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

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Online Intersex Communities:

These electronic intersex communities or what the cultural anthropologist Arjun Appadurai calls “virtual neighborhoods” (195) are home to a wide range of intersex persons, their families, advocates, and even those beyond, attracted to the discussions they generate or the information they offer for professional reasons, or perhaps just curiosity. They enable their participants

  • to learn about who they are and that they are not alone or “rare,” whereas in the physical world, by contrast, their upbringing, physical appearance, and the enforcing norms of society often prevent them from doing so;
  • to tell their stories, often for the first time, or have them heard by those that may be helped by them or may be able to offer help;
  • to give and receive advice in an environment where they will not be stigmatized or shamed;
  • to find a medical practitioner that is recommended by other intersex persons; and
  • to advocate for change to established discourse, not as a single voice, but as part of an organized group of others committed to engaging traditional medical discourse using a variety of methods.
  • In this selfproduction, they not only produce meanings for themselves, but they also produce rhetoric that challenges and contributes to the redefinition of meanings beyond.