Beyond Dimorphism: Intersex Persons and the Continuum of Sex Characteristics
Renata Zieminska

This paper presents an argument against sex dimorphism. It is puzzling that the existence of intersex persons is well established by medical and social data, but the idea of sex dimorphism is still maintained as a universal assumption about the human body. I argue that the idea of sex dimorphism is empirically inadequate(it ignores the existence of intersex bodies) and harmful (it is the source of ―normalizing‖ surgeries on intersex newborns, the pathologization of intersex people as ―disordered‖ and discrimination against them on the basis of sex characteristics). I argue that the strategy to justify sex dimorphism by reproductive functions is not universal, and I point to the ontology of process where intersex bodies are no longer problematic (there is a place for them on the continuum of sex characteristics). Sex chromosomes, gonads, internal sex organs, genitals, and secondary sex characteristics can be inconsistent with each other or have neither male nor female form. Intersex people are beyond sex dimorphism and remind usthat the human body with its sex characteristics is a process.

Full Text: PDF    DOI: 10.15640/ijgws.v6n1a16