as a partner and ally of an intersex activist i have to admit i'm having very mixed feelings about this post.
on the one hand i'm very grateful for any highlighting of the 'invisible' existence of intersexed people (1 in every 2000 by the way) and how our 'western civilised' society tries to literally extinct them as a species by probably the worst atrocities and crimes against the humanity under the guise of 'science' and 'medicine' since 1945. and i'm also especially grateful for even the slightest mention of hermaphrodites' decadelong fight against the inhumane practice of forced genital surgery and castration in early childhood, followed by lifelong forced hormone and other non-consented (mostly not even informed informed) "treatments", since i think it should receive a lot more solidarity and active support. so, for one, i'm very happy about this post.
unfortunately, on the other hand, in this review, once more the ongoing struggle of the intersexed and their key demand of ending the forced surgeries immediately (which as far as i know is amply described in the book) is hardly mentioned at all.
once more the focus is not on the intersexed, but solely on gender issues.
once more, the very person who coined the terms 'gender' (as opposed to sex), 'gender identity' and 'gender role' etc. in the fifties, and who used it as the "scientific" grounds for bringing in effect the still ongoing "genocide of hermaphrodites", and who explicitly defined himself as a feminist ally (and who dismissed critique against his inhumane practice as part of the 'backlash' to drive 'women back to the spheres of domesticity', is also omitted -- despite that he's mentioned 7 times just in the intro of karkazis' book (from wich by the way all the quotes in the review were taken):
thus once more the struggle of the intersexed against the atrocities commited against them gets no coverage, but instead hermaphrodites are reduced to a mere 'important empirical support' for 'transgender or queer identities or politics'.
same in most comments.
no offence, but every time i'm confronted with this frequent "re-use" of the intersexed, i'm suddendly feeling like i should puke for the rest of my life.
how can you protest e.g. against female genital cutting in other cultures -- and tolerate (and even "re-use") intersex genital cutting in your very own?
don't you have a heart?!
by all that is human: how about a little practical help, support, solidarity, political action etc. specifically for the intersexed -- instead of just gender-talk and advancing your own agenda?!!
and whithin the parameters of feminism, gender studies and queer theory: how about perhaps some due critical review of the (not always so bright) sources of the concept of gender and all their implications?
(again, no offence, but i can really hardly stand it)
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Hermaphrodites as cannon fodder, erm, 'important empirical support' for 'transgender or queer identities or politics'
My comment on a review over at Feministe of the new book about Intersex, "Fixing Sex" by Katrina A. Karkazis: