Saturday, March 27, 2010

Disordered terminology

By Quinn Albaugh and Quinn Albaugh
Published: 5:30 am

Over the past few years, the medical establishment has been moving away from the terms “intersex conditions” or “intersex people” toward “disorders of sex development” (DSD). The aim of this shift, according to the 2006 “consensus statement” in the journal Pediatrics, is to avoid using confusing or pejorative language to describe medical conditions. Another concern is that the term “intersex” might push an identity on people with different sex characteristics that they do not want.

Intersex advocacy organizations do not agree on how to respond to this change. The Intersex Society of North America (ISNA) shut down in 2007 due in part to the development of DSD. In 2008, former associates of ISNA founded a new organization, the Accord Alliance, which now uses the term “disorders of sex development” instead of “intersex.” Other organizations, such as the Organisation Internationale des Intersexes (OII), which has chapters in several countries (including Canada) oppose this terminology.

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