Bodies in Doubt

Bodies in Doubt: An American History of Intersex by Elizabeth Reis gives a history of intersex people in America until modern times, with scientific terminology and images of patients. I personally found this reading very upsetting at times, mostly in regards to the extremely unethical practices of medical professionals who have treated intersex individuals. The readings we had were chapters 4 and 5 along with the epilogue.

Chapter four, “Cutting the Gordian Knot: Gonads, Marriage, and Surgery in the 1920s and 30s” discussed the ethical and moral dilemmas doctors faced upon discovering cases of intersexuality. The fact that they started to “think they could make men and women” (82) and often justified extremely risky procedures in the name of “bodily integrity” and a constant emphasis on social acceptance. A majority of doctors in the 1920s and 1930s felt that their opinions were more important than parents’ and indeed patients’ wishes, and as a result often withheld information. Intersex people were labeled “unfortunate individuals” and “part of the dangerous classes” (89). When intersex patients professed no desire to undergo so-called corrective surgery, their physicians expressed profound disbelief – how could men live happy, successful lives without penises? How could women live without penetratable vaginas? (95) Doctors were trying to decide what “made” a man or a woman with an incomplete and biased understanding of what they were deciding. Additionally, physicians became authorities on marriage in regards to intersex people, in part because their ultimate goal was to uphold the very institution of heterosexuality, including heterosexual matrimony. Patients with no interest in marriage or heterosexual sex “raised the troubling specter of homosexuality” (105) which was just another sign of potential sexual perversion that came with being an intersex person. Finally, chapter four discussed disabled intersex people and the complete stripping away of their rights. Because doctors felt that disabled people should be taught to avoid sex altogether (what if they passed on a hereditary disease?) they struggled with deciding whether to operate on disabled intersex patients. Should they “normalize” the patients’ genitalia and provide the opportunity for sex? Or should they not intervene and run the risk of homosexual behavior?

Chapter five, “Psychology, John Money, and the Gender of Rearing in the 1940s, 50s, and 60s,” introduced John Money, arguably one of the most famous medical professionals who treated intersex people (117). His idea of the malleability of gender – that the psychological health of intersex children was entirely dependent upon how they were raised and what social norms they were exposed to – shaped popular and scientific understanding of intersex people for decades. He encouraged parents to choose a gender for their child and raise them as that gender, completely unambiguously. Surgeons and endocrinologists would then “mold” the child hormonally and physically. While these physicians’ goal was to “eliminate doubt and uncertainty” for intersex children, I often found myself wondering what would have happened if doctors had just left well enough alone. While there are intersex conditions that require medical treatment because of other symptoms and comorbidities, the nonconsensual nature of much of this treatment left me feeling sick.

The epilogue discusses the actual terminology around intersex conditions and how it has changed and continues to change over time. The author explains how “hermaphrodite” is not only archaic, but has historically been used in a derogatory fashion along with slurs and phrases like “freak of nature” (154). She discusses how the term “intersex” was actually coined in 1917 but did not gain traction until the 1990s; however, physicians rarely use it and some parents feel it refers to sexuality, which they are uncomfortable with. In the early 2000s, the phrase “disorders of sex development” was suggested as a way to provide clarity for doctors, but many intersex people felt stigmatized by the word disorder, which suggests something to be cured (156). The author, for her part, suggests “divergence of sex development,” which is fairly neutral while still being clinical enough for a doctor. While doctors are now less likely to suggest “corrective” surgery for infants, the practice still exists and has incredible risk.

I have quite a few friends who are intersex and reading this 20th-century history helped me understand a little more of their struggle. One of my friends is intersex and also identifies as transgender and xe has had a difficult time getting doctors to take xem seriously. I’ve always felt sympathetic towards xem but I feel like talking to xem more and reading these chapters helped me realize just how much xe goes through.

