Tiger Devore

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Tiger Devore
Howard Devore

Occupation(s)Clinical psychologist and sex therapist
Known for Intersex activist and educator
TelevisionOprah (1984) [1]
Website www.tigerdevorephd.com

Tiger Devore, previously known as Howard Devore and Tiger Howard Devore, is an American clinical psychologist, sex therapist, and spokesperson on intersex issues. [2] He was a member of the defunct Intersex Society of North America. [3] Historian Alice Dreger credits him with starting the work of the intersex movement. [4]


Early life

Tiger Devore was born with severe hypospadias and has experienced over 20 surgeries and four full reconstructions. He says that, "all the surgeries I suffered up to age 19 were unnecessary failures." [5] [6]

Devore has a PhD in clinical psychology and works as a sex therapist, activist and educator with over 30 years of experience in advocacy for intersex people and others who are sexually different from the mainstream. [7] Devore has worked in research clinics at the Johns Hopkins Hospital Medical School, and the Human Sexuality Program at UCLA. During his time at Johns Hopkins University, he worked with the sexologist John Money. [8] [4] He has also worked for NIH as a crisis counsellor and worked with imprisoned sex offenders. [7]


Alice Dreger describes how Devore, through his work at Johns Hopkins University and as an "out gay man in the 1970s-1980s in America" developed an awareness about "the clinical abuse of sexual minorities". [4] He began to work as an educator and appeared on the Oprah show in 1984, considered to be the first television appearance by an intersex person talking about lived experiences. [1] Dreger describes how Cheryl Chase was referred to him in November 1992, how Devore "taught her about the value of mutual support groups", and how, in 1993, Chase announced the establishment of the Intersex Society of North America (ISNA). [4] Dreger states that:

Devore contributed to ISNA and to the intersex rights movement the outline of what a reformed clinical system would look like: Intersex children would be given preliminary gender assignments as boys and girls (recognizing that all gender assignment is preliminary and does not require surgery); hormonal and surgical interventions would be limited to those that were needed to treat clear and present medical problems, with all elective interventions waiting until patients could consent for themselves; intersex children and adults (and their loved ones) would be provided professional, non-shaming psychosocial support and peer support. [4]

Dreger states that, despite the expertize offered by Devore and Chase at that time, "reporters and producers generally counted Devore and Laurent only as intersex subjects, while I counted as a supposedly objective expert". [4] She states that these reforms still remain to be implemented in 2018. [4] Devore continues to argue in favor of fully informed consent by intersex people to genital surgeries. [6] [9] He states:

I am tired of the perpetration of great harms against infants and babies with perfectly healthy genitals that happen to look different from what the doctors think is standard. Intersex genitalia are not unhealthy, they just look different than some ideal of male or female genitalia. The experiment to reshape intersex genitals early in a child's life has failed. People should have the right to determine if they want reshaped genitals or not, when they are old enough to decide for themselves. That's informed consent; when the person them self has the information necessary to decide if they want a treatment of any kind, or not. [7]

Devore has also argued against the use of disorders of sex development, as a term that is "more scientific," and "more medical," but also more treatable, and more of a stigma. [10] In a statement in November 2015, Devore called for an end to unnecessary surgeries and "recognition of the rights of the child to bodily integrity and self determination", stating "that medicine and the research community continue to co-opt patient advocates in order to silence them by giving us the impression that we had access to influencing medical practice and research." [11]

He is a board member, and former president, of the Hypospadias and Epispadias Association, and a former member of the defunct Intersex Society of North America. [12] [13] [3]

Selected bibliography


Devore has been an educator and media spokesperson on intersex issues since 1984 when he appeared on Oprah. [3] He has appeared in documentaries for Discovery Channel (2000), [14] PBS, National Geographic Channel television, the British Broadcasting Corporation, and the award-winning short movie XXXY by Stanford University. [15] [16] [17] Devore is also interviewed in the 2012 documentary Intersexion . In 2013, he was interviewed by Time Magazine on the then-new German birth certificate laws, and called for a global ban on "normalizing surgeries." [18] Devore was interviewed on the Howard Stern Show on 7/28/1999. http://www.marksfriggin.com/news99/7-26-99.htm

