Is our anatomy our destiny?

Alice Dreger

In 1911, French doctors thought LS, a fashion model, had herniated ovaries. No one expected them to be testes. What is intersex? And what can we learn about sex and gender development from it?

Learn about this Garden Talk

In 1911, French doctors thought LS, a fashion model, had herniated ovaries. No one expected them to be testes.

Intersex refers to when a person is born with sex characteristics such as genitals, chromosomes, gonads and sex hormones that "do not fit typical binary notions of male or female bodies" (UN OHCHR). In recent history, many people who were born with intersex have been subject, including as infants, to medical interventions designed to 'normalise' their bodies. But sex development in humans can vary considerably, and this talk explores some of those ways.

Alice Dreger is an historian of medicine & science, a journalist, and an award-winning mainstream author who has been working on questions at the intersection of anatomy and identity for three decades. She has engaged in academic work and activism in support of individuals born with intersex and other norm-challenging body types, as well as writing about the impact of cancel culture on academia.

Alice joins us in The Garden to address one of the most important questions of our time: how do we understand the relationship between sex and gender? And what does intersex tell us about this relationship?

Talk outline

Duration

50 minutes

What to expect

30 minute talk

20 minute Member Q&A

Alice Dreger

Alice Dreger is a mainstream writer, an historian of medicine and science, and a journalist. An award-winning scholar, teacher, and writer, Dreger’s best-known book is Galileo’s Middle Finger: Heretics, Activists, and the Search for Justice in Science.