Gerald N. Callahan: Between XX and XY Intersexuality and the Myth of Two Sexes



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To offend althoug sex is not an eitheror proposition switching between two poles like an onnoff switch on a radio rather sex is like the bass treble knobs on that radio If you ve never thought beyond the concept of opposite sexes this is a really great primer If you re a gender and sexuality nerd like me you won t learn a whole lot of brand new stuff from this bookCallahan spends a lot of time debunking the myth of the two sexes there s slightly in the book about that than there is about disorders of sexual development or intersex If you re looking for a really in depth read that focuses on intersex this isn t that book But if you re looking for some general stuff about the science of the differences between men and women and genetic variations that will tweak your concepts of men and women this book is very much worth your timeCallahan was able to write a very readable book that didn t bore me or confuse me at all even when he writes about chromosomes and karyotypes and stuff In addition to good content about human sexuality he devotes a good amount of time to w Between XX and XY is a nice introduction to intersexuality and the variability when it comes to the human sexes I was especially interested to read about the differences between the various karyotypes What I didn t really like was how sensationalist the book was in certain sections Those parts felt rather out of place Interesting read While I had read some of its material before there is a lot for people especially cisgender gender conforming people to learn in this book I noticed some editing mistakes some repetition and an intended page reference that didn t exist However the book detailed a lot of historical references personal stories cultural legends and scientific studies that kept my attention I appreciate the discussion about those with disorders of sexual development and how our 2 gender binary system puts them in a difficult position I wish our society would show compassion especially for people with ambiguous genitalia who identify with the gender they were not assigned at birth a very informative and enlightening book with some issues i was greatly looking forward to reading it and while i definitely don t regret it per se i will say that i am disappointed it s definitely a good run down of intersex issues in general buteven though the author interviews discusses multiple transgender individuals the way he talks about them is far less than ideal when referring to events in a person s life prior to that person s social transition he ses the name and pronouns that the person Too Strong to Deny/Savage Awakening/Jack Riordans Baby/His Forbidden Passion used at the time rather than the name and pronouns they now prefer for example stuff like this dave was born a boy but realized he was a girl and then she was named mary sure some trans people are fine with referring to themselves this way or being referred to by others this way but many ofs increasingly many especially today s youngest generations of trans people prefer REUIRE that you refer to The Firefighters Christmas Reunion us with our CURRENT name and pronouns regardless of what period of our lives you re discussing as a cis person hopefully one who wishes to be an ally to the transgender community much like he s an ally to the intersex community his job is to learn how to respectfully refer to trans peoplehe makes a point of saying multiple times throughout the book that the sex someone is assigned at birth may not speak the full story of what their sex actually is and someone s apparent sex isn t always indicative of the gender identity they ll grow into when they re older this is very true and i m glad he says this so much however confusingly at many points he alsoses the words sex and gender interchangeably when in reality they re not synonyms at alland my final issue with the book is perhaps the most baffling one throughout the entirety of the book he The Life of Corgnelius and Stumphrey uses a certain thirteen letter word beginning with H derived from the name of an androgynous greek god among much of the intersex community this word is considered outdated and rude at best or a slur at worst i was very surprised at his repeatedse of the word and disappointed bewildered at the fact that it wasnt The Amish Midwife (Lancaster Courtships, until than halfway through the book that he discussed the negative connotations of the word inestion i can t The Greeks Acquisition uite remember but i believe it was given less than one page of discussion he mentioned how the language that wese to talk about certain things can affect how we think and feel about those things and as a result we should reconsider our The Amish Nanny (Brides of Amish Country, use of such a stigmatizing word and the real kicker he still continues tose the same word throughout the rest of the book As an overview of intersex biological conditions and possible treatmentssurveys Between XX and XY does the job but it s nothing that you couldn t otherwise glean from similar sources The tone of the book really turned me off though it was a bit too sensational and hammered the fluidity of the sexes poi. Of sex development What makes someone a boy or a girl Is it external genitalia chromosomes DNA environment or some combination of these factors Not even doctors or scientists are entirely clear What is clear is that sex is not an either or proposition not girlboy XXXY switching between two poles like an on off switch on a radio Rather sex is like the bass and treble knobs on that radio  Between XX and XY provides a fas.

