William Goyen Northwestern University Press, 1994 Library of Congress PS3513.O97A77 1994 | Dewey Decimal 813.54
Completed while he was dying, William Goyen's Arcadio is one of the most affecting and imaginative farewells to life ever written. Arcadio is a half man, half woman raised in a whorehouse and for years the veteran exhibitionist in an itinerant circus sideshow. After he escapes he searches for his lost family, and during the journey tells the fantastic story of his life.
Changing Sex takes a bold new approach to the study of transsexualism in the twentieth century. By addressing the significance of medical technology to the phenomenon of transsexualism, Bernice L. Hausman transforms current conceptions of transsexuality as a disorder of gender identity by showing how developments in medical knowledge and technology make possible the emergence of new subjectivities. Hausman’s inquiry into the development of endocrinology and plastic surgery shows how advances in medical knowledge were central to the establishment of the material and discursive conditions necessary to produce the demand for sex change—that is, to both "make" and "think" the transsexual. She also retraces the hidden history of the concept of gender, demonstrating that the semantic distinction between "natural" sex and "social" gender has its roots in the development of medical treatment practices for intersexuality—the condition of having physical characteristics of both sexes— in the 1950s. Her research reveals the medical institution’s desire to make heterosexual subjects out of intersexuals and indicates how gender operates semiotically to maintain heterosexuality as the norm of the human body. In critically examining medical discourses, popularizations of medical theories, and transsexual autobiographies, Hausman details the elaboration of "gender narratives" that not only support the emergence of transsexualism, but also regulate the lives of all contemporary Western subjects. Changing Sex will change the ways we think about the relation between sex and gender, the body and sexual identity, and medical technology and the idea of the human.
What happens when a baby is born with “ambiguous” genitalia or a combination of “male” and “female” body parts? Clinicians and parents in these situations are confronted with complicated questions such as whether a girl can have XY chromosomes, or whether some penises are “too small” for a male sex assignment. Since the 1950s, standard treatment has involved determining a sex for these infants and performing surgery to normalize the infant’s genitalia. Over the past decade intersex advocates have mounted unprecedented challenges to treatment, offering alternative perspectives about the meaning and appropriate medical response to intersexuality and driving the field of those who treat intersex conditions into a deep crisis. Katrina Karkazis offers a nuanced, compassionate picture of these charged issues in Fixing Sex, the first book to examine contemporary controversies over the medical management of intersexuality in the United States from the multiple perspectives of those most intimately involved.
Drawing extensively on interviews with adults with intersex conditions, parents, and physicians, Karkazis moves beyond the heated rhetoric to reveal the complex reality of how intersexuality is understood, treated, and experienced today. As she unravels the historical, technological, social, and political forces that have culminated in debates surrounding intersexuality, Karkazis exposes the contentious disagreements among theorists, physicians, intersex adults, activists, and parents—and all that those debates imply about gender and the changing landscape of intersex management. She argues that by viewing intersexuality exclusively through a narrow medical lens we avoid much more difficult questions. Do gender atypical bodies require treatment? Should physicians intervene to control the “sex” of the body? As this illuminating book reveals, debates over treatment for intersexuality force reassessment of the seemingly natural connections between gender, biology, and the body.
Punctuated with remarkable case studies, this book explores extraordinary encounters between hermaphrodites--people born with "ambiguous" sexual anatomy--and the medical and scientific professionals who grappled with them. Alice Dreger focuses on events in France and Britain in the late nineteenth century, a moment of great tension for questions of sex roles. While feminists, homosexuals, and anthropological explorers openly questioned the natures and purposes of the two sexes, anatomical hermaphrodites suggested a deeper question: just how many human sexes are there? Ultimately hermaphrodites led doctors and scientists to another surprisingly difficult question: what is sex, really?
Hermaphrodites and the Medical Invention of Sex takes us inside the doctors' chambers to see how and why medical and scientific men constructed sex, gender, and sexuality as they did, and especially how the material conformation of hermaphroditic bodies--when combined with social exigencies--forced peculiar constructions. Throughout the book Dreger indicates how this history can help us to understand present-day conceptualizations of sex, gender, and sexuality. This leads to an epilogue, where the author discusses and questions the protocols employed today in the treatment of intersexuals (people born hermaphroditic). Given the history she has recounted, should these protocols be reconsidered and revised?
A meticulously researched account of a fascinating problem in the history of medicine, this book will compel the attention of historians, physicians, medical ethicists, intersexuals themselves, and anyone interested in the meanings and foundations of sexual identity.
Approximately one in every two thousand infants born in America each year is sexually ambiguous in such a way that doctors cannot immediately determine the child’s sex. Some children’s chromosomal sexuality contradicts their sexual characteristics. Others have the physical traits of both sexes, or of neither. Is surgical intervention or sex assignment of intersexed children necessary for their physical and psychological health, as the medical and mental health communities largely assume? Should parents raise sexually ambiguous children as one gender or another and keep them ignorant of their medical history?
Drawing upon life history interviews with adults who were treated for intersexuality as children, Sharon E. Preves explores how such individuals experience and cope with being labeled sexual deviants in a society that demands sexual conformity. Preves frames their stories within a sociological discussion of gender, the history of intersex medicalization, the recent political mobilization of intersexed adults, and the implications of their activism on identity negotiation, medical practice, and cultural norms. By demonstrating how intersexed people manage and create their own identities, often in conflict with their medical diagnosis, Preves argues that medical intervention into intersexuality often creates, rather than mitigates, the stigma these people suffer.
Lessons from the Intersexed
Kessler, Suzanne J Rutgers University Press, 1998 Library of Congress RC883.K47 1998 | Dewey Decimal 616.694
From the moment intersexuality-the condition of having physical gender markers (genitals, gonads, or chromosomes) that are neither clearly female nor male-is suspected and diagnosed, social institutions are mobilized in order to maintain the two seemingly objective sexual categories. Infants' bodies are altered, and what was "ambiguous" is made "normal." Kessler's interviews with pediatric surgeons and endocrinologists reveal how the intersex condition is normalized for parents and she argues that the way in which intersexuality is managed by the medical and psychological professions displays our culture's beliefs about gender and genitals.
Parents of intersexed children are rarely heard from, but in this book they provide another perspective on reasons for genital surgeries and the quality of medical and psychological management. Although physicians educate parents about how to think about their children's condition, Kessler learned from parents of intersexed children that some parents are able to accept atypical genitals. Based on analysis of the medical literature and interview with adults who had received treatment as interesexed children, Kessler proposes new approaches for physicians to use in talking with parents and children. She also evaluates the appearance of a politicized vanguard, many of who are promoting an intersexual identity, who seek to alter the way physicians respond to intersexuality.
Kessler explores the possibilities and implications of suspending a commitment to two "natural" genders and addresses gender destabilization issues arising from intersexuality. She thus compels readers to re-think the meaning of gender, genitals, and sexuality.