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The History of Intersexuality: The Emergence and Control of Intersexuality in Medical Discourse

The History of Intersexuality: The Emergence and Control of Intersexuality in Medical Discourse,Matthew Bennett

The History of Intersexuality: The Emergence and Control of Intersexuality in Medical Discourse  
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Many writers have looked upon instances of intersexual births as problems for the binary model that they have identified in western understanding of sex and gender. This paper challenges that interpretation of intersexuality, recognising the place of the concept in an exclusivist taxonomy contrived by those medical professionals that inaugurated the term "intersexual". The birth of the treatment of "intersexuality" was a culmination of a century long conceptual movement that eradicated the "true hermaphrodites" of the pre- medical era and interpreted such anatomies as ambiguous problems to be solved and corrected with infant surgical intervention. This paper will trace the emergence of the concept of intersexuality and the usurpation of human double-sexed hermaphroditic biology and suggest that the political agendas of those aforementioned writers would be best realised by revival of the possibility of the "true hermaphrodite" and a subsequent objection to the normalising surgery of paediatricians of intersexuality.
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