Related Research Articles

The Intersex Society of North America (ISNA) was a non-profit advocacy group founded in 1993 by Cheryl Chase to end shame, secrecy, and unwanted genital surgeries. Other notable members included Morgan Holmes, Max Beck, Howard (Tiger) Devore, Esther Morris Leidolf and Alice Dreger. The organization closed in June 2008, and has been succeeded by a number of health, civil and human rights organizations including interACT.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Hypospadias</span> Medical condition

Hypospadias is a common variation in fetal development of the penis in which the urethra does not open from its usual location in the head of the penis. It is the second-most common birth abnormality of the male reproductive system, affecting about one of every 250 males at birth. Roughly 90% of cases are the less serious distal hypospadias, in which the urethral opening is on or near the head of the penis (glans). The remainder have proximal hypospadias, in which the meatus is all the way back on the shaft of the penis, near or within the scrotum. Shiny tissue that typically forms the urethra instead extends from the meatus to the tip of the glans; this tissue is called the urethral plate.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Intersex medical interventions</span> Performed to modify atypical or ambiguous genitalia

Intersex medical interventions, also known as intersex genital mutilations (IGM), are surgical, hormonal and other medical interventions performed to modify atypical or ambiguous genitalia and other sex characteristics, primarily for the purposes of making a person's appearance more typical and to reduce the likelihood of future problems. The history of intersex surgery has been characterized by controversy due to reports that surgery can compromise sexual function and sensation, and create lifelong health issues. Timing, evidence, necessity and indications for surgeries in infancy, adolescence or adult age have been controversial, associated with issues of consent.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">History of intersex surgery</span> Aspect of history

The history of intersex surgery is intertwined with the development of the specialities of pediatric surgery, pediatric urology, and pediatric endocrinology, with our increasingly refined understanding of sexual differentiation, with the development of political advocacy groups united by a human qualified analysis, and in the last decade by doubts as to efficacy, and controversy over when and even whether some procedures should be performed.

Pseudohermaphroditism is a condition in which an individual has a matching chromosomal and gonadal tissue sex, but mismatching external genitalia.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Disorders of sex development</span> Medical conditions involving the development of the reproductive system

Disorders of sex development (DSDs), also known as differences in sex development, diverse sex development and variations in sex characteristics (VSC), are congenital conditions affecting the reproductive system, in which development of chromosomal, gonadal, or anatomical sex is atypical.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Intersex</span> Atypical congenital variations of sex characteristics

Intersex people are individuals born with any of several sex characteristics including chromosome patterns, gonads, or genitals that, according to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, "do not fit typical binary notions of male or female bodies".

Advocates for Informed Choice, dba interACT or interACT Advocates for Intersex Youth, is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization using innovative strategies to advocate for the legal and human rights of children with intersex traits. The organization was founded in 2006 and formally incorporated on April 12, 2010.

Hermaphrodites with Attitude was a newsletter edited by Cheryl Chase and published by the Intersex Society of North America (ISNA) between 1994 and 2005. The full archives are available online. In 2008, ISNA transferred its remaining funds, assets, and copyrights to Accord Alliance and then closed.

<i>XXXY</i> (film) 2000 American film

XXXY is a short documentary directed by Porter Gale and Laleh Soomekh.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Films about intersex</span>

Intersex, in humans and other animals, describes variations in sex characteristics including chromosomes, gonads, sex hormones, or genitals that, according to the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, "do not fit typical binary notions of male or female bodies". Intersex is a part of nature and that is reflected in some representations of intersex in film and other media.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Television works about intersex</span>

Intersex, in humans and other animals, describes variations in sex characteristics including chromosomes, gonads, sex hormones, or genitals that, according to the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, "do not fit typical binary notions of male or female bodies".

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Intersex human rights</span> Human rights for intersex people

Intersex people are born with sex characteristics, such as chromosomes, gonads, or genitals, that, according to the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, "do not fit typical binary notions of male or female bodies."

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Discrimination against intersex people</span>

Intersex people are born with sex characteristics, such as chromosomes, gonads, or genitals that, according to the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, "do not fit typical binary notions of male or female bodies". "Because their bodies are seen as different, intersex children and adults are often stigmatized and subjected to multiple human rights violations".

