Date of Award

Spring 2003

Document Type

Legacy Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (BA)


Political Science


College of Humanities and Fine Arts

First Advisor

John V. Riley, Jr.


Intersex is a condition that affects more people than there are Jewish people in the world, yet it is a condition that not many people can define. Also known as ambiguous genitalia or hermaphroditism, elements of both the female and the male sex organs are physically present, posing a difficult task for the medical community, ethicists, legalians, and parents to figure out when the child is born. Intersex activists promote the idea of waiting before any genital-normalizing procedure is undergone so as to be completely sure that the child has fallen into the correct or comfortable gender decision according to the child. Professionals are still not sure what causes an intersex condition, though, for the most part, attempt to find a 'cure' for it. Recipients of the surgery are slowly coming out with their stories to attempt to sway the medical community's view that intersex is a condition that needs to be remedied. They urge that the decision-making process should be in the best interest of the child - not the doctor or the parents. The best evidence to support this call for change is the shady area of informed consent with regard to these surgeries. Many of these activists and a group within the legal community suggest that the criteria for legal informed consent for these surgeries is most likely not being met. In an attempt to remedy this situation and protect the rights of the intersexed, there must be a case to reach the Supreme Court that will defend this position. The judiciary has the best avenue of changing this policy through judicial activism. This will prove to be the most efficient method of protecting the rights of the intersex.