Saturday, February 28, 2009

LGBT...I? Intersex Inclusion

For more information about intersex written
by intersex people, visit OII.

Information in English:
Click here or here

Woman delivers ‘hermaphrodite’ twins

By Orlando DinoyMindanao BureauFirst Posted 02:21:00 02/28/2009
Filed Under: Science (general), Health

MALITA, Davao del Sur, Philippines—Twins, each with male and female genitals, were born to a 25-year-old mother here on Tuesday.

Glory Jean Ferrer, the twins’ mother, gave birth to the babies at the Malita district hospital at 7 a.m., said its resident physician, Dr. Paulito Montero.

According to Montero, the babies are hermaphrodites because they each have male and female reproductive organs.

He said one of the babies was considered “male” because he has “testicles and he urinates using his male organ [so] we have confirmed he is a boy.”

Montero said the other baby was considered “female” although she has what appears to be “balls.”

The absence of an actual testes and scrotum made her more female than male, he added. Montero said this could be the first recorded birth of twin hermaphrodites in this town. He said the babies were doing well and could be discharged from the hospital soon.

Remedial surgery

The mother, a member of the Tagakaulo tribe, said she was very happy with the birth of the babies but worried about how they would cope with having two genitals when they grow up. “I want my children to live normal lives. Maybe they can have some surgery to remedy their situation,” she said.

If there was a surgical solution to correct the twins’ condition, Ferrer said she would have to ask help from groups offering medical assistance to poor families.

She said her husband earned a small living tending their small farm.

Source: Click here

This is a service of the
Organisation Intersex International

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Divine Sex Changes in Genesis

TransScript: Divine Sex Changes in Genesis
by Megan Rohrer

Saturday, February 21, 2009

When culture began to believe that men were superior to women, it reinterpreted the queer creation story into a story of a woman coming from a man in order to reinforce cultural assumptions. And for centuries, patriarchal assumptions continued to reinterpret and sometimes guide our scientific assumptions of sex and gender.1

Still, the earliest listeners and readers of our sacred scriptures believed that sex changes were a miracle of God(dess), beginning with the first sex reassignment surgery that was preformed by God(dess) trans-forming the intersexual Adam into a male Adam and female Eve.2

This first sex change was not the final act of creation that ended the need for any other sex changes. Ancient Israelites believed that there were more than two genders: male, female, barren women and Eunuchs.3 While rejecting the assumption that you cannot be fully a woman or man if you cannot procreate, we must continue to lift up the sacred stories of the God(dess) who not only performs sex change miracles but uses gender queer individuals as agents of God(dess)'s work in the world.

The earliest readers of the Hebrew Bible believed that barren women and circumcised men were models of the androgynous ideal (like the Divine Androgen).4 This means that God(dess)'s command that all men be circumcised could be said to be a requirement that all faithful believers undergo a physical sex change. Numerous barren women also received divine sex changes when God(dess) notices them and opens their wombs: Sarai,
Rebecca, Leah, Rachael, Zulaikaha, and Hannah.5

While the type of sex change that comes from circumcision or the opening of a womb seems very different then the surgical and hormonal sex changes that some transsexuals undergo, the story of Dinah's sex change may speak more to the contemporary transsexual experience.6 This story begins with Jacob, a character so gender queer, that even Luther notices.7 But, how could he not notice when the text seems to go out of its way to note that everything that Jacob does is feminine: female pronouns are used to describe him and it is noted that he "dwells in tents" (Gen 25:27) which were known to be the space of women. Even more queer is the fact that this effeminate male is able to amass so much masculine power, which the patriarchy of the time defined as the ability to "take" multiple wives and produce many male children.8

Jacob's children come as the result of at least two divine sex changes (Leah's womb is opened in 29:31 and Rachael's is opened in 30:22) and ultimately produces twelve male offspring, who become known as the twelve tribes of Israel. Though its not recorded in the text, ancient readers believed that after eleven of the sons were born (six to Leah, two to Bilhah and two to Zilpah), that Leah prayed to God(dess) to have a girl so that her sister Rachael could bear Jacob's final male child, Joseph.9

While some sources believed that Dinah's sex change occurred in Leah's womb and others believed it was happened after Dinah was born they all agree that it was God(dess) who changed Dinah's sex from male to female. Yet most commentators fail to notice that the cost to Dinah for her divine sex change is the loss of the privileges given to men in a patriarchal society.10 As a woman Dinah endures the subjugation commonly endured by other women of her time when she is raped by Sehecham (34:2-7) and "treated like a whore" (34:31). Dinah ultimately dies giving birth to Benjamin.11

Despite Dinah's unfortunate fate, the prayer of Leah has been used by trans individuals as model for praying to God(dess) for a sex change. Qalonymos ben Qalonymos in Even Bohan (1322) prayed:

Our Father in Heaven! You who did miracles to our fathers by fire and water; you who turned [the furnace] in Ur of the Chaldees [cold] to stop it from burning [Abraham]; you who turned Dinah in her mother's womb [into a girl]; you who turned the rod [of Moses] into a serpent in front of tens of thousands; you who turned [Moses'] pure arm into a [leper's] white arm; you who turned the Red Sea into land, and the sea floor into solid and dried-up earth; you who turned the rock into a lake, the cliff into a fountain -- if only you would turn me from male to female.12

The sex changes in Genesis could be read as enforcing strict gender binaries, as God(dess)'s way to trans-form the gender queer into "normal" procreative men and women. But, we have already seen how God(dess) uses Jacob in gender queer ways, without correcting or changing the ways Jacob is queer in gender. Michael Carden, who called Jacob a "pretty-boy nancy,"13 describes Jacob's youngest son Joseph as "twitling, minicing, in rainbow garb and with painted eyes, Joseph is a flaming young queen."14 God(dess) continues to use gender non-conforming individuals not only in the book of Genesis, but throughout our sacred texts.

1. See Laquer, Thomas, Making Sex: Body and Gender From the Greeks to Freud, Harvard University Press, 1992.

2. The Jewish midrash argues that: "Men and women were originally undivided, i.e. Adam was at first created bisexual, a hermaphrodite." [Plaut, W. Gunther, The Torah: Genesis -- A Modern Commentary, 1974, 24.] See also, Gottwald, N. K. 1985. The Hebrew Bible -- a socio-literary introduction. Includes index. Fortress Press: Philadelphia

3. Carden, Michael, "Genesis/Bereshit," The Queer Bible Commentary, Ed. Guest, Deryn, et. al., SCM Press, 2006, 27.

4. Ibid, 33, 35 and 49.

5. Ibid.

6. See Carden, Michael, "Genesis/Bereshit," 47-51.

7. LW5: Lectures on Genesis: Chapters 26-30: Genesis 29:29

8. See Carden, Michael, "Genesis/Bereshit," 47-51 and Stone, Ken, "1 and 2 Samuel," The Queer Bible Commentary, Ed. Guest, Deryn, et. al., SCM Press, 2006, 212.

