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Unnecessary surgery on intersex kids causes ‘permanent harm’

Joseph McCormick July 25, 2017
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Unnecessary surgeries on intersex kids are causing “permanent harm”, according to a new report.

The report from the Human Rights Watch and interACT found that doctors in the US continue to perform unnecessary surgery on intersex children.

Titled ‘I Want To Be Like Nature Made Me’, the 160 page report looks at damage caused by the controversial surgeries which have gone on for decades.

This is despite the surgeries being unnecessary and controversial even within the medical community.

Unnecessary surgery on intersex kids causes ‘permanent harm’

It is estimated that 1.7 percent of babies could be identified as intersex, and the surgeries are usually performed in order to allow the child to grow up “normal”.

The report describes the results of the surgeries as “often catastrophic”, and says the benefits are “largely unproven” and it is “rarely urgent” for the health of the child.

“The devastation caused by medically unnecessary surgery on intersex infants is both physical and psychological,” said Kimberly Zieselman, an intersex woman and executive director of interACT.

“Despite decades of patient advocates putting the medical community on notice about the harm from these procedures, many doctors continue to present these surgeries to parents as good options.”

The report states that the removal of testicles, which the child would be unable to consent to, is equal to sterilisation without consent.

It also can result in the requirement of lifelong hormone replacement therapy.

Many doctors understand that parents may no longer wish to inflict the surgery on their child.

A doctor who works on a team which works on cases of ‘differences of sex development’ told Human Rights Watch: “We’re listening to the adult patients who are telling us that they feel they were mistreated and mutilated and that’s a very powerful thing.”

The report goes on to note an urgent need to address discrepancies in the standards of care for people born intersex.

“The medical community has made progress in intersex care in recent decades, but medically unnecessary irreversible surgeries on children and infants remain common,” said Kyle Knight, researcher at Human Rights Watch and author of the report.

“The pressure to fit in and live a ‘normal’ life is real, but there is no evidence that surgery delivers on the promise of making that easier, and ample evidence that it risks causing irreversible lifelong harm.”

This new film reveals the truth about children raised without gender

Earlier this year in the US, a federal district court allowed an intersex person the right to reopen a lawsuit over a gender-neutral passport.

More: America, human rights watch, interact, intersex, nonbinary, surgery, Transgender, US, USA

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