News

Recent Publications

"Am I a Woman?" in Mademoiselle

Classification: News

Press Release: 5 March 1998

Intersex activist Angela Moreno talks about how she was subjected to mutilating genital surgery and years of lies. Physicians who claim that intersex activists criticisms apply only to older surgeries take note:

Angela’s surgery was performed in 1985, by experienced specialists. The “clitoral reduction” destroyed her clitoral sensation, not to mention her mental health.

Angela is now comfortable with her intersex status, describing herself as “a different kind of woman, born uniquely hermaphroditic” and who wishes from the bottom of her heart that she had been allowed to stay that way.

"House" Gets It Wrong

Submitted by April Herndon on Tue, 02/21/2006 - 14:23.

Classification: News

Last night I was shocked and horrified as I watched the plot of Fox’s popular medical drama, “House,” unfold. Fans of the show stay tuned each week to see Dr. Gregory House take on medical mysteries with a sarcastic wit and his own special personality. Last night’s episode, entitled “Skin Deep,” proved that much more is flawed about this show than the protagonist. It was, without a doubt, one of the most offensive and hurtful portrayals of people with intersex conditions that I’ve ever seen.

For those who didn’t see the show, allow me to summarize the painful episode. A 15 year old supermodel presents with mysterious symptoms, such as erratic behavior and uncontrollable twitching. Throughout the show, much is made of her feminine physique, with comments about her beautiful breasts and buttocks playing a lead role in the dialogue—even among the doctors. In the course of searching for a diagnosis, the medical team discovers that the young woman has been using heroin and that her father sexually abused her once while he was intoxicated. After ruling out effects from the heroin and possible post traumatic stress disorder resulting from the sexual abuse, House finally reaches the conclusion that the young supermodel must have cancer and a series of scans reveal internal testes that are malignant.

"Intersex Studies" to be Offered at Portland State University

Classification: News

Syllabus Presented at Feb. 25 Open House

February 4, 2002

Contact: Emi Koyama, mailto:emi@isna.org

"Our Bodies, Ourselves" Includes Intersex

Submitted by Alice Dreger on Fri, 07/01/2005 - 10:07.

Classification: News

At the start of ISNA’s life, when Cheryl Chase wondered why the facts of intersex weren’t included in the women’s health bible, Our Bodies, Ourselves, some people told her intersex was a women’s health issue.

Kudos to the Boston Women’s Health Book Collective for today realizing it is! We’re thrilled that the new edition of Our Bodies, Ourselves includes a section on intersex written by members of ISNA. It even includes a note about ISNA’s mission and how to find our website.

We’re especially impressed that the editors included an excerpt from the autobiography of our Board Chair, Angela Moreno Lippert as previously published in full in Intersex in the Age of Ethics. Angela’s story is shocking and moving, and will help reach out to those Our Bodies readers who have suffered similarly—and will reach out to those who are committed to helping us push for progressive care for people with intersex. And it will be quite a reach since Our Bodies has sold more than four million copies!

"Same Sex" Marriage Panel Discussion

Submitted by Alice Dreger on Tue, 10/19/2004 - 11:47.

Classification: News

This just in from ISNA Board Member Thea Hillman:

On Sunday, October 12, I was a panelist at a Times Talk event entitled, "I Do, I Don't: Queers on Marriage", a panel discussion and Q&A with me, Patrick Califia, Michelle Darné, Carol Queen, Patricia Nell Warren, and Greg Wharton, moderated by Bill Goldstein, NYTimes.com/books founding editor. The event took place at the Koret Auditorium at The San Francisco Public Library.

My statements and responses to questions about marriage and queer culture centered on the failure of language around so-called "gay marriage" or "same-sex marriage." I talked about how these terms deny my experiences and the experiences of my community, which is made up of many sex and gender variant folks, namely transgender and intersex people. I spoke about attempts to legislate marriage based on current definitions of male and female fall apart when real human beings are put into the equation.

"Same Sex" Marriage? What Intersex Does to the Gay Marriage Debate

Submitted by Alice Dreger on Sat, 12/04/2004 - 16:53.

Classification: News

Thanks to all the hostility to gay marriage, it’s looking like judges in the U.S. are about to start on a learning curve now familiar to the International Olympic Committee. That’s because, to categorize people strictly into men and women—as both gay marriage prohibitions and sex-segregated sports require—you have to figure out for sure what makes a man and what makes a woman. And that ain’t simple.

In fact, the IOC has given up on what was once called “gender verification.” They’ve given up because they figured out what the U.S. courts apparently soon will: There isn’t any rational way to decide, in many cases, whether a person should count as a male or a female.

"The Vagina Monologues" gets it wrong

Classification: News

“First, Do No Harm” to Premiere

Classification: News

May 28, 2003

ISNA’s new documentary film, First, Do No Harm: Total Patient Care for Intersex, has been selected for the 27th San Francisco International Lesbian and Gay Film Festival! The film features a group of experts—including Cheryl Chase, ISNA Board member Debora Rode Hartman, and several health care professionals—talking about the trauma and shame associated with “normalizing” practices for intersex. Critiquing the current medical paradigm and exploring a more ethical and humane approach to treating intersex, “First Do No Harm” is compelling, hard-hitting, and deeply moving. It is an ideal teaching tool for students of medicine, psychology, social work, health policy, and gender studies.

60 Minutes Australia looks at intersex controversy

Classification: News

AIS Support Group condemns vaginoplasty on infants and children

Classification: News

The AIS Support Group has taken a strong stand condemning vaginal surgery in infants and children. The group also questioned sex reassignment of children born with small penises, and clitoral surgery on girls born with large clitorises. (Read AIS Support Group's statement)

Alice Dreger to Speak about Feminism and Intersex Movement at University of Minnesota

Classification: News

"How Academic Feminism Delayed the Intersex Rights Movement...and How to Avoid This Kind of Problem in the Future" - A Lecture by Alice Dreger, Ph. D.

A presentation by Alice Dreger, Ph.D. (of Michigan State University)

Presentation at the University of Minnesota

Center for Advanced Feminist Studies

Monday, January 28, 2002

3:30 p.m.

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) condemns vaginal surgery

Submitted by ISNA on Thu, 09/20/2007 - 20:26.

Classification: News | What We're Reading

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) is the main professional association for the specialty of obststrics and gynecology. They recently published a paper in the journal Obstetrics and Gynecology condemning the practice of cosmetic gynecologic surgery. This article gives a
good discussion of ACOG’s opinion:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/chi-cosmetic_31aug31,0,7734462.story?coll=chi-unitednavover-misc

Article in JRSM endorses ISNA's call for delaying surgeries

Classification: News

Australian Intersex Outcomes Study

Classification: News

MEDIA RELEASE

Saturday, June 24, 2000

THE MEDICAL MANAGEMENT OF CHILDREN WITH INTERSEX CONDITIONS

CONTACTS

Australian Intersex patient-advocate group to collaborate on outcomes research

Classification: News

Boston Community Women site reports intersex activists' collaboration with V-Day

Classification: News

Children’s Book Sale to Support ISNA

Classification: News

From August 1st through August 27th, just in time for the dog days of summer,
ISNA will benefit from an online children’s book sale. But we need
your help—and your credit card—to make it happen!

