Divergence or Disorder?: the politics of naming intersex

@article{Reis2007DivergenceOD,
  title={Divergence or Disorder?: the politics of naming intersex},
  author={Elizabeth Reis},
  journal={Perspectives in Biology and Medicine},
  year={2007},
  volume={50},
  pages={535 - 543}
}
  • Elizabeth Reis
  • Published 16 October 2007
  • Medicine
  • Perspectives in Biology and Medicine
The conditions once known under the umbrella terms intersex and hermaphroditism are now generally being called disorders of sex development in medical settings. The terms might seem synonymous, but in fact there are significant differences with controversial consequences. Hermaphroditism, an older term that can still be found in many medical writings, is vague, demeaning, and sensationalistic, conjuring mythic images of monsters and freaks. In the 1990s, activists advocated intersex to describe… 

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Michel Foucault’s understanding of the power of “normalization” can help to make sense of the history of medicalization and its pernicious effects, but in addition can allow those with intersex conditions and their allies to understand the positive possibilities that the change from intersex to DSDs can bring.

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Initial descriptions of Turner and Klinefelter’s syndromes and their subsequent inclusion in intersex classifications, which were increasingly grounded in scientific understandings of sex chromosomes that emerged in the 1950s are explored.

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A case study is posed to explore some of the medical issues that intersex patients face as adults and that hospitalists will likely encounter and believe hospitalists are uniquely positioned to provide high-quality care while educating trainees about issues pertinent to this often marginalized patient population.

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Soon after the disorders of sex development (DSD) terminology was introduced in the 2006 medical consensus statement on the management of intersex traits, intersexuality became an outdated term

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In this paper, I apply Michel Foucault’s analysis of normalization to the 2006 announcement by the US and European Endocrinological Societies that variations on the term “hermaphrodite” and

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The data do not support the view that, in general, the term Disorders of Sex Development is insensitive to concerns of affected persons and that it should therefore be abandoned, and it is recommended that clinicians evaluate each patient’s preferences.

The Intersex Enchiridion: Naming and Knowledge

It is argued that ‘DSD’ reinstitutionalises clinical power to delineate and silence those marked by the diagnosis and that it is against that retrenchant impulse that the authors must protect the viability of ‘intersex’ by continuing its critical deployment.

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The underlying genetics of human sex determination is discussed and focus on emerging data, genetic classification of DSDs and other considerations that surround gender development and identity in individuals with D SDs.

Diagnosing sex: Intersex surgery and ‘sex change’ in Britain 1930–1955

A history of intersex surgeries in Britain and the interaction with medical and popular discourses around ‘sex-change’ between 1930 and 1955 is explored.
...

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    Perspectives in biology and medicine
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