Intersexuality: How Cultural Expectations, Medical Innovations and Language Created the Perception of Variant Genitalia as a Disorder

Publication Date

Spring 2014

Abstract

Created for the History & Sociology of Science (HSOC) Senior Honors Thesis, overseen by Dr. Ann Greene

The convergence of medical innovations, contemporary western cultural expectations, and linguistic factors, such as labeling, resulted in the codifying of the variance of intersexuality as a disorder.

The Multiple Factors:

A)First, history of intersexuality and medical/technological innovations. B)Second, cultural factors that affect perceptions of intersex. C) Third, linguistic factors and language theories. D)The Intersex flag was created by Organisation Intersex International Australia in July 2013 to create a flag "that is not derivative, but is yet firmly grounded in meaning". The organisation aimed to create a symbol without gendered pink and blue colors. It describes yellow and purple as the "hermaphrodite" colors. The organisation describes it as freely available "for use by any intersex person or organisation who wishes to use it, in a human rights affirming community context."

Key visual elements:

  • Graphic illustration

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Intersexuality: How Cultural Expectations, Medical Innovations and Language Created the Perception of Variant Genitalia as a Disorder

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