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July 15, 2016 / Charlie McNabb

Intersex Resources Guide

I’m cycling off the GLBT Roundtable Resources Committee this month. This new resource is my final contribution.

The term intersex refers to a biological sex outside the typical “male” and “female” categories. When an infant is born, a sex assignment is determined by assessing the external genitals. In some cases, a child will present with “ambiguous genitalia” and will be identified as intersex; in other cases, an intersex person will not be identified until puberty or later, or not at all. Many intersex adults were given unnecessary genital surgeries as infants. Some of them did not discover their intersex status until well into adulthood, when fertility or other health issues necessitated testing. The stigmatization and concealment of intersex identities has created a situation wherein the general public is unaware of the spectrum of intersex identities, yet offensive slurs like “hermaphrodite” or “he-she” are readily used by bullies to shame gender nonconforming people. To be clear, intersex is not the same thing as transgender, though some intersex people do not identify with the gender they were assigned.

Because of rampant misinformation, the concealment of medical records, stigma and shame, and because accurate information is difficult to locate; libraries should take care to develop collections on this topic and librarians should be prepared to field reference inquiries. This resource was created in order to assist libraries with collection development, as well as to directly assist intersex people and allies wanting to locate information and media. Resources include fiction and nonfiction books, articles, multimedia, and internet sources.

Please share widely!


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