Though I read New Times every week, I rarely read the Detours Straight Dope feature; I’m just not usually interested. But the Feb. 5 installment, “Can hermaphrodites get themselves pregnant?” caught my eye because of the humiliating and sexist cartoon accompanying it. To me, the figure on the “receiving” end looks more female than male, hence my accusation of sexism; the image of the (quack) doctor shoving some creepy machine up “its” ostensible “orifice” “down there” is definitely humiliating and disgusting!
Maybe Cecil Adams believes that “humor,” if that’s what this writing style and cartoons are trying to inject, is the best way to explain strange phenomena but I see nothing humorous about being born as an intersexed person. That person, and the family of that baby, is in for a lifetime of confusion and marginalization, not to mention living a life of possible deceit, fear, and apprehension from the minute the child and his/her family realizes that there simply is no societal box into which they will fit. Transgender individuals have it tough enough, and society is just beginning to try to understand them. Intersexed people have that much more challenged lives.
These people are just that: human beings. They have feelings and deserve to be treated with dignity and sensitivity. Though in some indigenous cultures, the intersexed may be revered and viewed as holy for their “two spirit” souls, in most social settings they will be seen as freaks and your glib explanation about their ability to procreate, along with the aforementioned disgusting cartoon, just adds to that image.
Please try to find more humane and accepting ways of explaining such out of the ordinary members of our human family and leave the humorous approach for something really funny.
-- Gina Whitaker - Arroyo Grande
-- Gina Whitaker - San Luis Obispo