Books

Books and selected journal articles on intersex issues, including fiction, peer-reviewed papers, and biographies.

ILGA Europe’s summer magazine talks about intersex equality

ILGA Europe: Intersex - Summer 2014

ILGA Europe has published its summer magazine, Destination Equality, and this issue focuses on intersex. It includes an article and other content by Morgan Carpenter. In this edition: Sophie Aujean, Senior Policy and Programmes Officer, explains how ILGA-Europe’s work on intersex issues has evolved, the importance of the three intersex forums in this context and…
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Andrew Solomon on growing up different

Radio National: Sydney Writers' Festival authors explore the definition of normality

Andrew Solomon A.M. Homes and Robert Hoges spoke recently at Sydney Writers’ Festival on growing up different from parents – something he terms “horizontal identity”, in contrast with (for example) ethnic heritage, and typically religion and nationality which are “vertical identities”, shared between family members. Radio National presented extracts of this talk on Monday 2…
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WHO/UN interagency statement on involuntary or coerced sterilisation

WHO/interagency report on sterilisation

The World Health Organization, together with OHCHR, UN Women, UNAIDS, UNDP, UNFPA and UNICEF, have issued an interagency statement on Eliminating forced, coercive and otherwise involuntary sterilization. The statement covers intersex people, trans people, women, women with HIV, indigenous and ethnic minority women, and people with disabilities. This is an important development, that recognises the…
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New publication: Torture in Healthcare Settings

Torture in Healthcare Settings

The Center for Human Rights and Humanitarian Law at the Washington College of Law has just published an important new book, Torture in Healthcare Settings: Reflections on the Special Rapporteur on Torture’s 2013 Thematic Report. The book contains a chapter on intersex issues, beginning on page 91, authored by Anne Tamar-Mattis of Advocates for Informed…
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Human rights between the sexes, a study

Human Rights between the Sexes

In November 2013, Dr Dan Christian Ghattas of OII Germany, together with the Heinrich Böll Foundation, published a preliminary study on the human rights of intersex people in 12 countries around the world, including Australia, along with Belgium, France, Germany, New Zealand, Serbia, South Africa, Taiwan, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, and Uruguay. While a preliminary study,…
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Statement on the Senate report ‘Involuntary or coerced sterilisation of intersex people in Australia’

Statement on the Senate report ‘Involuntary or coerced sterilisation of intersex people in Australia’

The joint, cross-party report, “Involuntary or coerced sterilisation of intersex people in Australia”, was published on 25 October 2013. It raises major concerns about medical ethics and the human rights of people with intersex variations in Australia. Intersex people are born with variations in physical sex characteristics, such as anatomy or chromosomes. Intersex status is…
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“Alex as Well”, by Alyssa Brugman

We’ve recently seen a book by Alyssa Brugman, entitled “Alex as Well”. We believe that the author has confused intersex with non-binary identities, like genderqueer or bigender. We don’t recommend this book, due to its lack of research on intersex variations. Consider instead getting hold of “Golden Boy” by Abigail Tarttelin, or “None of the…
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“Golden Boy”, by Abigail Tarttelin

I loved this book. It vividly captures the effects of secrecy and shame on an intersex adolescent, and a family in crisis. It’s compassionately and beautifully written, from the perspective of six key characters: Max the protagonist, his brother, parents, doctor and friend. Unlike Jeffrey Eugenides’s Middlesex, which manages to convey the impression that intersex…
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Morgan Holmes on “Locating Third Sexes”

In the journal Transformations, Morgan Holmes writes about a third sex or gender. Morgan Holmes approaches the subject as a scholar and an intersex person; she was formerly a member of ISNA and is now an assistance professor of sociology at Wilfrid Laurier University in Ontario, Canada. The paper is recommended reading for people interested…
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Ground-breaking Swiss report on infant surgery, a review

Swiss National Advisory Commission on Biomedical Ethics report on Intersexuality

Earlier this month, the Swiss National Advisory Commission on Biomedical Ethics published an opinion document, On the management of differences of sex development, Ethical issues relating to “intersexuality”. Copies are available via the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health in English. This is a brief review of the key points in that position document. Our…
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“A medical condition is only as real as its definition”, Georgiann Davis on DSD in Sociology of Diagnosis journal

Sociologist Georgiann Davis Ph.D. recently had published her paper on DSD in Sociology of Diagnosis, Advances in Medical Sociology, Volume 12, 155–182. The paper, “DSD is a perfectly fine term”: Reasserting Medical Authority Through a Shift in Intersex Terminology is a hugely important critique and highly recommended reading. The context Even though the diagnosis carried…
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