chapter  4
10 Pages

Charting Intersex

Intersex Life-Writing and the Medical Record
WithKatelyn Dykstra

In intersex life-narratives, the medical record is a uniquely powerful object because it functions as a site of collision between the resistance to and dependence on medical power. This chapter engages in an object-oriented reading of the medical chart in three pieces of intersex life-writing collected in the 2015 issue of Narrative Inquiry in Bioethics. Drawing on Sigmund Freud’s early thinking on melancholia and Douglas Crimp’s concept of collective mourning, this chapter contends that the medical chart both creates a sense of intersex identity and serves as a reminder of surgical traumas. Access to the medical chart as an object permits these authors to start the process of re-narrating their lives through a literal reclaiming of their stories. This process creates an opportunity for understanding their intersex body as intersex and to form a community around the collective memorializing of trauma.