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

Html 8 laqueur making sex 165 166 endnotes 9 ibid 10

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Unformatted text preview: • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • Man Each dot represents an individual. Of course, it would take a lot more dots to do this properly, since no two of us are identical, even with 161 162 Epilogue regard to sex. And, of course, the endpoints of this graph are hypotheticals, ideas, mental constructs, not real people. For some reason, we choose to call only the people who fall near the dead center of this chart intersex. But the center is just as essential as any other part of the continuum—without the middle, neither end is possible. And the middle really has no obvious boundaries. In truth, we are all intersex, living somewhere in the infinite, but punctuated, stretch between MAN and WOMAN. But the idea of two opposite sexes is so ingrained in us that even seemingly educated people like U.S. presidents, senators, and members of Congress have argued that we should allow legally recognized marriages between only “a man and a woman.” Never mind that it is impossible to define exactly what a man or a woman is. What chromosomes would such people have? We’ve already seen that men, by many definitions, may have an X and a Y chromosome, two X chromosomes, two X and one Y chromosome, three X and one Y chromosome, and so on. By some criteria, there are also very real women with Y chromosomes in each of their cells, and others with Y chromosomes in only half of their cells. There is no specific combination of chromosomes or genes that unequivocally defines a “real” man or woman. What genitalia should such people have? Many 46,XX persons have external genitalia that closely resemble those of men and internal genitalia that most closely resemble those of women. Even the combination of X and Y chromosomes with testes certainly does not define a man, since women with AIS have all of that and by other criteria are clearly female. Nor could we easily rely on the Phall-O-Meter. It seems obvious that no group, political or otherwise, could ever agree on exactly what constitutes a clitoris or a penis, especially if it has to be one or the other. What sort of hormones should the fully male man have? Testosterone? During development and at birth, women with AIS have as much testosterone as any manly man, but by other standards they are not men. Epilogue 163 Intersex people are not a few freakish, unfortunate outliers. They are instead the most complete demonstration of our humanity. Not one of the few I have been fortunate enough to come to know has suggested that he or she would rather be otherwise, although I am sure they haven’t always felt that way. We, as a society, are very hard on people who don’t fit with our preconceptions, especially our preconceptions about sex. What intersex people have shown us is the truth about all of us. There are infinite chemical and cellular pathways to becoming human. Because of that, no two of us are now, or ever were, identical. Sex isn’t a switch we can easily flip between two poles. Between those two imaginary poles lies an infinite number of possibilities. Somewhere within that infinity is where you will find each of us. Intersex people have shown us that. We should be grateful. Because they are not bound by the traditional ropes of our traditions, they have shown us that we can untie the knots that bind us to our own preconceptions and begin to live freer lives. Endnotes Chapter 1: The Problem of Intersex 1. Tibbs, B. S. 1966. “An Approach to the Problem of Intersex: The Role of the General Pediatrician.” Pediatrics 38 (3): 4305. Chapter 2: A Brief history of Sex 1. Laqueur, T., Making Sex (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1990). 2. Ibid. 3. Kemp, M. 1971. “Il Concetto dell’ anima, in Leonardo’s Early Skull Studies.” Journal of the Warburg and Courtald Institutes 34: 115–134. 4. Ibid. 5. Laqueur, Making Sex. 6. Crick, F The Astonishing Hypothesis (New York: Scribner, 1995). . 7. Heuer, Richards J., Jr. The Psychology of Intelligence (Center for the Study of Intelligence, CIA, 1999). https://www.cia.gov/library/center-for-the-studyof-intelligence/csi-publications/books-and-monographs/psychology-ofintelligence-analysis/art5.html. 8. Laqueur, Making Sex. 165 166 Endnotes 9. Ibid. 10. Ibid. 11. Ibid. 12. Dickinson, R., Human Sex Anatomy: A Topographical Hand Atlas, 2nd ed. (London: London, Balliere, Tindal and Cox, 1949). 13. Johnson, V., Masters, W. H., and Lewis, K. C., Manual of Contraceptive Practice (Baltimore: Williams and Wilkins, 1964); Masters, W., Johnson, V. B. E., Human Sexual Response (Boston: Little Brown, 1966). 14. Riley, A., Lees, W., and Riley, E. J., “An Ultrasound Study of Human Coitus,” in Sex Matters, ed. Bezemer, W., Cohen-Kettenis, P., Slob, K., and Van Son-Schoones, N. (Amsterdam: Elsevier, 1992). 15. Schultz, W. W., et al. 1999. “Magnetic Resonance Imaging of Male and Female Genitals During Coitus and Female Sexual Arousal.” BMJ 319 (7225): 1596–1600. 16. White, M. March 2, 2006. “Two Thymuses Are Better than One.” Science...
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This document was uploaded on 02/04/2014.

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