Bodies in Doubt

In Elizabeth Reis’s book, Bodies in Doubt, she discussed the topic of intersexuality. She goes into the history of the topic and how throughout the years, many doctors have questioned that ethical and moral dilemmas that it has brought up, like disclosing discovered medical information that had been found, changing someones genitals, etc. In most cases Reis discussed, the common goal was to give the people who were affected the potential and availablitiy to have a successful, heterosexual, life which would include marraige and intercourse.

Chapter four of Reis’s book, discussed gonad standards, marriage, and sugeries in the 1920s and 1930s. During this time period, doctors went off of what was on the inside, what sex organ was more present. Doctors believed that they could “make” men and women. If a patient came in and had both sex organs, but had more female than male sex organs, then they were females, or women. One doctor even denied a woman an abortion because he did not know that to think of seeing a woman’s face on a body with male organs. He observed that the women did not have a beard, had a soft and mellow voice, but was masculine at times. He believed that she was a “true hermaphrodite” since she possessed both male and female sex organs. He denied her the abortion and instead gave her a physical exam. Once she got home, she performed the abortion herself and was successful.

Chapter five of Reis’s book, disucsses psychology, Jonhn Money, and gender rearing from the 1940s into the 1960s. During this time, doctors turned to drugs and medical/surgical procedures to either feminize or masculize their patients. They were also starting to respond to their patiants request for their own decided gender. Doctors had started to move away from just basing gender off of ones gonad to basing it on the person’s psychology, gender presentation, and their external bodily conformation. They would evaluate their attitudes, conduct, and expectations to decide which gender would match them. Money and his team thought that an intersex psychological health depended on a patients ability to raise a boy or girl despite what their body’s were or might be showing. His advice was to elevate exteral genital morphology as one of the most important criteria on deciding how to treat intersex people. For childern, it was dependent on which gender, while their personality was developing, would show up and it was up to their parents to reinforce that choosen gender. For adults, they would have to establish the psychology as a male or female and then would have to surgically reshape the genitals to match. For there, the patients can develop a personality to match the assigned gender – which would help the parents in raising their intersex child in the chosen gender, if the genitalia looked normal.

Finally, Reis’s epilogue was about the politics behind naming intersex people. In the past, the conditions were grouped into categories of intersex and hermaphroditism are now being called, as of 2005, disorders of sex development (DSD). These names are still controversial and divisive. Hermaphrodites creates an image of a creature and causes many derogatory terms to be used, like “sexual pervert” or “hybrid.” Having another word for it meant a third gender, which made many parents uncomfortable because they wanted to see their baby as a boy or a girl. Reis decided to change it to divergence of sex development because than the emphasis is less on genitals, gender identity, or sexual orientation, and doesn’t prohibit or demand medical intervention.

I thought that this was all really interesting because it is not a topic that I have read a lot about – but it was definitely eye-opening. I had a lot of thoughts while reading this, but there was one that really stood out. And it was, “why did they not ask the patients what they themselves wanted?” It felt like the doctors were doing a lot of the gender assigning without asking the patients what they wanted and that was really frustrating to me. I felt like they were trying to push the intersex people (adults and children) into two categories when there can be so many.

Bodies in Doubt

Elizabeth Reis’ book Bodies in Doubt: An American History of Intersex explores the development of medical and social attitudes toward intersex individuals throughout American history. Chapters 4 and 5 specifically trace this relationship from the 1920s to modern times. I found several concepts in Chapter 4 to be very striking and infuriating. The emphasis on successful heterosexual intercourse was a major factor in influencing how doctors approached cases. Reis refers to the “specter of homosexuality” and how fear of any deviance from heterosexuality permeated not only the social but also the medical spheres of 1920s and 1930s America. I was particularly angered by how this “reasoning” overrode the expressed desires of the patients the doctors claimed to want to help. The social pressure that doctors felt to conform to rather than the most medically sound decisions continued into later decades.

