ISNA Welcomes New Board Members

Classification: News

ISNA is pleased to announce that William Hanley, A.A., B.A. and Arlene Baratz, M.D have joined our Board of Directors.

Both Hanley and Baratz come to the board with a wealth of experience in the healthcare field where they have worked to understand and overcome healthcare disparities while working toward a patient-centered model of care. We’re proud to welcome these two new board members and look forward to working alongside them.

Click here to read more about “ISNA’s Board of Director

Law and Order SVU does John/Joan story

Classification: News | Recent Publications

On Jan. 18, 2005 NBC aired an episode (“Identity”) of Law & Order SVU closely mimicking David Reimer’s story (“the John/Joan case”) as a plot, right down to a vaporized penis, quotes like “easier to dig a hole than build a pole,” secrets and lies and a very unsavory representation of a doctor implicitly modeled after John Money. (Note that John Money is actually a psychologist, not a medical doctor.) If you see it pop up on the tv schedule in re-runs (often on the USA Network), check it out.

Legal Discussion on Intersex

Classification: News

A diverse collection of academics and activists gathered at a symposium on Intersex Education, Advocacy, and the Law held at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law of Yeshiva University in New York City on February 22-23 co-sponsored by the Cardozo Women’s Law Journal and Bodies Like Ours. Panelists discussed

  • Classifying Gender: Cultural Imperatives and Legal Constraints
  • The Cultural [Il]logic of “Normalization” Surgery

Madison Woman Discusses Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome

Classification: News | What We're Reading

On Friday, September 21, 2007, the Oprah Winfrey Show interviewed Katie, Lynnell, Hida, and Arlene about their experiences of growing up with intersex conditions. Marcia from Madison Wisconsin took advantage of the attention to the issue to tell her story to the Wisconsin State Journal.

Marcia says the Oprah show is an important milestone in talking about a condition that caused so much shame that her family and doctor hid the truth from her. She didn’t learn that she had XY chromosomes until she read her own medical records at age 35.

“I hope there will be other girls like me out there watching this and knowing they aren’t alone,” she said.

Read the rest of the story at Orchid ladies test gender perception.

Congratulations, Marcia!

Miki Ann Dimarco confined in isolation because she's intersexed

Classification: Law | News | Recent Publications

The Casper Wyoming Star Tribune is carrying an article about Miki Ann Dimarco. Early this year, a U.S. District Court judge found that 438 days of confinement in Pod Three, a maximum security four-cell segregated area that is used to house the Wyoming Women’s Center worst inmates, was not cruel an unusual punishment. Dimarco was found guilty of passing six bad checks, totalling $742.85. That’s not why she was confined all alone for over a year. Rather, prison officials decided to segregate her when they discovered that she was intersexed.

Dusen, Matthew Van. 2004. Separate and Unequal. Casper Star Tribune, December 8. Available online.

More Evidence People Did Well without Surgery!

Classification: News

This comes from Christina Matta, author of a very interesting new article on the history of intersex: “Ambiguous Bodies and Deviant Sexualities: Hermaphrodites, Homosexuality, and Surgery in the United States, 1850-1904,” Perspectives in Biology and Medicine, vol. 48, no. 1, Winter 2005. We asked Ms. Matta to summarize for our visitors what she learned about whether people with intersex faired well or poorly in the era before pediatric “normalizing” surgeries became standard practice. Here is what she wrote:

To anyone who understands that intersex genitals are not a life-threatening condition, the predominance of childhood “normalizing” surgeries as a medical response to atypical anatomies is completely inexplicable. It is even more inexplicable given that historically, adults with intersex were, by default, completely in control of their anatomies. Even if they had reason to consult a doctor (and those who did almost always did so for reasons that had nothing to do with their genitals), very few individuals were interested in the “solutions” doctors spontaneously offered. In the first half of the nineteenth century, in fact, all doctors could do was tell patients that they were not the sex they thought, and to order them to stop wearing pants (or to start wearing pants!) or otherwise act according to more appropriate gender roles. (In Hermaphrodites and the Medical Invention of Sex, Alice Dreger tells the story of a Belgian doctor who, in 1886, exclaimed after examining his patient, “But my good woman, you are a man!”) But this was the extent of medical treatment for intersex, and there’s nothing to suggest that patients bothered to do as they were told.

Ms. Magazine: "What's Female? The Surgical Solution"

Classification: News

"Every time a baby is born in the U.S., doctors decide whether its genitals are 'normal' or not. A girl born with a big clitoris is in big trouble." - Martha Coventry, in Making the Cut in the Oct. 2000 issue of Ms. Magazine.

NBC's "Friends" episode offensive to intersex youth

Classification: News

Intersex youth was the butt of a joke in the thanksgiving episode (Nov. 22, 2001) of NBC's popular sit-com, Friends, and intersex activists and allies are talking to NBC to address how hurtful and offensive it was to us.

Nerve Magazine 100 for 2000 (See number 50.)

Classification: News

Nerve Magazine named Cheryl Chase one of the 100 significant people/places/things of 2000! (Read Article)

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