Social Case Study Intersex

644 Words3 Pages
When most people hear the term intersex, they draw a blank. My interviewee Mia, a student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, was no different. The majority of our society has never been introduced to the idea that “biological” sex is a social construct and that there are some people who do not fit neatly into the two boxes we have created to describe sex. Writings by Kim Klausner, Cheryl Chase, and Dr. Cary Gabriel Costello offer an explanation for this ignorance, saying that intersex variations have historically been covered by a shroud of shame and silence, out of the eyes of both the general public and intersex individuals themselves. This silence and lack of education leaves young people like Mia unprepared to potentially make life-altering…show more content…
Such classes may discuss prenatal sexual development and changes during puberty, covering components like chromosomes, hormones, and anatomical structures. They may even include mentions of atypical chromosomal conditions like Klinefelter’s and Turner’s syndromes, framing them as disorders of sex development. However, they usually fail to include any discussion of intersex variations, even though they might include conditions that fall in that spectrum. This was the case for Mia’s educational experience. Before our interview, she had never heard the term intersex, despite the fact that she has a fairly extensive knowledge of biology and expresses an understanding of gender as a spectrum. Cheryl Chase explains the absence of intersex variations in educational and common discourse in her piece “’Cultural Practice’ or ‘Reconstructive Surgery’? U.S. Genital Cutting, the Intersex Movement, and Medical Double Standards,” saying that historically, medical professionals actively discouraged patients and their families from discussing the matter (194). Despite recent progress regarding public understanding and education about the social construction and variability of gender, the shame and silence surrounding intersex variations have hindered discussion of the possibility of sex beyond the traditional binary (Chase…show more content…
Whether in roles as healthcare providers, like Mia and myself, or as parents, a significant number of people will experience situations where they are faced with major decisions regarding the wellbeing of an intersex newborn. According to Kim Klausner in “Intersexuals: Exploding the Binary Sex System,” the medical establishment currently reflects cultural assumptions about sex and prefers to dismiss intersex people as “deficient” males or females (185). Unless they receive prior education about intersex, medical professionals will continue to frame genital normalizing surgery for intersex babies as “correcting a disorder,” and frightened new parents facing an intimidating unknown future for their child will continue to opt for the surgery which often has devastating effects for the child (Chase

More about Social Case Study Intersex

Open Document