SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — State Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) announced Tuesday that he has introduced a resolution that, if passed, would require California’s medical community to discontinue sex assignment and normalization procedures on intersex infants.
Senate Concurrent Resolution 110 seeks to end nonconsensual, and potentially harmful, sex assignment and genital “normalization” surgeries on babies born intersex, and instead allow them to make their own decision about possible surgeries when they are older.
According to Wiener, about one in 2,000 people are born intersex, meaning that their genitals do not appear typically male or female. Some can be born with other intersex features that can go unnoticed, such as internal testicles.
Some intersex infants do require immediate medical attention, such as when they lack the ability to urinate, but Wiener says the vast majority of these individuals are born healthy and able to live fulfilling lives without modification of their genitals.
Wiener says that in the 1950s, physicians in the U.S. started performing irreversible surgeries on intersex infants without medical justification in an attempt to surgically and hormonally force them to conform to what they perceived to be typical male and female bodies.
Many of these procedures continue to this day, according to Wiener.
“Infants who are born healthy should not be forced into a medically unnecessary surgery, and our medical community needs to help families to take a more measured approach to surgery,” Wiener said in a statement.
“Over time, as a child grows and they make their own choices, then that is the appropriate time to discuss medical options,” he said.
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The protesters said Lurie Children’s Hospital should not perform any surgery – operations that are not reversible – until that child is 18-years old and old enough to make the decision. (WBBM/Steve Miller)
— People who are intersex, born neither male nor female, protested Thursday at Lurie Children’s Hospital for Intersex Awareness Day.
“Stop intersex surgery,” the group chanted.
Pidgeon Pagonis, 31, lead the protest and is intersex.
“When I was one-years old they removed my undescended testes. And when I was 11 they performed a botched vaginoplasty that left me with scar tissue and insensitivity and other problems to make me, quote-unquote, a normal girl. Even though I have XY chromosomes.
“I should have been allowed to decide myself. Like all intersex people should be,” Pagonis said.
“Stop intersex surgery,” the group chanted. (WBBM/Steve Miller)
The protesters said Lurie Children’s Hospital should not perform any surgery – operations that are not reversible – until that child is 18-years old and old enough to make the decision.
They also added that they support surgery on intersex children only when it’s medically necessary.
Many advocates believe that means if the child’s life is threatened. While surgeons have interpreted “medically necessary” to mean removing organs that doctors suspect may turn cancerous.
Protesters added that they support surgery on intersex children only when it’s medically necessary. Many advocates believe that means if the child’s life is threatened. (WBBM/Steve Miller)
In a statement, Lurie Children’s Hospital said the hospital supports and acknowledges Intersex Awareness Day.
“We are committed to open communication with the intersex community and fully respect the diversity of opinions that exist in affected individuals, including those at the intersex protest at Lurie Children’s. We believe that continued efforts to foster healthy and open communication between intersex support groups and the medical community is vital to future improvements in patient care.
“Consistent with this philosophy, Lurie Children’s will be hosting the annual Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome (AIS) and Difference of Sex Development (DSD)/Intersex advocacy meeting in the summer of 2018.”
Butterfly Pride – Issue #40
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Butterfly Pride – Issue #39
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