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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:

The Web sites I have selected for my examination are a self-selected, cross-section of intersex sites. Accordingly, I look at some that represent different intersex conditions (such as Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome or Turner’s Syndrome), assuming that how they constitute themselves may be different because of their special focus. I also look at those that allow different levels of community interaction. Those sites, for example, that lack a discussion forum or other asynchronous, or even synchronous (such as instant messaging), communication tools will not be able to provide the same sense of community that more technologically advanced sites afford their participants. Additionally, I look carefully at those intersex Web sites that consider themselves, or are considered by intersex persons, to be dedicated to issues affecting the entire intersex community. Consequently, sites like Bodies Like Ours (BLO), Organisation intersex Internationale (OII), Intersex Initiative, and the Intersex Society of North America (ISNA) are discussed frequently. Finally, for ethical reasons, I have chosen not to use discussion postings that require membership and user login to access, since the assumption I’ve made is that the information contained in them is private and not meant, therefore, for public use and study. However, postings not requiring login access are used as examples throughout, although I have elected to change the original pseudonyms of posters as a way to protect their identities.

Precedent for this can be found in similar analyses of online discussion forums. Denise Carter, for example, in looking at discussions at Cybercity, a virtual community, suggests, “while using nicknames on the Internet might be seen as automatically protecting one’s own identity, this is not necessarily the case” (153).