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Young people with a variation in sex characteristics in Aotearoa/New Zealand: identity, activism and healthcare decision-making

journal contribution
posted on 2021-11-03, 06:42 authored by DM Steers, GL Andrews, EJ Wiltshire, AJ Ballantyne, Catherine CollingsCatherine Collings, MH Stubbe
Young people born with variations in sex characteristics (VSC) or disorders of sex development (DSD) face numerous challenges in navigating issues relating to identity and to their lived and embodied experience. There is limited published research amplifying the voices of young people with a VSC, especially from Aotearoa/New Zealand. This qualitative study provides an up-to-date picture of the lived experience of 10 young people with a VSC in Aotearoa/New Zealand. The research was conducted in collaboration with the advocacy group, Intersex Youth Aotearoa, and explored the level of support provided by health services, peers and advocacy groups in relation to the ways the participants viewed themselves and their bodies, and their health related decision-making. Findings reveal the pressure on young people with a VSC to conform to cultural and societal norms, specifically, heteronormative and traditional constructs of how male and female bodies should look in Aotearoa/NZ society. Such views, often held and perpetuated by health professionals and parents, contributed to complexities surrounding identity, agency and acceptance of difference experienced by these young people. The implications of these findings are discussed, including the need for better psychological and peer support for young people.

History

Preferred citation

Steers, D. M., Andrews, G. L., Wiltshire, E. J., Ballantyne, A. J., Collings, S. C. & Stubbe, M. H. (2021). Young people with a variation in sex characteristics in Aotearoa/New Zealand: identity, activism and healthcare decision-making. Culture, Health and Sexuality, 23(4), 457-471. https://doi.org/10.1080/13691058.2020.1863472

Journal title

Culture, Health and Sexuality

Volume

23

Issue

4

Publication date

2021-01-01

Pagination

457-471

Publisher

Informa UK Limited

Publication status

Published

Online publication date

2020-12-24

ISSN

1369-1058

eISSN

1464-5351

Language

en