Defining Male and Female (Arizona Law Review)

Classification: Law | News

28 September 1999 For Immediate Release

"Defining Male and Female: Intersexuality and the Collision Between Law and Biology," published in the Arizona Law Review's Summer 1999 number, is a broad examination of the law's treatment of persons of ambiguous sex. Author Julie Greenberg, of San Diego's Thomas Jefferson School of Law, examines binary assumptions in the law and offers a brief discussion of how biology confounds those assumptions.

Greenberg then examines cases which have produced legal definitions of the terms "male," "female," and "sex," and analyzes the legislative intent underlying laws which differentiate based upon sex in order to determine to what extent presumed legislative goals are actually accomplished. Finally, she uses the lens of therapeutic jurisprudence to examine the negative impact which the current legal approach has on individuals and on our society.

"The law, by clinging to a binary system that blindly ignores the existence of inersexuals and the importance of self-identity, reinforces the perception that intersexuality is unacceptable."

Greenberg, Julie A. 1998. Defining Male and Female: Intersexuality and the Collision Between Law and Biology. Arizona Law Review 41 (2):265-328.