9. See Berakhot 60a and Tanhuma 19:5.

10. Rosen, Tova, Circumcised Cinderella, 89.

11. Carden, Michael, "Genesis/Bereshit," 51.

12. As it appears in Rosen, Tova, "Circumcised Cinderella," 87.

13. Carden, Michael, "Genesis/Bereshit," 50.

14. Ibid, 53.

Posted by Rev. Megan M. Rohrer at 1:38 PM

This is a service of the
Organisation Intersex International


"The word “love” exists for a reason and it cannot be defined rationally because there are more important regions of our consciousness to be explored. The regions of the heart cannot be expressed in mere words. There is a reality beyond words and all human knowledge which depends on language to express it can only hint at the great mystery of life. There is a place for silence and reverence. There is a place for awe." - Dedicated to my partner Jeannie Kay

- Curtis E. Hinkle

'House' Recap: The Hermaphrodite

The episode starts with a family deciding whether their newborn will be a male or female, since (s)he was born with both genitalia. It then flashes to a young big eyed boy who wins the basketball game for his team, and then falls over in pain. House takes on the case without argument and cheerfully asks Wilson for his food instead of stealing it, and then when the parents ask for a completely unnecessary MRI, he agrees to it. This freaks Wilson out to the point of distraction, because this is not the evil, malicious, wonderful House he knows and has a bromance with. When he asks Cuddy if she slept with House, she denies it but becomes suspicious herself of the normally acerbic doctor.

Foreteen are excited that House is ignoring them now that they 'broke up' and seem like children themselves. This is ruined by the fact that both Kutner and Taub reassure them that breaking up was the best thing to do, and point out things that suck about the other partner. Taub shows that Foreman has no personality (HA), and Kutner that 13 would probably just leave Foreman for a woman. They start to bicker, and then realize the two already know they are still together. But House hasn't ... what?! Foreman decides at that time that House must be on heroin, which Wilson has come to suspect as well. Wilson confronts House at dinner, and House admits to being on methadone; a totally legal drug that nevertheless might kill him. It stopped his breathing earlier in the episode, and Foreman had to twist his nipples to wake him up. Not kidding.
To read the complete article: Click here
This is a service of the

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

TV Recap: House – The Softer Side

By Charmaine P. Dennis: 2009-02-24
I haven’t had a kid yet, but I imagine having my first should be pretty scary. There are so many things that can go wrong when having a child: Down’s syndrome, a heart defect, cleft palate, freckles (no offense, I love my spotty brothers and sisters; I’m just glad it ain’t me). Most parents just hope and pray for the best, then count fingers and toes when their little one pops out. Unfortunately, the couple on tonight’s episode of House receive news a little more serious than a skin condition. A flashback scene shows them in a hospital room, mom cradling her newborn baby. Congratulations! It’s a…? A doctor tells them that they got a two-for-one special in their bundle of joy: their child is a genetic mosaic, born with both male and female DNA. Surgery can “correct” the ambiguous genitalia, but they need to decide whether they like pink or blue.

To read the complete article: Click here

This is a service of the

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

In Mermoriam: Jeannie Kay Mebus Hinkle

In Memoriam
Jeannie Kay Mebus Hinkle

Former GSU Lecturer: I Was Fired for Intersex Guest Speaker

By Matthew Cardinale, News Editor, The Atlanta Progressive News (February 23, 2009)

(APN) ATLANTA - The following is a reprint of the press release distributed today by Matthew Cardinale, a former lecturer at Georgia State University and the News Editor of Atlanta Progressive News:


ATLANTA - Former Georgia State University Lecturer, and current PhD student, Matthew Cardinale, today, February 23, 2009, filed an eight page complaint GSU Sociology Department Chair Donald Reitzes, and Lecturer and Teaching Director Mindy Stombler.

The full text of the complaint is available at

The complaint alleges Reitzes and Stombler engaged in an unjust, unethical, and discriminatory effort to terminate Cardinale, because Cardinale was challenging textbook definitions and Stomber's curriculum practices regarding sex and gender. Specifically, Cardinale was attempting to promote awareness of intersex people in his Introduction to Sociology lesson plans.

"I was basically fired for teaching about intersex people in my Introduction to Sociology course this Summer against the wishes of Stombler. Stombler said she agreed with me that sex is socially constructed-in that we, as a society, have to define how many sexes there are, who gets to fit into each category, and how to handle the anomalies-but she said that it was too advanced for 101 students," Cardinale said.

"Because we do define sex and gender in any 101 class, I felt it was important to define those terms accurately and inclusively from the beginning," Cardinale said.

Last summer, an Atlanta Police Officer, Darlene Harris, came out as intersex, as reported in Southern Voice Magazine, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and Atlanta Progressive News.

Cardinale had invited Harris to come in and speak to his class about her experiences as an intersex person, to help illustrate the social construction of sex. Unfortunately, afterward, Stombler took issue with Harris's guest lecture and said the Department would not support Cardinale's lesson plans.

In a written response to Stombler, Cardinale refused to take the material out of his lesson plans.

In a statement of support, Atlanta-based activist who is intersex, Caitlin Childs, said: "It is imperative that universities and colleges teach students accurate information about the social construction of both sex and gender, which includes accurate basic definitions of these terms.

"So much of the pain, stigma, and shame that myself and other intersex individuals go through could be avoided if more people were given basic education around these issues. Intersex conditions are not rare, it is estimated that 1 in 2000 children are born with obvious intersex conditions (this does not include many of us, like myself, that are diagnosed later in life.)," Childs said.

"Basic education and discussion of the existence of intersex people is an integral part of undoing the damage that has been done to intersex people specifically, and the damage the idea of binary and biological sex does to all of us," Childs said.

Cardinale is asking for a University review of the circumstances of his termination, and a review of the curriculum direction by Stombler, to ensure that our most basic sociological teachings about sex and gender are accurate and inclusive from the start.

"Thank you for allowing me to speak to your Sociology 101 class on July 17, 2008. I do believe that it is imperative that Professors like yourself give a platform to people like me for the purpose of teaching and facilitating dialogue. This is what education is about, not only to learn from a text book but to be able to bring the text book alive with real life experience," Officer Harris wrote in an email.

"I truly enjoyed your class and I do believe that they learned something and was empowered with knowledge about a subject that is starting to get national recognition. Although we as a society have a long way to go when it comes to acceptance of things not understood, the process must start somewhere. What better place to start then in the classroom with the minds that will lead us tomorrow, Harris wrote.

"I think that people are starting to realize that biologically people like myself are not freaks but that we are human beings that are just different. Then again who IS the same... No one is like the next person. That is what makes us uniquely different. It is amazing what happens around us when others are uncomfortable speaking about a topic that is not understood. Dialogue is encouraged to stop and everyone begins to act like silence is the answer when it really is the opposite. When you don't understand you ask, when the answers don't come, you seek and in the end you learn. Along with this education comes with a mental freedom and tolerance that makes this world a more tolerable and enjoyable place to be, to say the least," Harris wrote.

Incidentally, Stombler has been in the news in recent weeks for her sociological expertise in oral sex, which is being attacked by Republican legislators.

"To me, it is ironic that the exact same people-Stombler and Reitzes-who were involved in my termination are now, when up against a Republican legislature, portraying themselves as champions of free thought and critical thinking, especially when I know my experience as an instructor was just the opposite," Cardinale said.