Colombia Constitutional Court Decisions on Intersex

Classification: News

The Constitutional Court of Colombia has issued three decisions which establish important protections of the human rights of intersex people and restrict the authority of parents and physicians to authorize medically unnecessary genital plastic surgery. Read More...

COLOMBIA HIGH COURT RESTRICTS INTERSEX GENITAL MUTILATION

Classification: News

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

OCT 25, 1999

COLOMBIA HIGH COURT RESTRICTS INTERSEX GENITAL MUTILATION

First High Court to Address Human Rights Violation

COLOMBIA HIGH COURT RESTRICTS INTERSEX GENITAL MUTILATION

First High Court to Address Human Rights Violation

Cosmo pushes genital surgery

Classification: News

Havranek, Carrie. 1998. The New Sex Surgeries. Cosmopolitan, November, 146-50.

The November 1998 issue of Cosmopolitan carried an article which positively gushed about cosmetic genital surgeries. According to author Havranek, women with larger inner labia than outer can benefit from having parts of their labia removed, while women with weak PC muscles can

Cosmo: Good News, Bad News

Submitted by Alice Dreger on Sun, 03/13/2005 - 16:30.

Classification: News

Well, folks, good news and bad news:

The March issue of Cosmopolitan Magazine includes a big article on vaginas, called “The V-Zone: A Guide to Your Most Private Body Part.”

The good news first: We were so pleased to see that the article actually recognizes intersex and other kinds of sexual variation! Fact point #9 tells us “few lips [labia] are a perfect pair,” and #22 reports “some women “don’t have [a vagina].” Right on—we’re not born all alike!

The bad news? Cosmo suggests that the solution for having less than “ideal” genitalia is surgery. Get this: “Luckily, women with this rare condition [vaginal agenesis] can use a dilator or have surgery to construct a vagina and experience a relatively normal sex life.”

David Reimer, in memorium

Submitted by Alice Dreger on Fri, 06/04/2004 - 11:19.

Classification: News

We’ve been trying to figure out what to say about the death of David Reimer. Though David was not intersex by the usual definitions, his story was like so many others we have heard from people with intersex conditions: Full of shame, secrecy, and trauma. Punctuated by hope, individuality, and love.

Though the follow-up stories of David Reimer from Milton Diamond and John Colapinto have made doctors stop and think, we know from our work that too many families coping with intersex are still subjected to shame, secrecy, and trauma. This won’t change until intersex is recognized as a psychosocial issue fully deserving of team care that foregrounds psychosocial support. But today, it is still primarily handled with surgeries meant to make intersex magically disappear. Enough pity and secrecy already. Let’s move toward honest, open care that plays on the strengths of families coping with intersex, rather than on their presumed weaknesses.

Defining Male and Female (Arizona Law Review)

Classification: Law | News

28 September 1999 For Immediate Release

"Defining Male and Female: Intersexuality and the Collision Between Law and Biology," published in the Arizona Law Review's Summer 1999 number, is a broad examination of the law's treatment of persons of ambiguous sex. Author Julie Greenberg, of San Diego's Thomas Jefferson School of Law, examines binary assumptions in the law and offers a brief discussion of how biology confounds those assumptions.

Greenberg then examines cases which have produced legal definitions of the terms "male," "female," and "sex," and analyzes the legislative intent underlying laws which differentiate based upon sex in order to determine to what extent presumed legislative goals are actually accomplished. Finally, she uses the lens of therapeutic jurisprudence to examine the negative impact which the current legal approach has on individuals and on our society.

Diamond and Sigmundson publish recommendations

Classification: News

Press Release: 18 November 1997

Diamond and Sigmundson publish recommendations

Sex researcher Milton Diamond and psychiatrist Keith Sigmundson, whose publication last March of a follow-up which revealed that the sex reassignment of "John/Joan" had been a failure, have unleashed a new wave of controversy. The October issue of Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine published a new article by the pair, which outlines a new model of management for intersexuality. "Some of these suggestions," note the pair, "are contrary to today's common management procedures. . . Underlying our guidelines is the key belief that that patients themselves must be involved in any decision as to something so crucial in their lives."

Doctors Debate Genital Surgery

Classification: News

26 August 1999

For Immediate Release

WHAT

Physician's Weekly carries a Point/Counterpoint

article in which pediatric endocrinologists

Philip Gruppuso of Brown University and

Peter Lee of University of Pittsburgh debate

the advisibility of cosmetic surgery on infants

Dr. Alice Dreger Publishes "Ethical Problems in Intersex Treatment"

Classification: News

Press Release: September 1997

Dr. Alice Dreger Publishes “Ethical Problems in Intersex Treatment”

The current issue of the Medical Humanities Report, a quarterly publication of the Center for Ethics and Humanites in the Life Sciences at Michigan State University, carries an article titled “Ethical Problems in Intersex Treatment,” by narrative ethicist and historian Dr. Alice Dreger.

Dr. Dreger will be presenting on “Listening to Hermaphrodites: Historical and Ethical Problems in the Medical Treatment of Intersexuality” at the annual meeting of the Society for Health and Human Values, in Baltimore Nov 7.

Dr. Ellen Feder, "Doctor's Orders: Parents and Intersexed Children"

Classification: News

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Dr. Joyce Brothers Likes Our Work!

Submitted by Alice Dreger on Sun, 04/24/2005 - 16:52.

Classification: News

The well-known and well-regarded Dr. Joyce Brothers has just written about the intersex treatment controversy in a syndicated column appearing in The Seattle Post-Intelligencer and elsewhere. Judging by her Q&A’s on intersex, Dr. Brothers has taken a close look at what what we have to say and agrees with the logic of our recommendations. Thanks, Dr. Brothers, for seeing the importance of public education about people with intersex! We would like to note, though, that intersex is not the same as “ambiguous genitalia,” as Dr.

Early genital surgery: high failure rate, sexual dysfunction

Classification: News

Editorial in British Medical Journal urges doctors to "stand back and rethink"

Classification: News

Ethics of Gender Assignment

Classification: News

These ethics of gender assignment for children born with intersex conditions were presented by William Reiner, M.D. at the Duckett Memorial Lecture, University of Michigan, July 21, 2000. Dr. Reiner is a physician in the Division of Child Psychiatry and in the Division of Pediatric Urology at Johns Hopkins University. The title of Dr. Reiner’s talk was “How I learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Unknown.”

New Precepts

  1. Sex assignment is never emergent or urgent.
  2. We cannot manufacture unambiguous data to replace real ambiguity.
  3. We are not medical experts if we do not know the outcome and the good of our proposed medical procedures.

