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Fixing Sex


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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix
Introduction 1
Part 1. What is Intersexuality? History and Theory
1. Taxonomies of Intersexuality to the 1950s 31
2. Complicating Sex, Routinizing Intervention: The Development of the Traditional Treatment Paradigm 47
3. From Socialization to Hardwire: Challenges to the Traditional Treatment Paradigm 63
Part 2. Making Decisions For and About a Baby with an Intersex Diagnosis
4. Boy or Girl? Bodies of Mixed Evidence and Gender Assignment 89
5. Fixing Sex: Surgery and the Production of Normative Sexuality 133
Part 3. Living the Medicalized Body
6. Waning and Deciding What is Best: Parents' Experiences 179
7. Growing Up under the Medical Gaze 216
8. The Intersex Body in the World: Activism and Social and Medical Change 236
Notes 291
References 321
Index 343

Promotional Information

How cases of intersex infants are managed and treated within the United States since 1955

About the Author

Katrina Karkazis is a Senior Research Scholar in the Center for Biomedical Ethics at Stanford University.


"The cultural rules of gender are complex, and they are never more tested than in the case of intersex. Fixing Sex is a huge addition to the field, encompassing as it does the views of clinicians, patients, parents, and others. The topic is intrinsically interesting, but Katrina Karkazis's wonderful writing makes this a compelling story and a great read."--Abraham Verghese, M.D., author of The Tennis Partner and Senior Associate Chair for the Theory and Practice of Medicine, Stanford University "With her fascinating field data, Katrina Karkazis exposes the contentious disagreements among theoreticians, physicians, intersex adults, and parents--and all that those debates imply about the changing landscape of gender and intersex management."--Suzanne J. Kessler, author of Lessons from the Intersexed "I couldn't put Fixing Sex down once I started it! Masterfully balancing all aspects of one of the most polarizing, contentious topics in medicine, this thoughtful book is destined to become the most recent authoritative treatise on intersex. Non-medical persons will find it easily digestible, yet it is a 'must-read' for every pediatrician and pediatric subspecialist caring for children with disorders of sex development."--Kenneth C. Copeland, M.D., Jonas Professor of Pediatrics, University of Oklahoma College of Medicine, and former President of the Lawson Wilkins Pediatric Endocrine Society "This meticulous, sensitive, and brilliantly executed book will transform our knowledge of intersexuality, gender, and the ethnographic study of medical practice."--Gayle Rubin, Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Women's Studies, University of Michigan "This book is a velvet-gloved punch to the gut. Fixing Sex is astonishing, a tale told straight from the mouths of affected adults, parents, and physicians in tender and lyrical prose. It resonated deeply with my memories of motherhood in the disorders of sexual development community. But the chapters devoted to clinicians made me weep. A physician myself, I remember my disbelief as the worlds of intersex and medicine collided in my own family. An extraordinary book for a wide audience, it is a huge step toward reconciliation and spiritual healing for its protagonists."--Arlene B. Baratz, M.D., family and medical consultant, Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome Support Group and Accord Alliance

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