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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:

In fact, Carter writes that, given the “range and accessibility of information on the Internet,” a nickname or pseudonym “is a very specific identity” (153). Sorin Matei addresses this in research he conducted of conversations found at the Well, an online discussion forum, by replacing pseudonyms with letter combinations, such as xxx (“From Counterculture”). For my examination, I have assigned different pseudonyms, replacing, as an example, “Kathy” with “Sue.” I have also chosen not to include the URL of the discussion post thread in my list of references as a final means of ensuring that the poster’s identity, even if it is a nickname, is protected. Intersex persons have been stigmatized enough. I want to analyze their online communication, but not in a way that further exploits them.

My examination will show that what these sites and so many others represent, from personal blogs to e-mail lists, is the opportunity for those isolated by the nature of their treatment and the geographic distance that often stands between them, and others like them, to feel a sense of belonging, to exchange information, and to contribute in big and small ways to the production of counter-discourse. What kind of rhetoric do they generate that furthers intersex activism? Can they summon spirits? Can they tell truths to shame the devil? I say yes. The analysis to come will show how.