"Hermaphrodites and the Medical Invention of Sex" (Alice Dreger)

Classification: Books | History

Hermaphrodites and the Medical Invention of Sex

Alice Dreger, Assistant Professor of Science and Technology Studies at Michigan State University and adjunct faculty at the Center for Ethics and Humanities in the Life Sciences, brings us this study of how and why medical and scientific men have construed sex, gender, and sexuality as they have.

As Nature Made Him (John Colapinto)

Classification: Books

As Nature Made Him
The so-called twins, or John/Joan case, is one of the most famous in modern medicine and the social sciences, cited repeatedly over the past thirty years as proof that our sense of being male or female is not inborn but primarily the result of how we are raised.

Chrysalis Special Issue on Intersexuality (1997)

Classification: Books

Chrysalis: Intersex Awakening Special Issue This special issue of Chrysalis: Journal of Transgressive Gender Identities is guest-edited by intersex activists and is completely devoted to addressing intersex issues.

This classic is now out of print, but you can download it (6 MB pdf), read it online, or you can find some of the best material republished in Intersex in the Age of Ethics.

Chase, Cheryl. 1997. Special issue on intersexuality. Chrysalis: The Journal of Transgressive Gender Identities, Fall/Winter.

Chrysalis was the journal of the American Educational Gender Information Service, Inc., now Gender Education & Advocacy.

Clinical Guidelines for the Management of Disorders of Sex Development in Childhood

Classification: Books

cover of Clinical Guidelines for the Management of Disorders of Sex Development in Childhood

Clinical Guidelines for the Management of Disorders of Sex Development in Childhood is a handbook for health care professionals who provide care to pediatric patients with Disorders of Sex Development. It is also a valuable resource for health professional students, educators, parents of children with DSDs, and adults with DSDs.

The companion Handbook for Parents is a resource that physicians can give parents to aid in understanding and adjusting to the child’s needs.

The Clinical Guidelines have been produced by a consortium consisting mainly of clinical specialists with expeience in helping patients with DSDs, adults with DSDs, and family members (especially parents) of children with DSDs.

Consortium on the Management of Disorders of Sex Differentiation (2006). Clinical Guidelines for the Management of Disorders of Sex Development in Childhood.
Rohnert Park, Intersex Society of North America.

Finally: A progressive medical text on intersex issues!

Submitted by Cheryl Chase on Tue, 09/14/2004 - 10:59.

Classification: Books | Recent Publications | What We're Reading

cover of Paediatric and Adolescent Gynaecology : A Multidisciplinary Approach

Paediatric and Adolescent Gynaecology : A Multidisciplinary Approach. Essentially an intersex textbook with a significant emphasis on psychological care (and on issues such as psychological support) with chapters by clinical psychologists like Lih-Mei Liao, Julie Alderson and Polly Carmichael.

Balen, Adam H., Sarah M. Creighton, Melanie C. Davies, Jane MacDougall, and Richard Stanhope, eds. 2004. Paediatric and Adolescent Gynaecology : A Multidisciplinary Approach: Cambridge University Press.

Fool for Love

Classification: Books

Fool for Love

From the author, Lisa Lees:
Carys has never willingly worn a dress and Jami, who has, is intersexed. Teenage love is never easy, but for Carys and Jami love is an often terrifying journey in self-discovery and trust.

Carys, a senior, meets home-schooled Jami at a week-long Arts
Camp where she is clowning (as a tramp named Lovelorn) and
Jami is helping teach a photography course. Carys is immediately attracted to Jami and boldly sets out to determine if the interest might be mutual. Jami surprises herself by telling Carys that she is intersexed, and so begins a sometimes very emotional process of figuring out what it would mean for Carys and Jami to be in love, and eventually to make love. They continue to see each other when the Arts Camp ends, becoming involved in each other’s activities and interests.

Handbook for Parents

Classification: Books

cover of Handbook for Parents

The Handbook for Parents (a companion to Clinical Guidelines for the Management of Disorders of Sex Development in Childhood.) is a resource that physicians can give parents to aid in understanding and adjusting to the child’s needs. The Handbook addresses the many questions and emotions parents have upon learning that their child has some kind of disorder of sex development (called a DSD for short).

