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Intersex,Transgender or Same-sex: What’s in a Name?

Author(s): By Saskia E. Wieringa

Journal: United Academics Journal of Social Sciences
ISSN 2212-5736

Volume: 1;
Issue: 7;
Start page: 6;
Date: 2011;
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Keywords: intersex | transgender | same-sex relations | sex operation | sexual rights

This article presents three case studies in which discursive contestations occur between conservative biomedical, religious and political leaders on the one hand and feminists, gay and lesbian rights activists and human rights defenders on the other hand. The debates centre around the definition of what is ´normal´ gender´, a ´normally´ sexed body and ´normal´ sex. The cases studies discusses are the intersex Alterina Hofan whose marriage was declared to be based on ‘document fraud’, sex operation in Indore, in which girl babies are turned into ‘boys’’. and the transgender Aleesha, who wanted to be buried as a woman .In the process the broad liminal space in which transpeople moved, at least in some South East Asian societies, is carved up into neatly defined categories. Each with their own medical codes and legal instruments. They thus have to struggle individually for recognition and legal protection. The consequences are an urge to define and categorise that which used to be diffused, liminal and at times sacred; the medicalisation of those persons with atypical genitalia and the stigmatisation of those who insist on an in-between space, who refuse to accept the binary sex-gender model. A related development is the ongoing medicalisation of bodies.
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