In Anne Fausto-Sterling’s The Five Sexes, Revisited (2000), she discusses her definition of the different sexes mostly in terms of medical practices when intersex individuals are born. She goes into talking about how most of the time, doctors decide what sex the baby is going to be and tells the parents that this is whats happening without really giving them the option of a surgery not happening. These parents do not really know the other options, such as letting the child grow older and deciding then if they identify as a boy or girl or whatever they chose to be. What really threw me through a loop was the stories of adults who were born intersex, assigned a sex through surgery by a doctor who claimed they were following natures course. These adults sometimes come to the realization that they are not the sex that the doctor assigned to them. The part that I am interested in is how they go forward from there. Our society still has a large prejudice agains trans people. How do people around them react? Because, really they were born as one of the 3 sexes Anne presents other than male and female. Its more that they are rejecting the doctors choice. The story doesn’t elaborate further, but one thing stuck in my head. Why are we so afraid of sexual ambiguity that because you are so uncomfortable not being able to put your child into a box of male or female? Gender roles are so engraved in our society that someone who doesn’t fit the status quo has to be dealt with. I would like to see some statistics on how many intersex children were assigned male versus female. It is no secret that society deems men as the superior sex. So did this have any effect on the surgeons decision? Real questions, people.
A story that ties in with the previous one is Because You’re a Girl (2002) by Ijoema A. The main character discusses growing up in Nigeria and the traditions that kept her in a servant role to the rest of her family in the “preparation” for her future marriage. To keep it short, she feels oppressed. She is angry that her brothers don’t have to share the work with her. When she moves to the United States for college, she experiences this whole new life where she doesn’t have to do anything for anyone but herself. She then moves to the US after college because she didn’t want to live with the oppression. This story ties in with the last story because it shows the control that people try to take over others. With the intersex children, the doctors and families made “permanent” decisions for these children without their consent because it happens soon after birth. In this story, the main character is stuck under the misogyny of women in her culture. Both parties in these stories need to be given agency over their own lives. We keep learning of more and more areas in which people demean and/or control others. At least with authors continuing to tell these stories, we are able to bring the message to more and more people in the search for justice/change.