A Sex Which is Not a Sex. Medicine, Hermaphroditism and
Intersex in Italy between the Nineteenth and the Twentieth Century
This paper explores in a historical perspective the relationship between hermaphroditism and medicine from the end of the nineteenth to mid twentieth century. Through the analysis of some cases of “sex doubt”, we discuss the way in which the scientific literature and the popular press have addressed this issue. The text shows how hermaphroditism has become the testing ground of cultures and practices that affected the entire society of the period. In particular, the ratio of hermaphroditism/medicine is particularly effective for investigating the social and cultural meaning of gender binarism and the growing importance that surgery has recently gained in the area of sexuality and gender.