Max Beck was an American intersex advocate, who was active in the now-defunct Intersex Society of North America (ISNA). On October 26, 1996 in Boston, Beck participated in the first known public demonstration against human rights violations on intersex people. The event is now annually commemorated and recognized as Intersex Awareness Day.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Timeline of intersex history</span> Overview of notable events in the timeline of intersex history

The following is a timeline of intersex history.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Intersex rights in the United States</span> Overview of intersex peoples rights in the United States of America

Intersex people in the United States have some of the same rights as other people, but with significant gaps, particularly in protection from non-consensual cosmetic medical interventions and violence, and protection from discrimination. Actions by intersex civil society organizations aim to eliminate harmful practices, promote social acceptance, and equality. In recent years, intersex activists have also secured some forms of legal recognition. Since April 11, 2022 US Passports give the sex/gender options of male, female and X by self determination.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Intersex rights in Colombia</span>

In 1999, the Constitutional Court of Colombia became the first court to consider the human rights implications of medical interventions to alter the sex characteristics of intersex children. The Court restricted the age at which intersex children could be the subjects of surgical interventions.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Intersex human rights reports</span>

Intersex people are born with sex characteristics, such as chromosomes, gonads, hormones, or genitals that, according to the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, "do not fit the typical definitions for male or female bodies". Such variations may involve genital ambiguity, and combinations of chromosomal genotype and sexual phenotype other than XY-male and XX-female.


  1. 1 2 ""People Are Talking/Baltimore" host: Oprah Winfrey 1984". Oprah Winfrey . People Are Talking/Baltimore. 1984. Retrieved 2016-05-12.
  2. "Doctors of the Desert: Dr. Tiger Devore". Las Vegas Woman. August 23, 2018. Retrieved 2018-11-30.
  3. 1 2 3 "The Inbetween Sex: An interview with intersexual Howard Devore, Ph.D." SF Gate . October 12, 1999. Retrieved 2016-05-12..
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Dreger, Alice (May 2018). "Twenty Years of Working toward Intersex Rights". Bioethics in Action. Cambridge University Press. pp. 55–73. doi:10.1017/9781316343197.004. ISBN   978-1-316-34319-7.
  5. "Male or female? Babies born on the sliding sex scale". British Broadcasting Corporation . 11 October 2011. Retrieved 2016-05-12.
  6. 1 2 Littlefield, Amy (August 13, 2018). "Intersex People Want to End Nonconsensual Surgeries. A California Resolution Is Their 'Warning Shot.'". Rewire.News . Retrieved 2018-11-30.
  7. 1 2 3 "Dr. Tiger Devore on AIC's Landmark Lawsuit". Interact Advocates for Intersex Youth . June 24, 2013. Retrieved 2016-05-12.
  8. Money, John; Devore, Howard; Norman, Bernard F. (1986). "Gender identity and gender transposition: Longitudinal outcome study of 32 male hermaphrodites Assigned as Girls". Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy. 12 (3): 165–181. doi:10.1080/00926238608415404. ISSN   0092-623X. PMID   3761370.
  9. Caplan-Bricker, Nora (October 5, 2017). "The intersex rights movement is ready for its moment". Washington Post . Retrieved 2018-11-30.
  10. "Interviews". We Who Feel Differently. February 7, 2011. Retrieved 2016-05-12.
  11. Devore, Tiger (November 21, 2015), Tiger Devore's Statement , retrieved 2016-05-12
  12. "Announcing the Members of the New HEA Board". Hypospadias and Epispadias Association. January 1, 2014. Archived from the original on January 3, 2014. Retrieved 2016-05-12.
  13. "HEA Board and Staff". Hypospadias and Epispadias Association. Archived from the original on 2014-01-03. Retrieved 2014-01-03.
  14. "Is It a Boy or a Girl?". Discovery Channel . 2000.
  15. "XXXY". XXXY (film) via The Interface Project on Vimeo . 2000.
  16. Greenhouse, Emily (December 30, 2015). "A new era for intersex rights". The New Yorker. Retrieved 2018-11-30.
  17. Human Rights Watch (July 2017). I Want to Be Like Nature Made Me. Human Rights Watch . ISBN   978-1-62313-502-7 . Retrieved 2018-11-30.
  18. "Boy, Girl or Intersex? Germany adjusts to a third option at birth". Time Magazine . November 12, 2013.