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"Unkindest Cut" by Katherine A. Mason

Below is an excerpt from Katherine A. Mason's article, published in March 28, 2001 issue of New Haven Advocate in which Emi was prominently quoted. One problem: why does a "specialist" need to comfirm voices of intersex people, as if they are not good enough on their own?


"Our experience is that intersex genital mutilation and other medical management of intersexed children result in post-traumatic responses similar to other forms of childhood sexual abuse," Emi Koyama says. Koyama, who will speak on third-wave feminism at Yale on April 9, is an intersex activist and board member of Survivor Project, an organization based in Portland, Ore., that addresses the needs of intersexed, transgendered and transsexual survivors of domestic and sexual violence. She compares the physical violation of children's bodies, the fact that trusted adults perform this violation, and the secrecy and shamefulness to traditional definitions of sexual abuse. Indeed, many of the later procedures performed on children, particularly those necessary for keeping artificial vaginas open (see "Snipping and Building"), would under any other circumstances be considered a form of sexual child abuse.

Vernon Rosario, a sexologist and child psychiatrist at the University of California at Los Angeles, treats intersexed children and teenagers. Rosario once considered a position at the Yale Child Study Center in New Haven, but decided in favor of UCLA. He sensed that Yale's program, like most of its kind in the Northeast, pays little heed to issues of gender and sexuality.

Rosario has observed in his patients much of what Koyama describes, including symptoms similar to post-traumatic stress disorder. But he insists that there is simply not enough information on intersexuality to make any sweeping generalizations about the psychology of intersexed youths.