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Natural Sciences Nonfiction Social Sciences Theory

Gender’s nature: Intersexuality, transsexualism and the ‘sex’/’gender’ binary

By Myra J. Hird, 2000

The distinction between ‘sex’ and ‘gender’ is challenged by arguments that ‘sex’ is equally a social construction, initiating a selfreflexive effort to return feminism to its foundational grounding. This article concerns intersexuality and transsexualism as two bodily forms that further suggest ‘sex’ as socially inscribed. I argue that feminist theory needs to ascertain whether the artificial emphasis on sexual difference, contra nature, is better able to effect social change than conjoined efforts to expose ‘sex’ as a construction intended to ground divisions. Recent support for ‘multiple genders’ often remain dependent on a morphological notion of ‘sex’, and, as such, may not constitute a radical challenge to our current ‘sex’/’gender’ system.

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