Lange, Mascha Helene (2019):
"Of Pregnant Kings and Manly Landladies: Negotiating Intersex in Ursula K. Le Guin’s The Left Hand of Darkness." Eds. Er, Öykü Dilara; Gerlach, Laura; Hussey, Ben; Navin, Margaret; Puccio, Daniele; Schubert, Stefan; Spieler, Sophie; Vogelsberg, Anne; Vossen, Hannah. aspeers 12: 117-138.
Journal Article

This essay examines narrative negotiations of intersex in contemporary US science fiction literature. Intersex is understood as a highly contested concept as well as the lived realities of intersex people. The intelligibility of intersex people is constantly negotiated in and through cultural norms and practices, with literature serving as one major cultural playing field of renegotiation. This article seeks to close a perceived gap in the analysis of literary representations of intersex: Discussions so far have focused solely on realist fiction; science fiction has hitherto not been included. I am therefore going to analyze Ursula K. Le Guin’s seminal novel The Left Hand of Darkness in search for instances in which intersex intelligibility is prohibited, interrupted, or challenged in ways distinctive of the novel’s genre. In this contribution, I argue that intersex is a productive, yet previously neglected term of analysis that lays open conceptualizations of sex, gender, and sexuality in Le Guin’s science fiction novel.