Intersex: Medicalization of Sexual Diversity
"Is it a boy or a girl?"
It's the first question asked after the birth of a baby. But sometimes the answer isn't obvious? In about one out of every 1,500 births a child is born so noticeably atypical in terms of genitalia that a specialist is called in. Out of every thousand birth one to two children have traditionally been exposed to surgery to "normalize" the appearance of their genitals. Even more people are born with subtler forms of sex anatomy variations some of which won't show up until later in life.
Since the 1990s intersex activists have been fighting for an end to unnecessary surgeries, especially those performed at an early age when the person can’t make their own decisions.
Tuesday, May 19th from 6 - 7 pm, Gender Blender co-hosts Rebecca Nay and Jacob Anderson-Minshall talk with three intersex activists about their experiences and what it can teach us all about gender, sex and the medialization of natural diversity.
Earlier this month Jacob spoke with intersex activist Thea Hillman, author of the award nominated memoir, Intersex: For Lack of a Better Word, for a segment that will air during the program. Joining Rebecca and Jacob in the KBOO studio, Emi Koyama, will provide an intersex 101 and talk about the national activist and advocacy organization she founded and directs, Portland’s Intersex Initiative. Participating in the conversation via phone will be Katrina Karkazis, Senior Research Scholar in the Center for Biomedical Ethics at Stanford University. Katrina is not intersex herself, but she is the author of Fixing Sex: Intersex, Medical Authority, and Lived Experience, an in-depth study into how intersexuality is understood, treated and experienced today.
As always, listeners are encouraged to call (503) 231-8187 with comments or questions.