July 21, 2007
Emi’s birthday will be in August – and I got messages to Emi from those who could attend the Celebrating Protest website meeting on Thursday. It’s posted in the Social Movements class blog, so please take a look!
And it would be great if you could write some messages to Emi using this class blog space, to celebrate her birthday!
(And actually, Norma’s birthday is very close to Emi’s, too!)
July 4, 2007
There was a panel session, “Tangled Threads of Backlash against Feminism in Contemporary Japan” at the National Women’s Studies Assocation conference in St. Charles, IL, with Masami Saito, a feminist activist/scholar from Toyama, Japan, Emi Koyama, me and Norma as a moderator.
Tina asked me to write a report on this (and I am asking Lauren to report on it, too!), but Emi already posted a very detailed report of the session in her blog – so take a look!
June 8, 2007
For a lack of a better expression, Emi Koyama’s keynote speech at Translating Identity (“From ‘Intersex’ to ‘DSD’”) simply blew my mind. It is such an exquisitely rich entwinement of various topics of and related to the issue of the term “intersex.” As a gender studies major, I was ashamed by how fuzzy I was about the very definition of “intersex,” so Emi’s list of common misconceptions was definitely helpful. Along with that clarification, I am also glad to learn about other issues orbiting intersex studies, such as “public stripping,” “the impaired role,” and the power of “normalizing medicine.” Some questions that remains are: what are the social costs of intersex/DSD people not forming a political community? Why do so many people, intersex individuals included, feel indifferent to the urgency of solving social problems associated with our anxieties about bodily differences and sexuality? How can pop culture contribute to or inhibit such a solution?
June 5, 2007
Emi’s second talk here entitled “Intersex at the Intersection of Queer theory and Disability theory” introduced me to a number of new ideas, as I previously was pretty unaware of much about queer theory, disability theory or intersex. One of the things that really surprised me was her talk of the different biases that the medical profession has in treating certain “abnormalities”–to the point of arbitrarily setting down rules to perpetuate other arbitrary societal norms.
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June 3, 2007
I think that in the interest of all parties involved, that the action applied should be determined on a case by case basis.
What is easiest for the parents to cope with? What is most affordable? What is easiest for the child to cope with? What is practical given how far along the child is in development? Is the child “leaning” to one gender or another in terms of hormone levels? Does this make one course of action medically more practical than the other? What do the physicians think is the best course of action given past cases they have examined in which the patients were similar? Is precedence more important in determining successful procedures or should they use this opportunity to maybe try an innovative new treatment?
I could spend all day coming up with questions and issues that they must ask and the point I want to make is that, for all our discussions and analysis of intersex, there DOES NOT exist a clear cut right or wrong. I think what we’re trying to get at (and all agree upon) is that these people deserve their human rights just as much as anyone else and should be informed of their situation and provided with all the information. For a physician to “decide” what is best for the child without consulting the parents and taking into account all the complications is a medical/ethical issue that is hotly debated as to when it is and is not appropriate.
While we do acknowledge that they are trained individuals in resolving these problems, we also must acknowledge that they too are people and can and will make mistakes. While their advice should be taken into serious consideration, we have to look at what all parties agree on as the best compromise in the course of action and they should keep the child’s health and happiness at the forefront of their objectives in deciding this.
Is our class going to resolve this issue? Certainly not! But I think we all have a better handle on the issues facing intersex and that can understand where Emi is coming from and why this topic deserves considerable attention.