Former Hopkins Psychiatry Director Condemns Sex Reassignments

Submitted by Cheryl Chase on Fri, 12/10/2004 - 11:52.

Classification: News | Recent Publications

But does the Urology Department listen to the Psychiatry Department?

“For children with birth defects the most rational approach at this moment is to correct promptly any of the major urological defects they face, but to postpone any decision about sexual identity until much later, while raising the child according to its genetic sex. Medical caretakers and parents can strive to make the child aware that aspects of sexual identity will emerge as he or she grows. Settling on what to do about it should await maturation and the child’s appreciation of his or her own identity.”

Paul McHugh is University Distinguished Service Professor of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University.

Gender Verification suspended on trial basis at Sydney Olympics

Classification: News

Getting Rid of "Hermaphroditism" Once and For All

Submitted by April Herndon on Fri, 11/11/2005 - 15:14.

Classification: News | Recent Publications

A new article just published in the Journal of Pediatric Endocrinology and Metabolism makes a compelling case for getting rid of all medical terms based on the root “hermaphrodite.” The authors (including two ISNA staff members and three ISNA Medical Advisory Board members) explain the problems with terms like “pseudo-hermaphroditism” and “true hermaphroditism.”

Why get rid of these terms? Because:

  • These terms are stigmatizing to patients and their families. We should all be working to reduce stigma, not add to it through medical care.

Going beyond X and Y (Scientific American)

Submitted by ISNA on Thu, 09/20/2007 - 20:32.

Classification: News | What We're Reading

The June 2007 issue of Scientific American features a profile of Eric Vilain MD (a world renowned genetic researcher, pediatric endocrinologist, and member of ISNA’s Medical Advisory Board). The article, Going beyond X and Y, discusses the recent international medical consensus which agreed to drop the term “hermaphrodite” in favor of the more neutral “disorders of sex development” (DSD).

Greens stand first "intersex" candidate in Australia

Classification: News

Help Educate Eve Ensler in Boston!

Classification: News

Date: Sat, 17 Mar 2001 17:36:14 -0500
To: “ISNA News (multiple recipients in Boston area)”
From: Cheryl Chase
Subject: Eve Ensler in Boston: Help us educate her!

Hi, All you ISNA correspondents in Greater Boston area!

Please help us to educate Eve Ensler! She’s coming to Boston this month!

You’ve probably heard of The Vagina Monologues. You may not know that
the book and play promotes the idea that clitorectomy occurs in
Africa, or perhaps a long time ago in America, but not here and now
(page 66 in the V-Day edition). There’s also a dreadful line in the

Help Outreach to Eve Ensler and Others at The Vagina Monologues

Classification: News

MRKH.org and ISNA Joint Action on January 8 and 9 in Boston

For more information, contact:

Esther Morris, MRKH.org info@mrkh.org

Infant Vaginal Dilatations Continue

Submitted by Cheryl Chase on Wed, 03/08/2006 - 22:51.

Classification: News

Vaginal surgery generally requires a kind of post-operative care called “vaginal dilatation.” After surgery, the tissue tends to get smaller while healing. In order to keep the vaginal opening from closing up, the patient (or her mother or a doctor, in the case of an infant or child) is instructed to insert an object into the vagina, pressing against the scar tissue, on a regular basis.

When performed on a child, vaginal dilitation can be emotionally scarring for both child and parent. This is one reason why many experts recommend that vaginal surgery not be performed on children with DSDs (Disorders of Sex Development) — rather, it should be made available to patients who are at least adolescent, who can understand the reasons for the procedure, and who can do the necessary vaginal dilitations themselves (if the patient is not motivated to do this, then the surgery should obviously not be performed). The surgeon’s argument that vaginoplasty can be completed with a one-stage procedure on an infant has been roundly refuted — follow up surgery will almost always be required as the patient enters adolescence. Avoiding vaginal surgery on infants and children also allows for the patient (as an adolescent or adult) to try manual pressure dilation, which has been quite successful for many women who escaped vaginoplasty.

Classification: News

On October 11, Emi Koyama from Intersex Society of North America will present a lecture titled "Intersexions: Mapping Intersex Activism within Progressive Social-Change Movements" at Washington State University in Pullman, WA. The event will take place at WSU Fine Arts Auditorium at 7 pm, and is part of WSU's Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender History Month.

Intersex Activist to Speak at a Colorado Queer Conference

Classification: News

Emi Koyama of Intersex Society of North America will be the keynote
speaker for the "Queer Revelations: A Revolutionary Queer
Conference" presented by EQUAL (Empowered Queers United for Absolute
Liberation) of Colorado College in Colorado Springs, Colorad from
December 3 thru 7. Emi's presentation is titled "Conflicts and

Intersex Activist to Speak at UC LGBTI Student Conference, Feb. 23

Classification: News

February 18, 2002

Contact: Emi Koyama, mailto:emi@isna.org

Intersex Activists Respond to "The Vagina Monologues"

Classification: News

ISNA Kicks Off National Initiative to Educate Playgoers

January 7, 2002

For more information, contact:

Emi Koyama

Program Assistant, Intersex Society of North America

Community Board Chair, Survivor Project

Web: /events/vday

Intersex Activists to Speak at Connecticut Bi/Trans/Intersex Conference

Classification: News

Intersex activists to speak at Creating Change 2001

Classification: News

Intersex activists will speak at several sesssions during this year's Creating Change, the largest national conference for gay, lesbian, bisexual and trans (and now intersex) activists, in Milwaukee this month.

Intersex and Homeland Security

Submitted by Alice Dreger on Fri, 06/03/2005 - 06:23.

Classification: News

Well, it had to happen sooner or later. Thanks to naive beliefs about sex and gender, the Department of Homeland Security finds itself arguing with the Board of Immigration Appeals about whether or not a person’s chromosomes determine her/his sex.

In its disagreement with Homeland Security, the Board of Immigration Appeals noted that the facts about intersex negate Homeland Security’s overly simplistic beliefs about sex and gender identity. In making its decision, the Board referred to legal scholar Julie Greenberg’s masterful Arizona Law review article called Defining Male and Female: Intersexuality and the Collision Between Law and Biology.

Intersex Declared a Human Rights Issue

Submitted by ISNA on Tue, 05/03/2005 - 09:26.

Classification: News

Today the San Francisco Human Rights Commission declared that the standard medical approach to intersex conditions leads pediatric specialists to violate their patients’ human rights.

“In issuing this report, the San Francisco Human Rights Commission has essentially declared me a human being,” said Cheryl Chase, Executive Director of ISNA. “They have agreed that I—and children born like me—deserve the same basic human rights as others.” Chase, who was born with mixed sex anatomy internally and externally, went on: “No longer should we be lied to, displayed, be injected with hormones for questionable purposes, and have our genitals cut to alleviate the anxieties of parents and doctors. Doctors’ good intentions are not enough. Practices must now change.”

