Author: Christof Rolker

‘All humans are male, female, or hermaphrodite‘ (Rolandus Passagerii)

In the past decade or so, a number of countries have changed their laws and statutes concerning the legal status of intersex people. In Germany, the German Federal Constitutional Court ruled in autumn 2017 that the then-current law of persons was unconstitutional because it assigned a legal gender to any…

Gregory of Nyssa on sex, gender and hermaphrodites (Greek and English)

Medieval and, to a lesser extent, early modern theologians surpringly often ‚discussed‘ the possibility the Adam was created hermaphrodite. I say ‚discussed‘ as the position was pretty much a straw man – there is very little evidence that medieval theologians ever encountered anyone holding this position, although it is not…

Medieval canon law on hermaphrodites

As some readers of this blog know, I’ve been a canon law historian long before I began to think about hermaphrodites or intersex in history. On the whole, (medieval) canon law is largely silent on hermaphrodites....

An „androgino“ in Mexico, 1758/59

The Mexican case Martínez 2016 has studied (and Enrique has brought to attention) is a welcome addition to the corpus of primary sources on early modern hermaphrodites, all the more as scholarship traditionally has time and...

Intersex and the Olympics

Historically, the Olympic Games started as an all-male competitions; later, female athletes were admitted in more and more disciplines. Almost all disciplines are gender-separated (sailing is, I think, the only exception), and female athlestes only were...

German Federal Court of Justice on intersex

The recent decision by the German Federal Court of Justice (Bundesgerichtshof) on intersex – see here for a previous post in German and here for a few links – is making it to the English-speaking media....

Constantine the Great and the persecution of ‚androgynoi‘

The idea that hermaphrodites in premodern Europe were persecuted on a regular base has featured several times in this blog, as it is still a common misconception. Indeed, it may be called a myth, and in...

Men, women and sex change in Diderot’s Rêve de D’Alambert

Galen’s model of male and female genitalia being homologous has been made famous by Laqueur’s controversial book Making sex (Laqueur 1990). Laqueur’s idea that Galen, and specifically his tract De spermate, were dominant more or less...

Men, women and hermaphrodites in the Rêve de D’Alambert

Galen’s model of male and female genitalia being homologous has been made famous by Laqueur’s famous but controversial book Making sex (Laqueur 1990). Laqueur’s idea that Galen, and specifically his tract De spermate, were dominant more...

Olympic Games and clitoridectomy

In a previous post on Eric Vilvain, I mentioned that he was involved in the formulation of the 2012 IOC rules on ‚gender verification‘, and that the latter made athletes undergo medically unnecessary surgery including gonadectomy...

Off the map? Hermaphrodites on the Hereford Map

Medieval world maps (mappaemundi) attract a lot of attention, scholarly and popular, and rightly so. Ranging from the very simple T/O maps which show little else than the world divided into three parts (Asia, Africa, Europe)...

Bathroom bill, bogus biology, and intersex

In the US, bathroom issues continue to fuel debates about sex and gender. See here for some recent material: http://aebrain.blogspot.de/2016/05/us-potty-panic-hysteria-multimedia.html While the NC bill was mainly aimed against trans people (and, hardly noted in the current...

The Marquis de Sade, Caligula and an hermaphrodite

As mentioned in a previous post, researching the story of a medieval hermaphrodite monk led me – more or less directly – to the strange world of 18th c. erotica, and specifically the Count of Mirabeau....

God as mother

Yesterday was Mother’s Day in the US (but not Mothering Sunday in the UK – if confused, look here for various dates of various days celebrating various motherhoods), and the British Library’s ‚Medieval manuscripts‘ blog took...

Blogging with hypotheses – a short tutorial

As https://intersex.hypotheses.org has recently attracted a number of non-German contributors, and hopefully will continue to atract more, a short guide to blogging with hypotheses.org may be of some use. The following tutorial is meant for those...