Between XX and XY Intersexuality and the Myth of Two Sexes by Gerald N Callahan is a free NetGalley ebook that I read in mid OctoberWhere this book could have simpered been emo or cloyingly sympathetic Callahan shines with his wit and simple scientific prose He also allots large spances of his chapters for intergender interviews and biographies Two The Healer (Borderland Brides, uantities with a long and sordid history are biology and ideology I imagine we all have some familiarity with their children racism sexism eugenics social darwinism That was why when it came to educating myself about this controversial topic I tried to select a book that was as free from ideological slanting as possible Just the facts ma am please I think this book mostly succeeded in that respect In my opinion the subtitle the myth of two sexes isnnecessarily clickbaity It isn t so much that there are than two sexes as it is that between the two mythological ideals the so called real man and the female counterpart there exists a continuum a line is made of dots At one end there is a dot At the other end is a dot And in between composing the entire line are a whole lot of other dots Each dot that is farther removed from one pole is necessarily closer to the other pole Right in the middle of the line there is also a dot So it is with human sexuality There are people diametrically opposed to each other on ideological grounds that would deny this People who reduce sexuality to a simple matter of what you have The Slayer (Time Raiders under the hood everything is determined by genetics and people who deny that what you havender the hood in any way shape or form impacts your cognition and sexuality everything is determined by culture This book argues that neither of these positions are in keeping with the empirical evidence For example consider the simple notion that your sexual organs are the be all and end all of your identity What happens when a child is born with ambiguous genitalia then The common practice has been to assign a designation to the child either male or female and then begin a series of surgeries to bring them in line with that particular choice The parents then raise the child as if they were the sex they have been assignedProblem solvedWell no What if the child genetically skews to male than female and they were arbitrarily designated as female and surgically altered to fit that designation Would there be some disconnect between their biology nature and the way they are being raised nurture Would they feel comfortable in their skin These are the kinds of The Journal Of A Vicars Wife uestions that this book promptsestions for which there are no easy answers Sometimes it isn t even as obvious as external genitalia Some people have one set of external genitalia and a second Their Mistletoe Matchmakers underdeveloped set of internal genitalia Some people have an extra chromosome Some people are missing a chromosome Some people due to the onset of puberty and the surge in hormones it precipitates suddenly begin to exhibit physiological and behavioural changes that cause them to make a sudden jump further away from one sexual pole and closer to the other This book presents many of the different conditions along the sexual spectrum in a clear and easy tonderstand way One of the most interesting and perhaps thought provoking for those who wonder what it means to be a human being is the chimera Most people develop from a single zygote A chimera is the result of two zygotes fusing and developing into a single fetus Two distinct sets of cells with their own set of chromosomes inhabiting a single body What could have potentially been two distinct humans with differing bodies and minds actually existing as one distinct human with one body and one mindI expect that this is a book that may make some people The Stephanides Pregnancy uncomfortable It isnderstandable As humans we like to keep things within nicely compartmentalized borders We don t like chaos we desire order It is either this or that You are either this or that Woe betide the The Tycoons Reluctant Cinderella unfortunate individual who does not fit within those simple parameters Life however is far messier than that Any artist can tell you that between black and white there are far than well fifty shades of grey Indeed a black and white picture is only a representation of reality No subtlety no nuance just a skeleton of the realLast word to Nicky Philips a sixty four year old lady with a condition known as androgen insensitivity syndrome I happen to have AIS which is a condition passed down through the X chromosone If it were color blindness which is passed the same way no one would think it is a big deal Because it is tied to issues of sexuality and gender it becomes something to be laughed about or discusseite heavy going as the book goes into great detail about genetics hormones and DNA as well as touching on the impact culture and society has on decision making There are a number of cases studies discussed throughout the book but it does se language that is likely. “On October 10 1970 the day she was born she was named Dorothy Maree Alaniz a baby girl Curiously though no one filled out a birth certificate that day When the certificate was finally filed on November 5 the name on it was Rudolph Andrew Alaniz Within less than one month after her birth this girl became a boy” Every year in the United States than two thousand children are born with an intersex condition or disorder.

