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Contesting Intersex


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Table of Contents

viiContentsAcknowledgments ix1. Introduction: "You're in the Monkey Cage with Me" 12. The Transformation of Intersex Advocacy 263. Medical Jurisdiction and the Intersex Body 554. The Power in a Name 875. A Different Kind of Information 1166. Conclusion: The Dubious Diagnosis 145Appendix A: Table of Research Participants 171Appendix B: Conference Agenda 173Notes 179References 191Index 209About the Author 221

About the Author

Georgiann Davis is Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. She is the past President of the AIS-DSD Support Group ( for individuals with differences of sex development.


"Davis presents acompelling and beautifully-crafted text about the complex issues of gender andsexual identity. How medicine and diagnosis can either come in aid of, orbrutally disrupt the experience of intersexuality is an important paradox,worthy of reflection and debate. With this book, Davis gets the ballrolling and demands our attention. It is well-worth the read."-Annemarie Jutel,author of Putting a Name to It: Diagnosis in Contemporary Society
"Davis provides her readers with a concise overview of her research as well as lists calls to action. Davis's strengths lie in the seamless blending of research, ethnography, interviews, and personal activism."-American Book Review
"Contesting Intersex is an unapologetic coalescence of Davis' first-hand experiences of an intersex diagnosis and her academic inquiry into the topic. Whilst this, as she acknowledges, 'may make the book read like an autoethnography at certain points,' theory, politics and practice have never been discrete in intersex studies. Davis's own history and current participation in the intersex community help her to provide a circumspect consideration of the tensions at play."-
Sociology of Health & Illness
"Contesting Intersex is an essential update to studies of the intersex and a must-read for those interested in social movements, gender, medicalization, diagnosis, and the relationship between science and culture."-American Journal of Sociology
"The histories of medicine, social movements, and gender productivity collide in sociologist Davis's compelling account of how activists, parents, assorted medical specialists and institutions, and people with intersex traits respond to the diversity of human reproductive development...[T]his book will inspire and inform the wide readership it deserves." -
"Through piercing interviews and astuteanalysis, and in a readable style, Contesting Intersex gets at the heartof recent controversies about the medical management of intersex andperceptively tracks the political engagement of intersex activists."-Elizabeth Reis,author of Bodies in Doubt: An American History of Intersex
"With refreshingly honest prose and an insider'sinsight, Georgiann Davis illuminates the ongoing, heated, and often painfuldebate about how best to respond to the naturally occurring diversity of sexdevelopment in human beings. This is groundbreaking work that is sure to becomerequired reading for scholars of gender and the social history of medicine."-Sharon Preves,author of Intersex and Identity: The Contested Self

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