Intersex

Education Resource

Below you will find educational and support material for intersex education. Please feel free to email me with questions and/or comments. I found out when I was 21 years old of my intersex condition. I have Androgen Insensitivity Syndrom, which is a fairly common condition. This is an important cause to me, and I hope everyone, so I hope we can include intersex education, support, and advocacy into the PFLAG Laurel, MS group agenda.

[From Wikipedia] Intersexuality in humans refers to intermediate or atypical combinations of physical features that usually distinguish male from female. This is usually understood to be congenital, involving chromosome, morphologic, genital and/or gonadal anomalies, such as diversion from stereotypical XX=female or XY=male presentations, such as sex reversal (XY=female, XX=male), genital ambiguity, sex developmental differences. An intersex organism may have biological characteristics of both the male and female sexes.[1] Intersexuality is the term adopted by medicine during the 20th century applied to human beings whose biological sex cannot be classified as either male or female.[2][3][4] Intersexuality is also the word adopted by the identity-political movement, to criticize medical protocols in sex assignment and to claim the right to be heard in the construction of a new one.[5]

So what does this mean? That sex and gender is not black and white. There are so many variations of gender and sex. People live day to day with conditions that make them neither completely defined as male or female. Dare it be possible to one day just think of a person as a person and not as a defined gender concept? Perhaps we can get there.

So why is intersex education important? Well, intersex, or Disorders of sexual development as a recent group has voted to call the condition, is very important on the basis of educating and understanding. We are seeing intersex conditions brought into mainstream media more and more. Support groups and organizations initially started out to educate intersex people of their condition. Many lived years without knowing the truth of their condition.

Now these organizations are moving towards educating doctors and medical professionals to help them understand that just because a child is born with physical characteristics that might not completely define the infant as male or female, that it is okay to wait and not do surgery. Too often in the past, we have found that an intersex infant’s path and future was charted by these doctors based on cases in the 60’s. Some of those cases proved to not turn out as intended. Meaning that the infants were castrated and reared as females, which should not be done without exhausting all proper medical procedures.

 Intersex, or Disorders of Sexual Development, is an umbrella term describing many conditions. For many of these conditions there are specific support groups for individuals with the intersex condition. There are also a growing number of support groups for the parents of intersex children.

  • 5-alpha reductase deficiency
  • Androgen insensitivity syndrome
  • Complete androgen insensitivity syndrome
  • Partial androgen insensitivity syndrome
  • Aphallia
  • Clitoromegaly
  • Congenital adrenal hyperplasia
  • Gonadal dysgenesis (partial & complete)
  • Hypospadias
  • Kallmann syndrome
  • Klinefelter syndrome
  • Micropenis
  • Mosaicism involving sex chromosomes
  • MRKH (Müllerian agenesis; vaginal agenesis; congenital absence of vagina)
  • Ovo-testes (formerly called “true hermaphroditism”)
  • Progestin-induced virilisation
  • Swyer syndrome
  • Turner syndrome
  • 17-beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase deficiency
  • Cryptorchidism

 Organizations and Internet Resources

 

Articles…

 Below contains a list of articles about intersex. I have tried not to be biased when adding the articles. My goal is to not express particular views and theories of intersex that I might only agree but to provide all variations of articles and research that is out there. This is with a purpose so that individuals can know all the information and make their own conscious choices of action to take. The number one priority is support. 

 Ms. Magazine.  
Making the Cut: It’s a Girl!….Or is it? When There’s Doubt, Why are Surgeons Calling the Shots?

Salon.com
Sex PoliceIntersex – Sound media of women talking about being interex.

 

Intersex Initiative Articles – There are various links to articles for download in the articles section of the Intersex Initiative website.  

Editorial – “Managing Intersex

“Being Accountable to the Invisible Community: A Challenge for Intersex Activists and Allies”
by Emi Koyama

A Practical Approach to Intersex” by M.  David Bomalaski

PFLAG Gives Recognition to Intersex Conditions“The Mystery of Intersex” This is an interview by In Step News with Cheryl Chase who was director  of ISNA at the time.

INTERSEX EXPOSITION: Full Monty
by Shorona

 

“If Biology is Destiny, When Shouldn’t it Be?” by Barron H. Lerner, M.D.

Transgender and Intersex Visibility
– GLAAD’S Cultural Interest Media Project

Beyond “Five Sexes”: Addressing Intersex Issues with Women’s Studies

 

Books… 

Bornstein, Kate. My Gender Workbook: How to Become a Real Man, a Real Woman,
    the Real You, or Something Else Entirely. Routledge, 1998.

Butler, Judith. Undoing Gender.  Routledge, 2004.

Colapinto, John. As Nature Made Him: The Boy Who Was Raised as a Girl.
     HarperCollins, 2000.

Connella, Katherine. Sugar and Spice and Puppu Dog’s Tails:
    Growing Up Intersexed. An Intimate Portrait. Deep South Publishing, 2000.

Eugenides, Jeffrey. Middlesex: A Novel. Random House, 2003.

Dreger, Alice Domurat. Hermaphrodites and the Medical Invention of Sex.
     Harvard University Press, 1998.

Dreger, Alice Domurat. Intersex in the Age of Ethics. University Press Group:
     Haterstown, Maryland, 1999.

Fausto-Sterling, Anne. Myths of Gender: Biological Theories About Women and Men.
     Basic Books, 1985.

Fausto-Sterling, Anne. Sexing the Body: Gender Politics and the Construction of Sexuality.
     Basic Books, 2000.

GenderQueer: Voices From Beyond the Sexual Binary
. Nestle, Joan, Riki Wilchins,
     and Clare Howell, eds. Alyson Publications, 2002.

Kessler, Suzanne. Lessons from the Intersexed.
      Rutgers University Press, 1998.

Preves, Sharon. Intersex and Identity: The Contested Self.
     Rutgers University Press, 2003.

Third Sex, Third Gender. Gilbert Herdt, ed. Zone Books, 1994.

3 responses

19 09 2009
Dave Parker

Thanks for this information! This is the best compilation of resources I have seen.

Dave Parker, Treasure
PFLAG Transgender Network

22 09 2009
June Horner

Thanks so much.
I appreciate having these resources available to share as needed.

By the way, I’ve read an interesting book, one chapter of which deals sensitively, and in non-technical language with Intersex condition.
The title is “NORMAL: Transsexual CEO’s, Crossdressing Cops, and Hermaphrodites with Attitude” , Author is Amy Bloom, ISBN – 0-679-45652-X. The entire book is only 135 pages.
In the last paragraph of her book she wisely points out that “….Nature contains multitudes. Althought she makes mistakes, these black tulips, these examples of Nature’s range, human creativity, and gender’s mutability are not necessarily among them.”

28 11 2010
Rev. Col

I’ve read this book, and for the most part, I really liked it. Especially that part.

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