"What it suggests is that even a Department which considers itself progressive in terms of sexuality studies, is still willing to marginalize intersex people through its 101 curriculum. Despite the fact it was my lifelong dream to teach, I would never sacrifice an oppressed group to the politics of silence," Cardinale said.

To be sure, Reitzes said at the time he was concerned about Cardinale's student feedback as well as his not accepting the advice of Stombler. However, Reitzes noted that the student feedback issue alone would not have led to termination. Therefore, it was Cardinale's not accepting the advice of Stombler regarding teaching about intersex people, that led to the termination.

The complaint has been submitted to President Mark Becker, Provost Ronald James Henry, and Dean Lauren Adamson of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

A previous article about intersex activist Darlene Harris is available at

About the author:

Matthew Cardinale is the News Editor for The Atlanta Progressive News, and is reachable is

Monday, February 23, 2009



By Matthew Cardinale, News Editor, The Atlanta Progressive News (February 22, 2009)
(APN) ATLANTA -- The following is a full text copy of the complaint that will be filed tomorrow, February 23, 2009, by the present author with Georgia State University. A full statement will be issued tomorrow as well.



ON FEBURARY 23, 2009


I am filing this complaint against the above parties at Georgia State University for their participation in what I believe to be an unjust, unethical, and discriminatory firing of me in July 2008 in my position as a graduate lecturer.

As I will explain in this complaint, I believe I was basically fired for teaching that not only gender, but also sex, is socially constructed, in my Introduction to Sociology course; for bringing in an intersex guest speaker, Officer Darlene Harris, against the wishes of Teaching Director Mindy Stombler; and for refusing to take the material out of my future course plans.
First and foremost, I am asking for a full review of the curriculum direction practices of the Lecturer and Teaching Director, Mindy Stombler. Stombler--based on my first-hand experience--has been engaged in preventing me as a lecturer from attempting to update an inaccurate and out-dated textbook definition of sex, a definition which excludes intersex people but continues to be taught in most available Introduction to Sociology textbooks.

At this time, I am also asking for a full University investigation into the circumstances of my termination. While I would not be interested in teaching again at GSU under the current leadership of the Sociology Department, I do believe filing this formal complaint is the best way for me to protect myself from retaliation by the Department at this time.

The complaint will include three sections: (1) an explanation of why textbook definitions of sex which exclude intersex people must be updated; (2) a factual review of events; (3) an analysis about why I believe the actions of Reitzes and Stombler were unjust, unethical, and discriminatory.


This summer, I taught my first Sociology class at GSU, as part of a Teaching Internship offered by Lecturer, Mindy Stombler.

In attempting to select a textbook that met all of my course goals, I was thoroughly disappointed. For one thing, I noticed that out of several textbooks I reviewed, only one of them explained that sex was a social construction [and yet, that textbook was weak in other areas].
All of the other Introduction to Sociology textbooks included a chapter on sex and gender; however, defined at least one of the terms problematically. Most introductory textbooks explain that gender—notions about how males and females are expected to act--is socially constructed, whereas sex, on the other hand, is "biological."

But somebody left out the asterisk on the word "biological." Our notion of two sexes is a social construction; that is, it does not come from biology, fate, or destiny, but is something our society arbitrarily defines.

For instance, how do we define sex? Sexuality scholars have noted that a person’s sex can be defined by hormones, by organs, or by genes. What is then the exact proportion of hormones by which we divide people into male and female? Does a person need to meet all three sets of criteria to be male or female, or will we accept two out of three?

Consider Atlanta Police Officer Darlene Harris, who was recently featured in Southern Voice magazine, the Atlanta-Journal Constitution newspaper, and the Atlanta Progressive News online news service. Harris, who has borderline female physical features and high testosterone, learned she also has male chromosomes.

To be sure, there is not only a third sex, but dozens of possible, and actual, permutations. Or to be more accurate, there is no sex at all; there is only our arbitrary categorization system, our system of values which inform it, and our societal obsession with classification.

Intersex people know who they are: they're the people that their creator, whether God, nature, or both, made them to be. It's the rest of us in society who have identity issues to deal with because of our attachment to the binary.

And so, the majority of available sociology textbooks are wrong, but that should not be surprising, because they have been wrong before. The pursuit of science and knowledge is supposed to result in the improvement of our understanding of our world over time. If we never updated our textbooks, then what would be the benefit of University scholarship?
While it is publishers, and not the Department, who are responsible for the majority of available textbooks being wrong, lecturers should be allowed to contradict textbooks with available information when appropriate.


1. In my Introductory Sociology class, during a chapter on Social Control, we discussed how various societal categories, including race, class, sex, and sexual orientation, are socially constructed in one way or another.

2. After class, two students proceeded to tell me that I should not be teaching that sex is a social construction because, as they put it, "hermaphrodites are mutations," "reproduction is the primary purpose of life," "only men and women can reproduce," and therefore sex is biological.

3. After this happened, I immediately called Stombler seeking support. Because Stombler was the Teaching Director and it was my first time teaching, I had called her about a dozen times over the summer seeking advice on various class matters. Cell phone records will confirm this.

4. I was shocked and deeply troubled when her response was that she agreed with me that sex was a social construction, but it was "too advanced for an Intro class." Instead of being supportive, she said she "wouldn't spend too much time on it" if it were her.

5. Because her advice was conditioned upon “if it were her,” and based on the fact that I am not her but a separate bona fide individual, it was clear to me that her advice was not presented as a directive, but as a suggestion.

6. The reason I chose not to accept her advice was based on my rejection of her assumption that it is “too advanced for an Intro class.” Because we do define both terms, sex and gender, in any Introduction to Sociology course, I believed that I had an affirmative obligation to my students to define both terms accurately and contradict the textbook if necessary.

7. Based on my scientific and ethical principles, I was not comfortable telling students that sex is biological, because societal institutions still play a role in defining how many sexes there are, who gets to fit into each one, and how to handle the anomalies.

8. Georgia State University is an institution of higher learning, whose mission promotes seeking the truth and opening our minds to think critically, not protecting our leaders of tomorrow from information that might make them uncomfortable.

9. This summer, Southern Voice magazine ran a feature about Atlanta Police Officer Darlene Harris, following her recent decision to come out as intersex. Harris was a colleague of mine.

10. Because my students had numerous questions about my previous lesson on sex as a social construction, I scheduled Officer Harris to come in and speak to my class on the day that we were scheduled to cover sex and gender.

11. Harris's guest lecture was a major hit. The students loved it and wrote touching thank you messages on a card (a photocopy is available). It was powerful and transformative for them to meet Harris. They say, seeing is believing.

12. The following week, Stombler conducted a focus group with my students, although she allowed half of the students to leave.

13. Prof. Stombler told me verbally on the day following her focus group with my students that it was a "mixed" evaluation and that the students had both positive things to say as well as areas for improvement.

14. When the course was over in July, Stombler provided feedback on my teaching as part of the Teaching Internship. At the beginning of the conversation she states that the Department Chair Donald Reitzes wants to speak with me and that I could contact him to schedule a meeting.

15. In this feedback, she angrily says she did not want me to teach about sex as a social construction because it takes too much time to explain it, and is too specific, in an Intro course. She says if I want to cover this in the future "the Department won't support you."