Doctors in the 1940s and 1950s promoted parents choosing a gender in which to raise their child and emphasized doing so uniformly and undisputedly. In order to aid this process, they performed surgery to give infants “typical” genital appearances so that parents and children alike would be freed from complication and confusion. Money emphasized that a gender could be assigned to a child and the genitals could then be altered to reflect this assigned gender. To further aid in this process, doctors suggested that families move to a new area and keep their child’s true sexual form a secret in order to avoid social stigma. Again social norms were taken into account over the wishes of intersex individuals. However, I did find it interesting that the complicated and nonconsensual experiences of intersex individuals contrasted greatly with the experiences of those who sought gender reassignment surgery. While doctors seemed at times reluctant to give intersex individuals surgery to make them better conform to expectations of the sex they identified with, transgender individuals seemed to encounter far less medical resistance. It is likely that they faced a host of other issues, but I found this contrast to still be striking. Reis’ book was very illuminating of the history of intersexuality in America and how current discourse has come into being.

Bodies in Doubt

People who’s bodies are not unambiguously male or female have lived in America since Colonization, however the legal and medical debates that surround them have remained invisible to the public eye. In Bodies in Doubt, Elizabeth Reis examines how perceptions and treatment of intersex people have changed over time. Chapter 4 considers the early 20th century when the ability to test gonadal tissue lead to the truth of “sex” to migrate inward from external genitals to gonadal. However, gonads don’t provide easy trust either and Reis provides a detailed pre-history throughout this chapter.

One thing that I found particularly interesting was the concept of marriage relating to intersex individuals. Doctors generally wanted to make sure that their patients’ bodies were adequately equipped for heterosexual penetration, should they marry. However some said that hermaphrodites shouldn’t marry at all given their ambiguity. The author states that although doctors prefer them to not get married, many did, “sometimes as the “wrong” sex” (89). The possibility of people living the wrong sex worried doctors and dictated what their treatment would be. Doctors’ surgical decisions were biased as a wish to do something, perhaps by an underlying feeling that should surgery fail, a person who’s sex was ambiguous was better off dead. How doctors saw the characteristics of their patients varied whether they saw them as a male or female. Sometimes doctors even ignored the personality and wishes of their patients. Once committed to a decision about a patient’s “true sex”, doctors saw that individual as either male or female, despite both evidence and one’s desires.

By the late 1940’s, consensus about the medical treatment of intersexuality had changed. Many agreed that surgical decisions should be based on psychological and emotional factors rather than the existence of ovaries or testicles. The ideas of psychologist John Money influenced physicians’ treatment of patients with ambitious genitalia. Money insisted that gender could be created to match a person’s genitals. Physicians decided to “make” infant patients either male or female based on the ease of the surgery. As a result, through surgery and hormone therapy during childhood, doctors left many people who might’ve thought as themselves as boys and men with female bodies. Many disagreed with Money, however no-one officially challenged his ideas until the 1990’s, when an intersex rights movement united. This movement demanded an end to unnecessary surgery on infants.

In the epilogue, Reis ventures into the controversy over the term “intersex.” Some parents of children born with ambitious genitalia are uncomfortable over the term. Recently, many physicians have begun to a number of conditions “disorders of sex development” or DSD. Reis suggests that the DSD acronym should be retained but that it should stand for “divergence of sex development.”

I really enjoyed this reading. It’s something that I didn’t know very much about beforehand and always had a lot of questions about, so I enjoyed learning the history behind it. I would recommend it to others who have questions as well, and hope that society can begin to talk more openly and be more accepting of these individuals.

Post 09; Bodies in Doubt

The social and medical concerns of babies born with numerous combinations of both male and female genitalia were leading factors in the choice to match the genital to the perceived gender of the child. Labeled as ‘hermaphrodites’, those who possess male and female sex organs. Doctors and parents would alter the organs to match the gender and do testing to see the hormonal and gonads to make decision. The doctors who made these decisions and did the surgeries felt justified by social rather than medical grounds.

