1st Edition

Religion and Intersex Perspectives from Science, Law, Culture, and Theology

By Stephanie A. Budwey Copyright 2023
    248 Pages 4 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    248 Pages 4 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book considers the situation of intersex people who have faced erasure in the areas of science, law, culture, and theology due to the assumption that all humans are either ‘female’ or ‘male.’

    Centered in interviews conducted with German intersex Christians, this book argues that moving from a paradigm of sexual dimorphism to sexual polymorphism will help promote the full humanity and flourishing of intersex people by creating a world where intersex individuals are no longer coerced and/or forced to undergo non-consensual, medically unnecessary treatment, no longer experience human rights violations because of their lack of legal protection, no longer feel inhuman and Other due to epistemic injustice that stems from socio-cultural norms and stereotypes, are no longer told they are not made in God’s image as a result of a sexually dimorphic understanding of Genesis 1:27, and no longer feel excluded and invisible in worship services that do not recognize them.

    This combination of the practical and the spiritual allows for a reconsideration of the medical treatment and pastoral care that should be available to intersex people. This book will be helpful to those in the disciplines of science, law, culture, and theology, particularly those in gender and theological studies and those already in and studying for lay and ordained ministry.

    Introduction I Don’t Understand How We Christians Allow This To Happen"

    1 The Knife of the Norm": Intersex from Scientific Perspectives

    2 "If You’re Not Written Specifically into the Law, You Are Specifically Excluded from the Law": Intersex from Legal Perspectives

    3 "I Am Not Other, I Am Different. But Just like You": Intersex from Cultural Perspectives

    4 "God Created Us, All of Us, in All of Our Differences and Beautiful Uniqueness": Intersex from Theological Perspectives

    5 "The Liturgy Is the Expression of All the People of God, and All Those People Need to Have Their Voices Heard": Intersex from Liturgical Perspectives


    Stephanie Budwey is the Luce Dean’s Faculty Fellow Assistant Professor of the History and Practice of Christian Worship and the Arts at Vanderbilt Divinity School, USA. She is the author of Sing of Mary: Giving Voice to Marian Theology and Devotion (2014) and co-editor of In Spirit and Truth: A Vision of Episcopal Worship (2020).

    "Budwey comprehensively and authoritatively orients readers to recent developments in legal and theological accounts of diverse sex. Intersex people's voices are always centred. The analysis of intersex's liturgical erasure is a particularly powerful challenge to Christian communities." - Susannah Cornwall, Professor of Constructive Theologies, University of Exeter, UK

    "Budwey demonstrates the importance of intersex people and the detriment of their erasure through ethnographic research, bringing to life the polyvocality of intersex Christians that creates conditions for a tangible move beyond the gender binary to(ward) the materiality of polymorphism. This research establishes a theology of liturgy of the everyday, encouraging the deepest, most radical flourishing for intersex people and their freedom to participate fully in the work of the people; a literal liturgical expression of sexual difference." - Robyn Henderson-Espinoza, Visiting Professor, Duke Divinity School, Durham, USA

    "In this terrific resource Budwey’s ethnographic research allows many who are polymorphic to 'speak' about how they are traumatized, mutilated, excluded and erased by sexual and gender dimorphism. Their voices inform contemporary efforts to establish a more inclusive sexual paradigm for biblical interpretation, Christian ethics, pastoral care and worship."  - Patricia Beattie Jung, Professor of Christian Ethics, Saint Paul School of Theology, USA