Intersex and the Power in a Name

Date & Time: Feb 22nd 1:30 pm - 3:00 pm
Location: 303 International Center

In 2006 the American Academy of Pediatrics officially renamed "intersex" a "disorder of sex development," (DSD). Based on interviews with intersex people, their parents, and medical providers, I will show how DSD terminology allowed doctors to reclaim jurisdiction over the intersex body which was in jeopardy due to 1990s intersex activism that challenged medical authority. Today, DSD remains hotly contested throughout the intersex community, yet it has been widely implemented in virtually all corners of the medical profession. Davis will describe how intersex people navigate their lives, specifically their relationships with family members and medical providers. She will also highlight current movement strategies that fuel contemporary intersex activism. The talk will include suggestions for how to be a good ally to intersex people.

Georgiann Davis, PhD, is assistant professor of sociology at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Her research and teaching is at the intersection of sociology of diagnosis and feminist theories. Davis is widely published, including the award-winning book Contesting Intersex: The Dubious Diagnosis (NYU Press, 2015). She is the current board president of interACT: Advocates for Intersex Youth (2017-
present), and the former president of the AIS-DSD Support Group.