Doctor’s early determinations were based on the patients, ranging in ages from newborn to adult, gonads or the genitals. Factors in determining the gender include medical but also social concerns. The doctors feared the young patients would experience social isolation, sexual perversion, and heterosexuality. There was a drive that whatever the final decision the patients would be able to live normal, fulfilling lives; as in marriage and childbearing. At the same time though there were those who thought intersex persons should not have children for fear of passing down the genes to their children who would also be intersex. Doctor’s option and input on marriage at the time, 1920s, was actively sought after. ‘Treatment’ options for patients was given on the bases that the ‘unfortunate creatures’ wanted to be ‘corrected’ after living in the wrong sex. Medical changes later looked at diagnosis more on evidence than social concerns. It was in the 1930s that doctors were looking at the gonads tissue findings, but still multiple problems in the procedures and reassigning behind them. Female patients were operated on under the presumption they would get married and have children, while male patients were operated to performing heterosexual relationships. Heterosexual relationships were a huge issue because the alternative, homosexuality, was seen as a disorder. Some doctors thought the patients wanted surgery so the homosexual relationships were then be heterosexual instead. While patient’s wishes were taken into consideration when they were adults, younger intersex patients had the choice made for them as babies because it would be easier to ‘rear’ the child into one gender at a young age and the fear of the psychological damage.

In the 1940s more medical changes rolled out such as drugs and surgical procedures. Doctors also started to look at the connection between a person’s psychology, gender presentation and external bodily conformation. Still the younger intersex patients had the final decision made for optimum gender of rearing (OGR) and whether or not the child should be told they are intersexed and what type of psychological effects that would have. The contention between psych and gonads or genital organs were studied in the 1920/30s were it was decided it was the job of the parent to reinforce the chosen gender. Later in 1942 it was decide it was best to establish the psych then determine the gender. For patients were wanted to become the gender the felt themselves to be new medical changes allowed this, like estrogen and testosterone pills to encourage male and female physical attributes. The age at which a patient becomes who they are was widely speculated also. Doctors figured the change would be easier at a young age because it would be easier to grow up in the gender then switch later. For some the transition was an easy one because they had always felt they were the ‘wrong gender’ or easily accepted they were not what they were. These cases made some question whether the surgery was even necessary than. Factors that played into the type of transition included the identity gender of the patient, the amount of time of conditioning, and family acceptance. Interestingly some who felt male or label as male wanted to change because of the social freedom and independence they had.

Nature versus nurture was discussed concerning those who as adults wanted the surgery when they were raised as the opposite gender. It was believed that gender identity was malleable until 18 months of age because of the ease of surgical changes at this age. Insecurities on intersexuality was avoided by steering clear of doctors encouraging parents to make the decision on the spot and instead waiting. To avoid psychological problems in adulthood from fear of homosexuality because if a patient wanted a change the end goal should be heterosexually motivated during the time. Another question of how to avoid psychological problems was when to tell the child they were intersexed. The term ‘intersexed’ was also discussed because some felt it was not doing enough to describe those who were intersexed. Though it was better than ‘hermaphrodite’ because of the derogatory and demeaning images that are connected to it, though it is still used medically. ‘Disorder of sexual development’ is much the same as ‘hermaphrodite’ in calling it a disorder or disability that needs to be ‘changed’ or ‘repaired’. Divergence of sex development leaves open for interpretation and the person to define for themselves.

Bodies in Doubt

Bodies in Doubt by Elizabeth Reis discusses the topic of intersexuality that many don’t think much about. Throughout history, doctors have questioned the ethical and moral dilemmas that intersexuality has brought up such as altering genitals, disclosing the medical information they’ve found, etc. In most cases, the goal was to give the people affected the potential for successful heterosexual lives including marriage and intercourse.

