When Medical Providers Give Sex to Trans and Intersex People

By Georgiann Davis

In this post Georgiann Davis writes about her recent article co-authored with Jodie Dewey and Erin Murphy.

What does my life have to do with Caitlyn Jenner’s life, a former Olympic athlete turned reality TV star, who became a worldwide household name after a public gender transition?

Well, for one, our sexed embodiment has similarities. We both defy stereotypical thinking that assumes everyone’s body is either male or female, and that such male or female distinction is neatly correlated with our gender identity as either masculine for males or feminine for females.

Second, Jenner is trans, and I am intersex. And while trans and intersex are different despite often being conflated and confused throughout public discourse and even some academic research, as my mother recently and astutely noted, Jenner and I are in “the same family.”

Despite our similarities with embodiment, shared experience, defying binary sex, gender, and sexuality essentialist logic, there is an interesting paradox in how we are treated by the medical profession. This paradox is what inspired my colleagues and I to ask why and how providers are quick to surgically “fix” intersex but respond at a much slower pace to trans people who desire gender-transitioning services. We hope our attempt at uncovering these questions will reveal a crucial step in better understanding how trans and intersex embodiments are problematically seen in the medical world. Continue reading “When Medical Providers Give Sex to Trans and Intersex People”