Between+XX+and+XY:+Intersexuality+and+the+myth+of+two+sexes

In myriad incarnations as different from one another

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Unformatted text preview: s out that, of the 183 patients originally identified as candidates for the Johns Hopkins studies, only seventy-five responded and were deemed competent to participate. That means that more than two-thirds of the subjects eligible for this study chose not to participate, could not be found, or were disqualified for one reason or another. It is impossible to determine what sort of inadvertent and unavoidable selection may have taken place just in identifying and contacting eligible patients. It is equally impossible to read the minds of those patients who chose not to respond. But if even half of those who chose 142 Between XX and XY not to participate in the study did so because they were unhappy with the outcomes of their surgeries, that would change the interpretation of the study completely. Dr. Dreger is equally concerned about results gathered by physicians interviewing their own patients, noting, “When you’re asking about something sensitive, you actually want to engage a third-party professional—a psychologist or a sociologist—to ask, in in-depth, interactive interviews, what happens, and [those at Johns Hopkins] haven’t done that.” And there are others who have concerns with these studies. Most quality-of-life studies performed by physicians have identified (often as a significant majority) a larger percentage of people who are content with their lives and generally satisfied with the results of their childhood sex-assignment surgeries than those who are not satisfied. But as doctors Ursula Kuhnle and Wolfgang Krahl from the Children’s Hospital at the University of Munich and the Psychiatric Hospital in Kaufbeuren, Germany, point out, there are alternative interpretations of those studies, including those performed by Drs. Kuhnle and Krahl.19 In nearly every one of the published studies, the investigators concluded that, because the patients had no significant complaints about their surgeries and were functioning as contributing adults, the physicians’ treatment and management decisions had been the right ones. But Kuhnle and Krahl object to this assumption: “We now believe that this is an unwarranted conclusion, and that the only inference to be drawn from these studies is that the majority of these patients are well adjusted and can somehow live with a handicap. These studies do not answer the question of whether there are other and/or better options for a patient’s life.” In other words, perhaps these people are more or less content with their lot in life because they, like many other human beings, are remarkably resilient and have learned to live well with a major problem. Nothing about the way in which any of these studies have been conducted even begins to approach the question of whether these people would be happier if their physicians and parents had chosen differently, or done nothing at all. 8 Alternatives: Other Cultures, Other Sexes Pratheep P S, www.pratheep.com From atop his milk-white bull, the four-armed creator and destroyer Nataraja watches over the world. He is called Bhairava as well, the fearsome god who cut off one of Brahma’s five heads and carries it with him while he guards the pieces of his wife’s corpse. And he is Lord Agni, the seven-armed, two-faced god of fire. He is the cloud-colored, fourarmed Vishnu, the all-pervading essence of all beings. He is Ardhanarishwar, the curious blend of god and goddess, from whom came the reproductive prowess of all living things. And he is the lingam, or mythical phallus from which all creatures sprang—a symbol older than all of Hinduism. In myriad incarnations as different from one another as night from day, he is always Shiva the Divine. When asked to create the world, Shiva undertook the task with such diligence and reflection that, for millennia, nothing happened. So the power of creation was Shiva as Ardhanarishwar. given to Brahma, who quickly moved to 143 144 Between XX and XY squeeze a universe from the darkness. When Shiva finally gathered everything he needed for creation, he was stunned and angry to find the universe already in place. In his rage, the god tore off his own phallus, screaming “there is no longer any use for this,” and hurled the severed member to Earth. Once separated from the god, and no longer a tool for his individual fertility, Shiva’s phallus became the fount of universal fertility.1 Brahma, meanwhile, discovers that his great creation, the universe, has become stagnant and sterile. He realizes that because every created manifestation of Shiva is male, copulation and reproduction are impossible. So Brahma begins to contemplate the forms of Shiva along with an image of the goddess Shakti (though some say it might have been Parvati or even the Dark Mother, Kali). Shiva senses Brahma’s thoughts and appears to Brahma as the god Ardhanarishwar—part Shiva, part Shakti—something between or beyond man and woman. Brahma is completely taken by Ardhanarishwar and the fertility of Shakti. He begs her to allow him to bestow her fertility upon his creations. Willingly, Ardhanarishw...
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This document was uploaded on 02/04/2014.

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