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Fixing Sex: Intersex, Medical Authority, and Lived Experience

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  108 ratings  ·  10 reviews
What happens when a baby is born with “ambiguous” genitalia or a combination of “male” and “female” body parts? Clinicians and parents in these situations are confronted with complicated questions such as whether a girl can have XY chromosomes, or whether some penises are “too small” for a male sex assignment. Since the 1950s, standard treatment has involved determining a ...more
Paperback, 384 pages
Published November 11th 2008 by Duke University Press Books (first published January 1st 2008)
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Alok Vaid-Menon
Oct 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is such a helpful resource: a great introduction to the history of intersex people and the diagnosis of "hermaphroditism." Karkazis shows how intersex people have been foundational to the consolidation of the gender-sex binary, what markers became configured as the "true meaning" of sex, and how definitions and understandings of biological sex shift over time. She shows how doctors justify non-consensual medical surgeries on intersex patients because of aesthetic/social concerns and normati ...more
May 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: lit-theory
Only read this if you want to get really angry.
Mar 07, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, research
This wasn't in my list of books to read, but it came up when searching for other in regards to Intersex. I was surprise to find that this within the range of topics I was looking for. Fixing Sex takes a critical look at how we treat Intersex individuals and what influence our culture and society has on the medical arena.

Karkazis did a great deal of research. Despite the side Karkazis takes, she provides a lot of details and research in her book. She focuses on the medical treatment of intersexe
Elevate Difference
Jan 11, 2009 rated it really liked it
For most parents, the first question asked after the birth of their child – “Is it a boy or a girl?" – is a straightforward one. For parents of children born with chromosomes, organs, and/or genitalia that do not fit neatly within the common conceptions of either maleness or femaleness, this seemingly simple question can become a source of extreme anxiety and mark the beginning of a long and complex journey filled with difficult decisions.

In Fixing Sex, Katrina A. Karkazis draws on the experienc
Dec 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science, non-fiction
If only all science books were this good. I picked this up because I so was impressed with Karkazis' recent (2019) collaboration with Rebecca Jordan-Young on testosterone. I don't usually read science books more than a decade old, but Fixing Sex holds up. It is a compelling mix of scientific analysis, and ethical examination of the application of medical 'treatments' by medical professionals, individuals not easily assigned gender at birth, and their parents.
Bioethicist Karkazis's tone brims wit
Thoroughly researched. Objectively critiqued. Well-written and highly (and properly) contextualized.

Karkazis documents the competing structuring of identity politics of intersex-diagnosed individuals through multiple lenses, most significantly that of physicians. The voice of physicians/clinicians is easy to ignore or overlook, because many of them refuse to go on the record. However, Karkazis gives many of them a chance to voice their thoughts on past, current, and future reflections of sex dia
Jun 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is a fabulous book that takes a critical look at the intersection of medical & authoritative discourse about gender, technology, even psychology with the experiences and interpretations of those with intersex diagnoses and their families. The book does drag at times, getting almost bogged down in details about medical diagnoses and procedures, but ultimately, this is because Karkazis covers so much ground and has do much to catch us up on. While the book is a fascinating treatment of gender ...more
Oct 20, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: for-school
Interesting examination of clinical approaches to intersexed individuals, as well as the experiences of parents and patients. I wish she had included more individual stories, but given that her goal was to produce an overview, she has given future researchers a great foundation to build on.
Jun 11, 2012 added it
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