16. Stombler then cut off communication with me about the curriculum issue, refusing to discuss it with me any further which I believe was problematic. I believe that given sufficient dialogue about the issue that we could have some to a mutually acceptable curriculum plan related to this topic. However, she stated she did not want to discuss it with me any longer, and that we each had different positions which would not change.

17. Stombler also went through a list of other issues during the conversation which she gathered from her observation of me teaching [which she said looked pretty good] and a focus group with only half of my students present.

18. Stombler outlined several positive things and also some negative things, in a rather balanced manner about the focus group sampling. At no point did she state any overall negative assessment of my teaching. I emailed my notes from this conversation to myself as soon as it was finished, providing contemporaneous evidence of what transpired.

19. In this conversation, Stombler refused to engage in any meaningful dialogue—actually, no dialogue at all—regarding her focus group sampling of student feedback. Specifically, as I stated later in the meeting with Stombler and Reitzes: when Stombler and I spoke on the phone previously about the focus group results, she would state a point, I would respond, and then she would say, "Okay, the next thing I observed was…" or "The next thing the students said was…" In that sense, it was very rote, she was clearly not responding to any responses I had, and it was quite like talking to an automated system.

20. Stombler later agreed with this characterization of our phone conversation in our subsequent meeting with Reitzes, saying it was an accurate account of what transpired.

21. In my final paper for the course, I refused to remove the content from my lesson plans that Stombler had demanded:

"What I disliked about teaching was the lack of respect and appreciation from certain students in the class, as well as the lack of support from Prof. Stombler regarding teaching the topic of sex as a social construction."

"Regarding the second point, I am deeply troubled that Prof. Stombler is not supporting my teaching of sex as a social construction, saying that it is too specific and challenging of a topic for an introductory course. I believe that there are many topics which are specific and challenging but that this one has been singled out as being unworthy of class discussion. To me, if we are going to talk about the difference between gender and sex, and how gender is a social construction, but we do not talk about how sex is a social construction, then that is misleading to students and disrespectful to intersex people in this world. I am truly shocked that I am not being supported on this topic by Prof. Stomber [sic], when I had thought that she and others in the Sociology Department at Georgia State University saw sex and gender as an important area of study and discourse. I can see how it is easy to take this approach because intersex people are marginalized and in the minority, and thus are often outside of the public's sphere of awareness, but because I now have two friends who are intersex, I am not comfortable with leaving their experiences, and the theoretical implications thereof, out of an introductory course where sex and gender are explicitly discussed."

"As far as what I would do the same or differently... I would definitely not take the course material regarding sex as a social construction out of my lesson plans."

22. Stombler later criticized my final paper for the class.

23. According the syllabus for the course, Stombler promised that she would provide students the opportunity to re-write the final paper in the future, should she be unsatisfied with it. She never did provide me with that opportunity, which I believe is an unfair deviation from the syllabus, especially when her opinion about my final paper was later cited as part of the rationale from taking me off the course schedule.

24. The day before my meeting with Reitzes and Stombler, my name is taken off the course list for Fall 2008.

25. Officer Darlene Harris wrote the following email in an effort to convince Reitzes and Stombler to change their minds, which I forwarded to Reitzes and copied Stombler.

Professor Cardinale:
I wanted to take the time out to thank you for allowing me to speak to your Sociology 101 class on July 17, 2008. I do believe that it is imperative that Professors like yourself give a platform to people like me for the purpose of teaching and facilitating dialogue. This is what education is about, not only to learn from a text book but to be able to bring the text book alive with real life experience. I truly enjoyed your class and I do believe that they learned something and was empowered with knowledge about a subject that is starting to get national recognition. Although we as a society have a long way to go when it comes to acceptance of things not understood, the process must start somewhere. What better place to start then in the classroom with the minds that will lead us tomorrow.

Intersexuals are being interviewed in our newspapers, on television (the Oprah Winfrey show) and on radio. I think that people are starting to realize that biologically people like myself are not freaks but that we are human beings that are just different. Then again who IS the same....No one is like the next person. That is what makes us uniquely different. It is amazing what happens around us when others are uncomfortable speaking about a topic that is not understood. Dialogue is encouraged to stop and everyone begins to act like silence is the answer when it really is the opposite. When you don't understand you ask, when the answers don't come, you seek and in the end you learn. Along with this education comes with a mental freedom and tolerance that makes this world a more tolerable and enjoyable place to be, to say the least.
I thank Georgia State University for allowing me an opportunity to teach as well as be taught by it's students. I thank you again and if you ever need my assistance just call and I will be there.

26. No response to this email was ever received, which I consider to be extremely rude to Officer Harris.

27. At the meeting with Reitzes and Stombler, Reitzes states that my Fall class had been taken away from me. Reitzes had issues with my student feedback as well, but said I would not have been fired for that issue alone. It was my not accepting the advice of Stombler that did it. (Contemporaneous handwritten notes from this meeting are also available).

28. Cited as evidence that I was not accepting the advice of Stombler were two issues: my bringing in an intersex guest speaker, and my writing a final paper that did not incorporate her advice.

29. Specifically, in the meeting, Stombler charged that I brought in a guest speaker even though she told me not to.

30. I pointed out (see 4 and 5) that she never told me not to continue teaching about intersex this Summer, but that she simply said she would not spend too much time on it “if it were her.”

31. Stombler admitted I was correct that she did not issue a specific directive. Reitzes noted, if it had been him, “I would’ve said, don’t do it.”

32. The revelation that she had never issued a directive had no bearing on Reitzes’s decision. He refused to revisit the decision despite this and other refutations I had to Stombler’s complaints.

33. I also attempted to discuss why curriculum needed to be changed in our GSU Introduction to Sociology classes in the meeting. However, Reitzes refused to get into a discussion, although he did not seem to understand why sex was a social construction because I had to explain it to him. Moreover, my bringing up this issue did not result in any review of such an important substantive matter on his part.

34. I brought numerous examples of very positive feedback I had received from students over the course of the Semester, including emails and a personal note written on a student’s final exam (all of these are available for review). Reitzes refused to look at the majority of these, stating it did not matter.


While it is not transparent whether Stombler made a recommendation that I be terminated, it is clear that Stombler made a complaint to Reitzes which led to his decision to terminate my position. Technically, it is Reitzes’s decision as the employer as to who gets to continue teaching; however, Reitzes’s actions were at the very least based on assertions made by Stombler.
I predict that this complaint will cause some embarrassment to the Sociology Department, seeing as how the Department is currently attempting to promote itself in the media and publicly as a bastion of free thought and critical thinking. Because of this, I anticipate that Reitzes and Stombler will probably deny that my curriculum choices had anything to do with my termination. I believe—and evidence will suggest—that Reitzes and Stombler unfortunately have and will continue to manufacture other reasons for my termination in order to obscure the real reason.

First and foremost, Prof. Stombler did not seem to be completely truthful with me regarding her and my students' evaluations of my teaching. There were many inconsistencies in the statements she made to me, in that the statements changed over time.

