Theorising health equity research for people with intersex variance through new materialism

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Health inequalities impact sex variant people in highly differentiated ways. This is evidenced in academic and activist intersex research that documents the highly specific forms of inequalities experienced. The misrecognition, discrimination and human rights abuses inherent to pathologised accounts of non-normative bodies sit alongside further work that interrogates the theoretical implications sex variant subjectivities, identities and bodies have for static and binary notions of both sex and gender. In this paper we aim to contribute further to this scholarship. We draw upon feminist materialist and Deleuzean informed understandings of materials or matter to rethink debates over sex variant subjectivities, identities and bodies in relation to the inequalities in health and healthcare. We argue ‘the turn to matter’ and associated new materialist theories draw attention to the complex, dynamic relational assemblages and entanglements mutually constituting the affective, embodied and socio-material worlds of intersex people. Informed by these theories, we propose inequalities can be more fully addressed through a new health equity research agenda that is co-produced with sex variant people. This agenda will enable a fuller exploration of the unsettling but transformative capacities of intersex matters and meanings with the contextually specific understandings of equity in relation to health and healthcare.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSociology of Health and Illness
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 3 Sep 2022


  • Sex
  • Gender and sexuality
  • Intersex
  • Variance
  • Health
  • Equity
  • Inequalities
  • New Materialism
  • Feminism
  • Assemblage


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