Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Finally, At Long Last

The medical profession is starting to come about and realizing that they have been wrong about intersex surgery on babies.

We are so hung up with the gender of a baby that the first question usually asked is “Is it a boy or a girl?” There is so much stigma in a babies gender that answering “We don’t know.” is not an option.
Why Intersex Patients Need the Truth and Doctors Need to Listen
As an intersex woman and a doctor, I’ve seen the dangerous stigma the US medical establishment attaches to our community.
The Nation
By Katharine B. Dalke
September 12, 2017

When I was 22, I sat in the kitchen and did something I never imagined I would do: discussed my medical history with my grandfather. Tears stung my eyes as we talked openly about a secret my parents had fiercely protected me from for years: I’m intersex.

“You must be mad as hell,” he said. “I’m sorry.”

In my case, “intersex” means that I am a woman with XY chromosomes. My condition, called Complete Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome, meant that my body did not respond to male hormones, and so I developed an externally typical female body. When I was 6, I had routine surgery for a hernia in my groin. During the procedure, instead of ovaries and a uterus, my surgeon found undescended testes.
This was the legacy of the now-discredited “blank-slate” theory of gender that gained traction in the 1960s. For intersex children, the thinking went, “If we make this child look and function like a ‘normal’ boy or girl, and never tell them otherwise, everything will be fine.” Although we now understand that gender identity and expression is informed by a combination of nurture and nature, the importance of an intersex child’s genitals’ being surgically altered remains the bedrock of an ongoing medical paradigm.
The problem is that gender is in the brain, no matter how much you change the body, the brain knows you true gender.

A liberal think tank, The Palm Center came out with this policy paper… Re-Thinking Genital Surgeries on Intersex Infants and in the paper they say,
Fortunately, a consensus is emerging that concludes that children born with atypical genitalia should not have genitoplasty performed on them absent a need to ensure physical functioning. Government agencies in Germany, Switzerland, Australia, Chile, Argentina, and Malta, as well as human rights groups, including the World Health Organization, have examined this issue and found that these irreversible medical procedures, which are performed before individuals can articulate whether they wish to undergo such surgery, are not necessary to ensure healthy physical functioning, and that such surgery is not justified when performed on infants. These bodies have called for a moratorium on cosmetic infant genitoplasty so as to allow individuals with a DSD to have substantive input into decisions affecting their own identity and appearance.
Surgery was not always done on intersex babies, it was like the doctors came up with a procedure and looked for areas where they can do the surgery and they found intersex babies and sold a bill of goods on parents when they were most vulnerable.
Performing cosmetic infant genitoplasty was not always the default practice. Before the middle of the twentieth century, most children born with genitalia that did not fit the male-female binary norm were not subjected to surgery. Beginning in the 1950s, however, an era when pressure to conform to social norms was often unyielding, the standard treatment protocol shifted. Infants born with atypical genitalia were subjected to surgical procedures such as clitoral reduction, vaginoplasty, gonadectomy, and hypospadias repair, primarily to “normalize” gendered appearance, not to improve function.
And we can also thank doctors like Dr. Money for pushing their pet theories that gender was a social construct and not an intrinsic part of our brains.

Hopefully, "corrective" surgeries will be delayed until intersex people can decide for themselves what they want.

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