Intersex Declared a Human Rights Issue

Submitted by Cheryl Chase on Tue, 05/03/2005 - 11:51.

Classification: News

Today the San Francisco Human Rights Commission issued A Human Rights Investigation into the Medical ‘Normalization’ of Intersex People, declaring that the standard medical approach to intersex conditions leads pediatric specialists to violate their patients’ human rights.

“In issuing this report, the San Francisco Human Rights Commission has essentially declared me a human being,” said Cheryl Chase, Executive Director of ISNA. “They have agreed that I—and children born like me—deserve the same basic human rights as others.” Chase, who was born with mixed sex anatomy internally and externally, went on: “No longer should we be lied to, displayed, be injected with hormones for questionable purposes, and have our genitals cut to alleviate the anxieties of parents and doctors. Doctors’ good intentions are not enough. Practices must now change.”

Intersex Documentary Wins New Zealand's "Oscar"

Submitted by Alice Dreger on Tue, 05/25/2004 - 06:31.

Classification: News

Congratulations to long-time ISNA ally Mani Mitchell: The documentary film “Mani’s Story,” which traces Mani’s life and intersex activism, has won the Quantas Award for best television documentary in New Zealand! (This is the equivalent of the U.S. “Oscars.”) Also featured in the film are American intersex activists Angela Moreno (board member of ISNA) and David Vandertie.

This documentary was produced by Greenstone Pictures and is not currently available in the US. But you can get a copy of Hermaphrodites Speak! by making a donation to ISNA.

Intersex in Australia: More of Same

Submitted by Alice Dreger on Sun, 02/13/2005 - 16:17.

Classification: News

What has happened to people with intersex in countries outside North America?

Read the story of Tony Briffa of Australia at the website of Melbourne’s The Age. You’ll see there how the concealment-centered model of treatment developed at Johns Hopkins in the 1950s spread across the world, unintentionally hurting people with intersex as far away as Australia.

An important thing to note: Though the title of this article is “Choosing the Right Gender,” being assigned the “wrong” gender (the gender he didn’t ultimately identify with) is just a part of Tony’s story. He also tells a story of being medically displayed “like a freak”, being lied to and mislead, and struggling with his sexuality following his medical treatment.

Intersex in the Age of Ethics Published

Classification: News

20 August 1999

For Immediate Release

WHAT

Intersex in the Age of Ethics, a collection edited

by Alice Domurat Dreger, has just been published by

University Press Group of Hagerstown Maryland.

http://www.upgbooks.com/page10.html

"Intersex in the Age of Ethics marks the first

Intersex Panel at University of California San Francisco on December 6

Classification: News

ISNA Establishes Medical Advisory Board; Nation’s Top Experts to Provide Guidance and Support

Classification: News

The Intersex Society of North America is extremely pleased to announce the
creation of a new Medical Advisory Board whose members will offer support
and guidance in the pursuit of ISNA’s mission. The inaugural members,
who will serve a two-year term, include some of the nation’s leading
experts in pediatric endocrinology, urology, general pediatrics, nursing,

ISNA Founding Executive Director to Retire

Classification: News

PETALUMA, CA July 15, 2002 - Cheryl Chase, the founding Executive Director of Intersex Society of North America (ISNA) announced that she plans to retire from her position by December 31, 2002.

ISNA Honored with Human Rights Award

Classification: News

ISNA makes a big splash at Creating Change 2000

Classification: News

In November, ISNA staff and volunteers attended Creating Change, the annual networking and skills building conference of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. Kim Will has assembled an online scrapbook for us.

ISNA opens new office in Seattle; board expanded; plans launch of medical education video

Classification: News

For Immediate Release: February 5, 2003

ISNA Outeach 2004

Submitted by Alice Dreger on Thu, 08/05/2004 - 19:55.

Classification: News

ISNA works hard to educate the world about intersex. Over the last 11 years of our work, we have reached millions of people through our outreach work! Here's a small sampling of what we've been up to in just the first half of this year.

Just since January 2004:

Time magazine did a feature on intersex including interviews with Debbie Hartman and Thea Hillman (ISNA board members).

The popular online newspaper Slate did a feature article on our founder and Executive Director, Cheryl Chase, and on the work of ISNA.

ISNA Staffer to Speak in Connecticut, Pennsylvania, New York, and the District Of Columbia in February

Classification: News

February 12, 2002

For more information contact:

ISNA to Participate in Research on Quality of Life Issues, Hormone Disruptor Debate

Classification: News

Intersex Society of North America (ISNA)

ISNA Welcomes New Board Members

Submitted by April Herndon on Fri, 04/07/2006 - 09:20.

Classification: News

ISNA is pleased to announce that William Hanley, A.A., B.A. and Arlene Baratz, M.D have joined our Board of Directors.

Both Hanley and Baratz come to the board with a wealth of experience in the healthcare field where they have worked to understand and overcome healthcare disparities while working toward a patient-centered model of care. We’re proud to welcome these two new board members and look forward to working alongside them.

Click here to read more about “ISNA’s Board of Director

Law and Order SVU does John/Joan story

Submitted by Cheryl Chase on Wed, 01/19/2005 - 17:15.

Classification: News | Recent Publications

On Jan. 18, 2005 NBC aired an episode (“Identity”) of Law & Order SVU closely mimicking David Reimer’s story (“the John/Joan case”) as a plot, right down to a vaporized penis, quotes like “easier to dig a hole than build a pole,” secrets and lies and a very unsavory representation of a doctor implicitly modeled after John Money. (Note that John Money is actually a psychologist, not a medical doctor.) If you see it pop up on the tv schedule in re-runs (often on the USA Network), check it out.

Submitted by Alice Dreger on Mon, 02/21/2005 - 04:59.

Classification: News

A diverse collection of academics and activists gathered at a symposium on Intersex Education, Advocacy, and the Law held at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law of Yeshiva University in New York City on February 22-23 co-sponsored by the Cardozo Women’s Law Journal and Bodies Like Ours. Panelists discussed

  • Classifying Gender: Cultural Imperatives and Legal Constraints

  • The Cultural [Il]logic of “Normalization” Surgery

  • Informing Consent: Whose “Best Interest” is at Stake?

  • New Critical Frameworks: the Colombia Decision and San Francisco’s Human Rights Commission Report

Madison Woman Discusses Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome

Submitted by ISNA on Thu, 09/20/2007 - 21:05.

Classification: News | What We're Reading

On Friday, September 21, 2007, the Oprah Winfrey Show interviewed Katie, Lynnell, Hida, and Arlene about their experiences of growing up with intersex conditions. Marcia from Madison Wisconsin took advantage of the attention to the issue to tell her story to the Wisconsin State Journal.

Marcia says the Oprah show is an important milestone in talking about a condition that caused so much shame that her family and doctor hid the truth from her. She didn’t learn that she had XY chromosomes until she read her own medical records at age 35.

