Assigning Gender Started in the 1950s

Fri, 07/11/2014 - 08:22
Submitted by Carlin Ross

As many babies that are born with red hair are born intersex; meaning, they have "ambiguous" genitals. For centuries, they were worshipped. According to Charlotte Greenfield, we didn't start assigning gender by surgically altering genitals until the 1950s:

"During the 1990s, intersex adults who had received surgery as infants came forward speaking about their sense of mutilation. At the same time, an experiment from Johns Hopkins University that claimed to prove young children could safely be assigned any gender with surgical “reinforcement” was revealed to be a failure. The study had been initiated in 1967 by psychologist John Money, who claimed to have successfully given a boy female anatomy and had the child live as a girl. The child, whose penis was burnt off in a circumcision accident, was castrated and operated on to look female at the age of 22 months – eight months before the age at which Money claimed gender became fixed.

Until the 1950s, intersex children had largely been left alone, but Money’s experiment provided support for early surgical intervention. However, one of Money’s rival researchers tracked down his study’s subject and, in 1997, showed that the child had never been happy as a girl and had converted back to living as man, sending shockwaves through the medical profession. Nevertheless, the surgeries continue."

Gender is a social construct. It doesn't matter what genitals you have at all. I'm so sick of our pink-is-for-girls blue-is-for-boys gender mind fuck. Ruins so many lives.

Editor in Chief & Keeper of All Things Betty Dodson

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Red hair & Intersex

Fri, 07/11/2014 - 10:55

The number comparison between intersex (1.7% population worldwide per Fausto-Sterling) and red hair always sets me back a bit.

Living in the UK with a high proportion of family from Scotland (13% population red-haired with 40% carrying the gene as a recessive) the comparison is clearly not valid for me. Or for anyone in Europe (4% red-hair) or the US (upto 6% red hair)

Given how localised red hair is geographically around the world (Africa? Asia?) and how widespread intersex must be distributed, is it really that useful to compare the two?

Is there any information tracking the incidence of surgical interventions over the last 10 years? I would expect the numbers to be falling worldwide as we come to a more realistic understanding of how and when gender identity is constructed.


Mon, 07/14/2014 - 09:14
Jeffrey65802 (not verified)

Is there a way an adult can determine what combo they have? Along the lines of genetic testing to check for risk factors, it'd be interesting and perhaps beneficial if people could find out what their combination is/was.

I've always felt much more feminine than men are supposed to, but I usually chalked it up to being raised by my single Mom. Be curious to see if in fact I had something other than XY.