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date: 26 January 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Perceived as natural and universal, the framing of sex and gender as binaries is in fact a cultural ideology. The empirical reality is that sex is a spectrum, manifesting in a wide array of sex variance, some of it formally categorized as intersex by scientists and doctors, and some not. This article gives an overview of how different societies have organized sex and gender into three, four, or more categories, and of the imposition of binary sex/gender as part of the European colonialist project. It then presents case histories examining four transgender and/or intersex individuals in the contemporary context, illustrating how individuals negotiate, exploit, or subvert binary sex/gender ideologies in conceptualizing physical sex variance and gender transition.

Keywords: sex, gender, binary, nonbinary, non binary, spectrum, intersex, DSD, transgender, trans, transition, variance

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