Saturday, February 02, 2008

Elizabeth Reis defames and trivializes intersex people

I notice a critical flaw in Figure 4-A. The figure contradicts Dr. Dre’s (PhD) treatise entitled ‘Bitches ain’t shit’. In it is stated that “Bitches ain’t shit but hoes and tricks”. While you have correctly shown that ‘Bitches’ and ‘Shit’ are two discrete groups (i.e. that “Bitches ain’t shit”), you have incorrectly shown the class of “bitches” as existing partially outside of the groups “tricks” and “hoes”. The correct formulation of the theory would have “bitches” as the intersection of the two classes, with no section outlying. Keep in mind, bitches ain’t shit but hoes AND (not and/or) tricks.
When I first read Elizabeth Reis' article justifying DSD as the best term for intersex, I immediately thought of this Venn diagram.

Below is the abstract of a recent article written by Elizabeth Reis, someone who is not intersex, who tries to justify the unjustifiable by thinking some clever little slight of hand will make all well with DSD terminology. No regard is given to intersex voices and our real dignity and right to speak for ourselves and to have an equal say in our lives and our own struggle for human rights. Most women don't like being called bitches and ho's and I don't appreciate this woman telling me that DSD is a good slur for me by pretending I can think it means divergence of sex development rather than disorder of sex development. DSD is DSD and Elizabeth Reis would do better to stop trivializing and pathologizing intersex people and our struggle for human rights and to start listening to us.

Divergence or disorder? the politics of naming intersex.
Author: Elizabeth Reis.
Source:Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 50.4 (Autumn 2007): p535(9). (3827 words) Reading Level (Lexile): 1580.
COPYRIGHT 2007 Johns Hopkins University Press

ABSTRACT The conditions once known under the umbrella terms intersex and hermaphroditism are now generally being called disorders of sex development in medical settings. The terms might seem synonymous, but in fact there are significant differences with controversial consequences. Hermaphroditism, an older term that can still be found in many medical writings, is vague, demeaning, and sensationalistic, conjuring mythic images of monsters and freaks. In the 1990s, activists advocated intersex to describe discordance between the multiple components of sex anatomy, but that word alienated many parents of affected children, as it suggests a self-conscious alternative gender identity and sexuality. Disorders of sex development also refers to intersex, but it deemphasizes the identity politics and sexual connotations associated with intersex, avoids the degradation associated with hermaphrodite, and instead highlights the underlying genetic or endocrine factors that cause prenatal sex development to take an unusual path. I argue that using disorder is problematic, because it implies medical conditions in need of repair, when some intersex anatomies, though atypical, do not necessarily need surgical or hormonal correction. I advocate a less pathologizing new term, divergence of sex development, that might reduce some of the conflict over nomenclature and satisfy intersex people, their parents, and their doctors.

1) Elizabeth Reis cites only 1 intersex person who is opposed to this stigmatizing terminology. Her article is based on doctors, specialists and other non-intersexed people and what THEY think is best for us.

2) Elizabeth Reis uses a lot of ideas from our own website but never mentions all the hundreds of people in OII and their opposition to this humiliating treatment and the exclusion of almost all intersex people in coming up with DSD terminology and the subsequent protocols based on this change of terminology.

I am left with the impression that Elizabeth Reis is nothing but another feminist, norm-born woman wanting to speak for the intersex community in order to try to justify the unjustifiable and further marginalize us because we don't fit her definition of what it means to be fully human capable of speaking for ourselves. We are not a divergence; we are not a disorder and she would feel just as offended if we wrote such offensive articles speaking on behalf of women and why they should be a called a DIVERGENCE FROM MALE but not a woman.

I am not convinced this woman has come very far in her feminist principles. I would suggest that she stop speaking for us and listen to us - not just one or two intersex people who agree with her. - Curtis E. Hinkle, founder of the Organisation Intersex International