Atheists Talk TV Program Review: May 2013

Published by Minnesota Atheists on

Photo of guest and host sitting in armchairs, talking.

By Steve Petersen

For the first part of the show, Dr. Sharon Preves, sociologist and professor, discussed her research of intersex individuals. Sharon first defined terms, such as “intersex,” “hermaphrodite,” and “transgender,” then explained how and why she became involved in this research. Sharon next explained the cause for negative stigma of intersex individuals, including the religious views of people who do not fit easily into the male/female binary. Sharon noted the strong drive that society has to pigeonhole everyone – even fetuses – into one of two genders. She discussed the evolution of outlying conditions in Western civilization: from sin, to crime, to medicalization. Sharon then explained the excessive intrusion of the medical world and its treatment of intersexuality as an emergency requiring “correction.”

During the second half of the show, Sharon further detailed the medicalization of conditions that do not, normally, require medical intervention, including intersex infants and childbirth itself. Sharon compared the unnecessary interventions into intersexed individuals’ bodies with circumcision, and she then discussed the emotional ramifications on the patients. Many felt guilt, shame, and even fear. Some grew up convinced they had been born with a disease so terrible that no one – not even their parents or doctors – would discuss it openly. Sharon next cited recent gains in the rights of those born intersexed, and listed ways they have found healing, such as through support groups. Sharon also provided the example of an intersex teenager who was instructed to pray that she become fully female. Sharon concluded by offering several resources, including her own book, Intersex and Identity. James Zimmerman hosted both halves.

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Cable Crew: George Kane, Brett Stembridge, Shirley Moll, Steve Petersen, Wendy Steinberg, Grant Hermanson, and Art Anderson.

Podcasts: Available via iTunes and YouTube. Made possible by Grant Hermanson.

Television Schedule:
Burnsville/Eagan Community Television: Channel 14. Check their web site for day and times. Sponsor: Kevin Hardisty.
Bloomington: Channel 16. Sunday 11:00 pm. Sponsors: David and Joanne Beardsley.
Minneapolis: Channel 75. Monday 7:00 pm. Sponsor: Steve Petersen.
Rochester: Channel 10. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday 7:30 pm. Sponsor: Jim Salutz.
Roseville, Shoreview, Arden Hills, North Oaks, Little Canada, Falcon Heights, Lauderdale, Moundsview/New Brighton: Channel 14. Wednesday 10:30 pm. Sponsor: Shirley Moll.
St. Cloud: Channel 12. Thursday 8:30 to 9:00 pm. Sponsor Tom Stavros.
St. Paul: Channel 15. Wednesday 5:00 pm. Sponsor: Jim Wright.
Stillwater: Channel 16. Tuesday 7:00 pm. and Wednesday 9:00 a.m. Sponsor: Lee Salisbury.
White Bear Lake, Hugo, Lake Elmo, Mahtomedi, Maplewood, North St. Paul, Oakdale, Vadnais Heights: Channel 15. Saturday 7:30 pm. Sponsor: Michael Seliga.

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