Saturday, February 23, 2008


The assignment to research and write about a woman who is making a difference in feminism and women's equality was eagerly anticipated by myself. However, after choosing someone that I never heard of (Emi Koyama) and then after attempting to find out more about her, I realized hat I didn't get very far! There is minimal information about her or at least I didn't find the typical facts and bios one would after inquiring, especially after putting in her name up in the internet search site and then numerous websites showed up.

Here is what I did find out: First, there is no past biography for this still living activist. She (and I'm assuming she is a SHE) currently lives in Portland, Oregon and according to her own words located on her own website: she is a "multi-issue social justice slut, syn hesizing feminist, Asian, survivor, dyke, queer, sex worker, intersex, genderqueer..." and crip political activist! Whoa, this person even goes on to say she "does not identify with any particular gender...." Now, having quoted her own words, that leads me to explain what she does and how she became known, which I guess may qualify her for being a contributing factor to feminism and women's equality, however, after reading all the information that she is disseminating, I believe she is more a human activist than anything else!

Emi Koyama currently is the director of the Intersex Initiative which is an Oregon based national activist and advocacy organization for people born with intersex conditions. Most of you won't know what are intersex conditions so let me define them: Using the text from the website, it is the disorder of sex development (also know as DSD) which refers to a series of medical conditions in which a child's genetic sex (chromosomes) and phenotypic sex (genitalsdo not match or are somehow different from the 'standard' male or female. Before she began her organization, she worked for the Intersex Society of North America from 2001 - 2002 where she worked as an intern and then as a staff activist. She considers herself a third wave feminist who gives presentations to colleges and other organizations and to private groups as well.

I believe Emi Koyama has contributed to feminism in a very simple but dedicated way. She is being an independent activist who has lived through some of these experiences (she doesn't tell us which ones) and who creates website entries, does independent research and goes even farther by creating her own words that relate to the issue of intersex conditions and transgender issues, queers, etc. Her website originated by her use of 'emi' - which is her name and adds it to the word feminism. She also is responsible for the 'whore revolution' which was created after responding to an anti-prostitution feminist. According to Koyama, "the whore revolution will fight violence and oppression at every level, including economic violence and the violence by the state or by international organizations, because violence and oppression diminish our options," from A Conversation with Dr. A: A Sex Work Activist Takes on An Academic Feminist.

I believe she opens doors for women and men in areas of sexual identification and orientation and more deeply through the DSD (devlopment of sexual disorders). She has opened dialogue and also shows various class, gender and ethnic groups the controversial issues of DSD or intersex, prostitution, oppression and transsexual, transgender and transfeminism problems.

Emi Koyama has already taught me something that I knew nothing about. I had never heard of intersex issues and variation of XX and Y chromsomes in people. The fact that 1 in 2000 people are born with a type of this condition (either visibly noticeable at birth OR later on in their life) was a real eye opener for me.

The following websites were use for obtaining this information:
An interesting link about theoretical credibility rankings which ranked Emi Koyama's credibility as an 'organization/VIP/other with ONE star verses FIVE stars can be found at:

Kim Seder
Women's Studies 200


emigrl said...

Hi Kim. This is Emi. I find it amusing that someone is writing a class assignment about me, and especially seeing my name along with the super-famous feminists. I'm curious--you say that you didn't know about me before, so how did you decide to pick me? Did the teacher present a list of people to choose from? Also, which school do you go to?

Oh by the way, I didn't like how used my quote: my response to the question "is legal prostitution a part of sexual liberation?" isn't a simple "yes" like the site present it to be. From sex workers' point of view, legal prostitution isn't liberation, it's just work. I've actually written the people who run that site, and told them that I think that they misrepresent my position, but I can't really control how other people interpret my writings and since it's a published work I can't keep them from citing it.

Women's Studies 200 Class said...

Hi Emi. I go to Bowling Green State University, Firelands campus located in Huron, Ohio.
I did select your name from a list the teacher supplied us and I chose your name because I thought you are perhaps Asian and I have always felt a connection to Asian people and their culture and have always wanted to travel there, either Japan or China or somewhere near!
When I found out through an email that you had responded, I was first 'scared.' I reread my blog entry before reading your response.
I really enjoyed learning about you and the issues you are involved with.
Thank you for writing me.

Melisa Posey said...