“I hope there will be other girls like me out there watching this and knowing they aren’t alone,” she said.

Read the rest of the story at Orchid ladies test gender perception.

Congratulations, Marcia!

Miki Ann Dimarco confined in isolation because she's intersexed

Submitted by Cheryl Chase on Thu, 12/09/2004 - 17:11.

Classification: Law | News | Recent Publications

The Casper Wyoming Star Tribune is carrying an article about Miki Ann Dimarco. Early this year, a U.S. District Court judge found that 438 days of confinement in Pod Three, a maximum security four-cell segregated area that is used to house the Wyoming Women’s Center worst inmates, was not cruel an unusual punishment. Dimarco was found guilty of passing six bad checks, totalling $742.85. That’s not why she was confined all alone for over a year. Rather, prison officials decided to segregate her when they discovered that she was intersexed.

Dusen, Matthew Van. 2004. Separate and Unequal. Casper Star Tribune, December 8. Available online.

More Evidence People Did Well without Surgery!

Submitted by April Herndon on Wed, 10/19/2005 - 12:00.

Classification: News

This comes from Christina Matta, author of a very interesting new article on the history of intersex: “Ambiguous Bodies and Deviant Sexualities: Hermaphrodites, Homosexuality, and Surgery in the United States, 1850-1904,” Perspectives in Biology and Medicine, vol. 48, no. 1, Winter 2005. We asked Ms. Matta to summarize for our visitors what she learned about whether people with intersex faired well or poorly in the era before pediatric “normalizing” surgeries became standard practice. Here is what she wrote:

To anyone who understands that intersex genitals are not a life-threatening condition, the predominance of childhood “normalizing” surgeries as a medical response to atypical anatomies is completely inexplicable. It is even more inexplicable given that historically, adults with intersex were, by default, completely in control of their anatomies. Even if they had reason to consult a doctor (and those who did almost always did so for reasons that had nothing to do with their genitals), very few individuals were interested in the “solutions” doctors spontaneously offered. In the first half of the nineteenth century, in fact, all doctors could do was tell patients that they were not the sex they thought, and to order them to stop wearing pants (or to start wearing pants!) or otherwise act according to more appropriate gender roles. (In Hermaphrodites and the Medical Invention of Sex, Alice Dreger tells the story of a Belgian doctor who, in 1886, exclaimed after examining his patient, “But my good woman, you are a man!”) But this was the extent of medical treatment for intersex, and there’s nothing to suggest that patients bothered to do as they were told.

Ms. Magazine: "What's Female? The Surgical Solution"

Classification: News

"Every time a baby is born in the U.S., doctors decide whether its genitals are 'normal' or not. A girl born with a big clitoris is in big trouble." - Martha Coventry, in Making the Cut in the Oct. 2000 issue of Ms. Magazine.

NBC's "Friends" episode offensive to intersex youth

Classification: News

Intersex youth was the butt of a joke in the thanksgiving episode (Nov. 22, 2001) of NBC's popular sit-com, Friends, and intersex activists and allies are talking to NBC to address how hurtful and offensive it was to us.

Nerve Magazine 100 for 2000 (See number 50.)

Classification: News

Nerve Magazine named Cheryl Chase one of the 100 significant people/places/things of 2000! (Read Article)

New Haven Advocate Looks at Intersex Activism

Classification: News

New Scientist Looks at Social and Ethical Controversy

Classification: News


North American Task Force on Intersex (NATFI) formed

Classification: News

North American Task Force on Intersex (NATFI) brings together specialists in surgery, endocrinology, psychology, ethics, psychiatry, epidemiology, genetics, public health and representatives of intersex patient advocate groups. With the participation of representatives of the Intersex Society of North America and the AIS Support Group, the Task Force is the first decision-making body on intersex medical care to have included intersex patient advocates.

Note: NATFI has been defunct since 2001.

North American Task Force on Intersex Formed

Classification: News

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

FEBRUARY 23, 2000

CONTACT INFO

CHERYL CHASE, ISNA (734) 994-7369

IAN AARONSON, NATFI (843) 792-4531

NORTH AMERICAN TASK FORCE ON INTERSEX FORMED

SEEKS BROAD INTERDISCIPLINARY CONSENSUS ON TREATMENT

The North American Task Force on Intersex (NATFI) has been formed in
response to the growing debate over standards of practice for medical treatment
of intersex children. Until a few years ago, these standards were uncontroversial.
Now, however, the standards face criticism from patient advocate groups.
In addition, the story of David Reimer, published in John Colapinto's book
As Nature Made Him: The Boy Who Was Raised as a Girl, is receiving extensive
media attention.

The Task Force was formed by Ian Aaronson MD, a pediatric urologist
at the Medical University of South Carolina. Aaronson has, over the past
decades, cared for many intersex patients and is the author of chapters
on the subject in several medical textbooks.

"We are committed to learn from past mistakes in order to offer the
best advice and treatment to our patients in the future," said Aaronson.
"Long term outcome data is very sparse and selective, and this puts surgeons
on tenuous ethical grounds. I was very gratified at the positive response
from members of the professional community and the patient advocate groups
to the notion of forming a Task Force."

NATFI brings together specialists in surgery, endocrinology, psychology,
ethics, psychiatry, epidemiology, genetics, public health and representatives
of intersex patient advocate groups. With the participation of representatives
of the Intersex Society of North America and the AIS Support Group, the
Task Force is the first decision-making body on intersex medical care to
have included intersex patient advocates. "We are committed to achieving
consensus on these all-important patient care issues," said Aaronson.

The Task Force, under Aaronson's chairmanship, is expected to address
a number of issues, including 1) establishment of standards for informed
consent, 2) retrospective review of the long term psychosexual status of
patients treated for intersex, 3) establishment of guidelines for the management
of children born with ambiguous sex anatomy, 4) initiation of a prospective
registry, and 5) revision of medical nomenclature.

The Task Force, an independent and self-governing body, has been endorsed
by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Urological Association,
the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, the American College
of Medical Genetics, the Lawson Wilkins Pediatric Endocrine Society, the
Society for Pediatric Urology, the Society for Fetal Urology, and the Society
of Genitourinary Reconstructive Surgeons.

NOW Adopts Intersex Resolution

Classification: News

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

ISNA Applauds NOW's Passage of Intersex Resolution

[July 1, 2001] The National Organization for Women (NOW) today became the first national feminist group to call for intersex children's right "to choose and be properly and fully informed regarding cosmetic medical procedures involving their bodies or genitals."

NOW's action follows four years of intense effort by the Intersex Society of North America (ISNA) and GenderPAC, and culminated in a sometimes emotional address by both organizations before NOW's National Board at the invitation of NOW President Patricia Ireland. "After so many years of silence, it was deeply gratifying to have NOW's board listen as I spoke about the surgeries performed on me," said ISNA representative Janet Green.