Throughout the 1930s, physicians typically persuaded parents to create “real men and women out of ‘unfortunate creatures'” and believed they “were better off dead if the surgery didn’t go as planned” (Reis 92-93). They chose the gender identity solely by gonadal determination. This led to worsening the effects on children growing up who never had the decision of what they wanted or what they identified as. After realizing the harm, some surgeons followed what the patient wanted but were biased by their own views and tried persuading them a certain way.

As psychological tools were beginning to develop, physicians relied on stereotypical gender roles to determine whether the patient was masculine or feminine and used that to surgically change them to what they seemed to identify as. The threat of homosexuality pushed surgical genital change because people would rather see them as happily married rather than homosexual.

Today, the idea that children will adapt to gender through social conditioning still exists and many infants still undergo change without any choice. The quote “gender and children are malleable, phycology and medicine are the tools to transform them” stood out to me because it goes against the idea that gender is solely biological (Reis 137).

Overall, this book was very interesting and insightful and demonstrated that there is not the one answer doctors are looking for. Doctors, as well as society, needs to understand that everyone is different and gender is a spectrum rather than binary. Intersexuality is a hard topic that many are not aware of but is a huge problem among many infants who have no choice and are affected for the rest of their lives by the decisions doctors and parents make for them.

Bodies in Doubt – Cara Wissinger

The book Bodies in Doubt by Elizabeth Reid is a very interesting take on a sexually topic that doesn’t receive a lot of attention.  Bodies in Doubt addresses “true hermaphrodite . . . who possesses male and female sex organs” (Reid 84).  This book recounts many stories of individuals who were born with both sex organs, or their gonads, “‘gonadal’ definition of sex, (it is what you have on the inside that counts)” (89) represented a different gender.  Doctor’s recounted many stories of actually being confused whether the patient was actually a man or a women, despite being pregnant, but also displaying many characteristics that are consistent with men.

There were also many stories of corrective surgeries that would take place to eliminate the sex organ that was present but not wanted.  In come cases, the patient would chose the ‘wrong’ sex organ to be eliminated.  For example, they would live a life as a women but choose to keep their male sex organs, and still participate in heterosexual sex, just be unable to get pregnant.  The goal most of the time was that [Doctors] generally wanted to ensure that their patients’ bodies were properly equipped for heterosexual penetration” (89).  

The book also explained the reason for the “motivations for surgery were social rather than strictly medical” (86) and often because “a child’s happiness is seriously handicapped” (86) [when they have both sex organs].  

This book was very strange, but very interesting.  At times, it was hard for me to read because of the medical jargon.  I enjoyed reading it though, because it enlightened me on a subject that I know very little about and it also connects that subject back to history.

 

Bodies In Doubt

In “Bodies In Doubt” it talks about how one can be born with the sexual organs of one gender, but they could be the opposite one. It starts off by talking in the twentieth century the doctors were able to test ones organ tissues to declare if their sexual organs were the right representation of their actually gender. It also opens up by stating but the 1920s/1930s doctors can to believe that hey we’re able to ” ‘make’ men and women.” At first this statement kinda of scarred me. Thinking of doctors taking different parts and making a person and their gender was crazy until I realize that people in our society do this everyday. People who believe that they have been born the wrong gender are able to go through a sex change surgery to become the person they want to be and they believe they should be. In this opening chapter I really liked how the doctors stated the theory that when we are in our embryonic stage we are all “bisexual” or “hermaphroditic”, that we all eventually gravitate towards femininity or masculinity. I never really understand how that development works or how we end up choosing our sexuality but with this theory it shades more light that we are all the the beginning and some of us our able to make our journey the right way and some of us hit obstacles on the way. One thing from this chapter that really shook me was the statement ” couples with various hereditary diseases were advised to avoid marriage and pregnancy.” This just makes me think that if this was the case today a lot of people would not get Married and a lot of family lines we die off. It is so couple to have some type of medical problem in our society and it is sad to think that if this were the case I wouldn’t be able to get married or start a family.

