

Growing up in the late 1970's there was no conversation around gender identity. You were either male or female. Period, end of discussion.

Times have changed. The way we currently think about gender has evolved. Each day brings greater mainstream awareness to its non-binary nature -- and the innate fluidity of gender roles and identity.

Take a moment to imagine the experience of being intersex -- a condition in which an individual is born with genetic variations on conventional sex characteristics.

Now imagine trying to navigate the world from this non-binary biological disposition.

This is the story of Kendra Little.

Raised as a girl, at age 12 Kendra learned that she was born with something called androgen insensitivity syndrome, a variation of intersex that affects between 2 to 5 out of 100,000 people. The news prompted Kendra to isolate. Adopting a hormone protocol on the advice of her doctors, she remained a ‘girl’, proceeded to never discuss her condition with anybody and dove headlong into sports -- a place where she excelled and felt at home.

But eventually the emotional dissonance between her true self and that which she held out to the world became too much to bear, prompting her to walk away from a promising career as a professional golfer. But that disconnect ultimately catalyzed an amazing journey of self-discovery -- and eventually wholeness.

Now able to fully embrace her own unique identity (very recently I might add), Kendra is publicly sharing her story -- with both courage and pride. The intention isn't self-serving, but motivated by a genuine desire to change the way we think about non-binary gender constructs. To bring comfort to those ashamed of how they were born. And to openly permit sharing the many forms of loneliness, pain and shame so many of us keep hidden.

This past July, Kendra tweeted me a video entitled Becoming More -- her story in mini-doc form created by Uninterrupted, LeBron James’ production company.

I click play. Instantly, I’m captivated by Kendra’s appearance. Her facial features present as simultaneously male and female. She's both, but also neither. Kendra is truly her own unique form of humanity. But her appearance is quickly eclipsed by her strength and vulnerability -- and the compelling narrative that unfolds.

I knew immediately this was a special person I wanted to know better. A fascinating story I wanted to help tell. And quite honestly, a subject matter of social importance and cultural relevance I wanted to better understand.

So here we are. Kendra, I honor you for your courage in trusting me with this conversation, a privilege I don't take lightly.

You can watch it all go down on YouTube (seeing Kendra helps contextualize the exchange). And as always, the conversation streams wild and free on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

This one is special. May it be as enjoyable and enlightening as it was for me.

Peace + Plants,

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SHOW NOTES

Thanks to Jason Camiolo for production, audio engineering, interstitial music and show notes; Margo Lubin and Blake Curtis for video, editing and graphics. Theme music by Ana Leimma.

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