NOW adopts intersex resolution

Classification: News

NOW Logo

PBS airs documentary about intersex without any intersex people in it

Classification: News

On October 30, 2001, PBS (Public Broadcasting Service) aired Sex Unknown, a one-hour documentary that centers around the controversy over surgical treatment of intersex children—without interviewing a single intersex person (except David Reimer, who was not born intersex but was treated in a similar manner). The documentary was part of NOVA, the “most watched science TV series in the world and the most watched documentary series on PBS” according to the station, and focused on the biological basis for gender identity. Because it is impossible to manipulate the child’s gender at will, the argument goes, children should not be surgically assigned a sex until we know for sure what their gender is.

Pediatric Endocrinologists in Midwest Question Current Medical Model

Classification: News

Pediatric Endocrinologists Question Medical Management

Classification: News

PFLAG chapter newsletter focuses on intersex

Classification: News

Each month PFLAG (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, a national organization with 80,000 members) publishes the Tips and Tactics newsletter for its chapters. The May 2001 issue is devoted entirely to intersex issues.

PlanetOut Short Movie Awards feature intersex film

Classification: News


For a limited time, you can see a short film by intersex activists online. Your vote and comments can help them win the PlanetOut Movie Awards!
Borderline is the trailer for a work in progress by Lisset Barcellos and Rafael Dumett. Lisett is herself intersexed, and her affidavit was an important element of ISNA's amicus brief to the Constitutional Court of Colombia, resulting in historic human rights protections for intersex children. See also "La Verdad por Favor," a letter from Lisset to her doctor. Four minutes.

Portland Mercury reports the impact of ISNA on medical practice

Classification: News

pr1-11-98

Classification: News

Press
Release: 11 February 1998

pr1-13-98

Classification: News

Press
Release: 13 January 1998

pr1-15-98

Classification: News

Press
Release: 15 January 1998

pr1-98

Classification: News

Press
Release: January 1998

pr10-21-98.htm

Classification: News

21 October 1998

San Francisco

CONTROVERSY OVER GENITAL SURGERIES HEATS UP AT

ANNUAL PEDIATRICS CONFERENCE

Noted sex researcher Milton Diamond, in an invited lecture

last Saturday, told the American Academy of Pediatrics that

the time has come to instate  a general moratorium on

genital surgeries and sex reassignments performed on

pr11-15-98

Classification: News

Press
Release: 15 November 1997

pr11-26-97

Classification: News

Press
Release: 26 November 1997

All Thing Considered Considers Intersex

WHEN: Friday November 28, 1997

pr12-11-98

Classification: News

Press
Release: 11 December 1997

pr12-15-97

Classification: News

Press
Release: 15 December 1997

pr12-20-97

Classification: News

Press Release: 20 December 1997

Rudolph shot, killed in Michigan

On December 1 of 1996, ISNA News sent out a news item from a Wisconsin newspaper about a hunter who had shot an intersexed deer. It's deer season again, and yet another filler item is running in popular newspapers.

Those of you who don't understand what these stories have to do with Rudolph are encouraged to see the story "Case Report" in Hermaphrodites with Attitude, at /HWA/Winter94-95/Winter94-95.html.

pr12-4-97

Classification: News

Press
Release: 4 December
1997

Nature reports on estrogen as a male hormone

pr12-97

Classification: News

Press
Release: December 1997

pr2-23-99

Classification: News

Press
Release:23 February 1999


Journal of Clinical Ethics Special Issue Focuses on Intersex

The current number of the Journal of Clinical Ethics (v.9 no.4 Winter
98) is a special issue devoted to the ethics

pr2-5-98

Classification: News

Press
Release: 5 February 1998

pr2-6-98

Classification: News

Press
Release: 6  February 1998

pr3-11-98

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Press
Release: 11 March 1998

pr3-15-98

Classification: News

Press
Release: 15 March 1997

pr3-16-98

Classification: News

Press
Release: 16 March 1998

"Labia Envy" in Salon
Magazine

The current issue of the online magazine Salon features an article titled

pr3-7-98

Classification: News

Press
Release: 7 March 1998

pr4-6-98

Classification: News

Press
Release: 4 April 1998

pr5-20-98

Classification: News


Press
Release: 20 May 1998


"NERVE-SPARING" PROSTATE SURGERY NOT SO SPARING.

pr5-22-98

Classification: News


Press
Release:  22 May 1998


Hermaphrodites and the Medical Invention of Sex

by Alice Domurat Dreger

Harvard University Press, May 1998

pr5-24-98

Classification: News


Press
Release:  24 May 1998


Discovery Program on Androdgen Insensitivity Syndrome

SYNOPSIS: (from Discovery's web site)

pr5-29-98

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Press
Release: 29 May 1998


pr5-5-98

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Press
Release:  5 May 1998


WHAT:

pr6-4-98

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Press
Release: 4 June 1998


pr7-12-98

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Press
Release: 12 July 1998


John/Joan redux in Pediatrics

A new article in the Electronic Pages of the journal Pediatrics
presents a second case of a Canadian infant whose penis was accidentally
destroyed during circumcision, and whom doctors "reassigned as a female"
by removing his testes. In contrast to "John/Joan", whose case
was widely reported last year, this individual is reported to have developed

pr7-13-98

Classification: News


Press
Release: 13 July 1998


pr7-27-98

Classification: News


Press
Release: 27 July 1998


pr7-28-98

Classification: News


Press
Release: 28 July 1998


pr8-6-98

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Press
Release: 6 August 1998


pr8-7-98

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Press
Release: 7 August 1998


pr9-1-98

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Press Release:1 September1998


pr9-11-97

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Press
Release: 11 September 1998

pr9-2-98

Classification: News


Press Release:2 September1998


Angier, Natalie. 1998. Nothing Becomes a Man More Than a Woman's
Face. New

Classification: News

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

October 5, 2001

For more information contact:

Press Release: Intersex Activists to Speak at Connecticut Bi/Trans/Intersex Conference

Classification: News

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

October 9, 2001

For more information contact:

Press Release:: 4/10 Children Treated for Intersex Develop Psychological Disorders

Classification: News

Press Release: 1 May 1998

Four out of ten children treated for intersexuality develop psychological disorders, according to a Dutch team which followed 59 children. In a recent issue of Archives of Sexual Behavior, FME Slijper et al report on treatment of psychological problems in a population of 59 children with a variety of intersex conditions. 44 were assigned female; 5 male. All those with ambiguous genitalia were subjected to genital surgery.1 The abstract notes that “Despite the sex assignment, genital organ correction soon after birth, psychological counseling of parents and intensive psychotherapy of children, general psychopathology developed equally (39%) in all four groups [ie, CAH assigned female, those with testes or ovotestes and ambiguous genitalia assigned female, those with testes and female genitals assigned female, and those with testes and ambiguous genitalia assigned male].”

Program Educates Social Workers about Intersex Issues

Submitted by April Herndon on Tue, 07/05/2005 - 06:39.