In chapter 5 it’s says that by the 1940s being able to modify a person body to be more feminine or masculine was a lot easier for the doctors and different specialists. It also states that the doctors were able and willing to fulfill patients request for modifications. This again when I first read it blow my mind not only that the people would want to alter there body but that the professionals would be opening and willing to put someone under and take a knife to them to change there Appearance. After I got over the shock at first I realized how this is common in our society. A lot of people are willing to forgo plastic surgery. In this chapter it also talks about the psychology aspect behind this which is interesting because that is my major and i never really thought of this type of sexuality as having to deal with psychology. It states the the intersex cases show how “gender development, individual psychology, and child rearing” connect which is fascinating to actually think about and have something to grasp on beside the medical or physical appearance aspect of intersex.

In the last part we focused on first talks about the way to phrase this appearance. That using the term “disorder” is not the right approach. This term has so much negative content to it because the way it is used and perceived in our society. The author dates that the term “divergence of sex development” is a better way of referring to this topic, and in my opinion I do agree just because it is a medical condition and I feel as if as soon as something is categorized as a “disorder” it’s not necessarily taken serious or given the full attention it is needed. It also goes on to talk about the term “intersex” and how a group of protesters are the ones who came up with the term. It also states how mothers don’t want to hear from the doctor that there child is intersex, that they want to hear that they have annoy or a girl because the term indicates that there child is in between genders instead of having one set gender.

Blog: Bodies of Doubt

This week’s reading was three chapters from the book Bodies of Doubt: An American History of Intersex written by Elizabeth Reis. Chapter 4, Cutting the Gordian Knot was about gonad standards, marriage, and surgeries in the 1920s and 1930s. This chapter began with the experience one women had in the 1920s when she went get an abortion but was denied and had a physical examination instead. The doctor was confused and did not know what to think when he saw the woman’s face and male organs. The doctor called her a “strange creature,” unfortunate creature,” “queer individual,” and “strange fellow” (83). He observed the women as having no beard, heavily haired arms and legs, soft and mellow voice but was masculine at times, large hands, feminine hips, small feet, breast filled with milk and a penis. He believed she was a “true hermaphrodite” meaning a person that possess both male and female sex organs.

Doctors justified risky surgeries by social goals/concerns over medical goals/concerns. Doctors advised parents with children born with the deformity to not let it be known and to not go anywhere public where one would have to use the bathroom. The doctors worried about the childhood isolation mixed with anxieties about sexual perversion and the ability to achieve heterosexual penetration. This means that doctors used the goal for the potential of a successful marriage of the patient to justify genital surgery. It was justified for women to have genital surgery to create a vaginal cavity that would accommodate penetration during intercourse. Also the desires for “normal” heterosexual sex motivated doctors to perform vaginal lengthening and clitoris excisions surgeries. In terms of marriage, doctors wanted to ensure patient’s bodies were properly equipped for heterosexual penetration if they decide to marry but they also say that hermaphrodites should not marry. If hermaphrodites did marry, it was sometimes to the wrong sex. This means that the doctors identified the individual by gonadal standards as one sex and the person ends us marrying the person of the same sex. When this happened most doctors recommended surgical and hormonal intervention. In 1941, young patients were now being treating with pediatric surgeries instead of treating them as if they were miniature adults. Doctors presumed it was easier to switch when they were a child because they had no sexual attraction and gender identity.

