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Why do we perform surgery on newborn intersexual children?: On normality, gender and orientation
Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Linköping University, Department of Medical and Health Sciences.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-0587-3399
2008 (English)Conference paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

When a child is born with ambiguous sex, medical professionals describe this as "an emergency situation". In most cases, however, the reason for the emergency is not medical but social. Empirical research on parents' experiences and meaning-making in this situation has highlighted the parental bewilderment when the sex is not clear. Empirical research has also shown that parents described themselves as trying to secure an unambiguous sex category to their child. In this paper we examine why parents decide to let their children undergo genital surgery in spite of the fact that patients who have had surgical operations assert that the operations have created a sense of abnormality that it was meant to set aside. We will draw on previous empirical research on parents' experiences of this situation and explore how the concepts of normality, sex and gender are implicitly and explicitly used in the arguments for surgery on intersexual children. We also apply a feminist and a queer phenomenological perspective on these issues.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
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Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-63064OAI: diva2:376012
Forum för humanistisk hälsoforskning. Stockholm, Sverige. November, 2008.
Available from: 2010-12-09 Created: 2010-12-09 Last updated: 2015-06-29

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Wickström, Anette
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Faculty of Arts and SciencesDepartment of Medical and Health Sciences
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary

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