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Sociol Health Illn. 2019 Jun 21. doi: 10.1111/1467-9566.12974. [Epub ahead of print]

Gender destinies: assigning gender in Disorders of Sex Development-Intersex clinics.

Author information

1
Department of Sociology-UCLA, Los Angeles, CA, USA.
2
Department of Pediatrics & Communicable Diseases, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA.
3
Department of Pediatric Genetics, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA.
4
Department of Human Genetics, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA.
5
Department of Pediatrics, Seattle Children's Hospital, Seattle, WA, USA.
6
Department of Urology, Seattle Children's Hospital, Seattle, WA, USA.
7
Children's Research Institute, Children's National Medical Center, Washington, DC, USA.
8
College of Public Health, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA, USA.

Abstract

Based on audio recordings of consultations in three U.S. paediatric multidisciplinary Disorders of Sex Development-Intersex clinics, we examine the process of gender assignment of children with "atypical" genitalia. Rather than fully determined by the presence of biological sex traits, the gender assignment discussion hinges on how clinician and parent collaboratively imagine different aspects of what constitutes being a gendered person. They orient towards the potential for sexual intimacy, fertility, gender dysphoria, stigma, and gonadal cancer risk. While these futures remain inherently uncertain, clinicians and parents plan to mobilise gender socialisation and medical interventions to render their choice of gender a self-fulfilling prophecy. Gender destinies capture that the child always had a specific, innate gender awaiting discovery, and presumes a project for medical and social monitoring, intervention, correction, and optimisation.

KEYWORDS:

decision-making; future imageries; gender; socialisation; stigma; uncertainty

PMID:
31225650
DOI:
10.1111/1467-9566.12974

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