Jan 5, 2012

X:enius on intersexuality

Just watched an episode of the TV program "X:enius" (channel: "arte") on intersexuality with very interesting contributions - e.g. by an M.D. who in the past was pro 'corrective' surgery with babies but who changed his mind and now demands to either eliminate the categorization of 'sex' in birth certificates or to create a third option for intersexual persons to indicate that intersexuality has an equal status to 'female' and 'male'. This is basically also the conclusion of the episode.

In the attempt to explore the 'mystery' gender/sex, not only researchers and doctors with opposing viewpoints - i.e. supporting the gender-binary as a norm vs. considering gender as open category - intersexuals and parents of intersexuals are interviewed. It seems obvious that surgery causes more damage than it prevents: Many intersexuals feel that they were physically and psychologically forced into one of two genders and accuse the doctors to have caused them suffering. It also seems that surgery predominantly serves the parents to feel less awkward because their child does not optically fit one of the two genders - because that is what the surgery is for: an optical adaption. If you understand German you may want to watch the episode online, I do not want to repeat here the description of the procedure for preventing the cosmetic vagina from adhering. The argument that intersexuals would otherwise experience bullying at school ("Kids can be cruel") proves to be not valid as long as educational measures are taken and tolerance is an integral part of a society. Children only reflect what adults offer them as models...

My personal conclusion on this episode: very interesting and very useful for educational purpose - especially for its nice message at the end.