Intersex and Identity, Intersex and Identity, 0813532280, 0-8135-3228-0, 978-0-8135-3228-8, 9780813532288, , , Intersex and Identity, 0813532299, 0-8135-3229-9, 978-0-8135-3229-5, 9780813532295, , , Intersex and Identity, 0813557054, 0-8135-5705-4, 978-0-8135-5705-2, 9780813557052,
Intersex and Identity

The Contested Self
Sharon E. Preves
232 pages, 10 B&W illustrations, 6 x 9
Paper, April 2003 $31.95   ADD TO CART
Web PDF, April 2003 $31.95   EBOOK VERSION AVAILABLE
Subject Area:
Sociology, Gender Studies, Cultural Studies


Approximately one in every two thousand infants born in America each year is sexually ambiguous in such a way that doctors cannot immediately determine the child’s sex. Some children’s chromosomal sexuality contradicts their sexual characteristics. Others have the physical traits of both sexes, or of neither. Is surgical intervention or sex assignment of intersexed children necessary for their physical and psychological health, as the medical and mental health communities largely assume? Should parents raise sexually ambiguous children as one gender or another and keep them ignorant of their medical history?

Drawing upon life history interviews with adults who were treated for intersexuality as children, Sharon E. Preves explores how such individuals experience and cope with being labeled sexual deviants in a society that demands sexual conformity.  Preves frames their stories within a sociological discussion of gender, the history of intersex medicalization, the recent political mobilization of intersexed adults, and the implications of their activism on identity negotiation, medical practice, and cultural norms. By demonstrating how intersexed people manage and create their own identities, often in conflict with their medical diagnosis, Preves argues that medical intervention into intersexuality often creates, rather than mitigates, the stigma these people suffer.


With sensitivity and solid critical analysis, Intersex and Identity brings to the fore the long-ignored voices of people with intersex conditions. This is an important and accessible book for all, including patients, parents, clinicians, activists, scholars, and novice students.
—Cheryl Chase, Founder of the Intersex Society of North America

In Intersex and Identity Preves has produced the most up-to-date, comprehensive account available of what it is like to grow up and live with a body that isn't simply male or female. This work is compassionate, intelligent, and beautifully written, and promises to be well read and highly valued.
—Alice Dreger, author of Hermaphrodites and the Medical Invention of Sex

Sharon Preves's analysis of her interviews with adult intersexuals illuminates the power of the coming out process in transforming stigma into pride. This book is an invaluable resource in the ongoing discourse on the clinical management of intersexuality.
—Walter Bockting, assistant professor, Program in Human Sexuality, University of Minnesota Medical

Author / Editor Bio

Sharon E. Preves is an assistant professor of sociology at Hamline University in St. Paul, Minnesota.