Written in plain language, the book offers background information on child development, how to talk with the child and others about his or her DSD, and reproducible information pages to give family and others important in the child’s world.

Common questions are answered, and the handbook provides guidance for preparing parents and the child for doctor’s appointments and the value of keeping a journal.

Espeically insightful are the generously shared thoughts and experiences of other parents and of adults with DSDs.

Consortium on the Management of Disorders of Sex Differentiation (2006). Handbook for Parents. Rohnert Park, Intersex Society of North America. (133 pages).

Hermaphrodites with Attitude

Classification: Books

Hermaphrodites with Attitude nameplate

Hermaphrodites with Attitude was the occasional newsletter of ISNA, published from December 1994 thru Spring 2003. Here are all the back issues, in pdf form.

Winter 1995 pdf

Summer 1995 pdf

Spring 1995 pdf

Winter 1996 pdf

Fall 1997 pdf

Summer 1998 pdf

Fall 1999 pdf

February 2001 pdf

May 2001 pdf

Fall 2002 pdf

Spring 2003 pdf

Summer 2003 pdf

Winter 2005 pdf

Intersex and Ethics

Classification: Books

This collection of 21 articles is designed to serve as a state-of-the art reference book for intersexuals, their parents, health care professionals, ethics committee members, and anyone interested in problems associated with intersexuality. It fills an important need because of its uniqueness as an interdisciplinary effort, bringing together not just urologists and endocrinologists, but gynecologists, psychiatrists, psychologists, lawyers, theologians, gender theorists, medical historians, and philosophers. Most contributors are well-known experts on intersexuality in their respective fields. The book is also unique in that it is also an international effort, including authors from England, the Netherlands, Germany, Australia, India, Canada and the United States. The book begins with introductory chapters on the etiology of intersex conditions, conceptual clarification, legal issues, and reflections about the inherent characteristics of medical care that have led up to the issues we face today and explain the resistance to change in traditional practices. Researchers provide recent data on gender identity, surgical outcomes, and appropriate clinical care. Issues never having been addressed are introduced. The significance of intersexuality for Christianity and for philosophical concerns with authenticity add further depth to the collection. The final chapters deal with future possibilities in the treatment of intersex and for intersex advocacy.

Intersex and Identity: The Contested Self

Classification: Books

Redefining Sex

In Intersex and Identity: The Contested Self, sociologist Sharon Preves explores how people with intersex conditions experience and cope with being labeled sexual deviants in a society that demands sexual conformity. By demonstrating how intersexed people manage and create their own identities, often in conflict with their medical diagnosis, Preves shows that medical intervention into intersexuality often creates, rather than mitigates, the stigma these people suffer.

Intersex in the Age of Ethics (ed Alice Dreger)

Classification: Books

Intersex in the Age of Ethics

Intersex in the Age of Ethics marks the first time an entire volume has been dedicated to the exploration of the ethics of intersex treatment. It could not be more timely; professional conferences, gender clinics, and the popular media are abuzz with the controversy over how medicine and society should handle intersex and intersexuals. The volume will provide some much-needed perspective. The writings approach the issue of intersexuality and its treatment from numerous perspectives, including the personal, ethical, clinical, legal, anthropological, historical, sociological, and philosophical.

Lessons from the Intersexed (Suzanne Kessler)

Classification: Books

Lessons from the Intersexed
Fascinating in what it tells us not only about situations in which sex assignment is uncertain but about the astonishingly weak empirical foundations on which the medical orthodoxies of binary sex and gender are built. A must for anyone interested in the ways widely accepted social beliefs and scientific explanations generate and reinforce each other.

Looking Queer (ed Dawn Atkins)

Classification: Books

Looking Queer

This anthology collects essays about body image in lgbt communities. Part 7, "Square Pegs," presents writing by intersexed authors Morgan Holmes,  Raven Kaldera, and Cheryl Chase.