For example, (see points 13, 17, and 18) Stombler did not, in her original conversations with me, provide any overall negative assessment of my focus group feedback, instead listing a mixture of positive and negative things. According to my contemporaneous notes of the conversation, the majority of feedback was positive and her own observation of my teaching was mostly positive.
This representation of my focus group feedback shifted over time. At the meeting with Reitzes, much to my surprise, Stombler now portrayed the focus group results as negative, despite (a) Stombler’s positive observation of my teaching, (b) the positive feedback I brought which Reitzes refused to look at, and (c) the fact that she had provided a much different assessment previously.

In this meeting, I stated that this assessment did not seem consistent with Stombler's earlier representations to me. Stombler shook her head no while I said this, but it is unclear why. Reitzes seemed uninterested in pursuing any discrepancy of facts on the part of Stombler.
But this is not the only area where her statements changed over time. It was quite shocking to be encountered, during my meeting with her and Reitzes, by a seeming laundry list of complaints she had about me, even when these issues had either never been brought up before, or when she had previously seemed to be in agreement with me on said issues.
For example, she made a statement about how my deviating from the textbook showed how I ignored the advice given by her in the Spring teaching course. If that's the case, then it is puzzling why Stombler supported me both in verbal conversations and during teaching colloquium, when I described the various instances in which I needed to deviate from the book. I believe that, if she genuinely had those concerns all along, she should have stated them when they arose and not after the fact.

It is important to note the chronology of the events as well. Recall (point 14) that Stombler had already announced Reitzes’s request to meet with me, before I even completed the final paper for her course. Therefore, it is clear that Stombler had already complained about me to Reitzes, based on events which transpired prior to our phone conversation at the end of the course.
Any complaints related to the paper I wrote after that conversation, in which I refused to remove the intersex lesson from my curriculum, therefore, are after the fact of Stombler complaining about me to Reitzes.

Again, Reitzes later said the focus group results would not have warranted termination, it was the issue of not taking the advice of Stombler that did it (see point 27).

My argument is that Reitzes should have some responsibility to do due diligence to make sure that personnel actions he takes are based on solid facts and justifications. Based on everything I’ve seen, Reitzes did not do that. Also, if presented with evidence that the justifications were based on misinformation, Reitzes should have an obligation to revisit those justifications, and thus, his decision.

In conclusion I am asserting the actions of Reitzes and Stombler are unjust, unethical, and discriminatory in the sense that it appears I was fired in retaliation for attempting to correct inaccurate information in our textbooks. Any other reasons cited by Stombler I believe, and evidence suggests, were manufactured after the fact. Specifically, Stombler’s assertions about my focus group feedback shifted over time. Stombler’s assertion that I disobeyed a directive was false [yes, she issued unethical advice which I did not accept, but not a directive]. And any other issues raised are those that magically appeared at the end of the semester.

I believe it is important to come forward because future instructors should feel comfortable pursuing a curriculum that is accurate, inclusive, and up-to-date, and not fear retaliation for doing so.

About the author:
Matthew Cardinale is the News Editor for The Atlanta Progressive News, and is reachable is

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Thanks to ABC for their sensitive portrayal of the birth of an intersex child

Many of the members of the Organisation Intersex International wish to express their gratitude to the producers of the show Private Practice for their very sensitive and realistic episode on the birth of an intersex baby. This episode aired February 19, 2009 and was entitled "Wait and See"
Season 2, Episode 217

The way intersex was discussed on this episode was really a breakthrough as far as prime time US television. There were some very interesting details in this episode which reveal how intersex was REALLY handled in the United States.

I know that many people have this mistaken impression that in the United States the John Money protocols were in effect. They really weren't in effect in most hospitals in the US. Very few hospitals in the US had gender clinics and the option to raise the child as male was often the choice of many parents. This show dealt with that openly.

This episode also dealt with gender outcomes (which they clearly said could be male, even when the child has XX chromosomes and CAH). It dealt with the fact that many parents in the US have chosen to raise these children who are "female" according to the Chicago Consensus as males and it dealt with the FACT that virilization of these children was often undertaken.

It ended with the surgeon refusing to do the surgery and letting people have time to wait and see what the child would decide.

I applaud the producers of this show which will help people understand that John Money was a scapegoat for people who have an aversion to any discussion of gender identity issues and who are biological fundamentalists.

This show was in total agreement with OII's own Official Position on Health care.

Thank you!
Curtis E. Hinkle
Founder, Organisation Intersex International

I watched the ABC Private Practice episode tonight which covered the treatment of an intersexed newborn. I think it was the best treatment of the subject on prime time television ever. I give it five stars. As a physician trained in alternative medicine, it was a pleasure seeing an alternative to gender policing, social-surgical determinism, misguided mandatory treatment enforcement of intersexed children, as well as an alternative to pathologizing models of intersex such as disorders of sex or sexual development (DSD). I recommend that it be shown to medical students, interns and residents, and translated into different languages for a world wide audience. Kudos to the production staff of Private Practice for presenting such a sensitive, humanistic and patient centered perspective to intersex and for demonstrating that child intersex patient autonomy and self-gender identification should never be compromised by any agent of society.

Respectfully Yours,

M. Italiano, MB BS (AM)
Advisor on Biosex Variations, Organisation Intersex International

OII's public thank you is on this page of our website:

OII will continue to add comments to this page as they come in.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Bhakti Ananda Goswami: OII Spokesman on Diversity and Tolerance

You can read part one of:

Reproductive Biology and the Far-Right Religious Fundamentalist Charge That Sexual Deviants Have Caused the Collapse of Civilizations
by Bhakti Ananda Goswami, aka Brother David Sherman

Click here

Bhakti Ananda Goswami: OII Spokesman on Diversity and Tolerance

Born with an undiagnosed medically intersexed condition, he was sex-assigned and raised as a girl. A lifetime of being intersexed, not perfectly male or female, not being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transsexual, but at times persecuted as all of these, has given Bhakti Ananda Goswami some unique insights into the nature of sex and gender along with great empathy for persons who have been rejected and persecuted for being different.

Playing God by Trying to Legislate Some Unworkable Definition of 'Man' and 'Woman'...With NLM Medical Journal References

From: BENT: A Journal of CripGay Voices/November 2004

Eugenics and DSD Terminology

The Organisation Intersex International is opposed to pathologisation of intersex bodies, development and identities. OII has warned that the new terminology – DSD ( "Disorders of Sex Development" which most intersex people find offensive) and the protocols associated with this new terminology will reinforce eugenics and the solution will be our elimination from the gene pool. There is little one can do if our sex is officially a disorder both medically and legally. It is important to resist this. (For more information on DSD: Click here)

Eugenics is already in full progress and it is very sad to inform you of what is happening with intersex embryos.

