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DSD Debates: Social Movement Organizations’ Framing Disputes Surrounding the Term ‘Disor... - page 2 / 21





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engages with the discourse surrounding intersex is presented and related to the frame disputes over ‘DSD’.

Background of ‘DSD’

Cheryl Chase, representing ISNA/Accord, attended a conference in Chicago (hereafter termed the Chicago Conference) on October 27-31, 2005 at which numerous medical practitioners working on intersex issues also participated. One other activist, Barbara Thomas of the German intersex group XY-Frauen, also participated. The German group member was also an informal representative of AISSGUK. The participants were mostly from North America, particularly the U.S. At this conference participants unanimously agreed to change nomenclature from ‘intersex’ and ‘hermaphrodite’ to ‘DSD.’ Their statement regarding the decision was called the ‘Consensus Statement’ (Lee & Houk 2006). ISNA/Accord then hosted the ‘First DSD Symposium’ on October 13-14, 2006 as a mini-conference within the (U.S.A.) Gay and Lesbian Medical Association’s (GLMA) annual conference. After these conferences took place the DSD terminology became a point of contention between the SMOs. Previous academic literature concerning debates over the adoption of the new terminology has been rather opinionated and has failed to integrate information from SMOs themselves (Reis, 2007; Feder & Karkazis, 2008).


Stemming from the semiotic turn, which proposed that language constructs reality, the concept of discourse analysis has become increasingly central to cultural analyses. Michel Foucault’s concepts of discourse and power/knowledge concerning the medicalization of the ‘hermaphrodite’ will be used to trace a medical discourse of intersex that is based on pathology. Foucault’s work presented a re-conceptualization of power from repressive to productive power. Power, for Foucault, was not only the physical strength of the state to repress


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