Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Second Department


Reader 1

Dr. Nancy Williams

Reader 2

Dr. Ellen Rentz

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© 2018 Jasmine E Shirey


Individuals who do not fit neatly into the expected genetic and phenotypic XX/XY binary have been misrepresented, ignored, operated on without consent, denied legal rights, and gaslighted by multiple spheres of dominant society including, but not limited to: medicine, popular culture, and the justice system. Using Michael Foucault’s conception of 'counter-discourse' in conversation with the work of Gayatri Spivak, I ask how online intersex communities (OICs) have participated in counter-discourse by examining forums, blogs, comments, organization websites, memoirs and social media pages.

Major examples of phenomena OICs respond to, engage with, and critique include: surgery on intersex infants; the introduction of the term 'DSD'; intersexuality in popular television shows; chromosomal primacy; and legal standings of intersex individuals in different countries. I found that 'counter-discourse' within OICs include efforts to: redefine the 'truth' against common problematic appeals to medicine, morals, or nature; advocate acceptance of all bodies; and create of a sense of belonging where there is space for people to heal and organize on a foundation of affinity.


Best Senior Thesis in Gender Studies