The Church Times (2 March 2012) has published an article by Madeleine Davies about Susannah Cornwall's paper, "Intersex and Intology: A Response to The Church, Women Bishops and Provision". It's entitled "Intersex bodies brought into the ordination debate". Here's an excerpt:
Intersex conditions undermine the assumptions about the clear delineation between male and female which underpin the theology of Christians that oppose women bishops.
This is the argument of a new paper, Intersex and Ontology, by Dr Susannah Cornwall, a researcher at the Lincoln Theological Institute at the University of Manchester.
She is writing in response to the Latimer Trust-sponsored publication The Church, Women Bishops and Provision, which argues against women bishops from an Evangelical standpoint. Dr Cornwall says that many contemporary theological accounts of sex, gender, and sexuality take too little heed to the existence of physical intersex conditions.
“The important question is what definition of maleness the authors of The Church, Women Bishops and Provision are using, and what it is in which they believe that maleness inheres,” she writes. “Intersex disturbs the discreteness of maleness and femaleness, and might therefore also disturb the gendered roles which are pinned to them.”
It is estimated that about one in every 2500 people is born with some kind of physical intersex condition, where there is physical ambiguity of the genitalia or a “mismatch” between the genitalia and other physical characteristics. Dr Cornwall believes that “very little” has been written about the impact of such conditions on theology and the Church’s ministry.
“Generally, there has been a growing awareness that intersex exists but not specifically theological reflection,” she said. “The pastoral concern is the big impetus for my project, but I don’t think it’s possible to do that without thinking about the theological considerations.”