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Intervening Surgical Intervention Essay

1666 words - 7 pages

Between the Sexes is a compelling narrative. Through several anecdotes, it illustrates the devastating psychological implications of early surgical intervention on intersexuals. According to the article, the surgery robs individuals of their sexual gratification, their gender identity, and their innocence. It's argument is noble, yet flawed. Authors Christine Gorman and Wendy Cole spin several sad yarns of intersexed people who are upset with handling of their gender assignment. They tell horror stories of people kept in the dark about their intersex, about a child forced to stop acting like a boy and become a girl, a teen who was raised to be a girl, but developed into a male. Gorman and Cole stumble into the fallacy of hasty generalization, though, when they ask us to believe that all cases of intersexuality reflect the small group they display. That said, Between the Sexes is a strong step in the right direction towards a fair protocol regarding disorders of sexual development, even if its intentions, and its argument, are somewhat unsound.
Most case studies of intersexuals run into the same logical discrepancies as Gorman and Cole's article. For example, the study, "Gender Identity and Coping in Female 46, XY Adults with Androgen Biosynthesis Deficiency" takes its results from a sample of 7 intersexed individuals. The study, "They Did Not Have the Word" takes its results from a sample of 10 parents. Researchers are only given small pieces of the whole. That said, the survey "Gender Identity and Coping..." arrived at a terrific statement, "Although the small group of individuals studied does not allow for general conclusions, implications can be drawn for the field of counseling psychology" (Schweizer, 198). Both of these studies display a great deal of confusion regarding intersexed people and their gender identity. The study, "They Did Not Have the Word" broke down common parental responses upon realizing their child was sexually ambiguous, "In sum, parents universally reported a failure of language and understanding when confronted with a child of indeterminate sex" (Gough, 501). This is also highlighted in Between the Sexes, when Debbie Hartman makes the hasty choice to change her son, Kyle into a girl. Both parents and intersexed individuals show a great deal of confusion within the standard, two-gender system of the modern world. The seven people from "Gender Identity and Coping...", were asked if they were happy with their gender reassignment surgery. Six replied that they were not (Schweizer, 196). All of these case studies may take from a small sample, but they also all point to similar results. Although, all six described their dissatisfaction with the surgery differently, implying a deeper level of consideration than Gorman and Cole display. One wanted to be left as they were. Another wished their parents chose the other sex. Generally, though, Between the Sexes's assertion that gender reassignment is psychologically harmful is...

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