'Intersex' is the condition whereby an individual is born with biological features that are simultaneously perceived as male and female. Ranging from the ambiguous genitalia of the true 'hermaphrodite' to the 'mildly or internally intersexed', the condition may be as common as cleft palate. Like cleft palate, it is hidden and surgically altered, but for very different reasons. This important book draws heavily on the personal testimony of intersexed individuals, their loved ones, and medical carers. The impact of early sex-assignment surgery on an individual's later life is examined within the context of ethical and clinical questions. Harper challenges the conventional and radical 'treatment' of intersexuality through non-consensual infant sex-assignment surgery. In doing so she exposes powerful myths, taboos, and constructions of gender - the perfect phallus, a bi-polar model of gender and the infallibility of medical decisions. Handling sensitive material with care, this book deepens our understanding of a condition that has itself only been medically understood in recent years.
Dr Catherine Harper is Head of the School of Architecture and Design, University of Brighton.
1. Introduction 2. The 'Mythological Hermaphrodite' 3. Louise's Story and Others 4. David's Story and Diamond's Recommendations 5. Ade's Story 6. Sarah-Jane's Story and Others 7. Changes in Standards of Care? 8. Lorna, Jessie, Sal and Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia 9. Joanne, Helen, Sue and Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome 10. Severe undervirilization in genetic males 11. 'Hermaphroditism' and Gonadal Dysgenesis 12. Sex chromosome variations: Klinefelter's Syndrome 13. Sex chromosome variations: Turner Syndrome 14. Conclusion Appendix 1. Correspondence and Interviews Appendix 2. Societies and Advocacy Groups Bibliography