Classification: Books

Middlesex cover art

This Pulitzer Prize winning novel explores the family history and life of a female-reared protagonist who has an intersex condition doctors call 5-alpha reductase deficiency. Born with an XY karotype and sex anatomy that didn’t raise suspicion in doctors or family at the time, the protagonist is named Calliope and raised as a girl into her teen years, until an accident with a tractor leads to an emergency room trip where Calliope and her parents first hear that she has an intersex condition. After being sent to the “Sexual Disorders and Gender Identity Clinic,” Calliope is subjected to innumerable physical exams and psychological tests while she and her parents are told very little about her condition. When her medical file is accidentally left open on her doctor’s desk, Calliope, for the first time, reads about her diagnosis, her XY karotype, and her doctor’s conclusion that she is a girl. After leaving a note for her parents explaining that she is a boy, Calliope changes her name to Cal and begins living as a male.

Pediatric Gender Assignment: A Critical Reappraisal

Classification: Books

In 1999, the National Institutes of Health invited urologists to meet to discuss the controversy over early surgeries on children born with intersex conditions. This proceedings volume contains 19 contributions from clinicians and researchers. No intersex people were invited. The editors are with the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. The conference focused largely on gender identity as the outcome of interest, and thus failed to address most of the criticisms that had been brought against the traditional model of management.

Zderic, Stephen A., Douglas A. Canning, Michael C. Carr, and Howard McC. Snyder, eds. 2002. Pediatric Gender Assignment: A Critical Reappraisal. New York: Kluwer Academic/Plenum.

Sexing the Body (Anne Fausto-Sterling)

Classification: Books | History

Sexing the Body
Drawing on astonishing real-life cases and a probing analysis of centuries of scientific research, Fausto-Sterling demonstrates how scientists have historically politicized the body.

Surgically Shaping Children

Classification: Books

cover of Surgically Shaping Children

At a time when medical technologies make it ever easier to enhance our minds and bodies, a debate has arisen about whether such efforts promote a process of “normalization,” which makes it ever harder to tolerate the natural anatomical differences among us. The debate becomes especially complicated when it addresses the surgical alteration, or “shaping,” of children. This volume explores the ethical and social issues raised by the recent proliferation of surgeries designed to make children born with physical differences look more normal.

Using three cases—surgeries to eliminate craniofacial abnormalities such as cleft lip and palate, surgeries to correct ambiguous genitalia, and surgeries to lengthen the limbs of children born with dwarfism—the contributors consider the tensions parents experience when making such life-altering decisions on behalf of or with their children.

The essays in this volume offer in-depth examinations of the significance and limits of surgical alteration through personal narratives, theoretical reflections, and concrete suggestions about how to improve the decision-making process. Written from the perspectives of affected children and their parents, health care providers, and leading scholars in philosophy, sociology, history, law, and medicine, this collection provides an integrated and comprehensive foundation from which to consider a complex and controversial issue. It takes the reader on a journey from reflections on the particulars of current medical practices to reflections on one of the deepest and most complex of human desires: the desire for normality.


Priscilla Alderson, Adrienne Asch, Cassandra Aspinall, Alice Domurat Dreger, James C. Edwards, Todd C. Edwards, Ellen K. Feder, Arthur W. Frank, Lisa Abelow Hedley, Eva Fedder Kittay, Hilde Lindemann, Jeffery L. Marsh, Paul Steven Miller, Sherri Groveman Morris, Wendy E. Mouradian, Donald L. Patrick, Nichola Rumsey, Emily Sullivan Sanford, Tari D. Topolski

The Zuni Man-Woman (Will Roscoe)

Classification: Books

cover of The Zuni Man-Woman

This book, winner of the 1991 Margaret Mead Award in anthropology, focuses on the life of We’wha, perhaps the most famous berdache (a person who combined the work and traits of both men and women) in American history. Through We’wha’s exceptional life, historian Will Roscoe creates a vivid picture of an alternative gender role whose history has been hiddent and almost forgotten.

Third Sex, Third Gender (ed Gilbert Herdt)

Classification: Books

Third Sex, Third Gender
These eleven essays in history and anthropology offer a novel perspective by questioning the place of sexual dimorphism in culture and history.

Building a world free of shame, secrecy, and unwanted sexual surgeries since 1993
Copyright © ISNA 1993-2008