Abi Jay: ‘Am I wired up differently?’ About being intersex and spiritual

Abi Jay: ‘Am I wired up differently?

‘You have to have something to believe in…to have a focus of something because trans people do go through a life of trouble…they just want answers…and you sometimes don’t know who to turn to, what to turn to…so you suffer on your own, having something from a spiritual point of view to turn to I think helps part of the way. For me, my journey has had a lot of situations where spiritualism have intersected my life’.

Ms Abi Jay


Born in London, North Middlesex Hospital Edmonton, 1958. Abi’s intersex status is something she was only made aware of in recent years, although throughout Abi’s life there were instances that suggested she was not cis-gendered.  ‘I am, at the moment, an intersex person…I never knew that up until fairly recently but through my life I’d had, instances that I didn’t actually recognise-through the whole of my life- where it tended to rear its ugly head so to speak.’

Abi describes experiencing ‘biological feelings’ of pains in her stomach, growing pains, anxiety and anger. For a long time- just before her bar mitzvah right through to her marriage- it became apparent to her that these pains were occurring monthly, yet the actual source of these pains remained uncertain.

This situation resulted in a hospital visit in 2012 when, after having had complications around the abdominal and genital regions of her body. ‘They basically opened me up and found that I was born a woman inside’. Abi was in fact experiencing monthly menstrual cycles, which is something that Abi hadn’t initially considered or understand. ‘2012 May the 4th remains a day where a lot of things were answered, the reason why all the spiritual side of things, someone sort of looking after you, had come into the forefront and identified-manifested- itself as a spirit ’

‘I’d always been um, I suppose spiritual to an extent but I’d had some very strange experiences through the course of my life, strange occurrences, feelings of someone telling me what to do, what not to do, telling me things that might happen and feelings of- a bit like clairvoyancey if you’re sort of really into that. I’ve gone through a lot of my life having-or sensing- that a lot of things are gunna happen and they did. Things that I can’t explain, things that are relevant to me.’  In hindsight, Abi considers these signs of  ‘a lot of what’s happened to me I suppose were signs…of a much bigger picture’ some force seemed to be telling her ‘hang in  there, you’re gonna find something quite beautiful later on in your life, um, but in the meantime just be patient, ride it out, go through your life, and eventually your life will intersect and certain things are gonna happen to you that will explain everything else that went on in the past’

Abi is sure angels are part of her personal journey. She feels ‘lucky to be able to sense there is someone looking after [her]’. Many inexplicable episodes and strange occurrences characterise Abi’s journey and make her feel as though there is a force that guards her. In terms of guardian angels and god she believes it’s ‘all one and the same’.

‘I’ve got an intersection of where Judaism and Spiritualism, such as the occult and Kabbalah, all that side of things I find really interesting, it’s helped me on my journey.

Abi’s relationship with God has been complex. After many instances whereby Abi says God could have ended her life, including her own attempts, she considers God to be keeping her alive. Abi has become increasingly angry, confused and frustrated at her situation, feelings which at time she directed at God.

‘There were times in my room, I used to shout out, I said if you’re up there God what are you doing to me?…why is my life going like this?…And, that thing where you wish for something, and people say, what if it came true? That side of the spirituality of things, wishing for things to happen, having questions answered, um I think I’d had mine answered because- I was angry at God, I never totally understood myself who and what I am, I couldn’t understand why I was doing what I was doing…I was never totally happy’

She has had a surgical procedure on her voice box which has changed and altered the pitch on her voice. More recently Abi underwent  gender reassignment surgery which she was currently recovering from at the time of the interview, during her 3-month recovery period. ‘So my life has sort of taken quite a few… it’s ebbed and flowed, there’ve been highs, there’ve been flows’ but for the moment Abi feels in a happy place ‘I feel almost complete now’.

On identifying as intersex within the trans community as a whole, ‘I do need…the trans community to support me as I want to support it’.

‘Am I wired up differently? Yes I am but I identify with the trans community because we’re all one.’

‘maybe from a biological point of view I could be different but from my own community which is, I identify as the trans community, we’re all part, one and the same and we all go through the same issues, we all have the same likes, dislikes, grievances, aggravation, we’ve all gone though the journey from a young age right the way through- we all suffer from the same problems, we all have to deal with hate crime, we all  suffer from abuse from whatever guises in life, there’s no point sitting on the fence and sayin ‘oh I’m something different I’m not anything to do with you’ ‘ we have to stick together.’

During and after her appointment with hospital, being told she was intersex and had had a fully functioning female organ throughout her life she describes as a ‘massive physiological blow’.  One of the things she was most craving in this moment was someone to talk to afterwards, to share a story or experience with.  Having to deal with this situation alone did mean Abi came out of it stronger. She now talks about creating her own group for intersex people to help others who have gone through, or are going through similar situations with regards to the intersex journey. ‘Intersex…it’s like a sliding scale, there’s various degrees of levels of intersex that you can be’. She goes on to say there are many different ways in which you can identify as intersex relative to your biology, mindset, attitude and experiences and there is not much information on this, no field or are of expertise: Abi herself would have benefited from more public information on her situation. In terms of defining herself differently as intersex from a trans* woman, Abi says perhaps the way one processes situations were different.

In terms of her ‘faith and spiritualism that’s a constant rolling ball’, she acknowledges that she is still looking for answers and doesn’t know what is to come, she is still looking and searching.

Abi feels the next part of her evolution is to help others ‘I think it’s now the chance for me to help others, I think that’s the next part of my evolution’.