The following is a website link to a clinic in New York and Los Angeles:

The following is the pasted paragraph from that web page:

"PGD" (preimplantation genetic diagnosis) has taken sex selection to the next and most successful level ever (greater than 99.9%). Results from our PGD process far exceed reported results from any and all other processes. The PGD process allows nature to take a more natural course in the fertilization process. Sperm that have been filtered by our standard sperm preparation process are allowed to fertilize the eggs obtained from the female "in vitro" (in our highly specialized fertility laboratory). The embryos resulting from this specialized fertilization process are then screened by our genetics team to determine both their gender and that selected chromosome pairs have resulted in an expected normal genetic pairing outcome (this process is called "aneuploidy" screening). This gender determination process at the very early development level as made famous by our Center, has resulted in the ability to provide sex selection results for the chosen gender far in excess of 99.9%. The aneuploidy (abnormal chromosome count) screening process also employed at the time of PGD gender determination also allows for the detection of limited genetic count abnormalities as a routine or for the optional screening of the embryos for a wide variety of additional genetic abnormalitites. Upon request, we can screen for genetic abnormalities such as Down's syndrome (one "extra" chromosome 21), Turner's syndrome (the absence of one of the two "X" chromosomes normally found in a female), and Kleinfelter's syndrome (a male with one "Y" chromosome and 2 "X" chromosomes instead of the normally found single "X" chromosome). New DNA microarray technology also provides us the option of screening embryos for a full (46 chromosome) genetic count. We are also able to provide those patients known to carry specific personal or family genetic diseases the ability to screen the embryos for many specific disorders. All couples meeting our standard, liberal entrance criteria will qualify for the PGD process.

This is a service of The Organisation Intersex International

Thursday, February 19, 2009

House to air episode dealing with intersex

To be aired Feb 23.

A patient with both male and female DNA has the team stumped. Meanwhile, House starts acting nicely, raising Cuddy's and Wilson's suspicions that something is terribly wrong.
The team encounters a teenage boy who collapsed from severe pelvic pain after playing basketball. Tests reveal the boy has genetic mosaicism, or both male and female DNA, and the boy’s parents inform House and the team that the boy is unaware of his condition. They consciously chose a gender for him when he was born and raised him accordingly, never telling him about his unique condition. However, when his condition worsens and his life is threatened, the parents wonder whether they made the right decision. Meanwhile, Cuddy and Wilson suspect something is wrong with House when he starts acting way too nicely. When they discover the shocking answer, they must face the prospect that House may be changed forever.

This is a service of the
Organisation Intersex International

Toi T'en Rêves by narcyssik

You don't need to understand French to understand this clip about normalisation.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Riddle of Peter Jacobsen.

By Sophia Siedlberg

Imagine for a moment a situation where an attorney is instructed by their client to find legal reasons to sue people for objecting to what the client writes or says in the public domain. An example would be something like the client saying: "Tell that fat, ugly freak who should be locked up for life, that their objecting to my calling them that is libel against me!"

Well, that is not a satirical comment but an example of how in most cases any respectable law firm would advise the client that in court this would seem ridiculous. But not Peter M Jacobsen. How has it all come to this?

Let's clarify one thing first. The "Client" in this case is Dr Kenneth Zucker who seems to be very unsettled by some of his ex-patients making comments about their treatment under his care at the Clarke Institute of Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), as well as the opinions of others who are critics of the treatment protocols used at the CAMH. . While a lot has been written about Dr Zucker and his associates, not all that much has been said about the legalistic tactics employed by their legal representatives. At present it appears that a number of the people who were targeted by Peter Jacobsen acting on behalf of Kenneth Zucker are beginning to speak out openly after Professor Lynn Conway (A recipient of such legal threats herself) decided to confront this legalistic bullying in the public domain.

To read the whole article:
Click here

This is a service of the
Organisation Intersex International

Alert from Dr. Lynn Conway

Alert: Others have received threats from Zucker, in a wider pattern of intimidation of his transgender critics

Hi folks,

Something began to happen when I posted my report on Zucker's threat (and oh my, this is starting to get really strange):

Other women began coming forward, saying they'd also received threats from Zucker. Seems I wasn't singled out for special treatment after all. Zucker's nastygram was part of a wider pattern of threats and intimidation that CAMH has been using to silence critics of his reparatist therapy.

I've just posted a report about all this. The report includes links to pdf's of threatening letters sent to two additional women, and makes an appeal for others who've received such threats to come forward too:

"Kenneth Zucker's legal threats: Part of a pattern of silencing transgender critics"'s_pattern_of_silencing_transgender_critics.html

It's now clear that CAMH has engaged in the systematic issuance of falsely-concocted threats of legal action as a means of intimidating and silencing Zucker's critics.

I wonder how Zucker's colleagues in the American Psychiatric Association (APA), American Psychological Association (APA), Canadian Psychological Association (CPA), World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH), International Academy of Sex Research (IASR), and other relevant professional and licensing organizations will feel about this highly unethical practice – and the massive conflicts of interest involved.

Please pass this alert on to all interested parties.

All the best,

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Behind the Scenes: HERMAFRODITA the movie

Behind the Scenes: HERMAFRODITA the movie

This video has been entered in many festivals and nominated for awards. For more information in Spanish, visit OII's Spanish News Service: Click here

This is a service of the
Organisation Intersex International

Monday, February 16, 2009

Workshop: Making Sense of Intersex, Transgender and Bisexuality

RVSP for workshops required!
Please email until February 17th!

University of Akron
Thursday, February 26th
Dr. Betsy Lucal, Dept of Sociology/Anthropology, IUSB

1-4pm Workshop: Making Sense of Intersex, Transgender and Bisexuality: Resources for teaching.
Student Union Room 308

The workshop will focus on helping participants make sense of these complex topics so that they can better include them in their courses. Betsy Lucal will provide a conceptual framework, suggestions for readings and films and other recommendations for successful introduction of these important topics. Recommended reading: Building Boxes and Policing Boundaries: (De)Constructing Intersexuality, Transgender and Bisexuality. Sociology Compass. March 2008.

This is a service of the
Organisation Intersex International

Young and Asexual

The Third Sex

Tuesday February 17 at 10 pm ET/PT on CBC Newsworld

Someone around you has a secret, a family secret. He or she was born with both male and female genitals. He's not handicapped nor is he mentally challenged. But he is faced with a continuing unresolved personal issue: should life go on this way?

The strain of not being able to share with others is unbearable, as the frustration of medical dead-ends leads to stress and the issue of being physically a man, but feeling like a woman (or vice versa) can become obsessive or even fatal.

The sexual identity of a person is usually the first question one asks about a newborn: "Is it a boy or a girl?" To most parents the answer is a simple one. But what about the parents of a child born with both female and male genitals? It's a reality no one dares to speak about, the so-called third sex. Most people are unaware that this situation exists, and institutions are not designed to recognize a sex outside male and female.

To read the complete article: Click here

This is a service of the Organisation Intersex International

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Two videos dealing with intersex and religion

Eunuchs or Queers in Bible

Intersex person’s Conversation with God

Saturday, February 14, 2009


Poem by Gina Wilson
Spokesperson for Intersex Rights in Australia

I will draw a wavy line on this board
it seems to want it.
then I'll draw some lines beneath,
seems they won’t be silent.

Intersex is not about gender
though some Intersex have genders
of all sorts.

Intersex is not about sexual preference
though some Intersex prefer this
or that
or more
or none

Intersex is about sex.
The sex you preform on me
The sex you expect me to preform
rare as ambergris
Intersex is the sex that I am.

Look beneath the blanket tops
Look beneath the waves
If you love me Intersex
is just another word

For more works by Gina Wilson: Click here

This is a service of the
Organisation Intersex International

Private Practice to air episode on intersex

Go to Private Practice,

click on the BROWSE icon (looks like a magnifying glass) on the video screen,

and you can check out a preview of the 2/19 episode,

which is about the birth of an intersex child.

