Intersex Writer and Activist
Essay published in the Narrative Inquiry in Bioethics medical journal

Essay published in the Narrative Inquiry in Bioethics medical journal

My essay, “Promoting Health and Social Progress by Accepting and Depathologizing Benign Intersex Traits”, has been published in the Narrative Inquiry in Bioethics fall issuewhich features a Narrative Symposium on Intersex.

From the NIB website’s description of the symposium:

What are the joys and heartaches faced by people diagnosed intersex? These symposium authors offer readers an honest look into their lives. The narrative symposium editors, Georgiann Davis and Ellen K. Feder, have brought together a powerful collection of personal stories for this issue.

I am very pleased to have been given this opportunity to share my intersex experiences and perspectives in a medical journal, particularly my personally informed view that giving intersex children the right to physical integrity and self determination — as opposed to subjecting them to nonconsensual, medically unnecessary “normalizing” treatments — is beneficial. I also challenge the use of DSD terminology in the recent Association of American Medical Colleges’ report, Implementing Curricular and Institutional Health Care for Individuals Who Are LGBT, Gender Nonconforming, or Born with DSDstating:

“I think it’s hurtful to our already marginalized community to be referred to as people with medical conditions when this is not how other communities are labeled. For example, the diagnostic term for being transgender is “gender dysphoria”, but transgender people are not called “individuals with gender dysphoria”. …the history of civil rights movements demonstrates that communities seeking equality don’t define themselves solely as being different from the norm or the dominant population. Rather, they use terms that positively describe their unique identities.”

For educational purposes for readers who are healthcare providers, community educators and allies, and, of course, intersex individuals and their friends and families, the full essay is available here: Viloria NIB 2015. Please share widely with all who you believe would benefit!

Note: There is an error in the commentary article by Arlene Baratz and Katrina Karkazis, in which they included me in a sentence they wrote about “Emily and Laura”‘s experience that did not apply to me. They are both aware, have apologized, and a correction has been published in the online version of the article. 🙂

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Interesting fact: At approx. 1.7% of the population, Intersex people are as common as red-heads. “Everyone’s met an intersex person, you just may not know you have.”

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