Intersex: A Perilous Difference, By Professor Morgan Holmes

A lot of books have been written “about” intersex people, but Intersex: A Perilous Difference
(January 2008), is the first book on intersex people and the human rights abuse of Intersex Genital Mutilation (IGM)–a.k.a. nonconsensual medically unnecessary surgeries on intersex infants and children–published by an intersex person. Author Morgan Holmes is a Canadian professor of sociology at Wilfred Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario who has published two books on intersex, this one and Critical Intersex (Routledge, 2009). Critical Intersex is a collection of essays presenting theoretical and empirical research from an international group of mainly non-intersex experts, containing critical approaches to intersex studies from both the humanities and social sciences.

Holmes is also one of the world’s earliest intersex activists. She was the first openly intersex person I ever saw, in a picture in a 1995 newspaper article in which she discussed being subjected to IGM as a child and the harms it caused her. She was also one of the participants at the world’s first known intersex protest, held in Boston on October 26, 1996, whose date is observed today as Intersex Awareness Day (IAD).

I had the pleasure of finally meeting Holmes in person in 2012, at the Second International Intersex Forum in Stockholm, and her intellect and analysis were as sharp in person as on the page. This book is a must have for your intersex collection or anyone interested in intersex issues. Holmes’ analysis and message was decades ahead of its time, and is a foundation for the language used in calls for an end to IGM which we still hear today. Highly recommended.