BY TEAGAN WEBB ’19
I would like to use this week to raise some awareness about intersex justice projects. To start with a definition, someone who is intersex is born with “sexual or reproductive anatomy which doesn’t seem to fit the typical definitions of female or male.” This often results in nonconsensual surgery and hormone therapy on infants, to avoid an imagined future adult who doesn’t adhere to a strict sex categorization. The greater implications this has on the medical field and gender can’t fit here, but I hope to open up a door for integration of intersex politics into broader feminist sex politics.
Sex, the action and the medicalized category, is a main topic of reproductive justice and feminism. Reproductive justice fights the policing of bodies, especially those most vulnerable to heteropatriarchy. This means that although one may have a personal relationship with having been assigned male or female at birth and thus as a sexual being, we must understand how that is also a political action. Incorporation of intersex justice means fighting infant sex assignment surgery and the notion of “normal-looking” sexual anatomy. It also means advocating for insurance coverage for any kind of counseling an intersex person may pursue, always centering unashamed honesty in any medical care. Such actions are only the beginning of a larger effort to dismantle an oppressive medicalization of “improperly sexed” bodies. So, as always, listening is key! Intersex people, like any marginalized group, are not homogenous. To learn more about intersex issues and to become a better ally, I recommend the Transgender, Gender Variant and Intersex Justice Project (TGI Justice Project) and the Intersex Society of North America (ISNA). Happy educating!
“Never Fear” is a sexual health column run by Teagan Webb ’19. If you have a question you’d like answered, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.