Intersex people and chronic pain
.Last year I did a piece of academic writing for a Pyschosocial and Cultural Aspects of Pain paper as part of my current study in pain. My chosen topic was the treatment experiences of intersex people - people who are born with variations of sex development (there are about 40 variations). What might this have to do with chronic pain you may wonder. Well, in the 1950s a New Zealand psychologist working at Johns Hopkins University in the United States developed a theory which asserted that children born with variations of sex development should be 'fixed' so that their gender and sexual identity fitted the binary stereotype. His theories paved the way for an approach that still exists today around the world (including New Zealand), where such variations are pathologised. Children undergo 'gender normalising' surgery, hormone therapy and are raised as the gender assigned by specialists. The result as adults for many who undergo these surgeries as children, is chronic pain, psychological trauma, discrimination and ongoing suffering.
I was encouraged by my lecturer, Dr Bronnie Lennox Thompson, to get my work published in Ngau Mamae, the New Zealand Pain Society journal. It was a bit of work reducing an assignment into a shorter publishable piece, but my article was accepted and was recently published in the journal. I am happy to share it here for those interested in reading more.