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Nt too hard and amateurishly even though he s clearly right that a binary sex system is an illusion Warning that I will discuss suicide just like the book doesIn my experience this is THE book on the shelves of American public libraries about intersex variations so I finally gave in and read it not because anything in it would be new to me but to see what kind of conceptions are promulgated and what someone new to the topic might find Can I give this book to people and save the effort of educating themIt wasn t a very good experience and I won t be giving this book to anyoneThe book is very sensationalistic especially at the beginning it starts with an nexplained sucide scene that comes across as if the author was saying Look an intersex person tries to commit suicide Why is it So Horribbbble to be intersex Read the book and find out It made me really aggravatedBetween XX and XY is totally written from an outsider perspective to people with an outsider perspective Sadly a lot of the intersex books are like this and they also often regurgitate the same sometimes incorrect information for example most intersex people really dislike the term DSD More George W. Bushisms unlike what the book states It is also very sad that for any kind ofseful intersex self help information that is for YOU not for outsiders or at most parents basically the only place you can go is Tumblr Twitter etcThe author is Trying with a capital T Yes intersex people are human and should be treated as human Yes sex is not a binary variable Do these statements seriously deserve a cookie Only if our bar for allyship and supportive behavior is really lowThe book has a lot of animal examples These seem extraneous and they aren t like human intersex variations at all so thir inclusion comes across as somewhat bizarre Does it legitimize the existence of intersex people that female spotted hyenas have a male looking sex organ Or that some fish change sex No intersex people would still exist even if these completely different animals with completely different sex configurations would not exist at all The book is very short so I wondered how much of this was just padding to increase the length I wished the author would ve increased the length by adding personal narrativesI liked the personal narratives a lot though I did notice that all of the people the author interviewed currently lived as women No men no non binary gendered people This feeds into the tropes that all sex andor gender nonconforming people are somehow womenHaving a nonbinary gender identity in addition to a nonbinary sex is only discussed as something for other cultures not for garden variety Americans interestingly my own culture s terms are missing though I am sadly somewhat relieved by that There is one throwaway sentence that it is very hard to live as a non binary gendered person and an obligatory Dreger The Making Of Henri Higgins uote stating that it is very cruel to raise children without assigning them a gender right after the book mentions that most children readily assign gender to other people and themselves UhAs someone raising a stepchild this has definitely been my experience For the record my child told me I was mommy daddy and chicken Now you know D There is very little on related andnrelated health problems for which sometimes it can be extremely difficult to get care There is no distinction between I am not fine this way and I have these related issues I would like help with People can be fine with themselves but still need medical care The options are presented as you either have a lot of medical interventions forced on you at least this is described as bad or you let things take their course without doing anything There is very little about what intersex people even as adults actually want the book does mention that some people transition some get elective surgery as adults some people go from one set of hormones to another etc but these facts are minimized and not presented in the final discussionI d say the solution is to discuss things with a doctor while having informed consent and making your decisions but I guess that is not so titillating and put that way it just comes across as yet another healthbody thing and not something Amazingly Exotic and a Capital R Revelation In my experience it can also be extremely difficult to find a doctor who does not want to enforce your birth assignment as something to be policed which could ve been discussed Alas There is so much low hanging fruit among potential topics for example that getting sex hormones while intersex can be not less difficult compared to getting sex hormones while trans but not intersex contrary to what most trans people who are not intersex seem to think The book by and large doesn t ite explain the difference between trans and intersex very wellI have this plan to review one intersex related book a month but I m not sure I ll manage to actually stick to it I guess the above explain why. Cinating look at the science of sex and what makes people male or female There are people born XXY XXXY or XXXXY or with any number of variations in X or Y chromosomes but those who do not fit into society’s preconceived notions about sex often face a difficult path in life Dr Callahan explores why humans are so attached to the idea of two sexes and examines our obsession with sex and sexual intercourse through the ag.