Cultural Perspectives on Familial Belonging
“Congratulations on the Birth of Your Intersex Baby!”: Challenging Normative Ideas of Family in Current Intersex Discourses
In one of her essays, intersex activist and scholar Morgan Holmes poses the question, “Is growing up in silence better than growing up different?“ (“Is Growing Up” 7). Reading the essay, it becomes painfully obvious that the question is a rhetorical one, as it points emphatically to the extensive harm – both physical and emotional – resulting from enforced “normalization” processes intersex children are often subjected to. Yet in contemporary US culture, difference from a gender norm, or norms, is generally perceived as negative, and potentially threatening to the existing cultural order; that is, the heteronormative order that constructs two distinctive genders (male/female), which stand in heterosexual relations to each other.
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