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Online Intersex Communities: Virtual Neighborhoods of Support and Activism By Brian ...

Chapter 1:  Introduction
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Online Intersex Communities:

Of course, arguing that the potential exists to do that is easier than proving that it has happened. I am not equipped with the requisite data, nor do I attempt to make such a case in this book. But what I do try to point out is that intersex communities that did not or could not exist offline as they do now online are productive sources of alternative rhetoric. Because society values (perhaps now more than before) the words of “wounded storytellers,” or those who do not treat but have been treated (and in many cases traumatized), then the intersex activist can speak with a measure of newfound authority. The Internet also represents what Paul du Gay et al. describes as “new media” (22), a technology that provides what might not have been easily accessible before, which is namely “the sources and the channels for the circulation of meanings within the culture” (23), impacting in the process how and who influences the production of culture. The Internet, like other new media such as the cell phone, “has opened up a new frontier in modern cultural life,” du Gay et al. writes, “and completely transformed the process of ‘meaning-making’ which…is at the heart of culture” (23). As proof of this, Alice Dreger points out that since the Intersex Society of North America (ISNA) has made available online (as a downloadable PDF) the document “Guiding Tips for Parents,” it has been downloaded more than three thousand times (“Question”). Parents, therefore, faced with the task of rearing intersex children are not turning solely to doctors for information. Rather, they are also seeking out information from those whose knowledge is based on lived experience.

It may be that all virtual intersex activism is not as purposeful as this ISNA parenting guide. In other words, it is possible that intersex activists may challenge doctors with alternative paradigms, issue press releases, and even declare intersex awareness or solidarity days, but such directly confrontational acts are not the only ways to resist.