I Have or I Am?

Speaking on the subject of how inter-sex individuals and their families view the state of inter-sex, Emi Koyama brought up the question of whether inter-sex individuals view themselves as having inter-sex or being inter-sex, especially in light of the fact that there has been a recent decision to change the name from inter-sex to Disorders of Sex Development. Would an inter-sex individual say, “I have inter-sex,” implying a condition as the new name seems to indicate, or would they say “I am inter-sex,” implying an identity? Treating inter-sex as identity, it would seem, renders it as something that colors every aspect of someone’s life while treating it as a condition leaves it as only one on a long list of self-defining characteristics.

This same question can also be applied to the “Otaku.” In some contexts otaku is viewed as an identity, whether it is outsiders pining this label on others or those who are self-proclaimed. For many of these identity otakus it does not seem that any segement of their life remains untouched by the state of otaku-ness. To draw from fictitious examples, we can look at the example found in the characters of “Genshiken” and Train Man. These characters were obviously and pervasively “otaku,” and being otaku took on more connotations than just being extremely obsessed with something—it was a way of life, a mode of being.

On the other hand it seems that some would treat Otaku as a condition, particularly those who are (hyper) critical of it. The Miyazaki incident, as related by Kinsella and Schodt, brought to mind the way in which otaku can be perceived as a disease, something put on with a pathology and symptoms, something that is a singular (broken) facet of a person’s personality. Otaku becomes a condition that may demand treatment.

Is there any right way to approach labeling, be it in the context of an inter-sex individual, an otaku or > enter defining characteristic


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