Chapter 5 was about psychology, John Money, and gender of rearing in the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s. Doctors turned to drugs and medical procedures to feminize or masculize their patents and they were starting to respond to the patients request for their genders and procedures. Doctors now justified the surgical procedures by wanting to create a congruence between the person’s psychology, gender presentation, and external bodily conformation. The doctors evaluated their patient’s attitudes, expectations, and conduct to determine which gender to mold their bodies to match their patient’s sense of gender. John Money and his team insisted that an intersex psychological health depended on the patient’s ability to raise an undisputed boy or girl despite the internal incongruities the child’s body might show. Money’s advice was to elevate external genital morphology as the most important criterion on deciding how to treat intersex people. For intersex children, the most important factor was on which gender of developing personality the child showed and then it was up to the parents to reinforce the chosen gender. For intersex people, they first has to have established psychology as male or female and then to surgically shape the genitals to match.  The patients could then develop personality to match the assigned gender which support from parents committing to the gender that was chosen. Parents would then be able to raise their intersex child in the chosen gender if the genital looked normal.  By performing surgeries as a child, it was hoped to eliminate the doubt and uncertainty for the child growing up and to avoid psychological problems. The child was able to form a solid gender identity and their parents could guide their sexual orientation. Parents with intersex children were advised to not tell anyone about their child’s condition and to leave town to start a new life. This led to the family living in isolation, stigma, and shame.

The epilogue was about the politics behind the naming of intersex people. The conditions that were previously grouped into categories of intersex and hermaphroditism are now being called, as of 2005, disorders of sex development (DSDs). All these names are controversial and divisive for different reasons. Hermaphrodites evokes images of mythical creatures and have many derogatory terms that are associated with the word such as “freak of nature,” “hybrid,” and “sexual pervert.” Intersex made parents uncomfortable with the label, it mean a third gender, and parents wanted to see their baby has either a boy or girl. Disorders of sex development is a degradation to self and draws attention to underlying genetic or endocrine factors that cause prenatal sex development to take the unusual path. Also because disorder usually implies something needs to be fixed and intersex people do not require surgical or hormonal correction. The author suggest divergence of sex development because it can reduce conflict and satisfies intersex people, their parents, and physicians. Divergence of sex development can minimize the emphasis on genitals, gender identity, and sexual orientation without prohibiting medical intervention or demanding it.

Bodies In Doubt

In the early 1900s, the only criteria developed for determining a person’s sex was through the ‘sex-gland’, in women this was the ovaries, and in men it was the testis.  When a ‘disturbance’ would occur, and the a situation would arise where one would witness a person with both male and female ‘sex-glands’, as did Dr. Solomon, one would have encountered ‘true hermaphrodism’.

This being an oddity, doctors sought to remedy is based on social concerns rather than medical. Concerns of marriage were big. Bodies need to be “equipped for heterosexual penetration“. Socially, people thought that hermaphrodites, were dangerous, and needed to be classed either masculine or feminine, through the gonadal sex definition.

Ethically, doctors though that they “were fashioning complete men or women out of unfortunate creatures”(p92). In the case of Frances, having already has the removal procedure of his male genitals years earlier, doctors, upon Frances deciding he wanted to live as a man, found evidence inside of him that suggest he was in fact a young man. Doctors had a storing opinion that no person, male of female could live successfully without their proper sex organs.

What made one a man or a woman? Did the gonads tell the whole story? Should doctors tell patients what they found inside of their bodies? Should that knowledge then challenge the ways in which the people were already living their lives? Relying on gonads for sex determination became a debatable procedure. It became apparent throughout this time that “people sense of self became at odds with what their gonads dictated”(p.109).

Rearing helped physicians like Money and Hampson trump anatomy. Parents play a huge role in social and phycological development.  What should be done when the scientific evidence of psychology contradicts the scientific evidence of the laboratory? Psychology became the  new marker for sex new resulting in the rational for genital surgery. The goal of rearing was to make sure that all doubt was squashed in children who were intersex.

” This long history of medical denigration and experimentation is one reason some intersex activists are wary of having new medical term thrust upon them”. The authors notes that in recent years the word “intersex” has been investigated. The author suggests a new modified term, ” divergence of sex development”. She claims, ” DSD is less pathologizing than disorders of sex development yet would satisfy those who want to minimize the emphasis on genitals, gender identity, and sexual orientation that the word “intersex” label may encourage”(159).

 

 

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