Wed • May

Wednesday, May 18, 2016



The New York Academy of Medicine, 1216 Fifth Avenue at 103rd Street, New York, NY 10029


Free, but advance registration is required

In this lecture, writer and activist Alice Dreger explores the world of patient rights. “The Intersex Patient Rights Movement has been trying for over twenty-five years to stop pediatric genital surgeries that are motivated not by medical necessity but by social norms around sex and gender. We have also more recently tried to stop prospective parents of intersex children from being deceived about the safety and efficacy of a prenatal drug intervention aimed at preventing intersex genital development. We’ve failed.” This talk will explore why she reaches that conclusion, and trace out what has changed while also trying to explain why some deeply problematic core practices have not changed.

About the Speaker

Alice Dreger, PhD
, is an historian of medicine and science, a sex researcher, a mainstream writer, and an (im)patient advocate. An award-winning scholar and writer, Dreger’ most recent book is Galileo’s Middle Finger: Heretics, Activists, and the Search for Justice in Science (Penguin Press, 2015). In it she argues that the pursuit of evidence is the most important ethical imperative of our time. Dreger earned her PhD in History and Philosophy of Science from Indiana University. She has served as a regular writer for The Atlantic and Pacific Standard and for the blog of Psychology Today; her op-eds have appeared in numerous other publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Slate, The LA Times, The Guardian, Wall Street Journal, and New Statesman. Her live-tweeting of her son’s sex ed class in April 2015 sparked an international discussion of abstinence-based education. In the medical world Dreger has served as a patient advocate and as a consultant to pediatric specialists, particularly in the treatment of children born with norm-challenging body types, including intersex, conjoined twinning, facial anomalies, and short stature. Former chair of the Intersex Society of North America, she is currently the ethics consultant to an NIH-funded Translational Research Network on pediatric intersex care and is co-chairing a medical education committee on intersex for the Association of American Medical Colleges. Dreger’s TED lecture, “Is Anatomy Destiny,” has been viewed over 950,000 times.

Event series:
History of Medicine and Health