Unshelved by Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum
comic strip overdue media

Friday, September 24, 2004

I was helping another librarian with some references on intersex

and found the following:

As Nature Made Him : The Boy Who Was Raised as a Girl by John Colapinto. Perennial; (February 19, 2001) ISBN: 0060929596

Lessons from the Intersexed by Suzanne J. Kessler. Rutgers University Press, 1998. ISBN: 0813525306

Hermaphrodites and the Medical Invention of Sex by Alice Domurat Dreger. Harvard University Press, 2000. ISBN: 0674001893

Intersex and Identity: The Contested Self by Sharon E. Preves. Rutgers University Press, 2003. ISBN: 0813532299

Intersex in the Age of Ethics (Ethics in Clinical Medicine Series)by Alice Domurat Dreger (editor). Publisher: Univ Pub Group, 1999. ISBN: 1555721001

An article examining a case, citing both the original and final results of the patient from the first book above.

Intersex Society of North America

Intersex Initiative FAQ

Celebrate Intersex Awareness Day: October 26, 2004

With my background in sociology, I'm obviously interested in gender identity and the social aspects of things. I've always thought the attempts by the medical community to 'reassign' gender were flawed, based on an incomplete knowledge of the complexities of the processes within the human body. But I'm lucky...I can look at it as an intellectual interest. I don't have to live with the consequences myself.

Those born into an ambiguous sexual state are stigmatised in a way few of us understand. Ironically, parents, health providers, etc., all worry more than a child about the 'abnormal' quality of his or her physicality. Many children, having never experienced what society considers 'normal'--say a facial difference or limb deficiency--adapt in ways that amaze adults. But because there is such shame and secrecy, it's so difficult to talk about openly, and there's also a huge risk that the patient will not be seen as a person, merely an extension of that ambiguous genitalia. Those with intersex conditions don't really fit most people's ideas of 'belonging to a group'. They are seen as neither one or another, yet they tend to identify with either male or female, but that identity can often be quite different from what science predicted. Even genes fail to tell the whole story, because some people may have multiple X or Y chromosomes, and even those who are XY are sometimes, due to their conditions, essentially girls in identity.

Additionally, some within the intersex population are transgendered, but not all transgendered people have intersex conditions, and they have very different needs in terms of health and emotional support.

I think as people become more aware of the issues invovled, they'll start to rethink their assumptions about a lot in life. I'm just glad it's starting to come out in the open, because in my experience in other areas it is the secrecy and shame that it far worse than any perceived abnormality. I think as our views of diversity grow, we'll begin to accept people more for who they are rather than what they are. Of course, there are a lot of pigheaded people who fear and loathe anything they don't understand, which usually turns out to be the rest of the planet, so we're far from some sort of universal harmony. :)

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