Doctors, Dreger asserts, often viewed hermaphrodites with a sense of amusement and voyeurism.A physician, Fraciszek Neugebauer, and a surgeon, Jean Samuel Pozzi, who were both in Europe during the 1920s, traveled to consult on suspected cases of hermaphroditism and chronicled the cases in an effort to increase scientific knowledge about hermaphroditism.
At the time that this book was published, Dreger was a faculty associate at the Center for Ethics and Humanities in the Life Sciences at the College of Medicine, University of Michigan, Michigan.
In the Prologue, "But My Good Woman, You Are a Man," Dreger tells the story of Sophie V., who in 1886 at the age of forty-two, sought medical help in a Belgium surgical clinic from a physician, whom Dreger calls Professor Michaux. sought help because her newly married husband could not enter her vagina during sexual intercourse.
Michaux examined Sophie and discovered what he believed to be a testicle and a penis, and he declared that Sophie V. To Michaux, Sophie V.'s anatomy outweighed the forty-two years she had lived as a woman.
Dreger asserts that Sophie V.'s story highlights the difficulties that arise when trying to assign a sex of either male or female to persons whose anatomies differ from the standard combinations of attributes considered to be male, such as a penis, prostate, and testicles, or those considered to be female that include a clitoris, uterus, and vagina.
People whose anatomical combinations did not match one of those standards were typically classed as hermaphrodites, and after the early 1900s also came to be medically labeled as intersexual.