Gener(ar)e: Una riflessione sulla questione intersex/DSD dal punto di vista genitoriale

Prandelli, Marta (2018). Gener(ar)e: Una riflessione sulla questione intersex/DSD dal punto di vista genitoriale. In: De Piccoli, Norma and Rollero, Chiara eds. Sui Generi: Identità e Stereotipi in Evoluzione? Studi di Genere. Convegni, 3. Torino: CIRSDe, pp. 91–108.



The Intersex and DSD (Disorder of Sex Development) definitions indicate variations of the biological sex, on which basis an individual does not fall into the biological category of male or female for congenital reasons, may these be anatomical, hormonal, chromosomal or genetic. This definition, not at all static or asserted, is a proof of the debate born in the nineties, carried on by different stakeholders involved in the lives of people born with one of the variations. Historically we have moved from a model of intervention centered on the maintenance of secrecy and the early attribution of sex to newborns on the basis of an optimal gender policy (Money, Hampson
and Hampson, 1955), to a model focused on the individual-patient and on his/her family (Wilson and Reiner, 1998, Consortium on the Management of Disorders of Sex Differentiation, 2006), which made the criteria of sex assignment at birth less generalized and more attentive to the individual factors of the chid. Despite this formal change in guidelines, prenatal or neonatal diagnosis and the discovery of the existence of these variations remains a critical and unexpected
moment for most parents. The lack of longitudinal research, educational programs and structured psychosocial support to families does not allow parents to have easy access to tools that help them
in parenting and in taking a potential choice to act immediately after the birth of the child. The arrival of a newborn with a previously unknown variation leads parents to a quick processing of the information provided by the medical team, often leaving them with many unanswered questions.
Starting from a brief analysis of the terminological issue and the consequent current debate on the intersex/DSD matter, the aim of this contribution is to reflect both on what it means to be the parent of a newborn with a variation of sex characteristics and on the role of the social sciences in supporting the individual, the family and the environment where children learn how to "make the genre", to socialize, to relate and to be part of a group dynamic (West & Zimmerman, 1987).

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