An ideology of erasure
Interphobia in right-wing extremism: A call for intersex-affirmative therapy
The discrimination faced by intersex people plays a major role in their life, including therapeutic and psychological settings. Thus, the range and expression of interphobia is crucial for therapists and practitioners to understand as part of an inter-affirmative therapeutic approach. The article examines the writings of key proponents the German-speaking extreme right, with the understanding that many of these interphobic ideas hold true for society at large. By analysing seven interphobic strategies used by the extreme right, we understand how their narratives about intersex people continue to propagate a two-sex hegemony. The seven strategies are: ignore, deny, pathologise, employ paternalism, conjure up the polarity of man and woman, make direct attacks, and functionalise completely different issues to further their political agenda. The article explores the intrinsic entanglement of interphobia with racism, antisemitism, nationalism, social Darwinism, two-sex ideology, heterosexism, cissexism, and sexism and it is also a reconstruction of relevant discourses in sexology, psychology, and gender studies. I advocate for an understanding of human development that is non-hierarchical and therefore does not value any particular expression of human bodies over any other. Pathologisation and ‘fixing’ is contraindicated to healing and resilience, and if therapy is to be inter-affirmative, it needs to accurately reflect the interphobic lived realities of clients’ lives.
Copyright (c) 2022 Andreas Hechler
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