Intersex Bodies in Sexuality Education: On the Edge of Cultural Difference

  • Annette Brömdal
  • Mary Lou Rasmussen
  • Fida Sanjakdar
  • Louisa Allen
  • Kathleen Quinlivan


Myths and ignorance regarding intersexuality sometimes result in intersex bodies inhabiting the space of the ‘embarrassing other’ in sexuality education. Utilising Nikki Sullivan’s notion of somatechnics, we seek to untangle how people associated with this category cannot be understood as separate from the technologies of medical and educational institutions that regulate their bodies. Drawing upon data collected from a broader study exploring cultural discourses in school-based sexuality education in Australia and New Zealand, this analysis explores how gendered bodily norms of discipline and regulation intersect. We focus on the pedagogical potential of conversations about intersex and hope to inspire educators to work with and against students’ curiosity for stories about what they perceive to be ‘embarrassing bodies’ and explore how power accrues to particular bodies.


Sexual Education Intersex Bodies School-based Sex Education Intersex Issues Department Of Education And Early Childhood Development (DEECD) 
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© The Author(s) 2017

Open Access This chapter is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial License, which permits any noncommercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author(s) and source are credited.

Authors and Affiliations

  • Annette Brömdal
    • 1
  • Mary Lou Rasmussen
    • 2
  • Fida Sanjakdar
    • 3
  • Louisa Allen
    • 4
  • Kathleen Quinlivan
    • 5
  1. 1.School of Linguistics, Adult and Specialist Education, Faculty of Business, Education, Law and ArtsUniversity of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba CampusToowoombaAustralia
  2. 2.School of Sociology, Research School of Social Sciences, Haydon Allen Building (22)Australian National UniversityCanberraAustralia
  3. 3.Faculty of Education, 29 Ancaro Imparo WayMonash University, Clayton CampusMelbourneAustralia
  4. 4.Faculty of Education and Social WorkUniversity of AucklandAucklandNew Zealand
  5. 5.School of Educational Studies and Leadership, College of Education, Health and Human DevelopmentUniversity of CanterburyChristchurchNew Zealand

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