This is a service of the
Organisation Intersex International

Friday, February 13, 2009

Two-spirit Persons

Two-spirit Persons — Canadian Aboriginals

Art Zoccole was raised in the Anishnawbe nation, an Ojibwe group of northwestern Ontario.

“In my language, the word to describe me is Ogokwe and it translates into wise woman,” Zoccole explainsed.

While each indigenous nation has its own word for transgendered and transsexual people, the term two-spirited was coined to represent all queer members of the Canadian aboriginal community.

Zoccole is executive director of 2-Spirited People of the First Nations, a Toronto based organization for queer members of the aboriginal community. According to him, “the term two-spirit was meant to signify that there are two spirits within us — a male spirit and a female spirit.”

The expression was agreed upon in the 1990s among First Nation representatives as a term describing gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered and intersexed people of aboriginal communities, Zoccole said. However, he noted there is still debate about this term, even within indigenous communities.

Zoccole said prior to colonization, generally in all of North America, people who were of a different gender were fully accepted, even respected as leaders, within aboriginal nations. However, the arrival of Europeans brought with it certain ideals and beliefs, resulting in the alienation of many transgendered native peoples.

Western film studies professor Wendy Pearson explained how previously accepted genders outside male and female were ostracized through colonization.

“If you look at Native American and First Nations peoples, historically many of the tribes have had a third gender. Those systems sort of became destroyed when they were colonized by Christians,” Pearson said.

While many two-spirit persons flock to urban centres to find acceptance and gain understanding of their own identity, Zoccole said many stay behind in their rural communities and often live in denial.

Zoccole recalled his own struggles with his identity.

“When I was about 14-years-old, my mom looked at me and said, ‘You are Ogokwe.’ At that time, I didn’t quite grasp what she was saying to me … The next time I encountered that term [was] when I was 21. It perfectly described me.”

Zoccole hopes to help other two-spirit aboriginals to get in touch with their cultural roots and find acceptance in the way of their ancestors.

“I think there are other people out there who have gone through the same experience as me — knowing that they are two-spirited and not understanding their cultural connections,” he said.

“Some of our communities have lost that traditional knowledge about gay and lesbian people and how they were engaged in our communities. We have to look at what we did in the past and look at how that relates to our role now.”

The Hijra – India

“There is really no counterpart term in Western culture [for the Hijras].”

Western professor James Miller’s words best describe the diversity of the population in India who identify as Hijra.

Miller — founding director of Western’s Pride Library — recently travelled to India, where he researched “out” gay Indian artists. While there, he was invited to afternoon tea with a group of Hijras in Puna, India.

Hijra is a term encompassing a broad range of individuals who do not fall into typical gender and sex norms, be they intersexed, transgendered or transsexual.

The Hijras are deeply ingrained in Indian culture and are recorded in texts as early as the Ramayana, an epic tale and one of the key texts of Hinduism according to Charlotte Suthrell’s Unzipping Gender.

According to Suthrell, the Ramayana tells a story where the god Ram leaves the city to perform a pilgrimage and tells the inhabitants to leave his side and let him continue alone. As he reaches the forest, he realizes he is still being followed by a group of people and asks them why they did not turn back.

According to Suthrell’s interpretation, the group replies: “You told the men and the women to go but we are neither men nor women and so we have stayed with you.”

Ram, in return, gives them a special blessing for having stayed with him.

Today, the Hijra are far from blessed within Indian society.

While situations vary for each individual, it is not uncommon for the modern Hijra to be excluded from the general community and his or her family. Often alienated from their more conservative societies, many Hijras are forced to work in the sex trade or beg for money.

Suthrell writes that Hijras are traditionally employed to dance and perform at weddings, births and other celebrations. However, many are forced to perform on the streets.

During his visit to India, Miller met with Bindumadhav Khire, author and founder of Sanapathik Trust. While Sanapathik is officially run as a men’s health organization, its main purpose is to offer support to local male sex workers — most of them Hijra — and promote safe-sex outreach programs.

Miller agreed the options for Hijra are limited.

“If they are from a lower class family and they come out ... they don’t have a great deal of career choice.”

For the Hijra of Puna, the Sanapathik offers a haven from the streets, where they can participate and even lead outreach programs, or drop by for advice and counselling.

Many of the Hijra, according to Miller, have teachers called gurus — older Hijras who will take on the younger ones and teach them anything from safer sex techniques to dancing tips.

While traditional Indian society may have had a more accepting attitude towards the Hijra, their space in the community continues to diminish as Western ideals infiltrate Indian culture.

Miller explained the binary nature of North American culture.

“You can see how our language will tend to take a continuum of [sex and gender] possibilities and divide the spectrum [into categories].”

Western film studies professor Wendy Pearson agreed globalization has limited traditionally fluid concepts of gender in some societies. However, she also pointed out how the spread of North American culture has offered some helpful tools.

“It’s not that we’re just exporting bigotry. We’re also exporting human rights ... You can say that globalization has created pressure on those [more inclusive] systems, but it has also created ways in which people can respond to that pressure,” Pearson said.

The Fa’afafine – Polynesia

“In some cultures, such as our own, we penalize people who don’t fit into [male and female] categories. In other cultures, they come up with a more creative solution,” said Western associate professor of anthropology, Douglass St. Christian.

St. Christian’s work with the Fa’afafine of Samoa have provided him with a first-hand experience with one example of a more gender inclusive society.

During the 1990s, St. Christian lived and worked with the Fa’afafine — Samoan men who adopt a more fluid gender role within their culture.

The Fa’afafine perform social duties that are not quite male and not quite female, with roles ranging from child rearing to teaching young men how to have sex. Some Fa’afafine will even adopt the children of their cousins, if the cousin has too many children to care for.

Often recognized as Fa’afafine by their parents, members of this group will typically occupy a third gendered role from a young age. However, the role is usually temporary and by the time they are 30, Fa’afafine normally marry and have children, St. Christian noted.

Traditionally, this third gender role is fully accepted within Samoan culture.

“All throughout Polynesia you have the institution of a third gender role ... everybody knows who the Fa’afafine are and what role they play,” St. Christian said.

Yet, as the globalization of Western ideals reaches cultures such as Polynesia, traditionally accepted groups such as the Fa’afafine are at risk of being marginalized.

St. Christian explained why North American culture is so deeply rooted in gender binaries.

“It’s the fact that we are an insidiously patriarchal culture … anything that is not conventionally male is held in lower regard because male heterosexuality has to be the triumphant position.”

However, the ideology of younger generations seems to be shifting.

While there was a time when we would look at other cultural practices as quaint, we are now looking at other cultural expressions as equally legitimate as our own and as something we can learn from, St. Christian added.

“I think the power of the patriarchal model is fading and we will continue to see recognition of the reality of gender fluidity,” he said.

Source: Click here

This is a service of the
Organisation Intersex International

Male and Female – Not Everyone Fits

The Western Gazette (University of Western Ontario), Canada
Gender Bender

Male and Female – Not Everyone Fits

By Jaela Bernstien

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Jess Surtees likes to play with people’s concepts of gender by giving what she calls “little nudges.”