Classification: News

Pam Farrell and Nina Williams, a member of ISNA’s Medical Advisory Board, are running a monthly reading group for social workers who want to learn more about intersex conditions and how to provide better psychotherapy for patients with intersex conditions. The group also seeks to educate other social workers and push for institutional change. This year, the group has focused on ISNA recommended readings and videos, heard Janet Green speak, and debated the issues raised by these materials. On October 22, 2005, group members will present a panel at the NASW-NJ annual LGBTI conference about how their education in DSDD has altered the way they think about gender and sexuality. When this group disbands in December, the plan is for current members to team up and lead groups of their own.

Progress in Intersex Care!

Submitted by Alice Dreger on Fri, 04/09/2004 - 11:15.

Classification: News

As ISNA enters its second decade of life, Cheryl Chase (ISNA’s founder and Executive Director) and I have been reflecting on the astonishing progress we’ve seen in attitudes towards people with intersex conditions. So many people now know of intersex, so many care providers are employing a patient-centered model of care. We still have a lot of work to do, but those of you who have helped over the years should be very proud of what has been accomplished.

Here’s just one sign of progress:

In a recent issue of the prestigious medical journal, BJU International, physicians S. M. Crighton and L.-M. Liao documented the “Changing Attitudes to Sex Assignment in Intersex.” Drs. Crighton and Liao point out that “surgical sex assignment and genital surgery in intersex are increasingly challenged now,” and that “it is not the good intentions of surgeons that are called into question.” Instead, clinicians are finally asking what evidence we have regarding what patients really need to be well in the long-term.

Raising Kids in a "Third Gender"?

Submitted by Alice Dreger on Wed, 03/31/2004 - 04:27.

Classification: News

The “Traditional Values Coalition” appears to be confused about ISNA’s mission, so I thought I would answer again a question we get all the time:

Does ISNA advocate raising children who have intersex conditions in a “third gender” category?

To anwer that, I’ll quote from the “Top Ten Myths about Intersex”:

MYTH #7: ISNA advocates doing nothing and raising intersexed babies in a third gender.

…We certainly would like to see people become less gender-phobic, but we don’t think dumping intersexed kids into a gender-phobic world with no gender or with a “third gender” is the way to go. We believe there are two problems with trying to raise kids in a “third gender.”

Real ID Act and Intersex Families

Submitted by Alice Dreger on Fri, 06/03/2005 - 05:42.

Classification: News

It’s not uncommon for the law to assume that everyone is born into two neat sex categories (male and female) and that everyone stays in the category in which s/he was first placed. Not so! It is inevitable that some people born intersex will tell us that the sex/gender category to which they were assigned was incorrect.

Unfortunately, it looks like U.S. legislatures are making it harder and harder for people with intersex to assume the legal sex/gender category that they personally identify with. For one example of legislation that can cause hardship to people with intersex, and to their families, read what our friend and ally Lisa Lees reports on “The Real ID Act of 2005”:

Report on Human Rights Commission Hearing

Submitted by Alice Dreger on Wed, 06/09/2004 - 11:05.

Classification: News

Learn how to view the hearing online, or to order a DVD or a VHS tape.

This report on the San Francisco Human Rights Commission hearing on intersex comes to us from Peter Trinkl, board member of Bodies Like Ours:

On May 27, 2004, the San Francisco Human Rights Commission held a historic hearing on Intersex issues. It was the first public hearing held on Intersex issues in the United States. The hearing room at San Francisco City Hall was packed with intersex people and our allies.

At the beginning of the hearing, Marcus Arana, a discrimination investigator with the Human Rights Commission, briefly laid out the reasons for the hearing. He reported that the SF HRC had received complaints that intersex people were being subjected to infant genital surgery for the purposes of sex assignment without proper consent. While he acknowledged that some childhood genital surgery was necessary for medical reasons, such as providing a functional urinary canal, he expressed concerns about cosmetic surgeries meant to “normalize” the appearance of a child’s genitals. He also reported that around 1 in 2000 births. The politics of what constitutes an intersex condition is heavily involved in these figures.

Right to marry determined by genes?

Classification: News

San Francisco HRC still wants to hear from you!

Submitted by Alice Dreger on Thu, 05/27/2004 - 06:49.

Classification: News

Although the date of the public hearing has passed, everyone is welcome to submit written testimony through June 25, 2004. You can send your statement by email (preferred) or postal mail to the coordinator. Click here for postal and email address.

Scientists: Stop Risky Surgeries Now!

Submitted by Alice Dreger on Mon, 02/21/2005 - 17:43.

Classification: News

You may have seen ISNA in the news in the last two days! An important article directly linking www.isna.org went out over the Associated Press wire on Friday, and doubled our ordinary high level of web traffic. It was entitled “Surgery May Be Hasty for Unclear Gender” and has appeared in more than 100 national and local news outlets, including the New York Times, CNN, and NBC.

Check out the N.Y. Times if it didn’t appear in your local paper.

Smithonian Institute collects ISNA materials

Classification: News

As we packed up for our move, we collected some of the physical objects
which document memorable moments of the history of the intersex patient
advocacy movement, and shipped them off to the Smithsonian. "It's
an important aspect of American culture that needs to be documented,"
said Katherine Ott, Curator of Science, Medicine, and Society in the
National Museum of American History.

Society for the Study of Social Problems adopts resolution

Classification: News

National resolution on treatment, consent and medical malpractice

WHEREAS five times per day in the United States, plastic surgeons at major hospitals perform cosmetic surgery upon the genitals of infants of young children, and

WHEREAS these operations to improve genital appearance often result in severe negative effects, including the permanent loss of sexual sensation, lifelong bladder infections, and the loss of fertility, and

WHEREAS having genitalia that look atypical is not a medical emergency, so that surgery can be postponed until a child matures sufficiently to make a full informed decision whether s/he considers the risks worth the benefits,

South Africa Human Rights Commission Investigates Intersex Interventions

Submitted by Cheryl Chase on Wed, 12/01/2004 - 13:13.

Classification: News

SOUTH AFRICA

Intersex children must be protected from temptation of parents to ‘fix’ them surgically.

December 01, 2004

By Wendell Roelf

A law on corrective surgery for children with ambiguous genitals - intersex children - was under consideration, the SA Human Rights Commission said yesterday.

“We are looking at the practice of surgery; do we need legislation to regulate this area, who should decide, when must the decision be taken?” said Judith Cohen, parliamentary officer for the commission.

The commission held a seminar on intersex children yesterday, asking whether gender “normalisation” surgery was in the best interests of the child.

SPATE OF NEW INTERSEX ARTICLES IN PROFESSIONAL MED LITERATURE

Classification: News

For Immediate Release

September 9, 1999

Contact: Cheryl Chase

SPATE OF NEW INTERSEX ARTICLES IN PROFESSIONAL

MEDICAL LITERATURE

Ann Arbor, MI -- Until just a few years, ago doctors

who specialized in handling intersexed (children

born with atypical sex anatomy -- often labeled with

Sunday Times addresses secrecy and shame that permeate lives of intersex people

Classification: News

Surgeons express concern over intersex activists' web sites

Classification: News

Surgeons Legally Liable?

Classification: News

The Summer issue of Michigan Journal of Gender and Law has published "An emerging ethical and medical dilemma: should physicians perform sex assignment surgery on infants with ambiguous genitalia?" by Milton Diamond and Hazel Beh. The article breaks new ground in examining the legal liability of physicians who treat sexual ambiguity in infants with genital surgery. Available from the Westlaw online legal database as 7 MIJGL 1, or from the author's website.

Texas Court creates Genetic Definition of Marriage

Classification: Law | News

When Christie Littleton's husband died under medical care, she filed a wrongful death suit against the physician. When the opposing side realized that Littleton was a transsexual, they asked the court to dismiss her suit on the basis that legal change of sex is impossible, so her marriage was invalid, and she thus lacked legal standing to sue. This case sets a precedent that could render many people with atypical genes ineligible for marriage. The decision's author noted, but dodged, the complexity of legal sex of intersex people: "I express no opinion as to how the law would view [intersex people] with regard to marriage.

The Advocate selects ISNA director as among the leading innovators

Classification: News

The Advocate

The Advocate selected ISNA's Cheryl Chase as one of the main "innovators" in its August 14, 2001 issue. Read the short write-up by Cathy Che at their web site.

The Nation mentions intersex and ISNA in an article about (trans)gender

Classification: News

The Sex That Dare Not Speak Its Name

Classification: News

Classification: News

A working group under the British Association of Pediatric Surgeons released a groundbreaking statement regarding the treatment of children with intersex conditions. Incorporating input from medical consumer groups such as Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome Support Group and Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia Network, the report states: "While there is likely to be continuing pressure from parents for early corrective surgery, fully informed consent for such procedures would require them to be aware of the possibility of non-operative management with psychological support for the child and family."

University of Michigan Duckett Lecture focuses on Intersex Paradigm Shift

Classification: News

Each year, the University of Michigan's Pediatric Urology Department hosts a lectureship in honor of the late John Duckett (a prominent surgeon well known for his hypospadias surgeries). This year, the lectures focused on a single topic: the increasingly evident paradigm shift in medical thinking about intersex.

Update of our FAQ's

Submitted by Alice Dreger on Mon, 02/21/2005 - 17:40.

Classification: News

To better educate our audiences, we’ve updated the FAQ’s (Frequently Asked Questions). To take a look, just go to www.isna.org/faq.

A number of spiffy navigation tools have also been added to make your “travel” around the FAQ’s easier.

Those of you who are teachers will be especially pleased to hear that we’ve also included a way to access an printer-friendly version of the revised FAQ’s. Feel free to print that and use it in your classes with attribution to ISNA.

To continue to serve the thousands of visitors we get each month—new parents, adults who have just learned they have an intersex condition, clinicians, students, and teachers—we’ll keep augmenting, editing, and updating FAQs. (For example, we still need to complete the section on intersex conditions, and provide a segment on the biology of sex development.) But if you know an FAQ we should consider posting, please send it along to us.

Urologists: Agonize over whether to cut, then cut the way I’m telling you

Submitted by Alice Dreger on Thu, 10/14/2004 - 14:08.

Classification: News

The American Academy of Pediatrics Section on Urology meeting in San Francisco on Monday, Oct. 11, showed evidence that just about every aspect of intersex care is now in question, but that, despite theoretical turmoil, many medical centers are continuing to provide scientifically and ethically questionable care.

Most notably—as we detail below—even though several leaders in pediatric urology urged colleagues to employ less invasive cosmetic genital surgeries, several presenters sent the troubling message that early, aggressive surgeries are necessary (despite a black hole of supporting evidence or ethical analysis).

V-Day endorses ISNA's mission to end violence against intersex people

Classification: News

Urges local V-Day productions to raise awareness about

intersex lives

Contact:

Emi Koyama, Intersex Society of North America

Washington Square News looks at Intersex

Submitted by Cheryl Chase on Tue, 10/26/2004 - 08:29.

Classification: News | Recent Publications

In her early 30s, Betsy Driver learned why she had never felt totally comfortable in her high school locker room.

When she four months old, Driver’s doctors removed her entire clitoris because it was unusually large for a baby girl, and, following doctor’s orders, her mother never told her. As a teenager, Driver never fully developed breasts and had to undergo a second surgery to reconstruct a vagina that was never there in the first place …

Llerena, Kim. 2004. Living in between, but no longer living in silence. Washington Square News, October 26.

What We Have in Common with the American Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Association

Submitted by Alice Dreger on Fri, 03/26/2004 - 09:52.

Classification: News

This past weekend I gave the keynote address at the American Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Association meeting in Chicago. My talk was entitled "Facing History: Understanding Craniofacial Care in a Broader Cultural Context." I spoke about how there are common threads running throughout the personal narratives of people born with atypical anatomies, one of them being that what others see as simple "deformities" or sources of stigma are often experienced as livable, integral parts of subjects' lives.

The meeting was great; I learned so much from talking with the professional care providers for craniofacial anomalies! Here are a few of the things they know that those of us working to help families dealing with intersex need to know:

What's ISNA up to?

Submitted by Alice Dreger on Mon, 05/30/2005 - 08:30.

Classification: News

What’s ISNA up to at the moment?

What’s happening at ISNA in 2004?

Submitted by ISNA on Thu, 03/04/2004 - 18:02.

Classification: News

In 2004 ISNA’s energies are focused on reforming U.S. medical education with regard to intersex.

Who Will Make Room for the Intersexed?

Submitted by Cheryl Chase on Mon, 01/17/2005 - 10:56.

Classification: News | Recent Publications

Haas, Kate. 2004. Who Will Make Room for the Intersexed? American Society of Law, Medicine, and Ethics 30 (1):41-68. Available from http://www.cirp.org/library/legal/USA/haas1/.

Young Adult Novel Features Intersex Character

Classification: News | Recent Publications

We’re pleased to announce the publication of Fool for Love by Lisa Lees.

Lisa Lees is a long time ISNA supporter and Fool for Love is a young adult novel that offers a realistic and caring narrative about a high school student named Jami and her partner Carys.

In a world where representations matter and many young intersex and/or queer people seldom see themselves reflected in characters in literature or film, Fool for Love centers Jami’s experience with her intersex condition, highlighting her loving relationships with her parents and her partner as well as her struggles against people’s homophobic attitudes and misunderstanding of what it means to have an intersex condition. In addition, Fool for Love weaves references to ISNA, Hermaphrodites with Attitude, and PFLAG throughout its narrative, offering young readers useful information about where they might learn more about these issues and even find support and allies.

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Copyright © ISNA 1993-2008