Editor's Pick

Editor’s Pick, September 2018: Lauren Freeman and Saray Ayala López

Our Editor’s Pick for our September 2018 issue is Lauren Freeman and Saray Ayala López’s paper, “Sex Categorization in Medical Contexts: A Cautionary Tale.” In this paper, Freeman and Ayala López question the completely standard practice of sorting patients into male and female (and in unusual, ‘abnormal’ cases, ‘other’) as a first step in providing medical care. The authors carefully analyze the empirical and normative effects of this practice and argue that it leads to suboptimal care, as well as having damaging social and psychological effects. They argue that there is no need for such a sorting, and that health care providers can and should focus on more proximate sexed dimensions of their patients, such as having ovaries, having a penis, caring about presenting as feminine, and so forth. This paper brings a crucial public debate into the heart of medical practice, and its consequences are far-reaching.

Download a PDF of Freeman and Ayala López’s paper here.

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