Books and journals

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

WHO/interagency report on sterilisation

WHO/UN interagency statement on involuntary or coerced 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…
Read more →

Torture in Healthcare Settings

New publication: 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…
Read more →

Alice Dreger: Do You Have to Pee Standing Up to Be a Real Man?

Alice Dreger: Do you have to pee standing up to be a real man?

Alice Dreger, professor of clinical medical humanities and bioethics at the Northwestern University, USA, writes on hypospadias in Pacific Standard, The Science of Society: the simple idea that a real man has to pee standing up “has put a surprising number of babies under the knife”. Hypospadias is likely more common than widely understood: In…
Read more →

Human Rights between the Sexes

Human rights between the sexes, a study

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,…
Read more →

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…
Read more →

“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…
Read more →

On the number of intersex people: four calculator symbols

Intersex population figures

There are no firm population figures for people with intersex variations, due to stigma, misconceptions, lack of accurate recording of data, arbitrary definitions, and ideological values.

“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…
Read more →

document icon - a page with a folded corner

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…
Read more →

Swiss National Advisory Commission on Biomedical Ethics report on Intersexuality

Ground-breaking Swiss report on infant surgery, a review

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…
Read more →