Intersex Activists in Israel: Their Achievements and the Obstacles They Face

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This article focuses on the dynamic between the medical policy on intersex bodies and intersex activists in Israel. Recently, in many countries changes have taken place in medical guidelines regarding intersex patients and laws that regulate medical practices and prohibit irreversible surgeries for intersex babies for cosmetic reasons and without the patient’s consent. In Israel, intersex activists are limited by several factors. On the one hand, they are influenced by the achievements of intersex activism around the world but on the other, the pathologizing medical discourse and socio-medical practices, which include early diagnosis, early irreversible surgeries, and secrecy surrounding intersexed bodies, present obstacles to achieving bodily autonomy for intersex individuals and social recognition of different sex development. Nevertheless, intersex activists are attempting to find different social and media spaces in which to achieve public acknowledgement and future bodily autonomy for intersexed people and seeking medical professionals’ cooperation. Recently, the Israeli Ministry of Health published a new circular for intersex/DSD patients, and while it does not clearly forbid irreversible surgeries, it provides information about the complexities of intersex people and their experience.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)569-578
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Bioethical Inquiry
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2018
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018, Journal of Bioethical Inquiry Pty Ltd.


  • Bodily autonomy
  • Intersex activists
  • Intersex bodies
  • Israel
  • Socio-medical practices


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