Some days she performs as a female by showing off her curves; other days she wears more baggy clothing and dabbles in masculinity. Gender is meant to be played with, according to Surtees, and she loves to remind people of that.

“I had this one friend who said to me: ‘I have no idea how large your breasts are.’ Because some days, I do bind [my breasts],” Surtees recalled.

When it comes to fitting into male or female gender roles, Surtees is far from typical. She thinks of gender as more of a spectrum than a choice between two categories.

“I identify in a plethora of ways — be it female or intersexed or transgendered,” she explained.

Surtees, director of print communications at PrideWestern, was born chromosomally intersexed. While typically gender is thought of as being binary — male or female — she said there is a third option.

To read the whole article: Click here

This is a service of the Organisation Intersex International

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Zucker vs. Conway Round 1000

Cease! Desist! No hyperlinking! X Some Lawyer & Associates

Related articles:

The Evangelical Parliamentary Front denounces Infanticide

11 February 2009

Translated from the Portuguese by Curtis E. Hinkle
(Note from translator: Unfortunately, there seems to be little difference between the practices of this tribe and the current shift to DSD - Disorders of Sex Development - and the Chicago Consensus which also stigmatizes difference and is involved in genetic screening to eliminate "defective" children from being born. The only difference is the technology available which allows termination before birth.)
Original article:

In the Legislative Chamber, the Evangelical Parliamentary Front is going to put forward a petition to the Federal Public Prosecution Agency (MPF) so that the agency will investigate the cause of the death of the aboriginal child Tititu Suruwaha. The girl, who suffered from a congenital hormonal problem, is suspected to have died due to lack of medication which was passed over to the National Foundation of Health (Funasa).

Márcia Suzuki, President of the non-governmental organization (NGO) Atini Voice for Life (Atini Voz pela Vida), which is active in aboriginal villages, explained that soon after birth, the aboriginal child was victim of a village tradition of burying infants alive which are born with differences, in other words, infanticide. To prevent the murder of the child, the parents of Tititu left the village in search of treatment.

The child was born a pseudo-hermaphrodite with a hormonal deficiency. After the child had been operated on, the parents had returned to the village, but the girl needed to take the medication for the rest of her life. Funasa (the National Health Foundation) was responsible for getting the medication to the village which is in the Southeastern Amazon region.

The president of the Parliamentary Front, member of the House of Representatives João Campos (PSDB-GO), said it is necessary to identify who is responsible. "If anyone is identified as having collaborated in this death, responsibility will have to be determined and the public agency will need to respond accordingly."

Funasa reported that they are compiling a report from the team which was in charge of the girl's treatment, but that they do not yet know what date the document will be ready. The foundation reported however that Tititu had received medical care since she was born and that periodic examinations had been made in Manaus (AM).

In a bill passed today (11) in the Chamber, legislators, representatives of NGO's who work in aboriginal villages and the general public are exhorted to take public measures to prevent infanticide rituals in aboriginal villages.

According to Márcia Suzuki, some ethnic groups, such as the Kuikuro, Kamayurá, Ikpeng, located in the Alto Xingu, in Mato Grosso, practice infanticide. One of the alternatives to prevent mothers with defective babies from having to kill their children is to promote prenatal examinations.

"By doing this, we could prevent the mothers from having to face this problem. If the defect were identified in utero and still could not be cured during gestation, the mother would leave the village to have the child", argued Márcia.

She added that infanticide is also practiced in cases involving the birth of twins.

This is a service of the
Organisation Intersex International

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Gina Wilson, OII Spokesperson for Intersex Rights in Australia

The Organisation Intersex International is pleased to announce that Gina Wilson, a long time intersex rights activists and member of OII, has accepted to be OII Spokesperson for Intersex Rights in Australia.  

Gina Wilson was born in rural Victoria in the early fifties with a form of salt wasting CAH.

She survived significant childhood sexual abuse as a result of her (so called) "ambiguous" genital appearance. Her recovery from sex abuse is her greatest achievement.

She lived androgynously and isolated for most of her life until she undertook a course of abuse recovery. At about that time she had the last of a series of surgeries that sought to rectify some aspects of her CAH and most of the "corrective" surgery she received as an infant. Her CAH is now mostly controlled.

She has a degree in aeronautical engineering and another in electronics. She spent a good deal of her life restoring and flying old areoplanes and specialised in the life of type extension of ex-military jets.

She is now retired and devotes much of my time to writing, literature and the visual arts.

She met her life partner after she had made some progress in her abuse recovery. (She was able to touch people at last). They have been together for some years now. That would have to be the best thing in her life and has made some sense of all that went before it.

She is active with intersex groups, child abuse survivor and child abuse recovery groups, suicide and mental illness awareness and support groups. 

This is a service of the Organisation Intersex International

Monday, February 9, 2009

Getting to Know our Coalition Members

OII is a coalition of independent activists and organisations. To contact a representative near you, visit our website at:

OII has coalition members with almost all known intersex variations and we have worked to build bridges and contacts with other organisations and individuals who are allies and share our common interest in human rights. We are allied with the Two-Spirit community, Transgender community, queer feminists, hijras, transsexual community and many others. Our purpose is not to stress our differences but to work on our common issues to advance human rights.

OII Official Contact for HBS Issues

OII is pleased to announce that Joanne Proctor of New Zealand has accepted to be OII's Official Contact for HBS issues. She is Co-founder of HBS-NZ and is active as a writer, researcher and activist on behalf of HBS and intersex issues in general.

For more information, you can visit her blog:

The website for HBS-NZ: Click here

This is a service of the
Organisation Intersex International

Sunday, February 8, 2009

OII Liason within the Transgender Community

OII is very pleased to announce that Lauren Scott has accepted to be a liaison within the Transgender Community for OII. Lauren is the founder of NITRO and is working to build a comprehensive network of intersex and transgender rights organizations.

For more information about Lauren Scott
Click here

This is a service of the
Organisation Intersex International

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Dr. Kenneth Zucker's War on Transgenders


Lynn Conway is one of the trans community's great heroes. An inventor and computer chip researcher, in the late '60s she was fired from her job at IBM when she began to transition from a man to a woman. She decided to go "stealth" and start her life over again as Lynn. She quickly rose through the ranks and the Department of Defense began using her work on top secret projects. Her textbooks became canonical works on computer chip research, earning her tenure as professor emeritus at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. In 1999, researchers linked Lynn's current work to her earlier work at IBM and she came out as transgender. Since then, her website has been the go-to place for transgenders looking for the latest news about their community.

On Jan. 30th, she received a letter from Peter M. Jacobson, a lawyer for Dr. Kenneth Zucker, who is leading the revisions to the DSM-V, the standard text used by clinicians and psychologists to determine mental disorders. Zucker is accusing her of using libelous language in one of her web posts. The only problem? There's nothing libelous on the site. Why is Dr. Kenneth Zucker trying to silence Lynn? And more importantly, why is he determined to make sure the psychiatric code book keeps saying that gender identity is a mental disease?

The head of the child and adolescent gender identity clinic at Toronto's Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Dr. Kenneth Zucker, has made a career promising the parents of intersexed and transgender children that he can make them "normal"...

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