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Does the publishing of a book with an Intersex central character lead to greater understanding and acceptance for Intersex people in general? Is it good for our community?

Well maybe not. Geoffrey Euganides book Middlesex uses as his central character a person with 5 alpha reductase , one of the many physical differences that can lead to intersex. A popular read even if not amongst Intersex .

Aside from the sugar coating of an Intersex life and the misrepresentation of 5 alpha reductase as a difference that inevitable leads to male like physicality and heterosexual outcomes, there is an attempt to have as a central theme a person coping with Intersex and peoples perceptions of that.

Well if the First Tuesdays Book Club hosted by Jennifer Burn and seen on Australian ABC television is anything to go by, apparently intelligent individuals still take the chance to miss the point , misunderstand Intersex , Insult us with their ignorance and demonstrate intellectual accomplishment provides no immunity against stupidity, when addressing Intersex in literature.

Here the first reviewer Alice Pung immediately identifies Calliope as Transgendered. Just which parts of the book did you miss Alice?? Not that the novel would not work with a Transgendered central Character or a Transsexual or even a straight person, The central Idea would need to be very different if that were the case though. (Incestuous relationship leading to recessive genes producing a straight heterosexual man... hold my head I'm feeling sick ... the tension is unbearable.).

The misapprehension of Alice Pung is unaddressed throughout the review so that in the end the reviewers are talking about the other book inside Middlesex , the clayton's one, that is Middle sex without the Intersex.

What on earth do you think he called it Middlesex for you nitwits???

Gina Wilson


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Middlesex :: Comments

Re: Middlesex
Post on Sat 30 Jan 2010, 9:35 pm by Peter
Middlesex should never been reviewed by a group of so-called "literary critics" because these "critics" treated Middlesex as a convoluted novel; what with 'back stories' and 'scientific paths' that ms. Pung had difficulty following. I got the feeling that the "critics" believed that this was some fantastic 'fiction' rather than a real live story about a real live person.
Re: Middlesex
Post on Sat 30 Jan 2010, 10:22 pm by Peter
Apparently cannot edit last post. Listened to "review again" and more than ever, did not see review as anything but a review of a fictional novel.

Rogers: felt he should be listening to greek music; eating certain greek foods while reading. Felt that he should hug Cal; never really acknowledging Cal's eventual transition to male because he always referred to Cal as 'she.'

Pung: "sorry to bring it up, but 'written by a man, well, um man/woman...'" She really had difficulty speaking about the book because of subject matter.

Steyer: book went on and on, especially the back-story. The predicament(?) of Cal; a greek tragedy that was "too long to get to the point." ('whatever the point was' is the impression I got that was lingering in Steyer's mind)

Hardy: ...long winded medical explanations. But the "CHARACTERS" were great. C'mon, these were real people, not storybook "characters!"

I was right in my judgment. These idiots were reviewing (in their minds) nothing more than a fanciful fictional novel.
Re: Middlesex
Post on Sun 31 Jan 2010, 2:43 am by TomMsG
Anyone who takes critics (sometimes called pundits) seriously or plans on making decisions based on their opinions is fundamentally challenged. These people are neanderthal's in more ways than one would think possible given the 50,000 year separation between Homo Sap and Neanderthalis.
The best way to decide on whether to read a book or not is to skim a chapter or two, or listen to the author on PBS or get a thumbs up from someone you know.

Love Tom and Ms. G
Re: Middlesex
Post on Fri 18 Jun 2010, 11:02 pm by Peter
Well, I finally finished the book and no, it does nothing to advance understanding or acceptance of either 'intersex' or '5 alpha reductase.'

I stand by most of my critique of the "critics." However, my comment about Hardy's remarks - the characters were not real, but rather were fictional characters.

Good read, though.
Re: Middlesex
Post on Sat 19 Jun 2010, 1:46 am by TomMsG
Good read though! Yes. Entertaining but the things said about 5 alpha and xxy were the real fictions. The rest was from "the life".

Personally though for fanstastic fiction and metaphorical life it's hard to beat Pratchett or Vonnegut. Tom/Ms.G
Re: Middlesex
Post on Sat 19 Jun 2010, 4:19 pm by Peter
Not sure what you mean by "the life!"

Cal and his/her family are real in the sense that the Joad family was "real" in the Grapes of Wrath. As stated on the back cover of the book:

"...the astonishing genetic history that turns Callie into Cal, one of the most audacious and wondrous narrators in contemporary fiction.
Re: Middlesex
Post on Sat 19 Jun 2010, 4:55 pm by TomMsG
"the life" for us is simply that - there is rarely any fiction that is not "real" since all of it inhabits or lives in the mind - occasionally with partial congruence with others' mindful lives.

Of course there is also the life inspired from Rap and possibly hip hop - the which we listen to only when it overwhelms us from some passing car.

Love Tom/Ms.G
Re: Middlesex
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