Books and journals

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

Teaching Intersex Issues

Teaching intersex issues

The listed resources are no longer current in this document published by ISNA in 2001, but we highly recommend Teaching intersex issues by Emi Koyama and Dr Lisa Weasel. It contains analysis, guidelines, readings and other resources. The authors present an analysis of self-selected scholars teaching women’s studies, queer studies and related fields in early…
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Kathleen Winter’s book, “Annabel”

Kathleen Winter’s book, “Annabel”

Kathleen Winter’s book is based on a short story originally intended for her collection boYs but rejected because it was too fantastic. Unfortunately, the same can be said of the novel itself. While literary and entertaining for its descriptions of Newfoundland, the lead character shows what happens when a preoccupation with gender dominates at the expense of an understanding of biology.

The New York Times on Cordelia Fine’s “Delusions of Gender”

The New York Times on Cordelia Fine’s “Delusions of Gender”

Cordelia Fine eviscerates popular notions of differences between men and women. This book is highly recommended: “Delusions of Gender” takes on that tricky question, Why exactly are men from Mars and women from Venus?, and eviscerates both the neuroscientists who claim to have found the answers and the popularizers who take their findings and run…
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Wei Ling Lean, Melbourne Medical School: “Anatomical and cosmetic outcomes of feminizing genital surgery for intersex disorders”

This report focuses on the cosmetic outcomes of non-consensual cosmetic genital surgery performed on infants. OII Australia regards such surgeries as reprehensible, and wishes to see them cease. From the abstract: Issues of childhood genital surgery in individuals with genital ambiguity remain controversial. Poor results reported in some centres triggered questioning of the appropriateness of…
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Alice Dreger in Psychology Today: “Can You Hear Us Now?: Is it ethical for doctors to stimulate little girls’ clitorises?”

Professor Alice Dreger writes in Psychology Today’s blog, “Fetishes I Don’t Get”: In a brief article entitled “Bad Vibrations” just posted at the Hastings Center’s Bioethics Forum, my colleague Ellen Feder and I express our shock over the follow-up techniques being used by pediatric urologist Dix Poppas at Weill Medical College of Cornell University on…
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Bioethics Forum: Fetal Cosmetology

Hilde Lindemann, Ellen Feder and Alice Dreger comment on prenatal use of dexamethasone to modify appearance and gender expression associated with Congenital adrenal hyperplasia: There’s a common misperception that, now that the Johns Hopkins psychologist John Money is gone, so are all the ethical problems with the way people with genital anomalies are treated. Not…
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Chris Somers XXY, self portrait, 2013

Chris Somers xxy, Tracy Reibel and David Whyatt: Intersex and androgyny and implications for provision of primary health care

Chris Somers xxy (vice-president of OII Australia) and colleagues present an analysis of intersex issues for primary healthcare providers. Chris Somers xxy is a national and international intersex activist with a M.Ed. By Research (UWA); concerning Androgyny; B.Ed. (Melb); Hons Dip Creative Photography (Trent Polytechnic now Trent University, UK); who has worked in a number…
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Katrina Karkazis, “Fixing Sex” (recommended reading)

Katrina Karkazis, “Fixing Sex” (recommended reading)

Published in November 2008, Fixing Sex: Intersex, Medical Authority, and Lived Experience by Katrina Karkazis is compelling and recommended reading. Meticulously researched and approachable in style, it presents a historical analysis of the treatment of intersex people, together with an analysis of both current medical practice and the impact on intersex people and our families….
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Richard Goldschmidt: “Intersexuality and the Endocrine Aspect of Sex”

Richard Goldschmidt, in proposing the term intersex, noted the limitations of previous terminology and the significance of his different approach to the subject. Goldschmidt proposed that better terminology was needed when intersex was viewed from the then new perspective of “cytology, genetics, teratology, physiology, serology, endocrinology, etc.” He also invited endocrinologists to view sex differentiation…
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Photo by Karin

Karin on “Roberta Cowell’s Story, by Herself”

Karin at OII Australia has obtained a PDF rendition of the autobiography of British intersex woman Roberta Cowell. It was published in the UK in 1954 and has long been out of print. Roberta aka Betty underwent urogenital surgery in the early 1950s. She lived a long life, as a World War II fighter pilot…
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ABC’s First Tuesday Book Club: Alice Pung calls central character in “Middlesex” transgendered

ABC’s First Tuesday Book Club: Alice Pung calls central character in “Middlesex” transgendered

Jeffrey Eugenides’ book Middlesex uses as his central character a person with 5 alpha reductase, one of the many physical differences that can lead to intersex. It’s an award-winning and popular read, even though it contains some inaccuracies about intersex people, misrepresenting 5 alpha reductase as a difference that inevitably leads to male-like physicality and…
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Gerald N. Callahan’s book, “Between XX and XY”

Gerald N. Callahan’s book, “Between XX and XY”

Gerard Callahan’s book makes for good reading. Here are a few short extracts. Boys and girls … two things are clear. First, no one has yet figured out the list of ingredients needed to make a boy or a girl—neither chromosomes, nor hormones, nor genes, nor family or society or chance, alone or in combination,…
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